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BPSDB

Mark Hertsgaard and James Hansen

hat tip to Growth is not sustainable

Future Climate Change

with Dr Richard Alley, always worth hearing

and this is pretty cool too; consider it within the context of the two preceding talks.

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BPSDB Judith Curry’s latest post Polyclimate is actually about an interesting and important topic that deserves real discussion, but that is apparently not the real purpose of her post, and as a consequence not of this one either.

The topic in question is the clear, effective communication of climate change science, and I just want to draw to your attention Dr Curry’s attempt to further undermine it.

Dr Curry is actually quite a clever misinformer, so a single blog post is not sufficient to document all of the errors, misrepresentations  and cheap shots in the entire piece. Indeed may not even be sufficient to cover the introduction which attempts to frame the issue as being about flawed science. While masquerading as a serious discussion piece the fact is that a great deal of it is actually just juvenile swiftboating.

I suppose I should begin by thanking Dr Curry for the backhanded semi-compliment she gave in “it seems that few people read Greenfyre, but it is representative of the genre and more literate and entertaining than most“, but still note the typical gratuitous put down she felt obliged to insert. Moving right along:

In short, the blame is being placed on “deniers,” the mainstream media, conservatives and libertarians, and tactics used by the environmental movement itself.  The science itself is a non-issue in this matter: the incontrovertability of the Tyndall gas effect has somehow been translated into high confidence knowledge of what is going on with the climate system and what should be done about it.”

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BPSDB

I admit it, I have underestimated the virulence of the climate change Deniers.

I had thought that they were merely  politically motivated, close minded, frightened people egged on by a corporate driven profit agenda.

Increasingly I am convinced (by them) that we are dealing with a hysteric, desperate, terrified mob driven by ideologues.

My post Love, blood and rhetoric really got the Digg Patriots into a froth, so I used the opportunity to see if I could cajole/goad/bait anyone of them into making a single relevant, rational comment about the post. I wasn’t hoping for much, just about anything that referred to what was actually said and responded with something that made any sense would have done.

No luck. Several of the commenters even took took pride in their certainty that what I had written was treasonous, dangerous propaganda despite their not having read a single line of it. Several threatened to (and supposedly did) report me to the FBI/Homeland Security even though they hadn’t actually read the piece. Wow!

Which led me to rereading a Sun Magazine interview with Chip Berlett, and realizing that I had failed to appreciate the full significance of something he said.

“Barsamian: The virulence of language on the Right is acute. Everything is Armageddon, apocalypse, or a “nuclear option.”

Berlet: That’s because it’s portraying the political opposition not as people with whom you disagree but as a force of evil with whom there can be no compromise. How can you compromise with Satan? How can you compromise with the people who want to destroy America?

Brewing Up Trouble: Chip Berlet On The Tea Party And The Rise Of Right-Wing Populism by David Barsamian

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BPSDB As we hurtle into the catastrophe of the sixth great mass extinction that defines the Anthropocene, it is interesting to note just how recently we only just began to understand that which we are now annihilating, and why it is so important to preserve it.

(12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882)

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

On the Origin of Species, First edition

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BPSDB 

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Just over a year ago I did two posts documenting at length that uber climate change Denier PopTech’s (aka PopTart) list of “skeptic” science was blithering nonsense of the worst kind:

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Those who have any experience with PopTech are well aware that he never lets inconsequential trivia like facts or reality influence his beliefs, so you won’t be surprised that he kept adding to his Septic List and finally managed to double it “900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism Of “Man-Made” Global Warming (AGW) Alarm ” (simple math for PopTech, 2 times 0 is still 0).

Now Carbon Brief has had a look at the expanded list and brings us:

  1. Analysing the ‘900 papers supporting climate scepticism’: 9 out of top 10 authors linked to ExxonMobil
  2. “Using our paper to support skepticism of anthropogenic global warming is misleading.” Part II of our analysis of the 900+ climate skeptic papers

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BPSDB  This trailer for a new documentary that is still in production popped up five days ago and it looks interesting. Clips from the interviews have been being posted every day since (selection below). See what you think.

Oooh, they just added Elizabeth Kolbert and Barbara Bramble (The Birth of the Rainforest Action Network) (and look for Steve Schneider in the trailer).

A Fierce Green Fire Official Trailer

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Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

Bill McKibben – Public Consciousness and Climate Change

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War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Lois Gibbs – The Uniqueness of Love Canal

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Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

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SOA Quebec City 2001

BPSDB In the dim mists of time hundreds of us were gathered by a foundation to discuss how we were going to move from our then state of impending environmental crisis to a sustainable society. Demographically we were a sampling of politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, business people, NGO staffers, and community organizers.

We talked and worked over three days in ever changing combinations that always had representation from each sector. By the last evening we were a much smaller, exhausted group consisting almost exclusively of the NGO staffers, community organizers and scientists, with only a handful of the others still present.  The organizers then revealed our last task, which was to answer:

  1. What needs to happen?
  2. What will it take?
  3. Who will pay for it?

There was a long silence, and then finally a voice (an environmental consultant) said in a calm, measured manner “Revolution … Blood in the streets … Eat the rich.”

There was another long silence as we all looked around to see how the others were reacting to this.  What we saw was a room full of people calmly nodding. We then spent the last few hours translating that answer into language that the Foundation could actually publish in it’s report.

Make no mistake, this was not a gathering of radical activists. The participants were drawn from quite mainstream, moderate organizations and institutions. Nor, I think, would that have been the answer given when we first gathered, even by the subset of us still there at the end.

Although the group had an abundance of experience trying to make change, the day long sessions of quibbling over trivia and dross had brought into stark relief just how inert “the system” was. Apparently imminent catastrophe was simply not sufficient reason to fiddle with the price of gas, or anything else for that matter.

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BPSDB Mark Hertsgaard (author of  On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency) is interviewed by Democracy Now about his new book “Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.”

Some worthwhile points that he makes:

It’s a crime

Our inaction on climate change is a crime. It is and should be treated as such. The lies and propaganda of the Anti-science Machine are crimes against humanity and hopefully they will be formally recognized as such.

“Uncertainty”

The alleged uncertainty of the science is very much an American phenomenon. Not that there aren’t Bolts, Delingpoles, Balls and Mtols all over the world (what village is without its’ idiot?), but that widespread and official Denial is peculiar to the US.

Update 18/4/11:

Nukes

I am not yet ready to talk about Nuclear Power, but Hertsgaard makes some interesting points relevant to that discussion.

Food & GMOs

As with Nukes, here is another I will be returning too, but he is certainly right in saying that food is the issue with respect to climate change.

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BPSDB

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Head

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Heart


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Hands


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If by any remote chance you have not heard of them, Koch Industries is a major funder of many right wing agendas including climate change Denial (The Machinery of Climate Anti-Science) and a core driver of the Tea Party movement.

Of course it is unlikely that you haven’t heard of them, which begs the question of what the point of this post is? I want to suggest that it is not enough to simply  know about them, what are we going to do about it?

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BPSDB  “…we manipulate the medium … that’s how you control the online dialogue.”

American Majority trainer

This clip exposes one of the many tactics that the right wing is using to control the information that the public gets, the information that you get.

This is how The Machinery of Climate Anti-Science is operationalizing the corporate agenda, just one tactic of many being used to subvert democracy.

The clip is from the documentary (Astro)Turf Wars that was released last October

Trailer for (Astro)Turf Wars:

We are drowning in propaganda, drowning in it. And I’m not speaking figuratively, it’s threatening our lives, it’s cutting off our air. It’s making real democracy all but impossible. It has brought the planet to the point of ecological destruction.” [emphasis added]

Mark Crispin Miller, New York University, (Astro)Turf Wars interview

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BPSDB

Last week John Mashey did an excellent talk on “The Machinery of Climate Anti-Science” at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. John is an incurable geek (my highest praise) who has been a tireless bulldog in going after the power networks that support the professional world of climate change denial (and just a really nice guy).

The talk is well worth it, so watch it:

Video of John Mashey’s talk and the pdf of the presentation.

Thanks to Tim @ Deltoid and Deep Climate for the heads up.

Some things to watch for

1) This is not a summary and will not substitute for watching the presentation itself, it’s just a sampling of some of the things he talks about that I have my own agenda for drawing your attention to, so go watch it already 😉

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BPSDB

I feel a little awkward in that M’s comment on the post “Sciencey Spice Etc” is such a perfect set up for the post I was intending to write regardless that even I am a bit suspicious about it’s authenticity (it is a real comment nonetheless).

In a nutshell, the comment reveals a naive and dangerously simplistic notion about what both science and politics are, but which I believe is fairly common in the science community.

The post in question discusses and seeks to understand the phenomenon of Judith Curry and her blog Climate Etc as a social and socio-political event within the broader context of climate change Denialism, and begins to examine some of the gender and other dynamics which appear to be in play.

M says “I find the gender-based speculation in this post highly unnecessary, and even inappropriate. Stick to criticizing the lack of science in JC’s blog rather than attempting amateur psychoanalysis.”

Stick to criticizing the lack of science in JC’s blog

Right.

That’s worked really well for us.

We simply document the bad science and lack of rationality in the climate change Denier arguments and they simply go away, c’est touts.

Not.

Obviously.

For those who missed it, climate change Denial has been increasing, not decreasing. Our strategy is not working. When are we going to acknowledge that while documenting the absence of science or rationality in the Denialosphere may be necessary to making our society a reality based one, it is clearly not sufficient.

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I have to out myself now as a Daniel Radcliffe fan. Having never seen a Harry Potter movie I had no idea until yesterday, but then I happened upon a youtube clip of an interview he did on a British talk show.

In this interview Radcliffe opted to sing a Tom Lehrer song.

Lehrer was a mathematician at Harvard, MIT and U Cal who dabbled in musical comedy on and off, but principally in the late 50s and early 60s. For those not familiar with Lehrer I recommend you correct that deficiency as soon as possible.

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Sciencey Spice Etc

BPSDB


Guest post by Martha

Martha has been a frequent participant in discussions on Judith Curry‘s blog and shares with us some thoughts and observations.

It seems like only yesterday that American scientist Judith Curry announced her arrival on the blogosphere. She has created a blog based on the idea that climate change deniers are good for science and she insists deniers are skeptics, compelled to expose what they (and she) see as the ‘corruption’ of climate science and the peer review process.

While she brandishes a contrarian sword she strongly presents as disinterested in the usual denier conspiracy theories about a one-world government plot threatening the free market economy.

Judith Curry asserts she is independent of all that. She is the right scientist: the good scientist. She denies any ulterior motives that might be perceived negatively by others.

Sure, she has disclosed a small private commercial venture associated with the resources and students at her academic institute, but this is not generally viewed as problematic (although maybe it should be). While attempts to downplay or dismiss the scientific consensus on climate change are not new, especially for ideological or profit motives, she insists she is only interested in the scientific evidence.

‘I am right’.

Judith Curry sometimes posts bone-dry data, which I guess at least ensures the appearance of some examination of the science. However, it is apparent that she doesn’t let the most current research or huge holes in her basic knowledge hold her back. She litters her blog with posts that are a curious grab-bag of recycled denier arguments and irrelevancies that she calls ‘common sense’.

Apparently being right requires an abundance of false misleading comments, deliberate confusion and other mischief-making. Her juxtaposition of serious claims to science with what amounts to denier ad copy is bizarre. She disputes whatever she can think of and excoriates colleagues as often as possible.

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Simple people,people who don’t exist,prefer things which don’t exist,simple things.

e.e. cummings; six nonlectures

Al Gore had a few minor errors of no particular consequence in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth“, but his book “The Assault on Reason” was wildly wrong in at least two important respects:

i) The internet has proven to be a far more useful tool for the climate change Deniers than it has for the science fact community. This is undoubtedly because it is easier to tweet simple things such as “If evolution climate change is real, why are there still monkeys snowstorms?” than it is to understand the facts.

Not that the explanation is that complex, just that it takes more than 140 characters to say and a bit of actual thinking to understand.

ii) What we are witnessing is not an “Assault on Reason”, it is the wholesale abandonment of reason. Democracy requires dialogue, a dialogue that simply isn’t happening, and quite possibly cannot happen when one of the camps has chosen paranoid delusions and willful stupidity as their coping mechanisms.

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BPSDB

Dilbert.com

Parse that carefully because it can be too easy to become focused on the “Stupid” part. It’s S-t-u-p-i-d W-h-i-t-e M-e-n.

For completeness we should add “Old”, and “Rich” (and probably some other adjectives as well) because of course in addition to being a race and gender issue climate change is a class and generational one. Having said that, it is a very particular brand of ‘Stupid’ that we are dealing with and it deserves dissection.

Nowhere is this clearer than the recent U.S. Congressional House Energy and Commerce Committee vote that denied the existence of climate change. As has been noted elsewhere, they may as well have voted to deny the existence of gravity. While I have been known to compare climate change Denier‘s intelligence to that of lobotomized rodents it is still breathtaking to see them literally taking it to that level.

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BPSDB Who?

The Full Monckton

Four new videos

A trip to the potty

Jest for fun

Who?

For those who don’t know him, in addition to delusions of being an authority on climate science the self-christened “Potty Peer” is (as Coby Beck put it) a certifiable crackpot and a very colourful loon.

As such documenting his seemingly endless stream of errors, misrepresentations, frauds, lies etc would appear to be a cruel and completely unwarrented exercise in mocking the feeble and afflicted were it not for one other fact – he is one of the most  widely known of the professional so-called “climate skeptics.”

Further, for those desperate to embrace any idiocy that purports to refute climate science (eg the American Republican Party), Lord Monckton would appear to be one of the most credible of those professionals (undoubtedly based on his claim to being a member of the House of Lords, which he isn’t).

In a field (ie climate change denial) where raving silliness and blatant fraud are the stock in trade it would be difficult to pick a King of the Dungheap, but I submit that if one looks at the difference between outrageous, egregious ridiculousness and perceived credibility by the Denialosphere and some popular media, then Monkton is a clear frontrunner if not outright winner. Few others come even close to being so obviously, blatantly wrong while being still held up as credible authorities by the Deniers.

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Curiouser and Curiouser

BPSDB Some odd goings on in the climate change Denialosphere …

Curiouser and Curiouser

New Crock

A few smiles

Recent absence

Curiouser and Curiouser

On Jan 20th the Canada Free Press published an apology to Dr Andrew Weaver (text below & google cache) as was reported by various sites (eg here and here).

That apology has now disappeared. (see also updates below text of apology).

So what has happened? CFP changed their minds? Tim Ball filed a counter-suit? CFP lawyers found that the text of the apology left them open to even more serious action? Other?

If any one has heard anything I would be curious to know.

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BPSDB A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on…

possibly Mark Twain

The past few years have seen the internet change fairly significantly with respect to the issue of climate change.  As a tool for public education the internet is invaluable. Unfortunately as a tool for disinformation it seems that it is even more effective.

To what extent disinformation on the net drives climate change Denial as opposed to the reverse is a chicken and egg discussion. Undoubtedly they feed on each other in a classic positive feedback loop. The question is, what is to be done about it.

Not that any one thing is going to turn it around. There are a host of things the climate science community needs to do. However, I do have one specific proposal that I believe would be helpful and I would like some feedback on it.

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BPSDB In my last post about machinima I said:

Now, a fun piece of culture jamming would be to identify the game engines in question and do clones of these videos [2 climate change Denier screeds], but have the “libural” stating the facts (with sources) just as we do in real discussions. Then give these clones the same titles as the originals and start spreading them around the net.

Well guess what?

Hat tip to PE who sent me a 3rd video of machinima and I realized that the prominent site name that appeared on it might be a site that allowed you to make machinima (well Duh?). I checked, it was.

In fact it was the same site that had been used to make both of the Denier videos I referred to in the other post. Well having said “someone should … ” I thought ‘what the hell …’ and a few hours later, voila.

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