Letter to a Climate ‘Skeptic’

This will be a difficult read for you, but I am trusting that you are mature enough to handle it. At least I hope so. Please understand that this is not an attack on you, nor a judgment of your abilities or intelligence. I say this as a friend who is hoping to help you see how you have been conned and how you continue to be conned, both by the professional con men and by yourself.

To begin I would like to sample a few of your arguments about climate change to demonstrate both that they are wrong, and also that really you should have seen immediately that they were wrong.

You see, the problem here is not so much the errors in the arguments, but your apparent determination to believe them. The ironic truth is that those who see themselves as being immune to being hoodwinked are often the easiest to fool.

One claim you have made is that the IPCC failed to consider past climate changes and that the Earth has historically been hotter than now. Of course you had only to search the Internet for ‘IPCC’ and click two links to discover this claim is total nonsense. The summery report includes a 64 page chapter discussing past climates and their relevance .

You suggest that past warming somehow prove that the current one is natural. If a person says cancer kills a lot of people, you would not assume that they are also saying that all deaths are caused by cancer. Why then do you imagine that when scientists say that the current warming is caused by humans that they are also claiming that all warming must be caused by humans? It is a very basic logical error that you would not normally make, yet you have this time.

What puzzles me is the belief that the very scientists who are the ones who told us about past climates in the first place somehow forgot about them when talking about climate change. In fact information on past climates is taught in grade school and may be found in ‘Wonder Books’ for children. How could anyone seriously believe that millions of scientists would overlook this? or think they could avoid discussing it? The premise is hopelessly absurd.

You explained that many professionals, such as geologists, physicists and meteorologists question anthropogenic climate change. You obviously never checked the websites of the American Meteorological Society, the American Physical Union, the American Geological Union, or any other of thousands of scientific organizations. You would have found that they are all solidly supportive of the science and reject Denierism for the nonsense that it is.

The explanation is simple of course. First, most of these “professionals” have only an undergrad degree and do no climate work. Uninformed coffee room banter is cheap and meaningless, and even professionals say some of the stupidest things about aspects of their field that they know nothing about.

Of course they should know better, but they are human too. When these professionals sit down with the actual science and examine it critically they realize that the science is solid and claims to the contrary are nonsense. That is why all of their professional associations reject Denierism.

You say “follow the money”, implying that scientists lie about their results in order to get funding. Like all of the Denier arguments this is so silly it defies belief. In the first place science gets funded to study something before the answer is known, not based on the results it will get. It overlooks the fact that to get funding you say that the answer is unclear, not that it is settled. It also asks us to believe that millions of scientists across over a hundred nations and tens of thousands of research institutes are all in a global conspiracy … yeah, right.

The argument itself is a logical error (Circumstantial ad hominem) because someone profiting from a fact does not make the fact wrong. That would be like claiming that gravity is a hoax because the airlines profit from the belief that people can’t fly. It’s just absurd. If you can show that the facts are wrong then the supposed profits might explain why they are, but showing possible profit is not a substitute for having actual evidence.

You said “follow the money”, but never asked yourself who profits from climate Denierism. The possible profits from green technologies are supposedly corrupting the political and scientific process, but the actual trillions that the oil industry makes from the status quo is not motivating them to lie about the science? Or to interfere in the politics? Of course it has. Why did that never occur to you? And why didn’t you check?

Another inconsistency that I thought would cause you to reflect on the legitimacy of the whole ‘climate skepticism’ argument. In presenting evidence to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming the Republicans chose not a scientist, but a journalist as their only witness. Not merely a journalist, but one notorious for getting all of his facts wrong (here , here, here and here). Why have an idiot spouting nonsense as your chief spokesperson if you have actual evidence? Did that not seem odd to you?

In fact every one of the Denier claims are total nonsense, as you can find at such sites as Skeptical Science , How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic , and Peter Sinclair’s excellent Climate Denial Crock of the Week series. They are easy enough to find … why did you never look?

Which brings up what should be another disturbing question for you. If the so-called skeptics have any real argument at all, why do they bury it with all of these lies and hoaxes? Logically if one had any argument of substance you would highlight it, place it center stage … not make it impossible to find.

A skeptic is not merely skeptical about one side of an alleged controversy, they question all claims. Question, and check … or at least opt to remain undecided until they have a chance to check. You didn’t. You blindly accepted the claims of the Deniers. Why?

You pride yourself on your intelligence and thoughtfulness, and not without cause. Generally that is an accurate description of you. Unfortunately the pride has gotten in the way this time. The image of the maverick who questions deeply is so attractive that you embraced the image without bothering to do the questioning. You have not been skeptical at all. You have been, if anything, quite gullible. In fact real skeptics detest the climate Deniers for the charlatans that they are.

Science is not afraid of real skepticism. It is the very life blood of science. I want you to be skeptical, to be a real skeptic. Critically examine the Denier claims. Don’t believe either set of arguments, check for yourself. That’s what skepticism is.

I am not worried that you might check the science. I want you to, and as soon as possible. We need many more climate activists, and there is nothing more effective at creating one than knowing what the facts are. You actually are an intelligent and thoughtful person, so get the facts … and then get those bastards who have been lying to you.


a skeptic by Ahmosher

Skeptics by wburris

Randi Q&A by wka

clean your soul skeptic by constantskepticupdates

This is so me. by giveawayboy


60 Responses to Letter to a Climate ‘Skeptic’

  1. TinyCo2 June 14, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Aw bless, you’ve really tried hard with this little post haven’t you. Ten out of ten for trying.

    Of course your post will fall on stony ground because you haven’t actually researched your subject matter properly and no I don’t mean climate science, I mean sceptics. Instead of telling us what we believe and then trying to debunk it, why not ask us? You’ll discover a very large range of opinions and many of them will be more informed and thoughtful than your own.

    I will start you off.

    One of the reasons that I’m a climate sceptic is the tendency for CAGW proponents to jump to conclusions and then exaggerate or cherry pick the facts to support their opinion. Your letter is a good example.

    However, I suspect that your letter is just a (thinly) veiled insult and you don’t really want to understand scepticism. Which is a pity, because if CAGW is real then you need to bridge the gap between scepticism and belief. In 30 years time, will you feel you really made a difference with this jeering missive or will you accept you just pissed people off?

    • contributor June 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      In other words you cannot cite a single example to support your claims, and have no understanding of the science whatsoever. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to make that obvious.

      • Craig Goodrich June 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm

        Oddly, it would appear that those hawking catastrophic CO2-driven warming are the ones who have no understanding whatever of the science.

        Consider, for example, the NOAA’s FAQ page (which was copied almost word-for-word by the EPA in their defense of the insane decision to regulate CO2 emissions):

        They offer basically three reasons:

        1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
        2. The recent temperature rise is clearly unusual in at least the last 1,000 years.
        3. Computerized climate models get it wrong without attributing most of the warming to CO2.

        The first is true but clearly irrelevant in a climate system which is, in effect, an enormous engine for moving gargantuan quantities of heat and moisture (H2O is also a greenhouse gas) from point A to point B, storing and releasing huge quantities of heat in an ocean capable of absorbing thousands of times more heat energy than in the entire atmosphere, and subject to wind and current effects that are just now beginning to be rigorously studied. In a system such as this, the notion that increase in an atmospheric trace gas from three parts in ten thousand to four parts could have measurable effect — much less cause catastrophes — is a very long shot indeed and borders on delusion.

        The second is not demonstrably true, for the simple reason that global average temperature calculations depend on proxy studies (as they note elsewhere in the answer), and the 25-year period of warming in the modern era (roughly the last quarter of the 20th century) is lost in the inherent uncertainty of time resolution with nearly all historical proxies. For specific areas where we have long-term detailed records dating back three centuries or more — e.g. Central England or Prague — the rate is not at all unusual.

        The third would only amount to actual evidence if it had been demonstrated that these models incorporate accurate calculations of all phenomena affecting global climate; but obviously they do not — for example, in order to match observed temperatures during the 20th century, a fudge factor is arbitrarily introduced and labelled “aerosols”, when the IPCC itself admits that aerosols are so poorly understood that not even the sign of their effect is known with certainty. They might as well have called it “pink stuffed bunnies.”

        Moreover, all of the models referred to there are based on Hansen’s original models designed when he was studying Venus in the early 1970s, a planet with an atmosphere 98% CO2 and zero H2O. More recent scholarship suggests that this model is wrong even for Venus. In addition, every prediction of the models — from upper-troposphere warming rate to monsoon precipitation to tropospheric humidity — has proven spectacularly wrong. Thus the models cannot support any theory, much less any attribution.

        So the “answer” to this question amounts to little more than propaganda. This is utterly unworthy of a publicly-funded scientific institution. The page should be removed and replaced with one which simply says, “We don’t, but we can get more taxpayer funding if we claim we do.”

      • Craig Goodrich June 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

        Sorry, contributor, I forgot to ask: Where precisely in AR4, WG 1, Ch 9, “Attribution” — which is the only relevant part of the entire report, obviously — is the actual evidence for the anthropogenic CO2-driven warming theory, and where in either WG 1 or WG 2 is the actual evidence that there is any possibility of catastrophic consequences?

        Thanks; I’m depending on you, since you have such an encyclopedic understanding of the science…

        • Craig Goodrich June 14, 2010 at 8:49 pm

          I’m sorry; apparently I forgot to allow for your reading comprehension difficulty:

          Where precisely in AR4, WG 1, Ch 9, “Attribution” — which is the only relevant part of the entire report, obviously — is the actual evidence for the anthropogenic CO2-driven warming theory, and where in either WG 1 or WG 2 is the actual evidence that there is any possibility of catastrophic consequences?

          Page number, please.

          • Craig Goodrich June 17, 2010 at 4:02 am

            … and AR4 is supposed to be an assessment of all those studies.

            I repeat ….

          • Katabasis June 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

            “The scientific case is obviously built upon all of the evidence from tens of thousands of studies”

            — This bald assertion is itself “”Yet another tired, juvenile debating trick.”

            –The vast majority of the “thousands” of studies you refer to *do not* make the case for CAGW itself, but instead study the consequences of CAGW *if it is assumed to be correct*.

            –You are being shamefully evasive and insulting.

            –Craig has it right – the “attribution” is the most important part (followed closely by “detection”).

            — If these two parts are bunk, *every* other CAGW “study” is too.

          • PaulD June 18, 2010 at 6:20 am

            “The scientific case is obviously built upon all of the evidence from tens of thousands of studies ”

            You seem to think that those who are skeptical about the so-called “climate crisis” reject the entire body of research developed by climate scientists. This is not true. In fact, I have no problem with large parts of the IPCC reports. My problems with the IPCC is that certain critical findings that are necessary to infer a “crisis” are based on the findings of relatively small groups of scientists and are not supported by convincing empirical evidence. I, for example, have no problem accepting that global average temperatures have been increasing over the past 150 years. A key line of evidence to support this fact is the satellite measurements from the past 30 years that were developed and are maintained by Dr. Roy Spencer and Dr. John Christy, two of the most prominent critics of the IPCC.
            Neither of them, by the way, would in anyway argue against the propositions that mankind has significantly increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, and that the increase in CO2 is very likely responsible for part of the increase in global average temperatures.

      • TinyCo2 June 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm

        Umm, now you see I didn’t mention the science deliberately. I like to deal with the easy stuff first, before moving on to the hard questions. Instead of responding to my points you decided to prove my case about this letter being an attempt to annoy and insult.

        What were you trying to achieve?

  2. Craig Goodrich June 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    You seem to be under the strange misapprehension that the problem is that skeptics have done no research and don’t understand the science.

    We have done the research. The problem is that we DO understand the science. And we are not taken in by the vacuous armwaving of either the IPCC or such as RealClimate.

    Twenty years ago, the only “evidence” for anthropogenic CO2-driven warming was “our models can’t reproduce the warming without CO2.” This is of course no evidence at all, since models are hypotheses, not data. Now, after two decades and $100 billion in tax-funded research, careful reading of the only relevant portion of the IPCC’s AR4 reveals that the only “evidence” for anthropogenic CO2-driven warming is STILL “our models can’t reproduce the warming without CO2.”

    And you seriously expect us to buy this, just because the politicized bureaucrats running a couple of professional societies find it in their interest to pretend they believe it? Please.

  3. Jack June 14, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Nice try but major fail. Laughable.

    Millions of scientists? hahaha.

    You guys are so funny.


    • Ole Ole Olson June 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      Yes, millions of scientists in many different contributing fields from nearly every country in the world over the past 4 decades. Why is that laughable?

      • Craig Goodrich June 14, 2010 at 4:20 pm

        Possibly because it has been shown without any doubt whatever that the actual number of “scientists” providing writings to specifically support the CO2-driven warming theory are on the order of two dozen; the rest are “if this happens, what happens next” and “how can we keep this from happening?” guys.

        Give it up.

  4. Jack June 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    The IPCC consensus on climate change was phoney, says IPCC insider

    Here’s a nice read: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/14/the-ipcc-consensus-on-climate-change-was-phoney-says-ipcc-insider/

    The global warming scam is dead. Let’s bury it.

    What’s next?

    • Ole Ole Olson June 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      Whatsupwiththat is not a credible source, never has been. Give me something from a reputable place.

      • Craig Goodrich June 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm

        What, precisely, would you regard as a “reputable source”, and why?

        Sources do not matter in science; openness and truth do.

      • Olaf Koenders June 18, 2010 at 4:04 am

        So, Olson, what exactly convinced you that WattsUpWithThat isn’t a credible source and, how is it you somehow know that it never was a reputable source?

        You haven’t qualified anything except your fundamental hope that impressionable readers of your post will believe it outright without checking. This is why courts don’t admit hearsay as evidence.

  5. rgdaniel June 14, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Well-argued… if not well spell-checked….

  6. Daniel Fierro June 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    No one with half a brain believes the unscientific lies of the IPCC, Al Gore and Greenpeace over the ridiculous claims of Global Warming and AGW.
    Even Al Gore and Gaia dude have come out to BACKFLIP on their lies… the joke is on the sheep and their blind ignorance.

  7. Daniel Fierro June 14, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    People who are intelligent and base opinion on fact and logic are not ‘deniers’. You do know you are showing up your ignorance and stunted growth by even using such language that I read no further your inflammatory post.
    Face the truth and facts, not programmed propaganda.

  8. Craig Goodrich June 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Ahh, yes, Wikipedia, which proves beyond any doubt that William Connolly believes in anthropogenic global warming. This was not, however, seriously in doubt.

    As to science, it makes absolutely no difference if the Supreme World Council of Rational Scientific People, or the Universal Catholic Anti-Galileo League, unanimously endorses a proposition. Only evidence matters.

    Where precisely in AR4, WG 1, Ch 9, “Attribution” — which is the only relevant part of the entire report, obviously — is the actual evidence for the anthropogenic CO2-driven warming theory, and where in either WG 1 or WG 2 is the actual evidence that there is any possibility of catastrophic consequences?

    • contributor June 15, 2010 at 7:48 am

      If the Wikipedia list is bogus then cite sources refuting it and don’t waste our time with dismissing the source as if that were anything but poor thinking.

      Further, it is a tiresome and juvenile debating trick to demand that the opponent spell out lengthy points that have already been made and/or are commonly available.

      Would you like me to write out the Encyclopedia Britannica for you are well? how about the complete Oxford English Dictionary?

      Science has made the case and it is freely available to anyone with basic literacy skills. If you can offer credible evidence refuting it (ie not the tired frauds of the Deniers) then do so, but spare us the childish games.

      Mike Kaulbars

      • Craig Goodrich June 17, 2010 at 4:05 am

        Sorry, apparently I failed to make myself clear. All I need is even ONE page number.

        Where precisely in AR4, WG 1, Ch 9, “Attribution” — which is the only relevant part of the entire report, obviously — is the actual evidence for the anthropogenic CO2-driven warming theory, and where in either WG 1 or WG 2 is the actual evidence that there is any possibility of catastrophic consequences?

        Your evasions so far simply reinforce the point.

  9. contributor June 15, 2010 at 8:34 am

    The problem with Johnston is not refuting his points, it’s finding any points worth refuting.

    For example, he goes on at some length about the difference between night and day thermal circulation patterns and why this makes day vs night temperature comparisons invalid. Since the temperature comparisons made by the IPCC are night to night and day to day, Johnston’s point is an irrelevant Straw Man argument … a complete waste of time.

    Further, this is not a complex or subtle point; it is very simple, basic science and logic. Is Johnston that clueless? or just disengenuous?

    So, can you point me to anything in Johnston that is not an obvious error or irrelevant? anything that is of real substance in any meaningful way? I don’t see any.

    Mike Kaulbars

    • PaulD June 15, 2010 at 9:09 am

      I’ve read the section to which you refer and it appears to me that you have missed his point entirely. Those who are truly interested can read the article for themselves and see what they think. Or they can read Roger Pielke Sr.’s peer review articles that he is summarizing:
      Roger Pielke Sr. et al., Uresolved issues with the assessment of multidecadal global land surface
      temperature trends, 112 J. Geo. Res. D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229 (2007)(hereafter referred to as
      “Unresolved issues with global land surface temperature trends”).
      28 Roger Pielke Sr. et al., Uresolved issues with the assessment of multidecadal global land surface
      temperature trends, 112 J. Geo. Res. D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229 (2007)(hereafter referred to as
      “Unresolved issues with global land surface temperature trends”).

    • PaulD June 16, 2010 at 10:34 am

      “The problem with Johnston is not refuting his points, it’s finding any points worth refuting. ”

      I truly find articles such as this one the purport to debunk the claims of skeptics to be tiresome. It is possible to debunk random arguments made by persons with no recognized credentials and respond to them. This might make AGW alarmists to feel good, but it does little to persuade intelligent skeptics who easily see through this silly game.

      If want to persuade intelligent skeptics you need to address head on the best arguments made the best spokesmen for the skeptic’s positions. I think that most skeptics would quickly agree that the best arguments made by the best spokesmen who are skeptical of the IPCC position are the positions expressed by Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., Dr. Roy Spencer and Dr. John Christy. There may be some other prominent skeptics, but all of these men would be on everyone’s short list of prominent skeptics. Each has Phd’s in climate science fields. Each has published extensively in peer-reviewed literature and each has written extensively in the popular press, as well as the internet.
      The first thing I would note about this group is that not one of them has ever expressed any of the arguments you debunk above. In fact, they would agree with most of what you have written above.
      Second, I think that it would be fair to say that many of the arguments made by this group of prominent skeptics are accurately summarized in Professor Johnson’s article cited by me above. That is why I think the article is helpful. It ties together in a tight summary many, but not all, of the best arguments made by the best skeptics of the IPCC in a way that is clear to experts and skeptics alike. . Dr. Johnson even took the extra step of soliciting feedback from Dr. Lindzen and Dr. Pielke concerning the article to make certain that their views and the views of other skeptics were accurately expressed.
      You state that these arguments are not worth responding to. You are free to reach this conclusion. Howver, if this is so, why don’t you address them in your open letter rather than wasting your time addressing arguments that have never been expressed by the most prominent skeptics of the IPCC?

  10. PaulD June 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    “I missed the point, but you can’t say what it is? Yeah, right … I believe that.”

    Well, I didn’t try to restate the authors summary of relevant studies because I find it difficult to do so more succinctly than the Johnson does. However, if you insist here is my summary:

    1) The trend in suface temperatures reported by the CRU and HadCrut are derived from daily average temperatures computed as the midpoint between what are usually the nighttime minimums and the daytime maximum temperatures.
    2) From the mid 50’s to the mid-nineties the nighttime minimum temperatures have risen at about twice the rate of the daytime maximums. Accordingly, most of the increase in the reported global average surface temperatures during this period are the result of increases in nightime minimum temperatures.
    3) For reasons that are outlined in the article and supported by the peer reviewed references cited, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the night time minimums are more sensitive to local land use changes and overstate actual surface warming.
    4) There seems to be more and more evidence that there has been a systematic trend upward since the 1950’s in the type of variables that would have caused nightime minimum temperatures to overstate the actual surface warming trend.

    Now that is summary of the argument, which I think is different from the caricature you present. I am aware that many climate scientists dispute this argument, but I am also aware that credible climate scientists are making this point in peer-reviewed literature. Ultimately, the point Johnson makes throughout his article is the IPCC overstates its case regarding the degree of consensus that exists among climate scientists regarding very basic points and this is just one of many illustration he uses.

    • Martha June 15, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      PaulD, it is you who miss the point.

      You are citing an economics-oriented paper that does not seriously challenge AGW, even though you seem to believe it does.

      You are absolutely free to believe it does, but it is a working paper by law and economics specialist Jason Johnston that heavily relies on the debunked science of Lindzen and Pielke and an appeal to the authority of commercial law (not science) to argue against the regulation of greenhouse gases via cap and trade.

      It’s sloppy work by an otherwise competent academic.

      Johnston’s past papers have included discussions of equity and the differential impacts of climate change. While he objects to cap and trade schemes, he does NOT deny climate change. He advocates for solutions that involve technological innovations.


      • PaulD June 16, 2010 at 3:39 am

        I think you must have read the wrong article. It does not address whatsoever any issues regarding the regulation of greenhouse gases via cap and trade and doesn’t even mention commercial law, let alone make an appeal to authority of commercial law. Try searching the article for the phrase, “cap and trade” or “commercial law”. The terms are not mentioned.

        As to your assertion that he relies on the “debunked science of Lindzen and Pielke, that is consistent with nearly every other response to the article I have read from the catastrophic AGW crowd: no substantive reply, just hand waiving. Or as in the discussion here, sloppy misrepresentations of the arguments made.

        Further, I agree that he does not deny climate change; no serious skeptic does.

        Finally, I understand that people don’t want to provide detailed responses in comments to a blogpost. I would be interested to see, however, to just a link to an article to responds to his analysis of global climate models, in the section, “Obscuring Fundamental Disagreement Across Climate Models in both Explanations of Past Climate and Predictions of Future Climate” which, by the way, is much more significant than the relative minor points he makes about the temperature record.

        • Martha June 16, 2010 at 5:56 am


          You are not understanding.

          It is as I explained. This paper by Johnston is economic-oriented policy work and he appeals to the authority of commercial law because he is an authority on commercial law. He claims to ‘cross-examine’ the evidence. Get it? 😉

          If you’re not quick to understand conceptual frameworks, that’s o.k.

          Your request is really for links showing the validity of the models and their role in contributing to the development of current climate knowledge.

          Try Google. Scientists are well aware of what the models can and cannot do.

          • PaulD June 16, 2010 at 7:21 am

            O.K. you wrote:
            “it is a working paper by law and economics specialist Jason Johnston that heavily relies on the debunked science of Lindzen and Pielke and an appeal to the authority of commercial law (not science) to argue against the regulation of greenhouse gases via cap and trade.”

            I thought from the above statement that you were asserting that the paper makes an “an appeal to the authority of commercial law (not science) to argue against the regulation of greenhouse gases via cap and trade.” This assertion is simply false. If you meant to say that the paper is written from the perspective of an economist who elsewhere in publications argues against the regulation of greenhouse cases via cap and trade, that may be true. Johnson is an economist, but I am not familiar with his other writings.

            You also write” “Your request is really for links showing the validity of the models and their role in contributing to the development of current climate knowledge.

            Try Google. Scientists are well aware of what the models can and cannot do.”

            I think I agree with the statement that “Scientists are well aware of what the models can and cannot do” If one reads the IPCC with a fine-toothed comb most of the weaknesses described by Johnson are acknowledged. In fact, Johnson repeatedly cites relevant portions of the IPCC that acknowledge the weaknesses he describes. The problem is that the weaknesses are glossed over and their implications are not carefully explained to policy makers and members of the lay public. Johnson’s point, that he makes effectively, is that if the weaknesses of climate models and their implications were carefully and fully explained, the policy makers and the lay public would put less faith in the conclusions of the IPCC

        • Craig Goodrich June 17, 2010 at 4:29 am

          “… the debunked science of Lindzen and Pielke …”

          Interesting choice of terms. Clearly you’re a follower of the armwaving and misdirection that characterizes the propaganda site RealClimate. Scientists do not “debunk” each other; politicians do. Scientists debate and disagree. Like Mr. Kaulbers, though, the “Team” at RC steadfastly refuses any actual debate in favor of ad-hominem rants.

          It is interesting, though, to read through the Climategate emails and note the tone of concealment and desperation in much of the correspondence. Very un-sciencelike.

          • Martha June 17, 2010 at 5:39 am

            I see. You wish to tell me the proper use of ‘debunk’ in a sentence, then on the basis of that, make the argument that it can only be used to describe the activity of a politician.

            Did you want to define reality, too, while you’re at it, now that you’re the man in charge of words?

            As you know, the term debunk commonly refers to exposing false claims, exaggerated claims, etc. We can easily understand this to include exposing cherry-picked claims, deliberate lies, and plainly stupid claims, too.

            In other words, it is used to describe the activity of exposing false claims and stupidity.

            Debunking lies about science is done with science. It is an activity increasingly associated with that part of science education that is about communication, such as when scientists explain the current science to the public and expose how they have been confused and lied to by deniers.

            So-called climategate? That ship sailed and amounted to nothing – other than ongoing criminal investigation of the hacker and increased understanding of the excessive harassment experienced by scientists via the abuse of FOIA by industry shills.

            If you’ve got more information about climate science than climate scientists, and more information about a criminal investigation than investigators, you must contact them at once.

            I’m sure they’ll take your call. 🙁

            • PaulD June 17, 2010 at 6:23 am

              “Debunking lies about science is done with science.


              “If you’ve got more information about climate science than climate scientists”

              Not by appeals to authority.

            • PaulD June 17, 2010 at 6:52 am

              “In other words, it is used to describe the activity of exposing false claims and stupidity.”

              So when you say that the arguments of Dr. Lindzen and Dr. Pielke have been “debunked” you are saying that they have been exposed as “false claims and stupidity” Perhaps you should submit your evidence of this to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where Dr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen.htm

            • Craig Goodrich June 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm

              Ahh, yes. Well, since you regard yourself as qualified to judge competing scientific claims, it would appear you, too, regard yourself as an expert in “climate science” — now, thanks to Climategate, widely regarded as an oxymoron.

              And speaking of Climategate, it is evident from your post that you have never actually read the documents, but are depending on tendentious summaries. Hardly a scientific attitude.

  11. Jack June 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    It’s shameful how these people continue to push global warming scam despite there’s no data to support their hypothesis. None.

  12. Jack June 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Millions of scientists? C’mon, get with the problem; people aren’t that stupid.

    Millions of scientists and none can provide empirical evident to support their hypothesis.

    This global warming scam has stopped before people really get upset.

    All you the warmists have now are debunked Mann Hockey Stick and Climategate — wow after close to 100 billions of taxpayers’ dollars later.

    Thanks for nothing.

  13. kdk33 June 17, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Wow. Such name calling. But, you’ve offered exactly zero evidence of CO2 induced, dangerous climate change. Or maybe your counting that part where you referred to the MILLIONS (Egads!) of scientists.

    Let’s be clear. Climate was changing long before CO2 could have had an effect. Climate may be changing now. There is no need to prove that climate can change without influence from CO2 – the evidence is overwhelming. Asking others to prove that climate change is NOT caused by CO2 is NOT evidence for CO2 induced climate change – that is an elementary logical fallcy.

    Melting ice, higher temperatures, rising sea levels, and dead lizards (assuming this data is accurate, clearly not a given) is evidence of changing climate. It says nothing (zero, zip, zilch, nada) about CO2. And blaming CO2 without evidence is dangerous because it drains resources we could otherwise use to mitigate the consequences or address the real cause (I’ll ignore for now that the consequences are routinely exagerated , by a really awful lot).

    So, care to stop calling people names and offer some science, your compelling evidence that CO2 emmisions are changing climate in a dengerous way.

    Scary stories, appeals to authority, name calling, arguments from ignorance: these are the alarmists tactics.

  14. kdk33 June 17, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    “Had he done so he would have found the Mosher article misquotes, distorts, and takes out of context much of what Hulme and Mahony had to say.”

    I forgot to mention: arguing about arguments from authority.

    • contributor June 21, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Referencing the source and suggesting people actually read it is an argument from authority???

      You’re joking, right? you cannot possibly be serious.

      Mike Kaulbars

  15. Sundance Kid June 17, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Mike Kaulbars

    As a professional would you please share with me any parameters of falsification for man made CO2 being the primary cause of warming that you have established. What would you need to see happen for you to reconsider your position. Thanks.

    • contributor June 21, 2010 at 9:53 am

      “What would you need to see happen for you to reconsider your position”

      Any credible evidence at all, anything that wasn’t an obvious fraud like the entire Denier Canon

      Mike Kaulbars

      • Sundance Kid June 21, 2010 at 11:59 pm

        Mike, thanks for the response. The reason I asked was that Gavin Schmidt answered this question in a post at Real Climate in 2007 and the MET Office published a paper last year indicating what it would take for their climate model to be falsified at the 95% level. Gavin and the MET were similar in their approach and only differed in the time frame that they offered as a testable parameter. There are other climate scientists that have established their own parameters to test of the hypothesis and I was just curious to see if you had formulated any test to validate or refute the CO2/AGW theory.

        I agree that credible evidence is key to the climate discussion. To me (I have family members involved in climate modeling) the best way to go forward is to fully test the accuracy of GCMs as this is an that has not been tested. The current problems with models and data gaps are best explained in this mission overview being proposed by a NASA mission called CLARREO. The lead NASA scientists point out the need to test climate prediction accuracy:

        Accurate decadal-length records are essential for climate change detection, attribution, and for testing climate prediction accuracy. They represent the most critical test of uncertainty in future climate change prediction.

        While process study missions (e.g. CALIPSO/CloudSat) are critical to improve underlying climate model physics (e.g. clouds), decadal change observations are critical to determine the impact of those climate model improvements on the accuracy of predicting future climate change. Both elements are critical, and CLARREO is the major Decadal Study mission addressing serious accuracy issues in decadal climate change observation.

        CLARREO provides new solar reflected and infrared emitted high spectral resolution benchmark radiance climate data records that can be used to test climate model predictions, improve climate change fingerprinting, and attribution.

        Key climate variable decadal records impacted by CLARREO include: atmospheric temperature and water vapor profiles, land and sea surface temperatures, cloud properties, radiation budget including Earths albedo, vegetation, surface snow and ice properties, ocean color, and aerosols. The data is also relevant to greenhouse gas monitoring.

        The absolute accuracy of CLARREO, when used to calibrate other sensors in orbit can dramatically reduce the impact of data gaps on decadal change data records across many climate variables.

        CLARREO provides the first spectrally resolved climate observation of the Far-Infrared spectrum from 15 to 50 micron wavelengths, where half of the thermal infrared emission of the earth to space occurs, and the source of almost all of the Earth’s water vapor greenhouse effect.


        This NASA data would be open source and available to the public in near real time. We have spent billions on instruments (Fermi, Cern etc.) in an effort to validate particle theory. Doesn’t it make sense to spend a few million to test GCMs and assure that they are accurate and credible before committing enormous amounts of money and resources to climate change policy?

  16. Martha June 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    “appeals to authority…are the alarmists tactics”
    “Perhaps you should submit your evidence [re. Lindzen] to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology”

    Actually, we frequently can’t do without appeals to experts and their information. The point is to pragmatically and critically evaluate the quality of sources of information when we appeal to authority. This is in part what scientists and others are doing when they cite the overwhelming evidence and seriousness of AGW accepted by the majority of climate scientists. It’s not an error in reasoning — quite the opposite.

    On the other hand…we can also examine your shadowboxing. Lindzen is a meteorologist who is a life support system for the free market Heartland Institute in addition to his work at MIT. Somehow he found time to star in that absurd docu-fraud, the Great Global Warming Swindle. Even other deniers say it is embarrassing, so one can only imagine how it really went over at MIT. Regardless, his claims that the Arctic is cooling (never mind that cigarettes do not really cause cancer) have been debunked by other scientists in relevant fields. No doubt he has done better work.

    Still, you could appeal to this old (in climate science terms) work of Richard Lindzen by highlighting his meteorology credentials, ignoring thousands of scientific papers published every year, and claiming different conclusions than the IPCC. However this reveals some clearly questionable underlying assumptions e.g. that Lindzen and friends are smarter than everyone else, there is a hugely widespread conspiracy, etc.

    Also, at least one of you has problems with really basic reasoning in addition to the obviously shared trouble of hidden assumptions. It is problematic to argue that the same science that brought us paleontology and its relevance to climate change knows nothing about paleontology and its relevance to climate change.

    Of course, deniers could still be absolutely correct in rejecting AGW and the seriousness of the climate crisis, in addition to having no climate science qualifications, vested energy industry interests that dwarf all other interests, and unusual views about climate science that have no evidentiary basis in the relevant critical science. 🙂

    • Martha June 18, 2010 at 11:35 am

      Actually it accomplishes something very worthwhile. Given just the little bit we were able to examine of your arguments, it is easy to see that you will repetitively argue your point, no matter how ill-reasoned or false. An inability to make correct inferences is not a skeptical approach. 🙁

      What you demonstrate is techniques of persuasion used by deniers. Nothing more.

      Thank you for clarifying that. I think that was the contributor’s point.

      • PaulD June 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm

        “Given just the little bit we were able to examine of your arguments”.

        Geez, I didn’t really present any arguments. I just suggested that people interested read an article that I think provides a good summary of the skeptic’s position.

        I suggested that the arguments set forth in the article were much better and significantly different from the strawman arguments “debunked” in the original post.

        When the author of the original post misstated a relatively minor argument set forth in the article, I provided a more accurate summary of the point made in the article.

        At one point, I clarified that intelligent skeptics do not dispute the entire body of climate science literature and, in fact, accept large parts of what is presented in the IPCC. Well-informed skeptics have a problem with certain key parts of the IPCC that are based on the work of a relatively small group of scientists and which lack good empirical evidence. I know this is fairly vague and that is why I have referred to the more in-depth article.

        When you made a misrepresentation about the article, I pointed out the misrepresentation. When you said that scientists understand the strengths and weaknesses of climate models, I agreed with you, but suggested that most policy makers and laymen do not. When you claimed that arguments made by Dr. Richard Lindzen had been “debunked”, which in your words means that his claims had been shown to be false or stupid, I pointed out that he is a named-chair professor at MIT one of the most prestigious science universitys in the world. Of course, that doesn’t mean he is smarter than everyone else or even that he is correct. It just means that he has well-established credentials and should be read by anyone who is intested in understanding the controversy.

  17. kdk33 June 18, 2010 at 4:45 am

    “never mind that cigarettes do not really cause cance”
    “vested energy industry interests that dwarf all other interests”

    Ooops, I forgot to mention invoking irrelevant corporate boogie-men – or maybe that falls under scary stories.

    I missed the part where you offerred any evidence that CO2 was altering the climate in a dangerous way.

    • Martha June 18, 2010 at 11:47 am

      Ooops, I forgot to mention that the basic C02 science is over 150 years old and right in front of you if you know how to use Google.

      I guess you missed the part where I am not your private tutor.

      • Katabasis June 19, 2010 at 3:34 am

        1824: Joseph Fourier calculates that Earth would be far colder if it lacked an atmosphere.

        1859: John Tyndall discovers that some gases block infrared radiation. He suggests that changes in the concentration of gases could bring about climate change.

        1896: Svante Arrhenius publishes the first calculation of global warming from human emission of CO2. He wrote “warm is better than cold.”

        1897: Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin produces a model for global carbon exchange including feedbacks.

        1899: Nils Eckhol (another Swede and friend/colleague of Arrhenius), an early enthusiastic spokesman for anthropogenic climate control believed that by controlling the production and consumption of CO2, people would be able to “regulate the future climate of the Earth and consequently prevent the arrival of a new ice age.”

        1900: Knut Angström concluded that atmospheric CO2 and water vapor absorb infrared radiation in the same spectral regions and the any addiional CO2 would, therefore, have little or no effect on global temperature. It was thought that atmospgeric CO2 had already absorbed all the long-wave radiation; thus any increases in CO2 wold not change the radiative heat balance, but might augment plant growth.

        1920: Chamberlin’s (and other’s) CO2 climate hypothesis falls out of favor. Chamberlin writes to Charles Schuchert (Yale’s Peabody Museum), “I greatly regret that I was among the early victims of Arrhenius’ error.”

        • Craig Goodrich June 19, 2010 at 7:42 am

          Thanks for the excellent post.

          Warmists prating about the physics of CO2 remind me a lot of the time I was waiting for my car to be fixed and a little girl, bored waiting with her mother, came over to me and said, “I can speak French. Bonjour!”

          “Bonjour,” I said. “Comment tu t’appelles?”

          “Bonjour!” she said.

          “Ta jupe est jolie,” I said.

          “Bonjour!” she said.

          “You speak French wonderfully,” I said.

          Ah, yes, they have a wonderful understanding of climate physics…

      • pauld June 19, 2010 at 4:11 am

        Just to clarify, my comment above was in response to Martha’s comment:

        “Ooops, I forgot to mention that the basic C02 science is over 150 years old and right in front of you if you know how to use Google.

        I guess you missed the part where I am not your private tutor.”

        • Katabasis June 19, 2010 at 4:19 am

          Paul – you might be interested in this, though I’m sure Martha won’t as she already “knows the truth”:


          If its a reliable temperature proxy then that’s a 4 degree C rise in a geologically almost identical period to the current one without any of the alarmists’ runaway positive feedbacks. Also, if accurate it would put paid to the other regular claim that the Earth has never experienced such temperatures in a recent geologically relevant period.

          Over to you alarmists…

      • Craig Goodrich June 19, 2010 at 10:42 pm

        Martha, you confuse me. Above we find Mike asking, “Spare us Pielke’s outdated work, this is 2010” — referring to a paper published in 2007.

        Now you assert that a reason to believe in all this CO2 nonsense is that “the basic science is over 150 years old.” — which puts it, interestingly, in the period when the aether theory of light propagation held sway — but I must ask, which is it? Is 2007 too long ago but 1860 the font of wisdom?

        • contributor June 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

          Martha’s point, obviously, is that the CO2 science has stood the test of time and NOT been refuted as nonsense in a century and a half, while Pielke’s work was exposed as such more or less immediately.

          Mike Kaulbars

          • Craig Goodrich June 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

            Yep. The radiative facts about CO2 are quite correct; their effect as an infinitesimal part of a chaotic system is almost certainly unmeasurable.

            Or at least, the IPCC has provided no actual evidence that it’s measurable.

            Or maybe they have. Tell me, Mike, where precisely in AR4, WG 1, Ch 9, “Attribution” — which is the only relevant part of the entire report, obviously — is the actual evidence for the anthropogenic CO2-driven warming theory? The chapter is really not all that long, by the IPCC’s wordy standards.

  18. Gator June 18, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I really get a kick seeing warmists “prove” their AGW theory by not questioning it. The warmists have abandoned the scientific method and in so doing have abandoned science. Not one warmist model has ever been able to accurately predict climate and this alone shows they are way off the mark. If it were not for the manipulation of temperature stations around the globe, we would have an even better understanding of just how wrong the alarmists are. I did not make up a bogus hockey stick graph or demand the majority of cool biased stations be removed from the record. I have never blackballed scientists or editors of scientific journals. I do not deny the natural variability of the Earth’s climate. I do not assert a minor trace gas outdoes the Sun in heating our planet. I have nevere profited from my postion on climate change. But I do know that Enron and BP were the original proponents of Cap & Trade. I also know that the warmists receive over 20 times more funding than the sckeptics. I do know Al Gore stands to be the first carbon billionaire. I also know there has been no statistically significant warming over the past 10 years. I know that in the late 1950’s the ice at the North Pole was thinner than it is now. I know that Mike Kaulbars will look even sillier in 10 more years.

  19. pyeatte June 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Wow, the condescension on the part of the AGW crowd never seems to have a limit. I can only be redundant on the topic of CO2, being a trace gas, not causing any significant warming. Dr. Ian Plimer has a great book to give ammunition to fight the AGW crowd. The footnoting would keep someone busy for months. It is very clear this is all about big money and political control of the people – definitely not about clmate. Climate is merely a tool and expect something else to take its place.

    • Craig Goodrich June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

      “… a ridiculous collection of pseudo-science, ridiculous errors, and outright fabrications.”

      What a curious coincidence, that was precisely my reaction to AR4. Nicely phrased.

      Oh, and by the way, speaking of AR4 …

  20. Craig Goodrich June 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you, Mike, I was overwhelmed with joy to see a link to RealClimate explaining why CO2 lags temperature. The mere fact that my beer goes flat if I let it sit and get warm (which now, being an enlightened scientist, I never do; drink it quick while it’s still cold) and that unchilled champagne goes all over when you pop it — this wasn’t enough for me. I had to see how all this was another argument for CO2-driven anthropogenic catastrophic disastrous really, really bad Global Warming.

    So I read it.

    Imagine my disillusionment with you, Mike, when I discovered that it was simply more of the same armwaving, evasion, and doubletalk that RealClimate always uses to confuse the gullible. My disappointment was beyond words (well, not completely beyond words; I’m still posting).

    So I’m sorry, Mike, I can only conclude that you simply don’t understand the science. Please understand that this is not an attack on you, nor a judgment of your abilities or intelligence. I say this as a friend who is hoping to help you see how you have been conned and how you continue to be conned, both by the professional con men (such as Mann) and by yourself.

    Mike, the problem here is not so much the errors in the arguments, but your apparent determination to believe them. The ironic truth is that those who see themselves as being immune to being hoodwinked are often the easiest to fool.

    Your friend,


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