Climate Sceptics Are Winning The Battle

On the 11th of October the Independent published the article “Global warning: climate sceptics are winning the battle” where they quote James Hansen saying the following:

Climate sceptics are winning the argument with the public over global warming, the world’s most celebrated climate scientist, James Hansen of NASA, said in London yesterday.

And sadly this is very true. The amount of nonsense that’s being put out by the usual suspects and organisations are considerable. Like for example about the new little ice age that would be caused by a new Maunder Minimum:

This was all because of a paper that got taken out of context, it never even said anything about global temperatures, it was just talking about a potential drop in solar activity. It takes a lot of effort, time and energy for scientists to deal with things like this. And that is after the fact.

By then this disinformation has already been spread in the media, with often the usual suspects helping it along, and being repeated over and over on the many blogs on the internet. And when the scientists and their allies start their campaign to give the full picture it is just a whimper compared the exposure the initial story got.

So it gets really under my skin when sites like Watts Up With That puts something like this up:

Yet sceptics are the ones without any MSM [Main Stream Media] support. So where do they get this idea? Full story here

A few things come to mind that he didn’t cover as other possible reasons skeptics are winning:

1. We don’t hide behind FOIA laws, then circumvent them when we lose. If you’d shared the data when asked, Climategate would never have happened.

2. We don’t rewrite history, either by deleting>morphing commentary like Skepicalscience does, or by creating questionable paleostatistical methods to enable pretending the trees tell us last 900 years were flat without any possible natural variance.

3. We don’t call people on the other side of the debate ugly denigrating names like deniers and flat earthers.

4. We don’t keep trying to link weather patterns/weather events to climate in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Now these are just simple talking points that are based on the very disinformation that is being spread. Lets give a short review on each one.

  1. Scientists don’t do this. What happened, in the context of Climategate, was that the scientist got hammered by FOIA requests. In these requests they were asked for data and methods that were publicly available. The sceptics already had everything to reproduce and verify the results. As a scientist on the receiving end of about 60 FOIA requests in a month, how would you interpret this?
    Because scientists saw this as a direct attack, that even withheld them from doing research, they made mistakes in handling the requests. But they did not do this because they wanted to hide data or had some other agenda.
  2. This is just an accusation that is based on nothing. Skepticalscience has gone through considerable editing and updating through the years to keep up with claims made by sceptics, updating existing articles with latest research and incorporate criticism. And the incorporation of criticism is what triggered all this.
    The Bishop Hill blog is the genesis of this and says for example the following:”Astonishingly, more than six months after having their errors pointed out to them, the denizens of Skeptical Science rewrote the article and then inserted comments suggesting that their commenters hadn’t read the article properly.”
    Wrong. He already had responded saying that an update was coming. And when the article was updated, also the comment eventually got updated to reflect what the article says. In other words, he said he would deal with his criticism and would respond when this was available. As he also wants to keep his comments up to date and reflecting the latest science. The only change this has caused is that Skepticalscience now more clearly mentions it when an update is performed.
  3. Oh you don’t call us ugly denigrating names? Let me quote you:
    “Well, you filthy readers, see what happens when we don’t acquiesce [submit]? In case you haven’t heard by now, a gunman named James Lee, an Asian man with a years-long vendetta against the Discovery Channel cable network has entered the building and got an armed hostage taking situation going on right now.”
    He’s subtle with how he does it, but he just equated everyone who accepts the science behind anthropogenic global warming with a gunman who took hostages. And yes they are serious with this, as the following quote from their follow up article demonstrates:
    “They are scaring people to death. How many more lives will be blighted or destroyed before they understand that their propaganda has real world  effects?”
    So please forgive me when I don’t take his lectures about civility for the word Climate Change Denier (see Science Denier) serious with such language on your own blog.
  4. Apparently Watts doesn’t use weather events to make his case. Again, let me quote one of his recent articles:
    “Global Warming alarmists have long claimed that snowfall would soon be a thing of the past in the Swiss Alps, that the glaciers would melt, tourists would leave, and the ski industry would die. There CERTAINLY would not be any snowfall at lower altitudes, or any snowfall even before the official start of autumn. Yet today there fell snow as low as 1200 meters, with heavy falls in St. Moritz, a very early time for a blizzard in the alps.”
    So you don’t use any weather events to make your case? Then why is this just one of the many examples on your blog? Anthony practically went in overdrive when we had the cold winters. Not to mention that he repeated a claim about mild winters that didn’t have it’s genesis in the scientific literature:

This was just a small part of the article Anthony published, so I haven’t even tackled all the claims/points in his post. Nor is this an in-depth article about any of the claims. Yet it took me probably more time to write this than it took Anthony to write his original article. Considering he creates and publishes multiple posts each day it is a daunting task to tackle them all, which is probably not even feasible.

And that is why they are currently effectively winning the public debate. The big groups with the funding put out the seeds and create the core of this problem. Which then gets amplified in the media and on blogs like Watts Up With That. This is what Hansen was talking about. Scientists just do not have the training, the funding or the manpower to deal with this.

It is the reason why I became active on YouTube to help spread accurate information. As nonsense should not be left unchallanged.


Collin Maessen is the founder and editor of Real Skeptic and a proponent of scientific skepticism. For his content he uses the most up to date and best research as possible. Where necessary consulting or collaborating with scientists.