Watts Up With the Internet? Motivated Bias on Climate Skeptic Blogs

Wed, 2011-07-13 08:06Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

Watts Up With the Internet? Motivated Bias on Climate Skeptic Blogs

Recently, I’ve become aware that the prominent climate science skeptic blogger Anthony Watts has been challenging a number of my posts. Maybe it’s because in my most recent book Unscientific America, I made a big deal about a site that attacks climate science, like his, winning a “Best Science Blog” award.

Anyways, Watts has gotten me back. Based upon my photo, he has taken to calling me a “kid blogger”  (see here and here). And it’s true: I’m 33, obviously too young to be fooling around on the Internet.

The attention is flattering—but I’ve also grown intrigued by what happens on Watts’ blog when he criticizes something or someone and his many commenters then follow suit. Because it does indeed show what a dangerous place the Internet is for kids like me.

 Watts commenters are an interesting bunch—in many ways, I’m very impressed with them. They are certainly highly energized to debunk climate science, and they bring a lot of intellectual abilities to the task.

At the same time, however, the debunking they conduct is overwhelmingly one-directional. By and large, these commenters are practicing “motivated skepticism” and showing a “disconfirmation bias” (see the image above, from this cool post) rather than conducting an open-ended informational search that could potentially end with their prior views and assumptions either being confirmed or disconfirmed.

As an example, let’s take Watts’ latest post, which is a response to my recent post on a study on astroturfing in the Journal of Business Ethics.

Watts suggests, in his post, that the researchers have done something unethical in their study. His headline is, “Researchers set up fake global warming websites to study response,” and in it he makes this charge:

So, they setup fake websites to gather fake data. Nice. Not only that, they “borrowed” content from other websites to use on these “fake” websites, apparently without citation or attribution, lest that taint the results. Sounds like a job for John Mashey and “Deep Climate” aka Dave Clarke. I’m sure they’ll get right on the case like they did with Wegman.

 So, this study seems perfect for a business ethics journal. Glad to see that the study of opposite views fits in to this trend recently published by Security Week.

Cybercriminals Creating 57,000 Fake Web Sites Every Week

Watts is thus accusing the researchers of something pretty serious…and soon his commenters come in and proceed to bash the astroturfing study. They post and critique the abstract and various passages, they check up on the authors and their funding sources and their universities—and they reiterate Watts’ critique, sometimes in far harsher terms:

So, the lying liars set up fake webpages to push their lies about humans destroying the environment and got busted at it. Good. Lying liars who lie about humans destroying the environment deserve to be dragged into court for stealing content from real people’s webpages for their lie pages.

Eventually, someone posts a link to an online version of the full study. Then, at 6:49 pm, one commenter who seems to have actually read it realizes that the whole thrust of the critique is wrong. But even he only notes this in passing, by way of launching yet another critique:

I was originally concerned, as apparently Bernie was, as well, that the researchers had located and manipulated naive web surfers…. but apparently they recruited students who were told they were taking part in an study. That’s the good news. The Bad news is that the students were told they were taking part in an evaluation of web site designs: in other words, they knew that all of the web sites they were looking at were in fact fakes or prototypes. The seemingly anomalous conclusion that students evaluated the “astro-turf” websites as non-credible but nonetheless accepted the information indicates to me that the students were evaluating the information separately from web site design, which they were supposed to be evaluating. [Italics added]

Observing all of this, I contacted one of the authors of the study in question, Martin Martens of Vancouver Island University. Here was his (highly predictable) response to the charges above:

The fake web sites were not on-line in a way that permitted viewing by the general public. They only existed within the computer system used for the experiment. The only people who saw the web sites and answered the survey questions were the participants recruited for the study.

The study was also approved by an ethics committee (of course) and when it was over, Martens explained, the participants were debriefed about it and “provided information to remove any mistaken beliefs that might have developed as a result of reading the web sites, and an explanation as to why the procedures were necessary for the experiment.

In short, this is very similar to many, many social science studies, including some true classics–like this paper on biased reasoning:

People who  hold  strong opinions on  complex social issues  are likely to examine relevant empirical evidence in  a  biased  manner.  They  are  apt to  accept “confirming”  evidence  at  face value  while  subjecting  “disconfirming”  evidence  to critical evaluation, and  as a  result  to  draw undue  support  for  their initial positions  from  mixed  or  random empirical  findings.  Thus, the  result  of  exposing contending  factions  in  a  social  dispute to  an  identical  body  of  relevant empirical evidence may  be  not  a  narrowing  of  disagreement  but rather an increase  in  polarization.  To  test  these assumptions  and predictions, subjects supporting  and  opposing  capital  punishment  were  exposed  to  two  purported studies, one seemingly  confirming and one  seemingly disconfirming  their existing beliefs about the deterrent  efficacy  of  the death penalty…

Yup, “purported studies.” They weren’t real. They were created for the experiment–a classic experiment that revealed how people who start out from different ideological positions will read the same “evidence” vastly differently, rating a study that seems to agree with them as convincing and a study that doesn’t seem to agree with them as unconvincing—even when both studies are made up and have the same strengths and weaknesses!

I didn’t choose this study by accident, of course–I chose it because it helps to cast some 100 watt light on what Watts and his commenters are up to.

Some particular piece of evidence—in this case, the astroturfing study—was flagged as disagreeing with them. So like good motivated skeptics, they went on the attack and started criticizing. Along the way, a few  caught on to the fact that the original criticism wasn’t even right…and kinda noticed…but they quickly moved on to new criticisms. 

Given all this, any predictions about what they will say about this post?

But hey, go easy on me…I’m just a kid, after all. 

Comments

Great post Chris!

This shows pretty obvious that the Watt's crowed has an agenda and that the goal is to deny anything, even if it is based on "not reading the data".

Chris, the main objection that Watts and most others have to your writings is that you are paid to do it. And anyone who is paid to tow the party line loses creds in the eyes of most viewers.
Can you honestly say that you would still be here waving the warmist banner if a better offer came along that required you to change your 'beliefs'??
I thought so.....
H

Hank, don't judge the motives of other people by your own.

"Chris, the main objection that Watts and most others have to your writings is that you are paid to do it. And anyone who is paid to tow the party line loses creds in the eyes of most viewers.
"

So naturally, this means that you & the Watts crew want the literally hundreds of conservative journos in the murdoch press to stop commenting, blogging, going on radio & TV with their anti climate change message too?

Here are two of dozens in Australia alone who are paid hundreds of thousands more than Moooney I can asure you.

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/
http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/

Do these guys lose cred now?

"Can you honestly say that you would still be here waving the warmist banner if a better offer came along that required you to change your 'beliefs'??
I thought so.....
"

Well Graham Readfearn who posts on this blog didnt go to the dark side & even worked in the belly of the beast ( The Murdoch press) too. Provide an example of a journo from the pro side who changed beliefs for the money .

"So naturally, this means that you & the Watts crew want the literally hundreds of conservative journos in the murdoch press to stop commenting, blogging, going on radio & TV with their anti climate change message too?"

Huh?? Where did I say that?
Listen up, Chris Mooney is whining because he is not respected on the WUWT blog (and others). Everyone knows that Chris is a paid PR guy. He gets paid to support whatever agenda his bosses are telling him to support, ok? Watts has a tip jar and works a real daytime job. Big difference. Most people that are skeptical of the CAGW mantra are able to distinguish the paid guys from the real ones in the trenches of the blog wars so you can name people all day that are "paid by big oil, etc" all day and it's not news to anyone.
The sad thiing is, you guys just don't get it when it comes to skeptics. To acknowledge the truth, that skeptics have looked at ALL of the evidence and made an informed decision, is just too hard to accept. Because it means that the majority of rational people out there just don't believe what you are selling. It's much easier for you to call names and infer that there is something wrong with all that don't agree or believe with you.
Try to step outside your little box once in a while and take a look around. The tide of public opinion has spoken loudly and clearly, you're just not listening.
H

"Huh?? Where did I say that?
"
No of course not, but if you are having objections to people being paid to write opinions/news/stories on AGW, then it appears you only have a problem with it if it goes against your views. Dont like democracy?

I pointed to the fact that there are many many paid AGW deniers, paid to write misinformation stories according to the wishes of their employer. Now they are all ok by your arent they?

"He gets paid to support whatever agenda his bosses are telling him to support, ok? Watts has a tip jar and works a real daytime job."

Like how Watts works for FOX radio to push a conservative agenda & push an ultra conservative view down the throats of the gullible? You are not going to tell me fox is fair & balanced are you?

"To acknowledge the truth, that skeptics have looked at ALL of the evidence and made an informed decision, is just too hard to accept."

Its easy to go down the wrong path when your confirmation bias is pointing you in one direction only.

"The tide of public opinion has spoken loudly and clearly, you're just not listening.
"

In Australia , Canada & the USA where massive fossil fuels funding are injected into the public debate & funding of conservatives, yes.The rest of the world has appeared to of ignored you.You DO realise that the USA is not the world dont you?

The lengths you are going to in order to NOT hear what Chris is saying is pretty amazing.

So, if getting paid is the measure for whom we should listen, that means you have to stop listening to Pat Michaels, Richard Lindzen, the Drs Idso, Roy Spencer, John Christy, and of course Willie Soon who has been paid over $1,000,000 by the oil industry to produce papers that question AGW.

As well, we would have to dump pretty much ALL published research. And we cant watch any main stream news....

My point here is, your logic is clearly flawed.

33 yrs old? - I dont know. Im going to have to see your birth certificate. That picture doesnt look a day over 26.

See Im just questioning unproven assertions.

Lets see the long form birth certificate, Chris. :)

"Im going to have to see your birth certificate. That picture doesnt look a day over 26."

Yeah I know, imagine if he was 26!! Surely it would be impossible that he could finish school, know how to use a computer, go to university & develop any sort of life skills in that time!!

And Mark Zuckerberg doesnt exist either.

Sheeesh, birthers.

»Some particular piece of evidence—in this case, the astroturfing study—was flagged as disagreeing with them. So like good motivated skeptics, they went on the attack and started criticizing. Along the way, a few caught on to the fact that the original criticism wasn’t even right…and kinda noticed...but they quickly moved on to new criticisms.«

I had a very similar experience here in Germany: a local "skeptic" (Lüdecke) lambasts Stefan Rahmstorf about doing a Godwin on him; it turns out the source was a misquotation of Rahmstorf, in reality the Godwin was by Lüdecke himself, attacking Rahmstorf (which Lüdecke obviously failed to recognize as his own, despite some peculiar wording). i noted that at the "skeptic" sites where this misinformation appeared, only to be shouted down or ignored, respectively. I wrote an article about the thing:

http://jules-klimaat.blogspot.com/2011/07/tales-from-bizarro-world.html

cheers!

p.

This philospher argues that even the self described "skeptics" accept climate science as a discipline:

"...non-experts are in no position to argue against the consensus of expert opinion. As long as they accept the expert authority of the discipline of climate science, they have no basis for supporting the minority position..."

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/on-experts-and-global-warming/

I've seen some dispute climate science as a discipline, but not providing any credible reason for accepting their claims.

+1 nice article.

Is there a missing link, though, at "this cool post"? Which cool post?

And the CO2 ball has been dropped again. I guess CO2 is not so coool and neat-o like used to be.

I think all the conjecture about what motivates Watts to challange Chris is amusing, off base.

Watts challenges Chris because Chris is most often wrong.

"Watts challenges Chris because Chris is most often wrong."

Yet, there are dozens that say Watts is wrong. Oh & did I mention that not a single major scientific institution supports what Watts says. Neither does the AMS (American meterological society) , of whom Watts is a member of agree with with him.

But hey, he has a bunch of partisan consevatives & bloggers that backs him....does that count? I guess to you it does.

It appears that’s all it takes to convince the public. Of course, you lunatics are as easy to oppose as the Taliban. Yeah, you people are brilliant. In your ham-handed attempt to "save the world" you’ve created an energized, motivated, angry opposition, who also outnumber you.

Maybe so, but even so they are badly wrong.

They're often not even wrong.

See the latest post (Thursday) about a state climatologist being asked to resign because he does not tow the line.

The polotical statements made by all those institutions are simply vague "Im on board" statements to maintain funding.

They are meaningless and every but a few cult faithful knows that.

Or, lets look at it a different way. That state climatologist is espousing a position that is diametrically opposed to nearly all the published research into climate change. So, you essentially have an anti-science person in a science position. My question is, why was he there for seven years?

Here is a post of mine where I examine one of Watts' claims and show that claim showcases his breathtaking incompetence:
http://www.politicalforum.com/environment-conservation/196966-global-warming-deniers-incompetent-dishonest-should-ignored.html

I could care less about such "political" hissy fits on WUWT. I don't notice them, and don't remembered even seeing the post involved. I see his site as half tabloid, half reference work, a place to run into new ideas that I might add to my small collection of dirt simple skeptical arguments. That Watts himself is kind of a hothead has caused hurt feelings in the pro-AGW camp way beyond the level that I'm used to among those who hold strong opinions on policy matters. I used to think this effect was due to nastiness and hatred plus some envy but I recently see it also as highly emotional persecution complex victimology, and that the nastiness is a defense mechanism and social display of group loyalty. There is a great deal of hypocrisy to this effect, one I see most on Tamino's site where big bad Watts is seen as a super mean bully, all the while massive amounts of viscous bile are spewed about skeptics being akin to knuckle-dragging neanderthals. That AGW activism is personally obsessed with minutely detailed gossip about individual skeptics instead of about presenting facts that support AGW claims suggests that their case is rather weak and again that reliance on authority defines them, which is also reflected in the lamentation (also on Tamino's site) that the big sluggers from RealClimate fail to venture out to other blogs and news sites to battle skeptics.

That the specific web site WUWT takes a scatter-shot approach to skepticism does not mean that I as a skeptic can be defined by it. That's the logical fallacy at work in English undergrad major Mr. Mooney's article today. It's quite easy to not take Chris very seriously, I afraid, not because he's young, but because he's immature in his worldview so far and only a bit too so very happy with the jet-setting fame his activism provides. It makes you wonder how sincere he really is, playing up the message of uber-hypocrite Al Gore.

The reason I'm interested in to better understand how skeptics might break the zombie chant that they are oil money shills, a very odd concept to me. I can't tell you how silly this sounds to myself and other skeptics I see responding to such claims! It makes it much harder to take AGW activists seriously as people, and thus much easier to enjoy taunting them a bit. I've played with goofball posts and drunk blogging to display the obvious fact that no oil company would dare fund *my* online skepticism!

I suspect that a lot of "true believer" AGW enthusiasts are not seasoned independent thinkers and that they overly rely upon the posts of highly moderated sites like RealClimate for their opinion, and that simple psychological projection makes them assume that readers of WUWT very similarly take what Watts posts as gospel, along with the likes of Glenn Beck rants. What is confusing to me though is how simple it is to click through the blogroll there and run into utterly eccentric individualists who create their own content. No, they're not academic scientists, but they have the training to delve into data and pick studies apart, and many do eventually publish a critique of a hockey stick team paper.

To their credit, RealClimate today let my tide gauge info-graphic through today:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/07/is-sea-level-rise-accelerating/comment-page-2/#comments
...so now's your chance to criticize it to a big audience if you'd like to.

My follow-up is stuck in moderation tonight though, in reference to a lazy mistake I made about a footnote:
#63 Paul S referenced Chao’s claim that reservoirs have subtracted 3 cm from the sea level. I point out that this means that minus AGW-caused enhanced sea level rise, a seemingly unexplained natural dive in sea level of 3 cm has been nearly exactly avoided, due to the trend in tide gauges being so linear (larger image of the Church & White 2011 plot here: http://oi51.tinypic.com/28tkoix.jpg). That seems a bit odd, given that T has been rising in that same 150 years. Minus a mechanism for this avoided dip, the argument that actual sea level should be replaced by a virtual one is much less convincing.

-=NikFromNYC=- Ph.D. in Carbon Chemistry (Columbia/Harvard)

Interesting statement "That AGW activism is personally obsessed with minutely detailed gossip about individual skeptics instead of about presenting facts that support AGW claims"

This was a face-palm moment -- I would have said, on the basis of the overwhelming deluge of blog comments, that the exact inverse was true! Looks like you have a case of selective perception.

I'm using Dr. Boaz's list of disinformation techniques and I apologize to you, fredb, if you're unaware of my effort to label the arguments by NikfromNYC & others. I wouldn't say that I'm "obsessed" with the motivations and cognitive processes of critics of climate science, as Nik frames it, but I am very interested in the political-psychological processes as they relate to agnotology.

There's a number of other disinformation techniques used in Nik's post but let me instead address the issue of vested interests again. Ad hominem argument cut both ways. Few would attack the credibility of a police officer testifying in court because he is paid. Nor would many blindly accept the testimony of the defendant's unpaid girlfriend if it contradicts the rest of the evidence. The court of law metaphor is appropriate when dealing with expert testimony since science is an empirical process and not merely a logical one. Explaining science can be difficult if the audience is a layperson, and this difficulty lends itself to fallacy of credulity attacks. The average person doesn't know science and so either the pro or con side are equally plausible, since neither can be mediated.

Attacks on climate scientists because of their status as paid employees are a little bizarre, would they rather have us relying on non-paid experts? Even stranger are the conspiracy theories related to grants, considering how difficult they are to obtain and un-generous their support can be. Stranger still is the caricature of a huge financial windfall to be enjoyed, considering that the oil industry is the most profitable industry in the world. Getting paid for doing what you believe in is a best case scenario. What's lost in the ad hominem attacks against scientists is what their true motivation is, which is to defend their science.

Theirs is not a pro-GW stance, which conflates political motives with scientific ones. Scientists have a considerable amount of time and effort invested in the process and some of their ego, too, but their defense is clearly of the process itself. Nor would it be lucrative for scientists to try to devise scientific results that threatened the fossil fuel industry, since this is clearly where the money is. Nor, for that matter, do scientists have an emotional investment in reaching pre-ordained conclusions. Moreover, it's hard to imagine how one would even go about doing this since science doesn't avail itself to ideological positions because of mathematical rigor and the empirical requirement of proof.

What the projection/flipping shows is strong desire to make the debate all about pecuniary motives and self-interested politics (in the narrow sense). Oddly, there isn't even an effort to be consistent in this caricature. "Wacko environmentalists" are purportedly bent on restricting business but somehow motivated by money, too. Taken in the whole, what is consistent is the "paranoid style" --(from Hofstadter). The psychodynamics of those who tell and believe this fantastic narrative is the constant. American history shows that groups such as the No-Nothings and Anti-Masonic party were adamant in their beliefs and no amount of reasoning could dissuade them, despite how absurd their beliefs now seem to us in the present day.

"I could care less about such "political" hissy fits on WUWT. "

Yet, your fond of demonizing the left. Sure you could care less.

"I see most on Tamino's site where big bad Watts is seen as a super mean bully, all the while massive amounts of viscous bile are spewed about skeptics"

I see the same on WUWT. We are warmists, warmologists, catastrophists, alarmists (insert your adjective), socialists, communists, nazis, striving for de-industrialization of the west & advocating cave life.

"skeptics being akin to knuckle-dragging neanderthals."

Well, after 100s of thousands of years of human evolution (sorry to bust your bubble if your are religious)we are still burning crap for energy! You would think in the 21st century, in the age of computers & space exploration, we could stop being neanderthals & stop burning shit for energy."Skeptics" are advocating a few more centuries of that.

"that the big sluggers from RealClimate fail to venture out to other blogs and news sites to battle skeptics."

What the ?! Seriously? Many have tried, including myself (although Im not a big slugger) but denier sites like WUWT are highly censored. So are conservative news blogs. Where as there are few censored blogs from the pro side. Real climate is probably one of the only highly censored site similar to WUWT, but they argue for different reasons. The realclimate guys censor anyone thats strays to the politcal argument. They are strictly about the science. Where as WUWT censors anyone who exposes their misinformation.

"Skeptics" can go to various blogs where there is no censorship to duke it out on the science all they want. E.g.
Deltoid - http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/
Tamino
Deep climate - http://deepclimate.org/
Rabbet Run - http://rabett.blogspot.com/
The conversation - http://theconversation.edu.au/pages/clearing-up-the-climate-debate
Skeptical science or Real Climate if you want sctrict science debate.

The real climate guys havent got patience though for people who say "Im right, your wrong, Im smarter than you & as evidence, I offer my opinion".

Ive rarely seen a "skeptic" come out on top on any of those sites. Also, there is the peer review process that skeptics can use to set their case in stone...but rarely they do.Have you taken your scientific arguments to any of those other sites?

"The reason I'm interested in to better understand how skeptics might break the zombie chant that they are oil money shills, a very odd concept to me."

Why? When most of the skeptic scientists that skeptics draw their arguments from either work or consult directly for fossil fuel or mining companies. Or are paid to speak at their front groups? On top of that, there is a clear established connection between conservative parties in Australia, Canada & the USA & fossil fuel companies. Obviously if you are a rusted on conservative in one of those countries, there is a good chance your beliefs will be intertwined with your party without even spending one minute of research on AGW.

"To their credit, RealClimate today let my tide gauge info-graphic through today:
"

Great! good on you, I applaud that. I look forward to the rest of the debate.

Nik, dude, in future, can you try & make your posts a little more concise?

Nik... You are the most insane conspiracy theorist I have seen who comments on climate change. Based on your postings (of which I have read on many sites) there is no way in heck that you are a "PhD in Carbon Chemistry."

Nik, really posting your credentials and appealing to your own "authority" is mean to make your ideological rant all the more convincing? No of course not.

You might be more convincing had you avoided using rhetoric and appeals to emotion like this:

""true believer" AGW enthusiasts"

And if you did not posts images like this:

http://i.min.us/id10qi.jpg

Stop being so duplicitous.

"Nik, really posting your credentials and appealing to your own "authority" is mean to make your ideological rant all the more convincing? No of course not."

Notice he took his argument to real climate where they explained it within 24 hours & we never heard from Nik again.

No doubt because he was shown to be wrong, it will cement the conspiracy theory even further in his psyche.

Chris,

You unfairly paint all WUWT commenters as mindless zombies towing the skeptical party line. You should try looking at your own commenters. A lot of the WUWT commenters are people like me. I read and sometimes comment on a broad range of climate related blogs, including WUWT, Realclimate, and Desmogblog. All of these blogs have similar categories of commenters. First, there are the zealots who will violently defend as gospel the content they read on their favorite blog, even when it can readily be proved that the content is faulty. Next are the "moderates" who read for knowledge and are willing accept reasonable evidence that conflicts with what they already know or that conflicts with their preconceived notions of how things ought to be. Next are the contrarians who disagree with the content of the blog and would like to inject an opposing viewpoint that is often missing. Finally, there are the trolls who post only to tick off the opposition.

Read the comments here on Desmogblog. They fall into the same categories as those on WUWT. The WUWT discussions tend to be more technical while the Desmogblog discussions tend to be more concerned with government regulations. Each blog has a broad range of commenters and it is unfair and arrogant to suggest otherwise.

"The WUWT discussions tend to be more technical while the Desmogblog discussions tend to be more concerned with government regulations."

The banners on each site explicity explain their core discussion topics.

WUWT:

"Commentary on puzzling things in life, nature,science,waether,climate change, technology and recent news by Anthony Watts".

Where as Desmogblog is focused on:

"Clearing the PR pollution that clouds climate science".

"You unfairly paint all WUWT commenters as mindless zombies towing the skeptical party line. "

Conservative parties of Australia , Canada & the USA unlike their european allies are exclusively against AGW. It has been shown that conservative voters in these countries are between 60-80 against AGW also. If they dont gravitate to sites that are in alignment with their ideology like WUWT,CA, CD, NOva etc, then where to they go?

Well, if these polls can be taken at face value, then it just shows the ghastly power that the pathological scepticism, rhetoric and misdirection of the negatively intelligent can have on the general public's views. The denialists are risking everybody's future because they are so cocksure of their position - that there is little or no problem - that they don't seem to take into account the risks and consequences they are exposing everybody else to if they are wrong.

"Congratulations, professional communicators...

Belief in AGW go bye bye:

http://i.min.us/icnj0w.gif
"

So the USA & Australia are the world? Do you know that Australia has just passed a carbon tax?

Like I said before to you Nik......sure its not about the politics for you.

What excuse for a tax have governments not tried to slip in? Quite apart from agw concerns, a carbon tax is a pretty reasonable way to create revenue. It's mostly unnoticed and adds to gov coffers. What's not to like?

Main point stands. People just barely cared about agw 5 years ago and now they've tuned it out completely.

"Quite apart from agw concerns, a carbon tax is a pretty reasonable way to create revenue. It's mostly unnoticed and adds to gov coffers. What's not to like?"

Its actually costing the government 4 Billion. They are not making money from it. It is a mechanism put in place to transition us to an ETS which will be a total free market solution.

Tell us, oh wise Phil, how much will Australia’s self-imposed poverty reduce the temperature of the planet? And how well do you think Labor will fare when your snap election is held?

http://in.news.yahoo.com/australians-want-snap-election-over-carbon-tax-poll-035252372.html

"Tell us, oh wise Phil, how much will Australia’s self-imposed poverty reduce the temperature of the planet?"

The same arguments were churned out courtesy of the lobbies when we had a hole in the ozone.

If fiji acts alone, how much will it reduce the hole? The idea is that every country participates. Thus all the small amounts add up to a large amount. Europe are already in, China is working furiously towards it. The rest are being left behind in what will be the next biggest world boom.

LOLOLOLOL
"Europe are already in, China is working furiously towards it."

What planet are you on Phil?

Europes emissions have increased and China's are going bulistic with addition of a coal power plant a week.

Not that it is an issue since CO2 is not in any way harmful, but your remark is just funny.

China growth in renewables has now outstripped coal. The fact that they are building so many coal power stations is because they are growing at about 10 & the western world is exporting their emissions to China. They are now the largest producers of solar & wind in the world.

Europe is now talking about 30 percent targets. So much for a carbon tax ruining their economies. Germany produces nearly 1.5GWs of Solar where as the USA produces a measely 300Mw.

An not only that China has already shut down over 50 GW of older coal power plants. The Chinese are WAY ahead of us in this whole game.

I haven't seen the full paper, but Springer-Link had a marginally readable image of the first page. I noticed:

United States President's call for action on the issue of global warming may have turned out in vain if public opinion heads in the direction found by a study published by the Pew Research Center in 2009.

I could see something like that in the conclusion, but to make this statement while introducing the study tells me these folks are out to prove a preconceived notion rather than about to test an interesting hypothesis.

This paper is not science - it deserves neither respect nor defense.

If one sets aside unsupported assertions, snark, personal smears, and the like, there's not much left here. Unless and until DeSmogBlog stops letting a few disinformers and their dupes dominate these discussions, this comment section is neither interesting nor useful.

By the way, it's "toe the line" not "tow". But typos are bias-neutral.

I can only add my sincere wish that all the hot air merchants and their customers far and wide turn out to be right. We'd avoid a whole lot of trouble that way. But I'm afraid the planet is also uninterested in your politics and social alignment. Reality will have the last word.

Meanwhile, it is not skeptical to accept the pronunciamentos of a few lesser lights and secondary sources and their multiple offspring without investigating what you can for yourself. I'd suggest a good look at the many international, national, local and academic organizations that are tasked with making and collecting measurements and observations. There is at this point a good deal of easily digested visual evidence, both natural and graphical, for anyone who goes in with an open mind.

You are a good customer of the hot air merchants too aren't you?

I agree Susan...

Whats going on over at Watts? Readers over there must be wondering why are they doing positive green stories & not adopting their default position of pushing the USA conservative agenda & demonizing anything green?

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/16/location-location-location-wind-turbine-power-output-increased-10x/

Its strange you know because conservatives have traditionally been about :

1) Maintaining the status quo : But how can that happen if AGW forces millions to migrate & refugee intakes increase considerably?
2) Small government : How can they achieve that when AGW will ensure they end up with a vastly larger government, as the private sector cannot authorise the building of levees or the mobilizing of armies.
3) Supporting business: Currently, the conservatives in the USA, Canada & Australia are focused on just 2 sectors, mining & energy. Fossil fuel energy. Where is the support for other business like green tech?
4) Fiscal conservatism: How can they claim to be fiscally conservative when government disaster costs will increase due to AGW? So will insurance costs, military spending, power & water costs.
5) Conserving the environment: They have clearly lost their way here.

Phil is a fairly typical warmist in that he completely misses the point of arguments agains AGW mitigations.

Conservatives are not simply in favor of status quo.

We are simply against wasting obscene amounts of money on greenie schemes that have no chance of accomplishing their stated goals.

ie: To criple the global economy in a foolhardy attempt to control average temperatures is just plane stupid.

Why? Because CO2 does not drive the climate, the sun does.

Show us some schemes that are actually worth the effort and we will support them whole heartedly.

If the sun was driving climate then we should have been in a cooling phase over the past 30 years. And historically CO2 does NOT drive climate, it is a feedback to other forcing. The whole issue is that CO2 is, as Dr Richard Alley calls it, "The Biggest Control Knob." It is only during modern times we have turned CO2 from a feedback into a forcing by burning fossil fuels.

Richard Alley has a great AGU lecture available online that is free to watch. Best hour you will ever spend.

"Conservatives are not simply in favor of status quo.

We are simply against wasting obscene amounts of money on greenie schemes that have no chance of accomplishing their stated goals.
"

Looks like you missed my point 4. Fiscal conservatism, or how wisely we spend our money to serve the needs of our populous.

Bang for ya buck.

If there is no mitigation now, the expense of doing so later is totaly unfeasable economically. The longer it is put off, the more expensive & the bigger the costs to government & the individual it will be.

In case you have never seen it, or haven't watched it recently, you'll want to check out:

The Video Climate Deniers Tried to Ban - Climate Denial Crock of the Week

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_0-gX7aUKk&feature=player_embedded

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