climate skeptics

Mon, 2010-06-21 18:34Jim Hoggan
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Stanford Study Exposes Lack of Credibility and Expertise Among Climate Skeptics

A study by Stanford University researchers examining expert credibility in climate change has confirmed that climate skeptics and contrarians within the scientific community comprise at best 3% of the field, and are “vastly overshadowed” in expertise by their colleagues who agree that manmade climate change is real. 

As readers of DeSmogBlog know well, the credibility of climate science and scientists has come under attack in recent months.  In the wake of the Climategate episode –portrayed in the right wing media as a scandalous cover-up while independent investigations found no evidence calling into question the integrity of climate science – skeptics have loudly argued that the public shouldn’t trust the overwhelming consensus among scientists that man-made climate change is real.

Flipping that faulty assertion on its head, this new Stanford study, published today in the highly-regarded journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides even more reason for the public to scrutinize the credibility of the skeptics and contrarians themselves, showing them to possess less direct expertise and far fewer published works in the climate science literature than colleagues who agree with the consensus view.

Mon, 2010-04-05 09:08Jim Hoggan
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The Smoking Guns and Blue Dress Moments of Climategate

In the days and weeks following the theft of climate scientists’ emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in November, climate change skeptics and deniers flooded the blogosphere and mainstream press with reactions suggesting that the ‘scandal’ had proven global warming was a myth. 

In many instances, the reactions sounded like a choreographed choir singing from the same sheet of talking points, or at least the same sheet of of well-worn memes and cliches, like ‘smoking gun’ and ‘final nail in the coffin.’

The Desmog team took a look at several unique phrases that flew around the denier echo chamber in the aftermath of the CRU email hack, and how those memes were often adopted by the mainstream media as a result.  Here is a sampling of what we identified:

Mon, 2010-03-15 18:25Jim Hoggan
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Stanford Study Confirms That “Balanced” Media Stories Quoting Skeptics Mislead The Public

Skeptics Skew Public Understanding of Climate Change

Providing climate skeptics a voice in “balanced” mainstream media coverage skews public perception of the scientific consensus regarding climate change, leaving viewers less likely to understand the threat of climate disruption and less likely to support government actions to address global warming, according to the results of a Stanford University research effort

The Stanford researchers probed the impact on public understanding of climate change when media coverage features a climate skeptic alongside a climate scientist.  Media stories featuring only a mainstream climate scientist “increased the number of people who believed that global warming has been happening and that humans have caused global warming.”

However, when media stories also include a climate skeptic, ostensibly to add “balance” to the story, the result is a “significantly reduced” number of people who understand the issue and endorse government action to address the problem.

“Watching a skeptic decreased perceptions of consensus among scientific experts, and this decreased perception of consensus led respondents to be less supportive of government action in general and of cap and trade policy in particular,” the researchers found.

Wed, 2009-10-28 14:20Brendan DeMelle
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Monster List: Skeptics Have Touted "Global Cooling" Theory Anywhere They Could

As word spreads about the Associated Press blind test examining the global cooling theory, which I wrote about earlier this week, I began to wonder how many times skeptics have tried to push this global cooling myth recently on the Internets.

So I perused the first 10 pages of results on Google for the term “global cooling” and discovered plenty of examples of skeptics hawking their global cooling theory on the usual suspect blogs and media outlets (with a few exceptions like the much-ballyhooed BBC News article earlier this month). Here is a sampling of the results of the search:

[Editor’s note: this is just the beginning of the monster list. Our research team is adding a ton more over the next couple of hours]

Investor’s Business Daily | October 12, 2009
Title: “Three Decades Of Global Cooling”
“Earth’s climate is influenced by many things, the least of which is the internal combustion engine. We and reputable scientists have noted the earth has cooled during the last decade, a period in which the sun has grown very quiet with little or no sunspot activity.”

BBC News | October 9, 2009
Article title: What happened to global warming?
“This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998. But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.”

Christian Science Monitor | October 10, 2009
“The Earth isn’t warming right now, is why. It may even be cooling down somewhat. Five major climate centers around the world agree that average global temperatures have not risen in the past 11 years, according to the BBC. In fact, in eight of those years, global average temperatures dipped a tad.”


Mon, 2009-10-26 12:41Brendan DeMelle
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Statisticians Confirm: No Global Cooling Despite Skeptic Spin

In a massive blow to the climate skeptic movement, the Associated Press has conducted a blind test of statisticians that unequivocally confirms that no global cooling trend exists

Despite the best efforts of a small handful of climate skeptics, who argue that the globe has cooled rather than warmed since the record hot year of 1998, no such cooling trend has taken place.

The Associated Press conducted the blind test by sending global temperature data from NOAA and NASA to four independent statisticians who were not told what the data represented, but simply asked to perform a common statistical analysis to look for trends in the data.

The statisticians “found no true temperature declines over time,” and in fact identified “a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers,” the AP reports.

Several statisticians quoted in the AP piece slam the climate skeptics who “cherry-pick” data in a “particularly suspect” attempt to denounce global warming.  Efforts to portray a global cooling trend since the record hot year of 1998 are “not scientifically legitimate,” and are the result of “people coming at the data with preconceived notions,” according to David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor who analyzed the data for AP.

“To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.

“Ridiculous” indeed, but that has not stopped the handful of loud-mouthed climate skeptics from spreading this false claim.  Their efforts have proven successful at confusing the public, thanks in large part to the Drudge Report, FOX News and lazy journalists who fail to fact-check the skeptic arguments, providing oxygen to their baseless claims.

The Associated Press conducted a simple exercise that any self-respecting news outlet concerned with the facts rather than the confusionist spin could duplicate easily.  Don’t expect this news to silence the skeptics, but if you are a journalist, please let the skeptics talk amongst themselves, rather than polluting the public discourse any further.  And if you are a concerned news consumer, please do hold accountable any news outlet that continues to ignore this starkly obvious fact: there is no global cooling.  There definitely is global warming. 

It really is that simple.  Now can we talk about the critically important matter of how to address climate change with just a few weeks left until the Copenhagen Climate Summit?

Mon, 2007-11-26 11:44Kevin Grandia
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John Locke Foundation Pats Itself On The Back

A North Carolina “think” tank called the John Locke Foundation is patting itself on the back now for taking so much criticism over the last few weeks from DeSmogBlog and others.

Yes, I'm quite sure that the JLF is pleased with the search results that now appear when you query their organization on google.

Wed, 2007-11-14 21:42Kevin Grandia
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Big Tobacco then, Global Warming Now

Here's an October 1995 internal memo I came across written by someone at tobacco giant Philip Morris outlining all the “public policy grants” and the totals received by US think tanks and associations.

More than a few of the familiar names involved in the industry-funded war on climate science appear on this list, including:

Competitive Enterprise Institute - $200,000

Sat, 2007-11-10 10:35Kevin Grandia
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Anatomy of a Dupe - the John Locke Foundation

Someone over at Daily Kos found a cached version of one of the bloggers duped by the “Geoclimatic Journal” hoax.

Seems that the fine folks at Environment NC - a blog set up by the ultra right-wing so-called “John Locke Society” were willing to write some pretty glowing reviews of this fake study.

In referring to the “blockbuster” study, Roy Cordato, a “resident scholar” at the John Locke Society wrote:

Clearly this study from the latest issue of Journal of Geoclimatic Studies by four climate scientists–two from the Dept. of Climatology at the University of Arizona and two from the Department of Atmospheric Physics, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, should be the lead story on the eveing news tonight. But it is more than likely that it won’t even be mentioned. the paper abstract speaks for itself.”

Hat tip as well to the fine work being done by Adam at Energy Smart blog.

Tue, 2007-10-02 09:32Chris Mooney
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Beating Around the Bush

At least to my mind, last week was extremely significant. Last week, George W. Bush for the first time believably acknowledged that human beings are the principal cause of global warming.

Now, I know, I know: There are a few instances from the past where if you listen really, really closely, Bush sorta kinda said as much. But then he would come out and say something else different and contradictory–or Dick Cheney would.

Or Bush would get revealed to have gotten his science advice from Michael Crichton.

Anyways, something would always happen to make you slide the administration right back into the “skeptic”/denialist camp again.

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