Pity Rex Murphy. At this point, he has no place to go.

Sun, 2009-10-18 20:01Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Pity Rex Murphy. At this point, he has no place to go.

For years, Canada’s most famous climate denier —- a national broadcaster, columnist and author -— has  railed against science.

He’s positioned himself as a kind of noble dissident, one of but a few remaining voices of “reason” questioning the motives of the more than 450 lead-author scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Now he’s inched further out on his already cracking and splintering limb with a column that equates climate activists such as Al Gore with crazed zealots. The occasion is the release of Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s new green-economy platform, which the parliamentarian calls “the most significant investment in clean energy jobs this country has ever seen.”

To support his case that this sort of patently irresponsible talk could lead the nation into hemp-nutter land, Murphy turns to an error-riddled but widely-circulated October report written by Paul Hudson, a BBC weatherman with no scientific credentials or expertise.

Hudson’s report regurgitates the same old arguments that fossil-fuel-industry front groups have been feeding us for years in an effort to sustain the illusion that the jury is still out on global warming.

Clearly, Murphy is grasping at straws. “This is, or may be, the church of global warming’s Galileo moment - when observation of what is happening trumps the gloomy choir of consensus,” he writes.

I almost feel bad for the guy.

Here we have a man who has quite literally yammered himself into a corner. As the nation and the world finally begin to grapple with the reality of our situation and the hard work and new opportunities that lie ahead, Murphy has left himself no dignified exit strategy.

And so, like a cornered raccoon, he resorts to officious spitting and hissing about climate zealots, heresies, and piety.

Like his past work along these lines, the prose is all very arch and clever. But isn’t it ironic that to challenge science, Murphy resorts to painting its advocates as tar-and-brimstone-spiting preachers ruling over zombie-eyed flock? 

The truth is, it is not the climate scientists and green-economy advocates like Gore and now Ignatieff who are the blinkered fanatics screaming from the pulpit.

It is the extreme free-market libertarians, like Rex Murphy.

Comments

“I almost feel bad for the guy”

I’m not buying that. Desmog loves going after Rex.

“like a cornered raccoon, he resorts to officious spitting and hissing”

well yeah, that’s our Rex - but never underestimate a cornered raccoon. He’ll find a way to come out on top.

And he is squealing in fright as he is not accustomed to being flushed into the daylight. He much prefers working secretively, like on the IPCC, or RealClimate, where he can with fellow rats build nests in the shadows to propogate his kind.

That doesn’t even make sense.

The “He” is the warmist author of the Murphy attack piece. Pooly written I agree.

You are complaining about “pooly” written? LOL!

when pooly written combines with pooly read everything is pooly

“I almost feel bad for the guy.” – He is lost in his own make-believe world.

Stunning to me how ‘Rexoid’ hangs on at the Grope and Flail. His IQ is in inverse proportion to his lexicon. He certainly parades his un-intelligence in this column. ‘Ross McKitrick’ a brave ‘expert’??! Gimme a break! The GW-anti-GW story is easy to follow for real journalists - ‘follow the money’. On one side you have petro-millions pouring into the coffers of the Fraser Inst (Hey Ross, here’s a bonus!), the Cato Inst., the Heartland Inst, the Enterprise Inst etc. and on the other side you have scientists and NGOs chasing some paltry grant monies. Then consider vested interests which are heavily biased in favour of the petro-wanks over scientists who have little if any vested (professional) interests in the outcomes and … you see where the story goes. Murphy can’t even do that. He is a truly pathetic excuse for a journalist and it’s quite evident that, unfortunately for the thinking world, he doesn’t care.
I wish the Globe and the CBC did. Murphy diminishes the crediblity of both everytime he opens his yap.

==”The GW-anti-GW story is easy to follow for real journalists - ‘follow the money’. On one side you have petro-millions pouring into the coffers of the Fraser Inst (Hey Ross, here’s a bonus!), the Cato Inst., the Heartland Inst, the Enterprise Inst etc. and on the other side you have scientists and NGOs chasing some paltry grant monies.”==

LOL. You have it backwards. The money leads to environmental groups vastly outspending any opponents. Greenpeace, Sierra Club, WWF, and governments all over spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year promoting AGW.

I’m following the money. You might too.

paul s

Do you have any facts? Or is it just blather and lies?

State your evidence!

then you would understand the equation. Peer-review competition filters out most biases, making it very difficult for conspiracies to gain traction. When they do it’s because of agreement on the evidence presented, not necessarily the conclusions. Thus it’s a very conservative process. But it is a ladder process by which new theories arise, and older ones fade away or are reputed. It ain’t perfect but it’s a lot better than any alternative I can think of. I have worked as a scientist and science journalist and I understand the drill very well.

And as for your assertion that NGOs are outspending the likes of EXXON or any petro or coal company or industry associations on GW-anti-GW campaigns, this is simply ludicrous and untrue.

-delete-

No, it is simple fact that Greenpeace and other NGO’s vastly outspend any corporation on the issue of AGW. Check your data.

and beyond money - greenpeace members are pure troublemakers who consider themselves above the law. Most of them should probably be locked up.

Yeah, just like Ghandi and Rosa Parks. get those “trouble-makers” up against the wall!

Provide your data.

Even the David Suzuki Foundation spends big on AGW. $956,850 in 2008 alone! (Page 24 of 2008 annual report)

Add all the NGO’s together and no one can outspend them on AGW.

Paul s

Your basic dishonesty is that you are comparing apples and oranges.

Compare and contrast the following:

GreenPeace; Friends of the Earth; the World Wildlife Fund etc. openly brand their message and their message is traceable to the science, because these responsible organisations have a public reputation to uphold.

Whereas corporately funded propaganda is insidiously and secretly laundered via third parties and numerous ostensibly independent and apparently credible sources: think-tanks, astroturf outfits run bogus grass-roots campaigns; professional deniers; etc. It isn’t branded ‘Exxon corporation’; ‘Peabody Coal’; ‘Western Fuels’ & etc., because they want to distance themselves as far as possible from their lies. This sleight of hand allows bogus information and carefully contrived pseudo-science to be disseminated and corporately funded without any apparent link to the corporation. This distancing reveals the level of deceit!

Now do you understand the difference between honesty and dishonesty?

Greenpeace 2007 annual report
Page 25
Climate and energy campaign expenditures: $19,364,000

This is the spending of a *single* NGO and they alone vastly outspend any corporate message supposedly opposing GW action.

paul s,
‘This is the spending of a *single* NGO and they alone vastly outspend any corporate message supposedly opposing GW action.’

Previously, you stated:
‘..,The money leads to environmental groups vastly outspending any opponents. Greenpeace, Sierra Club, WWF, and governments all over spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year promoting AGW.’

Now quote all the other figures!
Since you must have them [and the sources] to hand, just quote them. Don’t expect us to go searching for them.

One figure alone already shows that Greenpeace outspends Exxon by 1000% a year on climate change advocacy.

I’ll see if I can dig up some more data other then just the damning Greenpeace info. I’m sure the WWF spends tens of millions promoting AGW a year too. I’ll see what I can find.

That figure is $19,364.
http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/gpi-annual-report-2007.pdf

Paul, you either can’t read, or you lie like a cop.

Seriously Peter, are you that thick? You actually believe it could be such a tiny amount?

From page 25 of the the 2008 Greenpeace Annual Report:

=”All amounts are thousands of Euros”=

So the actual amount spent on climate change was 19,364,000 Euros, which is an even larger amount then I said.

Nice try Mr. Fibber.

Fine, I am the blind one. But it still doesn’t add up to the “hundreds of millions of dollars” you claim environmental groups outspend industry backed groups. Where is your source for this assertion?

I said including government spending. Exxon’s spending in comparison is a mere pittance.

Oh comeon Paul S.

The fossil fuel industry spends on a very focussed campaign of disinformation through very well known professional denialists like Fred Singer. They also have a very clear motive.

To think that the world`s climatologists and governments are somehow in a giant conspiracy is absolutely ridiculous. To compare the spending of large environmental organizations like WWF who spend on a lot more than GW is comparing apples to oranges. To think that guys like NASA`s James Hansen who does not depend on grant money and who worked against the wishes of his boss for the last 8 years (Bush) would be part of this alleged conspiracy is ludicrous. That scientists who dedicate their lives to exploring GW and spend months of hard labour climbing glaciers, trudging in mud or living near the poles would do this just for a bit of grant money is pure fantasy. You clearly don`t understand how the scientific community works, what drives scientists to do what they do, and that the grant money mostly doesn;t go to the scientists, but rather to paying for the equipment, the assistants, and the travelling to remote places. There are also plenty of other worthwhile other areas to research and where they would have less competition to get grants.

It only takes a bit of high-school level science to understand the effect of CO2 and CH4 on the greenhouse effect. We`ve known about this effect for some 250 years and it is reproducible in a classroom lab. We can also calculate how much CO2 were pumping in the atmosphere and measure how much of it stays in the atmosphere. That much is not open for debate.

The actual effects of all this certainly are complex given all the feedback mechanisms and the complexity of climate and weather and they certainly need further study. Bu the basics are rock solid and very easy to understand.

Rumors of the death of my career as a guerrilla troll have been sadly and regrettably confirmed.

Anyone who channels Dr. James Hansen (NASA/GISS) ought to consider employment as a catch-and-release commercial fisherman, generating much activity with no measurable results. Fear not; put Hansen in charge of your results data and you’ll look like a genius.

Hansen clashed with other bosses, notably with Clinton/Goreacle. And no funding? Time to redeem that Pearle Vision free eye exam coupon and pray it isn’t something worse.

With in the neighborhood of 2000 media moments he’s been as muzzled as Paris Hilton, with Hilton overwhelmingly more credible.

$720K from the Open Society Institute (OSI, tied to one George Soros) for the “politization of science.” While I’m unsure what that really means it should be filed under “grab your ankles taxpayers, you may feel a little discomfort.”

$250K from the Heinz Foundation in 2004. Might be those nice catsup folks (want fries with that?) This in addition to the massive NASA budget.

~1971, a young scientist developed a climate model predicting global cooling. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t play along and he had to find a new gig. Guess who?

Your belief that AGW scientists are “slogging and trudging to help personkind” serve but to make everything else in your post seem absolutely brilliant.

Unless you’re the tail wagging the dog (my attempt at same ended in utter ignominy), you best steer clear of pointy objects, like that cap you monopolized throughout your scholastic endeavors.

catch and release commercial fisherman - nice line :)

Want to know how I landed that one? Howse about the one that got away?

My thinly veiled plot to undermine Alarmist efforts here ended not with a bang but with a whimper.

I believe (no relation) AGW will end the same way. Imagine Fat Albert, Hansen, the IPCC, all the environmental science (BS’s,
appropriately enough) undergrads our supposed institutions of higher learning are cranking out, et al; caving in, giving up and exhorting
“well, time to go out and get real jobs.”

There aren’t enough driverless cabs, or clerkless 7-11’s to absorb them.

Full disclosure: Resident of the People’s Republic of Madison, WI and dyed-in-the-wool skeptic.

You outed me, RJ. No turning back now!

And bore. You are not nearly as funny as you think you are.

this is a repeat comment because I clicked the back button instead of edit

VJ plays for keeps on this climate thing - admirable

but he raises an interesting point. What is funny is pretty much determined by politics. For example David Letterman is funny - (they say) but not to most people on the right and Dennis Miller is funny - but probably not to anyone on the left.

so even humor doesn’t work in sorting out this climate thing.

Makes sense. With AGW support melting in inverse proportion to that of pack ice at the poles, VJ may have to find a new “I hate” category. AGW gives VJ a reason to live. Absent that; yoikes!

Makes sense. When all the underclassmen (and women) wailed the whiz out of VJ regularly and now, ensconced in mommy’s basement, how could things get worse? Mommy starting to charge rent? Then it’s off to the trailer park, which thankfully is near the bowling alley. Just don’t take muh AGW!!!

Makes sense. Alarmists are true believers. True believers don’t need proof. They just repeat canonical statements and argue using ad homs.
They march in glassy-eyed, unquestioning lock-step. Saving the world from evil humans makes them feel warm, fuzzy, and vindicated.

Makes sense. To follow the Goreacle, whose consummate hypocrisy is absolutely unparalleled, must involve complete suspension of disbelief.

Makes sense. (to anyone with a modicum of gray matter)
Think twice before embarking on a contest of wits for which you are ill-prepared and over-matched. One in which you are immediately and at once logically bereft and intellectually bankrupt.

You really want to make a difference? Help Mann, et al, fashion his laughably dis-credited and flawed Hockey Stick into a paddle. AGW
Alarmism could use it as they now find themselves up a creek without one.

For the record, I don’t think I’m that funny. But who am I to argue with thousands of people.

The fact remains, Greenpeace, WWF, Sierra Club and countless other envirogroups vastly outspend their opponents. And the enviro message is much more polished and influential.

If there is propaganda occurring, (and I’m not saying there is), it is going to originate from the lavishly funded campaigns by Greenpeace and other groups.

Provide evidence for your claims: figures and citations.

and simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

As one who has worked for and supported several NGOs (big ones among them) and many corporate, industry and government clients, NGO spending can’t and doesn’t hold a candle to the others.

The ‘Creative Teams’ behind the likes of Hill and Knowlton and Burson Marstellar (world’s leading pr firms for industry and military interests [e.g. Bhopal disaster, Gulf War, our very own ‘Forest Alliance’, Pinochet administration] are very very pricey and well beyond the reach of most NGOs except for very rare events, like a NY Times page-ad.

And sometimes even the most creative and ostentatious deceptions (remember ‘Forests Forever’ sponsored by our own local forest industry?) aren’t effective because the premises on which they presented are simply known to be … false.

is that Mr. Murphy was once a great comic. That he ever presumed to be taken seriously is rendered ridiculous by his omission to take seriously his responsibility. Free market liberty does not include the liberty to deceive though it may include the right to be wrong. But responsible journalism, as compared to comedy, demands honest consultation of the peer reviewed science. It does not include depending rather upon one’s roiling emotions.

“Green is fast emerging as the new Black. I despair a little at the emotional brutality of a formerly sensible environmental movement. Even wildlife conservation organizations and the culturally aware development aid groups have joined the crusade against climate”

http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=220

as for Peters politics.. here is his own answer:

Peter Taylor says:
September 15th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

First: the politics! Many years ago - on finding that the Institute of Social Anthropology at Oxford was not going to be radical enough for me to study scientists ‘as a tribe’ with all their rituals, I left that avenue and set up my own research group - The Political Ecology Research Group - with the aim of putting scientific (I also trained as an ecologist), planning, engineering and legal expertise at the service of communities threatened by hazardous industrial development - we had not ‘politics’ as such - only the desire to make life safer and development more sustainable. PERG developed into a network of scientists worldwide - all of whom were activists of some form. Our concern was less with academic research, more with effective action. As an interdisciplinary group we dealt with most of the major ‘green’ issues - energy, ocean pollution, deforestation, acid rain, toxic chemicals…..and I gained a certain expertise in the analysis and critique of computer models. We always chose our work carefully - generally in partnership rather than on consultant type contracts. We covered a very wide spectrum - Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF, Town & Country Planning Association, Trades Unions (Mineworkers, Emergency services, Police etc) and eventually were commissioned to advise governments (UK and many foreign). Once we worked with a major corporation - the CEGB on carbon sequestration and forestry. We usually set the agenda.

In later years I became more creatively pro-active - setting up biodiversity initiatives and advising government agencies - e.g. Countryside Agency, Forestry Commission; and voluntary bodies such as the National Trust. I have been writing for the journal ECOS (British Association of Nature Conservationists) for about 15 years, and in 2005 published ‘Beyond Conservation’ a radical re-appraisal of the biodiversity paradigm.

I have never belonged to a political party, nor been funded by any industrial or financial interest. I will advise anybody - as long as it is worth my time in the sense that the client seeks to do something to make a real difference in the world on behalf of both community and biodiversity. I evaluate technology according to these criteria.

My prime motivation for writing ‘Chill’ was to weigh-in on the issue renewable energy in the countryside. Some terrible ‘least cost’ decisions are being made - such as giant aerospace turbines in wild places - because there is a sense of urgency to avert some future climate catastrophe. I decided to have a look at the science to test just how much time we had. What I found shocked me greatly.

Qualifications: I am an ecologist (Oxford, 1970)- with wide experience of ecosystems analysis - that includes oceans, atmospherics, forests…etc., and I have critiqued and also used computer models of oceanic and atmospheric systems. In 1996, a government agency commissioned me to review climate science with regard to its particular policies - and I warned them that the models were flakey and that the UK could cool, even if the planet warmed. So - whilst i would not call myself a climate scientist, I would suggest from my experience that most climate scientists are very narrow in their speciality, and this pertains particularly to government advisors - many of whom do not know the field. It even applies to our own dearly beloved MetOffice - which last year received me cordially for discussions on oceanography - they were not aware of the important science of the jetstream and the correlations and suggested mechanisms of how the jetstream shifts with the sun’s magnetic status (and UV output) - only in the last two years have they begun to incorporate ocean cycles into the models (after much criticism).

After three years of forensic review, I would gladly debate with any climate scientist - indeed, a whole panel, and guarantee to hold my own. But I am not out to score points - my purpose is to change policy. I am deeply concerned that the northern hemisphere will cool over the next decade - food supplies will be compromised and there will be much suffering unless there are contingency plans.

These are then my politics and my qualifications. And recent science is supporting my assessment - the sun is still spotless/oceanographic papers are now supporting my 80/20 view of the percentage natural/GHG drivers for ‘warming’/the latest models show cooling for the next decade (and they are still not modelling the whole system).

The next task is to persuade government (the ‘greens’ are hopelessly closed-minded) that wind turbines and tidal barrages must be a LAST resort - there is no rush - we need to invest in demand-reduction and resilient systems, and work out a new development model that is not consumption based (for the ‘developing world’). I know a great deal more than most about nuclear risks - and in my view, they can never be justified. The problem ahead is ‘denial’ - that renewables can meet the energy crisis (they can’t), that the development model works (it doesn’t) and that cooling is possible (it is already here).

My website www.ethos-uk.com features my ecological work, and will carry updates on the book.

“Much media attention has relentlessly focused on the influence of “Big Oil”—but the numbers don’t add up. Exxon Mobil is still vilified1 for giving around 23 million dollars, spread over roughly ten years, to skeptics of the enhanced greenhouse effect. It amounts to about $2 million a year, compared to the US government input of well over $2 billion a year. The entire total funds supplied from Exxon amounts to less than one five-thousandth of the value of carbon trading in just the year 2008”. from joannenova.com with footnotes for climate criminal. let’s see….Algore has $300,000,000 to brainwash the lemmings of the world with his lies (i know the british court was wrong or some b.s.)and exxon spends 2M/year. how do you have the balls to keep bringing up the money aspect? kind of like how you bring up the integrity issues….if anyone plans to comment pls just address the 300M compared to the 23M. I don’t need to hear how jonova is this or that or i can’t spell or can’t capitalize.JUST TELL ME HOW THE 300M NEVER SEEMS TO BE AN ISSUE BUT 23M DOES.

It’s mostly because of who is spending the money. Private money, sourced from greedy capitalistic concerns is always evil whereas Government money sourced from taxpayers and used in harmony with socialist principles is always good. I think that what many believe anyway. I believe they are missing something with all that.

Or could it be that the government funding goes to legitimate scientific research of all sorts, while the corporate money goes into lies aimed specifically at ignorant gullible people?

Who funds the yes men?

Actually I find this pretty amusing, but it does demonstrate that the left is okay with fakery if it furthers their agenda in some way.

“The Yes Men, a left-leaning activist group that often impersonates officials from organizations they oppose, took responsibility for the hoax.”

source: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/28456.html

and this is a neat little line: “Smelling a rat, CNBC’s Larry Kudlow demanded to know whether the White House had been involved. “

They take responsibility for their hoaxes; the lying energy corpses don’t.

The “lying energy corpses” keep the lights on at my home and at work and provide the energy for me to be productive and see the world.

What have the Yes Men ever done for me?

Actually, The Yes Men are partly self-funded and mostly funded through individual donations. I get their emails asking for such. They are pretty funny (especially their Vivoleum product pitch to Exxon) and fairly effective. Their latest film is The Yes Men Save the World, which premiered in NYC recently, and the DVD should be out soon.

The fakery is how they gain access, but once the stunt is over, everything is revealed to all and their target is exposed. As far as it being a ‘left’ tactic, it isn’t. The anti-Michael Moore film “Michael Moore Hates America’ was made using fakery to get access. Fakery, it seems, is used at times by both sides.

A great post Jim, right on the mark. What is astounding is that although Murphy purports to be a public intellectual and not simply some knuckle dragging associate of the Heartland Institute, his level of scientific literacy on this issue is almost zero. Clearly the distinction of being a Rhodes scholar offers no defense against junk science gullibility, and Murphy has swallowed the climate junk science canon ‘hook, line and sinker’. His inflated ego and his flawed rhetorical reasoning that dismisses science on the whole, is clear evidence that he doesn’t understand how genuine scientific knowledge is produced and validated. In my classes he’s the poster-boy for erudite scientific ignorance, part of the “reality is what I say it is” crowd. It’s shameful that the CBC and the Globe provide this man such a prominent public soap-box upon which to spread disinformation.

-delete-

Those $#*! climate researchers!! … they just can’t be trusted!

- article below from today’s Globe and Mail:

The Canadian Arctic is experiencing a heat wave that has seldom been matched in the past 200,000 years, says a new scientific paper based on the study of sediments found at the bottom of a remote lake on Baffin Island.

“Our findings show that the last several decades have been the most ecologically unique in 200,000 years,” said Neil Michelutti, a research scientist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and one of the members of the team that conducted the study, which is appearing this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

… read more on the front page of www.globeandmail.com

Now it’s unprecedented warming in 200,000 years? And it’s just coincidence this study comes out just before Copenhagen?

Expect many more studies like this to conveniently appear just before Copenhagen.

Double post

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