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Friday, March 16, 2007


What is it with the Australian and Global Warming

Frank Devine has a little anti-global warming rant in todays (Friday 16th) Australian.
The use of "climate change deniers" to describe people who challenge computer- generated predictions of man-made catastrophe is particularly crass.
Sorry Frank, you may find it crass, but it's true. Just like HIV-denialists, evolution-denialists and anti-vaccine folk, when people use refuted arguments, irrelevant arguments and made up facts to convince the public that a scientific consensus is wrong, then they are denialists.

His comments were particularly ironic, given as this week New Scientist revealed that the IPCC report had been significantly watered down (sorry, you need a subscription to read it all), and things are a lot more worrisome than the report indicates, as positive feedbacks have been underplayed. See also New Scientists special web report on climate change. On the same day Devine's rant was published, the journal Science published articles on the worrying acceleration of melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and the reduction of Arctic Sea Ice (listen to the Science Podcast, which covers this and more).

Devine rails against the climate science "monopolists". You don't hear him going on about the Einsteinian relativity monopolists, or the Germ-theory of disease monopolists, or the Heliocentric monopolists. The thing that climate change and germ-theory and heliocentrism have in common is that they are all supported by the data. Let me re-iterate. There is a near overwhelming consensus by scientists on these issues because the data supports it. Frank may not like it, but that's the way science works. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

Frank quotes approvingly of an economist. Again with the economists! Would you ask an economist if top quarks were real? Would you ask an economist if EL61 has suffered a serious impact? If HIV caused AIDS? No, so why fawn over economists? Why not ask an actual climate scientist? Perhaps because you will get an answer you will not like.

The economist? David Henderson, who authored a badly flawed "response" to the Stern report alongside the usual posse of global-warming deniers. This was the same report Janet Albrecthsen used in her anti-science rant. Do the Australian's correspondents all get their pseudoscience from the same supplier? Devine also resurrects Albrectsen's anti-peer review rant.

Sorry folks, that is how good science works, we get people who know what they are talking about to check manuscripts for technical and logical errors, nothing more. This peer- review paranoia is typical of denialist culture (HIV, evolution, vaccines, whatever). This is how science is done, get over it. I am quite will to go over to the Australian's headquarters and give them all a primer on how science works, hopefully it will improve their science reporting.

Every week, more high quality research is being published in the best journals in the world by genuine scientists. That research indicates we have a lot more to worry about that even the IPCC report suggested. Economists, it may give you apoplexy to think that the world does not behave according to your wishes, but the reality of human-caused climate change was determined in the same way we pharmacologists designed the drugs that you are now popping to contain your blood pressure.

Again, it's science, get over it.

UPDATE: I missed the editorials praising the very bad "documentary" The Great Climate Swindle. Deltoid and Nexus 6 have responded. The Australian does seem to have a love affair with pseudoscience.

"when people use refuted arguments, irrelevant arguments and made up facts to convince the public that a scientific consensus is..."

... then they are the global warming crusaders. Check out the movie "The Great Global Warming Swindle".

Dude, the ice caps on Mars are melting. Jupiter has a new earth-sized storm. Seeing as how this is Astroblog, I shouldn't have to spell this out for you.
The Great Global Warming Swindle is a swindle itself. I've talked about the Martian Polar Caps before, no it's not sign of global warming on Mars, but local changes due to changes in dust storms. Red Spot Jr has nothing to do with global warming. Please research real scientific sources before reguritating demolished arguments.

Stern has failed to use acceptable economic standards in his report in order to get his bias across. He used an almost zero discount rate for changes we are suppsed to make now for the benefit of future gnerations 100 years and beyond.

I also got lost when he argued that alleged climate changed will adversely affect gender issues. He omitted reference to cross dressers in this part of the report which i thought was frankly a huge omission.

I listened to Durkin's arguments which essentially comes down to one major issue.

Does (and has) carbon concentration preceded or proceded warming stages.

He says the science is pretty settled on this one. He says scientists agree or at least the reputable ones unlike climatolgists like Algore that Co2 is always a far away lagger and the nexus between co2 and warming is highly correlated but in reverse to what is commonly understood by non climate scientists.

If this is the case your global wamring argument has a problem, Ian.

So what is the evidence of Co2 based warming if co2 is the laggard?
anonymi deserve one sentence refutations tops; C02's greenhouse effect has been an established, irrefutable, observed fact for over a century, with a well-understood mechanism.

It hasn't gotten any hotter than 1998 and the level of carbon in the atmosphere keeps on rising.

That's a big clue.
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