There’s a lot of confusion out there in the climate denialosphere over the title “Denier” vs. “Skeptic” and their proper application. Many deniers seem unable to recognize themselves in the mirror while others deny their denialist tendencies, like an addict who says they can quit anytime they want — really!
Some get really really upset that we call them Deniers.
Just to help them figure it all out, I decided to post the top ten signs that you’re a denier.
Public servant to the core, or what?
10. When you watch a story on the telly about global warming, you look out your window and see snow and heave a huge sigh of relief because snow means it’s cold out and therefore, there can be no global warming.
A climate scientist would say that weather is not climate and will warn you that even though the average global temperature may be warming, there will still be winter and there will still be snow and there will still be a change in temperature between summer and winter, day and night.
For more on this story, you can visit the inimitable Anthony Watts who regularly mines the “weather is a sign that there is not AGW” meme.
For the antidote, you can visit Skeptical Science: Does Cold Weather Disprove Global Warming?
9. When a climate scientist points out that weather is not climate, you point out that the climate scientist is living high off the hog at the public trough.
This meme suggests that climate scientists make the claim that the average global temperature is warming in order to keep lining their pockets with all those trillions of dollars.
In other words, climate scientists are primarily liars and cheaters and fraudsters who cook the books and create a false view of their work in order to rake in the dough. You know, like the folks on Wall Street.
person with half a brain keen observer would point out that climate scientists spend at least 10 – 12 years getting their educations, then spend some years as underling research fellows before getting tenured positions at universities, where they get grants to do research and tend to live off a salary that, while it may be above the average wage, is far from the kind of income that would tempt corporate psychopaths, who tend to go into executive positions in banking or commerce. In other words, it’s far too much work and takes far too much education to get a job as a climate scientist for the average social psychopath to bother. They go where the money’s a lot easier to get and much bigger in magnitude.
It’s far easier to go into politics or business, where the rewards vs. effort expended is much more enticing.
That denizen of fair and unbiased reporting The National Review is a place to find this meme being replicated.
8. When some alarmist tells you that its warmer today than for at least 500, 1,000 or 2,000 years, you say “the hockey stick has been broken” and mention Steve McIntyre.
According to Steve McIntyre, the infamous “hockey stick” papers produced by Mann, Bradley and Hughes in 1998/99 used flawed data, methods and deliberately misrepresent the uncertainty in their findings. This was done, he argues, to make sure that the medieval warming period was wiped off the climate history books so that today’s warming would seem unprecedented. In other words, he’s suggesting that this was done deliberately and to mislead the public and policy makers. The hockey stick graphic and papers were then used to promote the theory of anthropogenic global warming at the IPCC and in governments around the world.
A climate scientist would argue that while the de-centered PCA method may be inappropriate as a methodology, this is a methodological debate not grounds for claims of fraud. Using a properly centred PCA analysis makes little difference in the end. A climate scientist would also point out that McIntyre and McKittrick use an improper “red noise” model to do their own analysis, thus their conclusions are flawed. A climate scientist would point out that other analyses not using the same proxy measures also find hockey-stick-like graphs of paleoclimate reconstructions.
Tim Ball, Canada’s Climate Denier Extraordinaire is the exemplar of this, although Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick started the meme and keep propagating it.
7. When the IPCC is mentioned on TV or in print, you froth at the mouth and point out that its just a front organization for a world socialist government.
This appears to be the great obsession of the more libertarian-minded climate deniers, who fear that any intervention in the market will result in the apocalypse itself. They fear that if people accept the reality of global warming caused by CO2 emissions, governments will intervene in the market and regulate CO2. The average libertarian, fed on Randian breast milk, fear government more than death itself, since, they believe, government is antithetical to freedom.
You’ll find many libertarians among deniers. It almost seems a pre-requisite for membership.
A social scientist would point out that the market which libertarians worship is not free and exists only because of massive government intervention in society to ensure that capital is mobile and protected. One of the most basic roles of modern governments is to ensure that conditions continue to exist so the market can function as it does. Capitalism is not the natural expression of human nature. If it were, we wouldn’t have needed a revolution to free the merchant class from the traditional bonds of feudalism and to allow people to own capital and dispose of it as they see fit. Because it is not natural, we must continually police it to make sure it doesn’t transgress those conditions which allow it to exist.
I’ve written about this many times before, but for the credible journalist’s take, you can read George Monbiot: Why libertarians must deny climate change, in one short stroke
6. When the news reports that average global temperature was once again in the top ten hottest on record, you pull out your hair and shout that the temperature record is flawed, that it is biased by station moves and station drop outs and bad siting.
This meme was largely created by Anthony Watts and Joseph D’Aleo, who spread unfounded alarmism about the quality of data used, and made outlandish claims that undermined some people’s confidence in the temperature record.
It doesn’t really matter that this meme has recently been debunked by none other than the Denialist’s once-golden boy Dr. Richard Mueller and the team at BEST — the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Group.
Watts claimed that he would accept the findings of the BEST analysis, no matter what they were. However, he’s backtracking now and finding fault with BEST.
Surprise surprise surprise…
5. When someone mentions Al Gore, you mention a) the size of his mansion b) the energy use of his mansion c) his green energy business interests and d) that he’s fat.
This is particularly hilarious when repeated by libertarians who otherwise laud the free market and market and capitalism and claim that it’s all a socialist fraud meant to destroy the free market. There’s money to be made in the green market, for sure. People will continue to make profits even if CO2 is regulated. Al Gore is rich and rich people tend to consume more than average income or poor people. The American Dream is carbon-intensive.
This is just more denialists talking out of both sides of their mouths. Google “Al Gore” and “Mansion” and you get over a million hits. This is prime denialist crack.
If you find yourself responding to it as outlined above, take the first step and admit you’re an addict. You’re a denier. Seriously.
4. When someone says that CO2 emissions grew yet again this past year, you point out that CO2 lags temperature.
This is often repeated by folks who have no real understanding of the difference between past climate change, which was natural and the result of larger geological, planetary and solar influences and current climate change, which is largely anthropogenic. It is also indicative of a lack of understanding regarding the role of CO2 as a forcer as well as a feedback.
Climate science understands this quite well. The glacial cycle is dominated by shifts in the earth’s angle to the sun over longer periods and how increases and decreases in solar insolation resulting from these shifts warm the earth, leading to the release of CO2 from the oceans and land masses, wherein CO2 becomes a feedback.
You can get the antidote at Skeptical Science: CO2 Lags Temperature.
That CO2 is also a forcer is supported by past climate change events wherein huge infusions of CO2 into the atmosphere led to climate change and global warming. Most of these events took far far longer than our current infusion of CO2, which is cause for concern, but that’s for another post.
3. When someone says that glaciers are melting and Greenland is losing ice mass at an unprecedented rate, you mention that Leif Ericson called it Greenland and therefore, Greenland had even less ice than today and hence it was once warmer than today.
Yes, and Greenland was once partially covered in a forested paradise — 450,000 years ago.
Historians like to point out that Ericson called it Greenland as a way to entice unsuspecting Norse farmers to go there.
It didn’t work because Greenland’s a fricking cold icy place.
However, that’s changing and you can watch this amazing video record presented at a TED Talk:
Repeating this meme works only because people are generally ignorant.
2. You get all your news on global climate at Fox News, Climate Audit and Watts Up With That.
And the top reason you know you’re a denier:
1. You ignore the vast preponderance of evidence in the peer-reviewed climate science literature and post about every one-off contrarian paper that comes along before it’s even been replicated.
Like Watts Up With That.
You see, deniers deny the consensus opinion of established science and fail to appreciate the difference between real skepticism and faux skepticism — or cynicism.
A real skeptic bases their opinions on THE BALANCE OF EVIDENCE. They go where the preponderance of evidence leads them. They read the peer reviewed literature and base their opinions on the data and research as a whole, not on a single paper or scientist’s opinion.
In the matter of climate change, the consensus among climate scientists — real climate scientists — is that the world is warming and it is largely the result of human burning of fossil fuels.
All scientists are skeptics. They understand that no theory is ever perfect and that there is always room for opinions to be revised as new data comes in.
And they certainly don’t trumpet every contrarian paper that manages to get published.
That’s what deniers do.