Sea change in climate journalism: The Guardian and the D-word

As we all know, the debate over global warming is contentious, often vitrolic. Labels are often applied by both sides. One the most distasteful labels is “denier”. I’m pleased to report that the UK paper The Guardian has taken on this issue headfirst.

In a recent email exchange with the Guardian’s James Randerson, where he discussed an outreach opportunity to climate skeptics via a series of stories on the Guardian website, I raised the issue with him.

From: “Anthony Watts <xxx@xxxx.xxx>
Date: Friday, February 19, 2010 11:13 AM
To: “James Randerson” <xxxx@xxxxx.xxx.xx>
Subject: Re: Guardian: CRU emails

Hello James,

Thanks for the response.

If the Guardian truly wishes to engage climate skeptics, I do have a piece of advice that will help tear down walls. Get the newspaper to go on record that they will never again use the label “deniers” in headlines or articles.

For example:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/feb/15/climate-science-ipcc-sceptics
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/09/climate-change-deniers

And there are many others I could cite.

That simple, single act, recognizing that the term is erroneous, distasteful due to its holocaust denier connotation, and unrepresentative of the position on climate change of many who simply want the science to be right  and reasonable solutions enacted would be a watershed event in mending fences.

There’s no downside for the Guardian to do so that I can envision. It would  elevate the paper’s credibility in the eyes of many. The Guardian can lead  by example here.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,
Anthony Watts

Yesterday I received an email from him. It is my impression that he sent the suggestion out to other staff members and there was a discussion about it, which was written about here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/climate-change-scepticism-style-guide

I excerpt the relevant paragraphs here, highlight mine:

We have been discussing such terminology, and some of my colleagues have suggested that Guardian style might be amended to stop referring to “climate change deniers” in favour of, perhaps, “climate sceptics”.

The editor of our environment website explains: “The former has nasty connotations with Holocaust denial and tends to polarise debate. On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence. Also, some are reluctant to lend the honourable tradition of scepticism to people who may not be truly ‘sceptical’ about the science.” We might help to promote a more constructive debate, however, by being “as explicit as possible about what we are talking about when we use the term sceptic”.

Most if not all of the environment team – who, after all, are the ones at the sharp end – now favour stopping the use of denier or denialist (which is not, in fact, a word) in news stories, if not opinion pieces.

The Guardian’s environment editor argues: “Sceptics have valid points and we should take them seriously and respect them.” To call such people deniers “is just demeaning and builds differences”. One of his colleagues says he generally favours sceptic for news stories, “but let people use ‘deniers’ in comment pieces should they see fit. The ‘sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

I applaud the editorial staff at the Guardian for taking this step, and even more so for having the courage to put it to print. I thank James Randerson for bringing the subject to discussion. I hope that other editorial staff and news outlets will take note of this event.

On that note let me say that we could all (and that includes me) benefit from the dialing back of the use of labels, and we should focus on the issues before us. There’s really nothing positive or factual to be gained from such labeling.

I call on readers of WUWT to reciprocate this gesture by The Guardian by refraining from labeling others they may disagree with here and at other web forums.

Let’s all dial back and treat others with the same respect in conversation as you might treat dinner guests having a discussion at home.

My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate. The question of whether such warming is beneficial or detrimental depends on who you ask. I’ll also point out that it took our modern society about 150 years of science and technology advances to get where we are now. Doing it cleaner and better won’t be an overnight solution either.

There are also other pressing environmental issues which have been swallowed whole by the maelstrom of this worldwide climate debate and are getting the short shrift. The sooner we can settle it, the sooner we can get on to solving those.

UPDATE:

In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article7043753.ece

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359 Responses to Sea change in climate journalism: The Guardian and the D-word

  1. H.R. says:

    “[...] My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate. [...]“

    Yea, verily.

  2. Well said Anthony. I believe everyone would be better served if the level of anger and name calling was lowered to a level where everyone could discuss the topics in mixed sitting again. The “climate wars” have lived up to their name.

    Jack

  3. Rhys Jaggar says:

    Well said, well done and take a bow, Mr Watts. And the Guardian too.

  4. Steve M. from TN says:

    Hear hear!

    Now if all newspapers and blogs would follow, maybe we could get something done.

  5. Steve Goddard says:

    I never understood how someone could “deny” the future as predicted by a computer model.

    Are low-paid government computer programmers and climate scientists supposed to be some sort of gods who know the future?

    “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”
    G K Chesterton

  6. Sean Peake says:

    It’s too light here to see how many moons are in the sky but that is an important concession—I doubt the ardent supports of the other side will refrain, though.

    REPLY: Perhaps, but now there exists a lead by example reference that you can point them to. – Anthony

  7. Bill Liss says:

    Very classy move. Hopefully they will not…now and then…spell it incorrectly by using septic!

  8. latitude says:

    Dang
    Nothing has hurt their “cause” more than words…..

    …..and now they are going to stop using the words that do the most damage.

  9. Philhippos says:

    I entirely agree with the need for both sides to eliminate abuse and ad hominem attacks because at some point, now looking sooner than later, important people in politics and finance will realise that they have been being led up the garden path by AGW scare.

    Experience tells us that few people like to admit that they were mistaken let alone hoodwinked. The more senior and public the positions of those being asked to agree that they were misled the less likely they are agree to make the admission. I have seen large corporations spend literally millions to ‘protect’ the reputations of senior directors so know of what I speak.

    Trained negotiators know the vital importance of providing the potential mind-changer with a ladder that allows them to emerge from the hole they were in not looking as if they have been buried in ordure and smelling of it as well.

    Being polite but absolutely firm with the opposition is without doubt the right policy to pursue henceforth. Keep to the moral high ground.

  10. mrpkw says:

    “and unrepresentative of the position on climate change of many who simply want the science to be right ”

    Very good !!!!!
    It is that simple !!!

  11. Ian E says:

    There is a petition to ask Brown to stop describing ‘sceptics’ as climate change deniers. (See http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Deniers/ ). Perhaps the Guardian could mention this petition in future articles?

    p.s. to Messers Brown and Milliband : – Flat-Earthers is not very voter-friendly either?!

  12. Aaron Jarboe says:

    I’m very pleased to see this. Sometimes it’s hard to even believe that reasonable people continue to exist, and the fact that the Guardian has been introspective and logical about this give me hope for mankind. :)

  13. wilt says:

    Well done, both of you (Mr Watts and The Guardian). I really hope that the “extremists” on both sides will moderate their language, avoid personal attacks, and focus on the real issues as they are outlined by Mr Watts in his last two paragraphs.

  14. Brian G Valentine says:

    Someone in the Washington Post today heeded your guidance, evidently – calling me a “denialist” instead.

    Neither myself not Richard Lindzen, object to being labeled a “denier”

    The term has become associated with a certain set of convictions that, to my understanding, characterize mine

  15. Allen C says:

    That is a wonderful move!!

    I have to wonder how he knows that “very few are genuinely sceptical”? Has a poll been taken? Has someone counted?

  16. Sean Peake says:

    Ian E: Quite right, though I’d rather be called a flat earther than be flat headed (or with a low sloping forehead at minimum) like the many rabid politicians. The former is kind of quaint and endearing, the latter, well.. says it all.

  17. Bill Parsons says:

    some of my colleagues have suggested that Guardian style might be amended to stop referring to “climate change deniers” in favour of, perhaps, “climate sceptics”.

    Minimal acknowledgement of the dignity of the skeptical view seems better than none at all, even if its reluctant and half-hearted in tone, as if he were being asked to swallow some kind of bitter medicine. What it says to me is that your (very reasonable) suggestion is one he can no longer afford to ignore.
    Keep up the good work Anthony.

  18. Jeremy says:

    FTA: “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

    Only now is skeptic in the common parlance? Funny, I thought the term came from waay back in the day of Pyrrho of Elis in ancient Greece referring to something known as “knowledgeable ignorance” which essentially means having an accurate grasp of reality through knowing what is not known.

    In fact, it should really be an embarrassment to anyone who accepts the CAGW line that the word skeptic is used to describe those who disagree with them, it’s like admitting their own failure to grasp reality.

  19. Philip Richens says:

    It is very pleasing to see a little bit of good sense over at least this one. Reading through the Guardian article you linked, they still seem to have a very strange attitude that leaves me uncomfortably feeling that this is rather a hollow gesture.

    “They describe themselves as sceptics, but this is plainly wrong, as they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause.”

    “Rather than opening itself to the charge of denigrating people for their beliefs…”

    “The ‘sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

    Frankly, I’ve seen as much utter nonsense from the Guardian’s environment correspondents as I ever have in sceptic blogs. Anthony’s position seems pretty unassailable to me, and although well done the Guardian for agreeing to avoid the gross insults, I think they would do even better to try to approach the issue in a more inclusive and a less patronising manner.

  20. jorgekafkazar says:

    Kudos to The Guardian! And to Anthony Watts for pointing out an opportunity for The Guardian to progress.

  21. Mr. Watts, I could fill many pages with passionate and substantiated arguments reflecting huge moral and logical problems related to the “mutual respect” approach toward those who knowingly commit fraud and legislate taxation on the basis of ideological propaganda in their unscrupulous pursuit of money and power.

    It would suffice to say this, with all my respect toward you, personally:

    I don’t invite to dinner those who regularly robbed me, deceived me, and insulted me.

    No, sir.

  22. Mark, Edinburgh says:

    Mr. Watts and @Rhys Jagger 11.00.39

    You should be aware that Guardian comments columns are heavily censored.

    In particular they are careful to control informed and detailed sceptical comment.

    Access is simply denied to commentators like “Bishop Hill”. I’m also barred possibly because my email address is interpreted as a paid fossil fuel industry lobbyist (incorrectly as it happens) .

    When the Guardian lifts its censorship, reveals how many sceptics they have barred and apologise, then maybe they can take a bow. Not until.

    REPLY: Let’s start with small steps first. -A

  23. Anoneumouse says:

    Oh gosh, you mean I have to be respectful to my dinner guests

  24. Booty says:

    I can see the headlines now:

    “Climate Change Dis-believers Cry Foul Over the Use of the Word Denier”

    :-(

  25. Pascvaks says:

    The Media will publish/air/show what the Politicians say. The Politicians will read/listen/watch what the Media publishes/airs/shows. The People are the last to be seen/heard/noticed by the Media and Politicians but they drive the whole mess. Ain’t life a beach?

  26. Dave Aschim says:

    As always, you set a fine example of not just tireless inquiry but behavior. Your example has helped me change my own tone (admittedly a work in progress!) in these debates. With daily outrage bombarding me, I can never hear often enough that I should take a deep breath and focus on the issues at hand. It’s easy for me to get side-tracked questioning other’s motivation, especially when it seems to be malicious. But motivations are very difficult to know with certainty, that’s why dealing with content is more productive.

    Putting aside the emotions of guessing other’s motivation and focusing on content tests the character. That is why role models are useful to remind us how we aspire to behave. Dialing back is an important reminder for everyone and it is doubly important during the investigation of the scientists at the center of these controversies. If more investigations are to take place, a calm, reasoned and dispassionate climate will be necessary.

  27. tangoactual says:

    Agreed. I do not deny that the climate has warmed. I am skeptical about the “proof” that it is man-made and will result in catastrophic consequences. Especially in the face of natural climate shifts before mankind was even capable of widespread environmental impact.

    So now if the two sides could agree to examine and clarify the bits we diverge on and leave politics behind we might all learn something new.

  28. oakwood says:

    This is great news and a great relief. I am a life-long Guardian reader, and have been in line with most of its views. I am also a scientist and environmentalist. Therefore, I have found it bizaar to be lumped with the accusations of ‘right wing, head-in-the-sand denier. The vitriol by many Guardian commentators against sceptics has been astounding. Let’s see how it goes. It will be interesting to see if George Moniot complies with this policy.

  29. stephen richards says:

    I am not inclined to forgive and forget the past activities of the Grauniad. They knew all along what they were doing. Their derisive remarks against well qualified scientists, many times more knowledgeable than them, were always unacceptable and against all principles of good, impartial journalism.

    They should just resign or better still close the journal altogether. I despise people of this type who deliberately denegrate professional scientists for their own political beliefs. While I congratulate Anthony for his ability to forgive and work with these very decietful individuals I wouldn’t trust them any further than I could throw them.

    Their newspaper is in grave financial danger and remains solvent only because of Autotrader which they are currently advertising for all they are worth. No doubt for good reason. They must be desperate if they must turn away from their beliefs, beliefs they have held and enforced for many years.

  30. Kirls says:

    I believe this is a step in the right direction BUT, I do take issue with this…

    “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

    how would they know that my (or any persons) skepticism is not genuine?

  31. tony says:

    At least they did not change the reference to environmentally challanged.

  32. Dillon Allen says:

    Thanks for engaging with the media Anthony. Being able to viciously debate a topic with respect between the two parties is absolutely necessary if we are to step back from the brink and really figure out what, if any, impact we are having on our planet.

    RE – Ian E (11:07:45) : p.s. to Messers Brown and Milliband : – Flat-Earthers is not very voter-friendly either?!

    I have always found flat-earthers one of the most ironic labels. Is it true that I have denied that man is certainly causing global warming? Yes. So denier or denialist (if one likes to make up words) would not be completely inappropriate, it just brings a bad connotation with it. However, as I was taught… the consensus in science was at one time that the earth was flat. Only after some skeptics denied this conventional wisdom, foresook the consensus at great personal discomfort, and made the case did it come to be obvious to the rest of the world that earth was a sphere.

  33. Steve Goddard says:

    I remember a Guardian story from the early 1970s where they stated that Los Alamos, NM was the site of the first A-bomb test.

    I suspect that most of the residents living there would have “denied” the accuracy of that story. You can “deny” the past, but you can’t “deny” a future which has not yet happened.

  34. zt says:

    I agree that name calling is not good.

    I am surprised, though, that these environmental journalists are so happy to go on record about their bias that ‘very few are genuinely sceptical’. This labels the majority of skeptics as disingenuous. This reveals an inherent bias which journalists should not have, and this indicates that the journalists are not aware that skepticism is a desirable quality in science. E.g. the first book on Chemistry (some argue) was called ‘The Skeptical Chemist’ (or some variation on that spelling – Boyle was British after all – and made up the spelling as he went – I am sure that the Guardian loved him) and pointed out some of the the problems with the ‘accepted’ ‘theories’ of the day.

    Here’s the pertinent sentence:

    “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

  35. L Nettles says:

    Heck, I kinda liked being a lonely nutter.

  36. brian says:

    “My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate.”

    Is there a reliable set of raw temperature data that shows the warming over the last 100 years?

  37. Viv Evans says:

    Excellent.

    An argument does not lose in force, rigour and validity when it is presented in polite terms – the more polite, the more forceful.

    Shouters and those who use invectives have already lost the argument.

    Sceptics don’t need to shout – the facts speak for themselves.

  38. Kum Dollison says:

    I’m not sure it’s gotten warmer. It hasn’t in Mississippi. Maybe everyone should go to their nearest Rural weather station that has a hundred year history, and find out if it’s warmer where they live. They might be surprised.

  39. intrepid_wanders says:

    So, “Warmer” or “CAGW Alarmist” would be a “Climate Campaigner”? More aggressive types in political organizations (WWF, Greenpeace, etc.) would not be afforded this courtesy, much like the reservation of the denier word for explicit “GW deniers” (Palin, Rush, etc.).

    I commend your attempt Anthony, but it is going to be complicated for all sides.

    REPLY: Consider what used to be a war zone in northern Ireland over religion. Fiery rhetoric, deaths, bombs, destruction, yet solved today. Yes our issue is complicated, but still one that can be resolved. -A

  40. hunter says:

    There needsto be more and low threshold ways for people who got caught up in the AGW social movement to disentangle themselves from it.
    Graciousness from skeptics towards those who are essentially victims of AGW promoters is called for.
    Just think of what Joe Romm does, and then do the exact opposite.

  41. Jeff Id says:

    Nice job Anthony, now if you can just get them to put the ‘K’ back in skeptic.

    I don’t know what to call advocates without using the word though.

  42. AdrianS says:

    Perhaps a more friendly term for “Deniers” would be Heretics ( ha ha).
    Not much change in the policies in the UK of Brown, Millibrown, Camerbrown or Clugg, our leading policticians. Its all green and you’d better like it or else.
    Dont think I’ll be voting when the UK Genreal Election comes

  43. Andy Scrase says:

    It’s interesting to see that George Monbiot’s “cut out and keep” denier cards are still available on the Guardian here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/mar/09/climate-change-deniers-monbiot-cards?picture=344343782

    In my opinion, this was one of the low points in Monbiot’s career, but I am glad to see him now taking up some serious journalism, as in his recent piece on the feed-in tariff rip-off for Solar panels in the UK
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/solar-panel-feed-in-tariff

  44. Al Gore's Holy Hologram says:

    Still not going to read the Guardian or even click a link to a Guardian page as long as George Monbiot, co-founder of Respect along with his friend the narcissistic, closet Islamist, bar brawler buddy of Saddam – George Galloway, is still employed by them.

  45. PJB says:

    When Phil Jones denies that he did anything untoward regarding FOI etc., does that qualify?

    Seeing a temperature trend that correlated reasonably with the ever-constant rise in CO2 (allowing for the various forcing factors etc.) would tend to show that we might want to look at CO2 as a cause and potential remedy for climate warming (if really desirable).

    Seeing model results that can’t predict their own initial conditions leaves me truly “skeptical” as to the value and accuracy of such methods. Knowing that large $um$ are in play concerning the investigation, elaboration and modification of CO2 and it’s climatic effects is another cause for “skepticism”.
    That global temperature changes is a given. That the current change is “unusual” is certainly verifiable but only with accurate and reliable raw data.

    Being part of the solution means knowing exactly what the problem is.

  46. John Hooper says:

    Mark, Edinburgh (11:20:07) :

    Mr. Watts and @Rhys Jagger 11.00.39

    You should be aware that Guardian comments columns are heavily censored.

    In particular they are careful to control informed and detailed sceptical comment.

    Access is simply denied to commentators like “Bishop Hill”. I’m also barred possibly because my email address is interpreted as a paid fossil fuel industry lobbyist (incorrectly as it happens) .

    Nonsense. I’m registered with a disposable gmail address and hardly ever have a post censored. No more than any other paper.

    Might depend on the columnist though.

  47. kwik says:

    This is not a problem in Norway at ALL. Because nothing is mentioned about all this in the news anyway.

    hehe.

    Anyway, I think the foreign minister of Norway , mr. Støre should say; Im sorry saying what I said, and for making an alliance with mr. Gore.

    And I promise to stop calling them the Carbon Cult!

    If they repend.

  48. cmdocker says:

    I think what we are talking here is censorship, a great deal can be gleaned from terminology, sticks n stones.

  49. Lucy says:

    I am not offended by the term “denier”, though it is misapplied. I am more offended by offense over labels. As far as I am concerned, EVERYTHING is open for question. It is when you stop questioning that you become a true denier.

  50. kwik says:

    And by Repend, I mean:

    Remove all Carbon tax’es in Norway.Now.

  51. D. King says:

    I really, really don’t care what they call me anymore.

  52. Ed Murphy says:

    Bernie Sanders compares climate skeptics to Nazi deniers 

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/33371.html
    Thanks to Marc Morano for this link

    Listen and call in to the Thom Hartmann radio show every Friday at noon EST. The first hour that day of the week is called ‘Brunch with Bernie’ and they take your calls if you’d like to talk with Sen. Bernie Sanders over this issue or any other.
    http://www.thomhartmann.com/listenlive.php

    Contact him here too:
    http://sanders.senate.gov/comments/

    His website:
    http://sanders.senate.gov

    Thom Hartmann is a walking, talking Al Gore clone… this is one of the main centers of where the progressive liberal lies & climate propaganda comes from. You can contact Thom Gore here.

    thom@thomhartmann.com

  53. L Nettles says:

    I took a look at the Guardian article. The author is still under the impression that climate skeptics deny that the world has warmed during the period of the instrumental record. In truth the vast majority of the skeptics believe that that world has warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age. For me those that deny the existence of the Little Ice Age are the one’s not worthy of respect.

  54. Phil says:

    Apart from the Holocaust denier connotation there is also the wild eyed religious connotation of labeling anyone who says things that contradict your belief as a ‘denier’.

    In other words they might want to stop using the word for no other reason than to stop themselves looking unhinged.

  55. Daniel H says:

    Not so fast. While I applaud and support your efforts, Anthony, I’m skeptical that a paper which regularly churns out trashy, character smearing, tabloid news stories like this one (see link) can ever be trusted or taken seriously on the subject of climate change:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/mar/06/climate-change-deniers-top-10

    Note to Guardian:

    Either get George Monbiot to issue a public apology to all AGW skeptics everywhere or get rid of him. Period.

    Then, and only then, will you be taken seriously as a legitimate news concern rather than the frothy sewage hole of putrid smelling yellow-green journalism that you currently are.

  56. Stephen Brown says:

    This one apparently simple step is, in fact, a most important move towards a more rational, logical debate about what is happening to the surface and atmosphere of our insignificant celestial spheroid. For far too long the debate about the pros and cons of this topic has more closely resembled trench warefare than intellectual intercourse.

    The Guardian editorial staff, having had a prod from Anthony, have recognised that name-calling benefits no-one and, in fact reflects badly on the name-caller. We should welcome such small concessions as this as being a recognition of the validity of our opposition to the proponents of the CAGW theory. We cannot be summarily dismissed any longer; there is too much genuine proof emerging, albeit slowly, that the model-predicted catastrophies are not occurring and the degree of anthropomorphic interference , if any, with the ever-changing climate is still a complete unknown.

    We should now reciprocate this concession and refrain from counter-productive name calling. Let rational debate, which does become heated from time to time, take its rightful place. Extremism of any type is destructive in nature. We all must now concentrate on what rigorous, correctly scientifically-based examination and open debate can bring forth. Applauding a properly produced result is welcomed; gloating over another’s discomfiture is to be discouraged.

    Anthony, this one seemingly small change could prove to be a very important concession from a newspaper as avowedly ‘green’ as the Guardian; I have no doubt that many of their readers are going to view this matter as some form of betrayal: they betray only themselves.

  57. Mike Haseler says:

    Hey has anyone seen this article: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/02/archaic-weather-network-run-with-volunteers/#

    It’s about this guy called Watts who seems to think the temperature data is suspect !

  58. Leon Brozyna says:

    Amen to that.

    And, to something else you said:

    I’ll also point out that it took our modern society about 150 years of science and technology advances to get where we are now. Doing it cleaner and better won’t be an overnight solution either.

    You don’t stop building coal-fired power plants just because there might be a way of generating electricity that won’t have an impact on the environment through the acts of building dams or mining coal. You do keep on building the infrastructure you currently have till you reach what I call a critical mass of knowledge and capabilities, where new discoveries and innovations are possible. And economically realistic. The first person that discovers how to tap into the energy in which the universe is awash will become a billionaire many times over; but wishing for that to happen will not make it so, especially if we try to freeze everything we have now in place while we await that magical, mystical future discovery.

  59. Great work, Anthony!

    And well done to The Guardian for making an important step in the right direction.

    Here’s to less name calling, and more discussion about the science.

  60. JackStraw says:

    >>My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate.

    Variations of this statement have been made by many of us so clearly and so often over the last few years that anyone who still does not understand this position is either not listening or deliberately misstating the facts. While I applaud the long overdue move by the Guardian (funny things happen when the “facts” change) to stop using the term denier some of the comments by the unnamed colleagues in the article lead me to believe this may be nothing more than an attempt to moderate the discussion not an acceptance that there are people of good faith who are genuinely skeptical.

  61. Martin Brumby says:

    Shucks. Does that mean I can’t call the paper the “Grauniad” and Monbiot “Great Moonbat” any more?

    Just one last time?

    OK, CTM, snip if you must.

    But in the new touchy feely let-it-all-hang-out spirit of benevolence towards our erstwhile detractors and tormentors, who has read his latest?:-
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/solar-panel-feed-in-tariff

    [H/T the indispensible http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/%5D

    I’ve never read anything by Monbiot so sensible!

  62. John in L du B says:

    I know of virtualy no one, warmist or sceptic, who doesn’t agree that the earth has warmed in the last 100 years
    I know of virtualy no one, warmist or sceptic, who doesn’t agree that man plays some role in changing the climate, at least on a regional basis, through several mechanisms:
    UHI
    Land use changes

    There are probably other.

    Almost everyone, warmist and sceptic, agrees that CO2 should have some effect on the global temperature. The question is how large?

    In fact, land use changes in some regions may be one of those important environmental issues that Anthony has characterized as “swallowed up” by the AGW debate.

    So where does James Randerson get off saying:

    “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

    I sense evidence at the Guardian of minds that have been closed for a long time, not willing to do any real investigative journalism. That’s a sad, scary and pathetic state of affairs. It suggests that we may reached the journalistic tipping point globally and it’s not tipping towards defense of democracy.

    John

  63. RickA says:

    I agree. Thanks.

  64. STEPHEN PARKER says:

    dont trust them. the gaurdian is a minority paper here. No one reads it. dont waste your time anthony

  65. P Gosselin says:

    That is quite an accomplishment.
    Reminds me of the Yosemite Sam clip where he was not allowed to get mad.
    (You might want to keep the kids away from the premises around Guardian HQ)

  66. Bruce Cobb says:

    “If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them)”
    So, Mr. Marsh still does, in fact think it’s OK to use the denier label in some cases. Because, in fact there has been no statistically-significant warming for the past 15 years, and some cooling since about 2001. But, in his book, anyone pointing that out would be a “denier”. I notice he also uses the “climate change is not happening” straw man, conflating it with the idea of non-warming, which is typical. He still doesn’t seem to get that nobody claims that the climate doesn’t change.

  67. TonyB says:

    jeff id

    I use the word ‘warmist,’ its supposed to be factual not derogatory. It would be interesting to have a short list of acceptable terms as we do need short hand sometimes. Is ‘team member’ still OK?

    tonyb

  68. Steve Goddard says:

    Kum,

    You make a very good point about whether or not it has gotten warmer. From what I have learned studying the most reliable data from the US and the Arctic, I don’t see much indication that it is significantly warmer now than it was 70 years ago. Might even be cooler.

  69. Just The Facts says:

    Does this mean that we are going to have to say goodbye to Monbiot’s “Top 10 climate change deniers – Monbiot’s royal flush: Cut out and keep climate change denier cards”?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-change-scepticism

  70. Nicely said by all, and a tip of the hat to those who can’t quite let themselves sign on. You start where you stand.

    Referring to people by labels is a sure way of cutting off any chance of discussion before it’s begun. On either side there are nuts, true believers, earnest scientists, agnostics and every shade in between. It’s most productive to attack a specific argument, rather than a whole class of people (most of whom you don’t know).

    I’ve tried to avoid doing so here. I’ll try harder.

  71. R Taylor says:

    A good start, but the Guardian editor’s “sceptical about the science” shows that he just doesn’t get it. No-one who applies reason to the interpretation of natural phenomena is “sceptical about the science.” Reason can lead to scepticism about the accuracy of observations and to disagreement about interpretations, especially if the CAGW interpretation refuses to recognize quantitatively the lag of carbon-dioxide behind temperature, etc.

  72. Sean Peake says:

    “If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them)”

    I may be misinformed (I’m NEVER wrong) but I thought these creatures used to reside in Scotland and disappeared (or moved off) over 110 years ago?

  73. GORE LIED says:

    “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science”

    This is a pretty bold assumption to make by a more reluctant member of the staff. I’d say he/she just doesn’t want to take that word weapon out of their quiver just yet.

    However, just the fact that they’d even seriously discuss this change in nomenclature is a huge step!

  74. HotRod says:

    I was about to say is ‘warmist’ ok? I use it, affectionately, to apply generally to believers in AGW who think something should be done about it, a broad church of generally well-meaning people, from people who confuse recycling with action on climate change to, whisper it, Gavin.

  75. shirley123 says:

    VIDEO – Sticking it to all the Big Oil “sock puppets”! http://bit.ly/cS4OUt
    2009 was the second hottest on record.

  76. Patrik says:

    It’s a very good thing to try to stop calling people names. Even if we all do it from time to time… ;)

    For what it’s worth, in Swedish, I usually call people from the other side of the fence “AGW-övertygade”, which would translate to “AGW-convinced”.
    It’s the most neutral and precise description I’ve come to think of.
    Which in turn would make us, not sceptics – since that probably could mean almost anyone. In fact i believe that quite a few AGW-convinced ones actually find it annoying that we should be the only sceptic ones, which in turn makes them “gullible” or worse… :)
    So, i prefer to call myself “AGW-sceptic”. Can’t think of anything more descriptive and neutral. :)

  77. Renaud Carême says:

    I have 2 problems with this article.

    First I find it a little bit condescendant from the Guardian notably “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance”. So in fact they consider us (note that “us” is a variety of opinion and thinking) as sceptical not to say anti-science.

    Then the second is the comment from Anthony about “My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years”. Well actually for me there is a debate about that, just 2 recent news help make me sceptic (oups) about this statement and I would like that there is a debate about that. one news is the article from Hansen in the NYT in 1989 where he recognised that there was no warming in the USA between 1895 and late 1980s, the other one is from climate gate where it appeared that “there was no warming since 1998 and it is a travesty that we cant show this.

    I will linked to that the work of the 2 MCs which showed that 1934 was the warmest year in the USA during the 20th century, the work from Anthony Watts about the validity of temperatures coming from the station in the USA, and the number of station across the world during the last century.

    Yes I doubt that late 20th century is warmer than late 19th and than any other period in the last 150 years so I would like a debate about this.

  78. James Evans says:

    “In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.”

    To be fair, if Dawkins is going to dish it out, then he really needs to be able to take it. I’m not religious myself, but the guy has to expect some sort of backlash for some of the utterly insulting things that he’s implied about religious people.

  79. Doug in Seattle says:

    How can anyone with senses deny that climate changes?

    The motivation and meaning of this strange juxtaposition of two words has clearly been an attempt to associate those who oppose the carbon cult (thanks kwik!) as the equivalent of followers of a somewhat similar cult in the 1930’s.

    Some, like Lubos at the Reference Frame, take pride in term being applied to them, as they feel they are compelled to deny the legitimacy of the fantasy of CO2 caused dangerous climate change.

    I can sympathize with Lubos, but I agree with Anthony on this one though. Thanks for suggesting the idea to the Guardian. You probably weren’t the only (or first) one though.

  80. ThousandsOfMilesAway says:

    An outbreak of humanity. Lovely stuff.

  81. Oslo says:

    I seem to find the same pattern wherever I look in the climate debate: the AGW proponents are invariably the ones who use ad hominem, straw men, slanderous characterizations and doubts about motives as a debating tactic.

    I see the same pattern in other reserch areas which have become politicized, for example in the social sciences, where those who have a political agenda do not want to discuss the science, but rather the political motives of the opponent. Obviously thinking that the opponent is just as politicized as him/herself.

    But in climate science this is not the case at all. There may be groups critical of AGW for business- or political reasons, but the core of the skeptical movement is all about the credibility of science.

    I think AGW proponents would be surprised to learn that most skeptics would in fact become alarmists over night, if only the science was credible and convincing.

    Now this is the only thing that can bring proponents and skeptics together: a thorough and transparent reexamination of the scientific basis, without the secrecy, the scheming and the bias towards warming in every link in the chain.

    But still they do not want to discuss the science. They have to be battled and fought from trench to trench, even when they are obviously and blatantly wrong. They will not let go of their “truths” even if science itself must be thwarted.

    As long as the scientific process is in shambles, there will be conflict, because it leaves no room for a reasonable and believeable scientific discourse.

    And this is why we are where we are today.

  82. Stevie says:

    I’m wondering why no-one mentions the fact that according to the latest satellite data, this winter has been the warmest since recordings began. Or that last year has been the second warmest and last decade the warmest on record. It’s very difficult to not see a continuing increase in temperatures.

  83. rbateman says:

    Anthony:
    You’re quoted on Fox News again:

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/02/archaic-weather-network-run-with-volunteers/

    Most notably:
    “What it boils down to, Watts says, is that some of the world’s top climate scientists have been crunching numbers that were altered by their immediate surroundings, rounded by volunteers, guessed at by the NCDC if there was insufficient data, then further adjusted to correct for “biases,” including the uneven times of day when measurements were taken — all ending up with a number that is 0.6 degrees warmer than the raw data, which Watts believes is itself suspect. ”

    Good job.
    And they got some nice B91 links for everyone to see.

  84. KlausB says:

    Great Anthony, really great, indeed.

    It’s not the end, but certainly, it’s the beginning of the end.
    In fact, I see it as the one of the greatest moments
    in this long and ugly uphill battle (enforced on us) since I
    became a ‘denier’, oops sceptic, about seven years ago.

    @Philhippos (11:07:28) :
    “Being polite but absolutely firm with the opposition is without doubt the right policy to pursue henceforth. Keep to the moral high ground.”
    WelI said, I do totally agree.

  85. b_C says:

    To nail down the divergence of opinions, would “sober on the science” be a sufficiently civil contrast with “high on the science?”

  86. Mike Haseler says:

    “Let’s all dial back and treat others with the same respect in conversation as you might treat dinner guests having a discussion at home.”

    The guardian have run a particularly nasty vicious campaign against scientifically sceptical people, particularly on their comments page where people who did not tow their editorial policy were kicked off for nothing much at all. E.g. my “crime” was to suggest that prof Jones had broken the FOI law!

    They might “say” they want to “engage with climate sceptics” but I won’t believe it until I get an email apologising for their behaviour.

  87. Leon Brozyna says:

    Just a tad O/T but there’s a bit up at FOX about a near and dear topic – weather stations – with quotes from the much beloved Rev …

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/02/archaic-weather-network-run-with-volunteers/

    (BTW, after a couple weeks, it’s great to be back online, now that I’ve made the switch from my desktop tower & XP to a widescreen laptop & Win7)

  88. TGBrown says:

    Even the term ‘skeptic’ (or sceptic, for our friends across the pond) becomes a pejorative term, because it implies that one is nothing but a critic–or worse, a cynic. There are many who simply want to carry out and publish good science.

    I think ‘naturalist’ is a much better term for those who take the view that much more attention needs to be placed on natural variations before we can say with any confidence which, if any, of the effects are anthropogenic.

  89. Larry says:

    I am not so sure the media are quite so innocent here. The telegraph had a report from Monckton years ago, and what struck me at the time was the basic historical evidence which did not appear un the mainstream press. Really that was what first convinced me there wasnt a case. Why scream about the arctic and not mention the antarctic? Why scream about greenland when it was known it was greener in viking times?

  90. Richard M says:

    While I appreciate the gesture, I can’t help but think there is no way this would have happened 4 months ago. So, there is very little I see here other than typical CYA. They really haven’t taken off the blindfolds yet.

    In any event, I think AGW is now old stuff. My new theory is AGD. In fact, I think it has more supporting evidence than AGW.

    Global drying may be responsible for the current upward trend in temperatures. We all know that deforestation, swamp removal and other land use changes have a tendency to dry micro-climates. Throw in increased water table flow due to human usage and the global atmosphere has been drying.

    The drying has led to increases in CO2 based on Miskolczi’s GHG theory. In fact, this theory better describes the near linear increase in CO2. While human emissions have increased exponentially, CO2 levels haven’t. Either there is an exponential CO2 sequestration mechanism or some other factor is relevant. Global drying represents that mechanism.

    Now, where do I get my billion dollars to study this further? And, I don’t want to hear any nonsense from you AGD deniers … er, skeptics.

    Only half kidding …

  91. Herman L says:

    All scientists are skeptical, but only a few deny the validity of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Hence the terms which many will continue to use.

  92. Tom G(ologist) says:

    I spoke about this with Joanne Nova a while ago, and my position remains the same – even the term ‘sceptic’ is not acceptable (Denier is just plain slander). So, too, is the epithet “Climate Sceptic”.

    We do not deny climate change, we are not sceptical that CO2 DOES indeed have a role in long-wave energy absorption. We are not sceptical that human activities DO indeed have some effect on climate. We do not doubt that we might have an accelerated impact as time goes on.

    What we are sceptical about are the methods and conclusions of the erstwhile “main stream” climate scientists. Those who are now in the stall stage of the stall-spin-crash-burn-die sequence (they’ve been doing plenty of ‘spin’ but it’s not the same variety).

    Look – in EVERY other branch of science, in all of which debate is tolerated, reporters say things like “ABC (scientist) says ‘this that…’ However, OTHER SCIENTISTS disagree, citing ‘the other thing’.”

    That’s wht I want to be called. OTHER SCIENTISTS. That’s what we ARE. We are NOT deniers, sceptics, doubters, meddlers, interferers, snake oil peddlers. We are scientists. We are the OTHER scientists who always get quoted whenever a science story is reported and the reporter wants to offer both sides.

    To call us sceptics puts us on a different, and lower, level than ‘scientists’. Anthony, YOU are a climate scientist. Why accept being introduced to the public as something other than what you are and what you are qualified to be recognized as – an equal player in the field.

    I am a geologist, a university educator, a practicing professional, and a Senate-appointed representative of Pennsylvania on the national licensing board for PGs. I am equally as qualified as M. Mann to weigh in on the paleoclimatological record. I don’t want to be perceived by the public as The Sceptic. I want to be the Other Geologist. To be labeled ANYTHING other than scientists demeans our position in the public mind.

    Ask the people in the Brights movement why they are willing to accept such a silly name for themselves. It’s because the word “Atheist” only has meaning in the context of theists. ‘Atheist’ means there is some deity(ies) which one doesn’t accept. It is the same – something must be true if one denies it. That same something must be true if one is simply sceptical of it. Something is not necessarily true if real PEERS (sensu stricto) are still researching the validity of either interpretation.

  93. Spector says:

    I believe use of a disrespectful term like ‘denialist’ is, perhaps, indicative of a fear that one’s own position may be unsupportable. On the other hand, I think that terms like ‘antagonist’ or ‘advocate’ would show respect for one’s opponent on a given issue without indicating a perceived weakness in one’s own case.

  94. Is it something inherently Anglo-Saxon that I, being a Russian country bumpkin, am not capable of understanding?

    Respecting your robber and asking him to be polite to you is a small step to… what, exactly?

    Reminds me of the shrinks’ advice to women being raped: try to relax and enjoy the process?

  95. Rick says:

    Interesting that this is all come about after the collapse of the attempt to force a re-write the world’s economies with massive taxes.

    Can there be a rational discussion when half of the world wants to beat the other half to a pulp with a giant carbon-trading stick? When the politicians (and some scientists) are using “science” in such an abusive way? When movement was spearheaded with lies(“inconvienent truth”) and the main visible leaders of the movement live such hypocrisy (Al Gore)?

    I agree on the general discussion of science. Its everything else that has caused the problems.

    Rick

  96. Richard Wright says:

    My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years…

    I often hear this kind of statement and wonder on which scientific facts it is based. Given the problems with temperature measurement identified by the Surface Stations project, I believe it is correct to say that the supposed warming of the past 100 years is within the margin of error of the measurements

    I think warming over the last 100 years is very debatable. And this is to say nothing of the problem of defining how to measure the temperature of the earth. Average together a few thousands sites? Satellite measurements of certain portions of the atmosphere? How about the earth’s core and the ocean depths? We can measure temperatures in any number of ways and average them together and plot trends but have little way of knowing if this is very representative at all of the “earth’s temperature”.

  97. kcom says:

    I think it’s a step in the right direction but it’s a half-step.

    We might help to promote a more constructive debate, however, by being “as explicit as possible about what we are talking about when we use the term sceptic”.

    If they want to be as explicit as possible then they have to acknowledge that the term “climate skeptic” (or “climate sceptic”) is itself vague and misleading and actually meaningless. No one here is skeptical that there’s a climate or that climate changes. They don’t own the concept of a climate and that’s not what we’re skeptical about. What we are skeptical about, and what they do own, is the hypothesis of AGW, and more specifically catastrophic AGW as presented to this point. If the Guardian wants to be truly accurate, they should use the term AGW skeptic, where the term is focused clearly on the subject that is the basis of the skepticism: AGW as propounded by Michael Mann, Phil Jones and others. That would be the most intellectually honest way to handle it.

  98. Tenuc says:

    I know in the past non-believers in CAGW, myself included, have had to suffer ridicule and mockery from the believers of this cargo-cult scientific religion, but now the tide of rational science is turning in our favour we need to be careful be polite but firm in getting the point across.

    Thanks, Anthony, for instigating a move in the right direction. A small step for a man, but a big step for mankind, I think.

    “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

  99. brent says:

    Although the denier label is offensive and deliberately so.
    (This labelling is a brownshirt tactic to demonize one opponent.) , Lindzen mentioned in one talk that being called a “skeptic” implies that there actually is a valid case for alarm in the first place, which Lindzen and many others would contest. On this basis Lindzen shrugged off being called a denier. What he really should be called is “honest”

    Instead of denier or skeptic, we should be called “honest” by the warmers if they themselves were willing to be truthful.

    It’s an explicit propaganda strategy to loudly attack the other side accusing them of that which one oneself is most guilty of.

    As a Prime example Noami Oreske tries to smear the “Honest” side as tobacconists, while she herself is guilty as hell of exactly what she accuses others of. She tries to claim the science was known and settled long ago.

    Here’s an earlier video or hers that had the warmers having multiple orgasms

    She spends a lot of drivel trying to argue ad hom on the basis of tobacconists, however she is doing exactly what she is accusing others of doing..and that is trying “control public perception” of uncertainty. In her case minimize the uncertainty wrt to AGW being “alarming”

    It is an explicit (and effective) propaganda strategy to go on the offensive and loudly accuse others of that of which she herself is most guilty.

    She went so over the top later in her smear job on Bill Nierenberg that even wikipedia Climate gatekeeper Connelly was taking her to task

    Lies Posing as History
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/lies-posing-as-history-4709

    Nierneberg, concluded: Oreskes is wrong
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/11/nierneberg_concluded_oreskes_i.php

    Similarly there is “denial” going on and it is the warmers who are guilty of this. They divert attention from themselves by loudly accusing others.

    cheers
    brent

  100. DirkH says:

    “shirley123 (12:11:47) :

    VIDEO – Sticking it to all the Big Oil “sock puppets”! http://bit.ly/cS4OUt
    2009 was the second hottest on record.”

    Hi shirley1234. I didn’t watch your video, i’m on a bad connection, could you tell me what it’s about? And i get the impression that you are one of those who think that CO2 is a major climate driver, am i right?

  101. Renaud Carême says:

    Tom G(ologist): thank you very much, I fully agree with you, that was with better clarity what I was thinking behind my first point.

  102. DirkH says:

    Oh, i also do think one shouldn’t let the Guardian off the hook. They deserve to be ruined for good for all the hatred MoonBat spouted.

  103. ShrNfr says:

    Don’t you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don’t you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death?

    No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no.

    One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out “Don’t you believe in anything?”

    “Yes”, I said. “I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”

    — Isaac Asimov

    ———–

    I find myself in his camp. I will believe anything if there is sound reasoning, observation, and confirmation by independent observers. Until then, I deny global warming, dragons that have hordes of gold, little green men, and all the rest.

  104. woodNfish says:

    What? Somebody reads The Guardian? Why?

  105. Richard Tol says:

    Progress at last.

  106. Mia Nony says:

    And here I thought the “D” word was “debate”!

  107. ShrNfr says:

    I should clarify the global warming. I deny that man has anything but a very secondary driver in periods of warming. I believe in global warming when the AMO is on the upswing and there is the PDO, and other well known and documented primary forcers.

  108. Dr T G Watkins says:

    Agree,well done again. The politicians need an exit strategy which allows them to save (somehow) face.
    No doubt the environment section of the Guardian, plus science editors at all the MSM will read Lindzen and others about the strong arguments against AGW hypothesis. Warren Meyer’s excellent essay is a good place to start for those with limited science!
    Lots of fun,however, owning up to being a denier, especially with strong ‘believers’, and then defining exactly what it is that you are denying ie in simple terms, poorly programmed computer models. A bit hairy after the Wales v France rugby on Friday, beer and discussion of firmly held views do not mix too well – fun though.

  109. UK John says:

    I enjoyed being a “flat earther” and a “denier”, its a pity they are changing their stance.

    Most of the people who carelessly use the word Denier, including those journalists at the Guardian, are hoping that some of the Nazi guilt for unimaginable, dehumanising, regimented killing of countless millions, will rub off on poor souls like myself. What are they thinking of!

    They need not fear I carry this guilt with me every day, as we all should. The World stood by and did almost nothing to prevent it. We still do it now, look around, over half the human race is governed by murdering gangsters. I have visited many countries, who are members of the UN, where if you speak up against the mind numbing poverty, injustice, religious intolerance that people have to endure you are got rid off permamently. I have seen parents carry their dead children up the streets in sacks, I have felt helpless, angry, ashamed.

    But I have never seen anyone die of Climate Change, and I suspect I never will.

    That is the lesson of history, that is the threat to our human civilisation.

    So if I deny Climate Change what of it!

  110. John Galt says:

    First of all, the word “climate change” is meaningless as the climate is supposed to change. I don’t know anybody who denies the climate changes. For all practical purposes, the climate has always changed and will always change.

    Skeptics know the climate is supposed to change. The other side seems to think otherwise. When people use the word denier, they are trying to control and limit dissenting thought.

  111. timheyes says:

    Well done the Guadian and well said Anthony.

    I do try to be nice to them but I’m not taking my tin-foil hat off! No way.

    Now where did I put that cheque from Exxon?

  112. Jack Morrison says:

    “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science”

    I think that one sentence pretty much overrides The Guardian’s supposedly generous offer, and makes it perfectly clear that they still think we’re all a bunch of deniers.

    Can anyone name one sceptic scientist who isn’t genuinely a sceptic?

    Aren’t all scientists supposed to be sceptics?

    I still don’t get it.

    Jack

  113. “Non-resistance to evil is resistance to good.” – Alexander Feht

  114. Spector says:

    RE: Skeptics: You might check out the meaning of the word “zetetic.” Of course, practically no one will know what you mean if you ever use it…

  115. Channon says:

    “They describe themselves as sceptics, but this is plainly wrong, as they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause.”

    Do I detect a paradigm shift? A feeling of discomfort? A wondering if all those carefully worded statements by various Royal Societies might just indicate that those dead cert bets need hedging?

  116. Paul Coppin says:

    I’m sorry, but after reading David Marsh’s piece above, any of you who think anything has been gained by dropping “denier” or any of the other terms, is going to make any difference in the debate is dreaming in Technicolor.

    Marsh’s piece fairly drips with condescending phraseology, and all that will change, is the increased use of the driveby verbiage the British are notoriously famous for.

    Witness this little bit of prose from the opening paragraphs: …Yes, the recent cold snap in the UK apparently demonstrates that the notion that climate change is happening at all, let alone as the result of human activity, is one big confidence trick.

    With due respect to the Express’s scientific rigour,”…

    While the term denier and denialist may fade, the sneer will not. This fight is far from over. “Deniers” will simply be replaced with “Climate Sceptics”, but the allusions will continue as before. Until you can convince them to abandon camps and treat the discussion on the merits or lack of the facts, you’ve won nothing. This is nothing more than case of changing from beating you with a flail, to using a mace.

  117. Wilson Flood says:

    None who are genuine in debating the climate issue deny the science, if by that we mean the nature of GHGs. We are sceptical about the data, about how it has been collected, represented and been misinterpreted for personal status or gain. We are sceptical (or unconvinced) about the ability of extra GHGs to warm catastrophically. We are sceptical about the motives of politicians whom we suspect do not understand the complexity of the issue. Perhaps we could have a sensible debate about energy security without reference to climate change.

  118. Larry says:

    There is something I still cannot understand from the mainstream media and opposition parties. This was supposed to be the biggest and most expensive crisis to hit mankind, requiring a mammoth effort. And yet, I saw nobody in the mainstream media or opposition parties demanding cost effectiveness. Surely the first thing on your list when coming up with the biggest budget the world has ever known, at tax payer expense, cost effectiveness would have been high up there? You may accept the science if you don’t feel able to question it, but how many reports did you see in the media about the tax payer not getting value for money? Stifling dissent is one thing, giving governments a blank cheque is quite another, and the msm holding the government to account is a cornerstone of a democratic society.

  119. Shytot says:

    I agree with and applaud the sentiment/effort although their apparent denial of our right to be sceptical maybe shows a possible half heartedness in accepting the proposals, dare I say theire sentiments are not robust ……

    I trust that it isn’t impolite to suggest that we have to feel sorry for them for being duped for so long and they probably need time to adjust to the new ideas and possible fallout from the changes happening all around them.

    Until such times as the science is truly settled, I will remain sceptical about the measured and manipulated data and I will continue to deny the assumption that the future can be accurately predicted !

  120. Kate says:

    I couldn’t care less what the Guardian calls real scientists and knowledge seekers on this issue or any other. I know that calling people names because of what they believe has never changed anyone’s mind. These days, I can hardly be bothered reading anything in the Guardian because of the poor standard of journalism. And when it comes to any article on global warming, the poor Guardian moderators may require regular hospital surgery to attach some sort of prosthetic device, their fingers having been worn down to bloody stumps by constantly hitting the “delete” key.

  121. Phil says:

    Kudos.

    There are deniers out there, but far fewer than those who lazily use the term think. By akk means, use it if it is truly warranted, but I think papers will find it rare that they can use it accurately.

  122. Channon says:

    Sceptic, Skeptic, Septic, Denier, Denialist.
    They can call me what they like but it wins them nothing.
    Maybe it shames them a little and makes it harder to respect them since it is a form of ad hominem.
    The only thing that wins the debate in the end is sound science.
    All the rest is just so much hot air.

  123. The Iceman Cometh says:

    “My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate.” I think it essential to throw in the effects, too. Because it has been warming, we have seen non-growth in the violence of storms, gentle rise in the sea level, no drastic spread in malaria etc etc (read AR4 WG2 to continue the list). None of the dire threats have come to pass. Something must be wrong. Could it be the models, perchance?

  124. Carbon Dioxide says:

    “UPDATE:

    In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article7043753.ece

    The blogger this refers to is Prof. Richard Dawkins.

    Now, this may not endear me to American conservatives, but I have been a fan of Dawkins and his crusade for secularism and evolution in the teeth of opposition from the religious right.

    His book- The God Delusion, is excellent and pulls no punches nor it pander to those who feel the need to stick up for God’s hurt feelings.

    Howevee, on BBC Radio 4 over Christmas there was a short series of talks by eminent scientists on evolution. (These talks were in the form of “letters” to Charles Darwin on the 200th aniversary of his birth- how his writings have influenced them and how the world has changed, further research etc, since Darwin’s day.

    At the end of his letter, Dawkins compares Evolution as settled science to AGW and how this has become “settled”.

    He gives no real evidence of this, but disturbingly for a militant atheist, states the “you have to believe in it”.

    This is man whose book (God Delusion) systematically dismantles Man’s habit of inventing supernatural beings to explain natural phenomena and anything else that defys explanation at the time and tells us not to believe in nonsense explainations, based on belief in invisible, unverifiable but convieniently invented gods, goblins or assorted demons.

    But Dawkins says (in “Letters to Darwin”) “you have believe in it ” (AGW) without any real evidence. However, on his website, Dawkins states that he has “no strong feelings either way” towards AGW.

    Reading between the lines, I consider that that Prof. Dawkins is trying to tell us something which would be career suicide for him to articulate further.

  125. Ian W says:

    Lets hope that the mad invective from the RealClimate people that has been aimed at David Adams and Fred Pearce will stiffen the resolve of the Guardian environmental journalists. See for example RealClimate or the comments to

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/01/phil-jones-climate-science-emails-select-committee-hearing

    These sort of attacks can only help anyone sceptical of the AGW climate science. These journalists took the AGW people at face value and now see the levels of abuse that result from even mildly critical coverage of their heroes.

  126. R. de Haan says:

    I love this!
    Thanks Anthony, great job, you’re a true gentleman.

    I also would like to thank the journalists of the Guardian for taking the time to discuss this subject and for their insights.

    It’s much appreciated.

  127. TomB says:

    “There are also other pressing environmental issues which have been swallowed whole by the maelstrom of this worldwide climate debate and are getting the short shrift. The sooner we can settle it, the sooner we can get on to solving those.” AW

    Exactly the point I’ve always tried to make when discussing the issue of AGW. Since AGW is very firmly identified as an environmentalist issue, if it should be found (or should I say, as has been found) to be a lie then all environmental issues will likewise to tainted. Being, at the very least, skeptical of AGW alarmism is actually a pro-environmentalist stance.

  128. Mia Nony says:

    http://www.philosophical-investigations.org/Wikipedia_on_Climate_Change

    “Despite this, it’s not just The Guardian (a paper I used to occasionally write articles on Computers and Education for) uncritically regurgitating Wikipedia. All over the word, journalists are writing stories about global warming using the same strategy.

    A Day in the Life of an Environment Editor
    10.00 Arrive at desk, switch computer on and have coffee
    11.00 am Editorial meeting. Boss says write something (groans all round) about Global Warming.
    12.00 Lunch
    2.30 pm Look at Wikipedia
    3.00 pm Ring or email someone mentioned there for comments
    4.00 Tea and organic chocky biscuits
    5.00 File 1000 words using WP and my vegetable patch as sources.
    That’s why Wikipedia’s influence is greater than you might think, if you imagine it is just net-nerds who read Wikipedia you may be deluding yourself. Quite possibly you get a compulsory dose of it every morning in regurgitated form in your newspaper and watch it every evening on TV.

    Only a few media organisations have the ‘resources’ to do any ‘research’ into these matters – one’s like the New York Times, which is a fervent backer of the cause, could it be in the interests of both the Democratic party and the Carbon Traders of Wall Street? – and the BBC. But the BBC held a meeting at which several climate experts were invited to see if there were any doubts or controversies about the climate change science, and these experts said certainly not! So the BBC has no worries. However, just to be on the safe side, it has officially designated the names of the experts it consulted a ‘secret’. Like the temperature readings used by the University of East Anglia to arrive at the conclusion that the world is overheating, these sources can never be revealed.

    Now the ‘science of global warming’, which is to say, the notion that man-made CO2 has caused, and is set increasingly to do so, the planet to warm slightly, is certainly not all the ‘sceptical way’ either. But let’s not get hung up on that. For any number of reasons, the world ‘could be’ warming up, just as the theory insists. If it is, we need a rational discussion of both the effects, the implications and possible mitigation strategies.

    None of these can start without a full and open exchange of views and evidence. Wikipedia has systematically distorted both – and it continues to do so.

    Here there are no controversies about inaccurate temperature records, manipulated temperature graphs, melting glaciers, african famines, dehydrating rain-forests, or ‘complete lists of greenhouse gases’ that miss out the one that causes 90 % of the greenhouse effect – water vapour*.

    Yet even giving the lobby its man-made global warming:
    • if temperature records are inaccurate, then remedial activities will be directed to the wrong regions
    • if glaciers are not really melting then emergency action to provide replacement fresh water supplies to a billion people in Asia is, to say the least, not necessary
    • if the rain-forests are not really dehydrating then it is still worth preserving the rain-forests, rather than converting them to ‘biofuels’, as is the current policy
    • if water vapour accounts for virtually all the greenhouse effect, then the economic value and utility of capturing other gases is functionally nil…
    One could go on – but why bother? There is no debate, only propaganda. Whether Wikipedia is as we are asked to believe, just a rudderless ship being tossed here and there on the tides of prevailing opinion, I personally doubt. The bias is careful, subtle and very, very thorough. It involves wholesale abuse of the supposed principles of the site – the right of ‘everyone’ to edit pages and the expulsion of those who make changes that are ‘off message’ (like my new page on sceptical views).

    Let’s leave the last word to Jimmy Wales, nominally at least, the benign dictator controlling the world’s most consulted encyclopaedia. I asked him (by email) if anything about the coverage of Climate Change there had worried him, given that it was not neutral at all, and was generated in ways contrary to his claimed principle that ‘all editors are equal’. In a characteristically unreflective reply, he wrote:

    “There exists a long line of people who, when their extremist agenda is not accepted into Wikipedia, accuse the community of bias.”
    Jimmy Wales, 15 Febuary 2010
    Jimmy may or may not be worried about the goings on at Wikipedia. But the rest of us should be.

    Notes

    About those frightening images… The ‘source’ is the Goddard Institute, and Gavin Schmidt, editor of realclimate.org (set up by the PR company that Al Gore’s environmental advisor was a staffer for), and former home of Wikipedia editing supremo, William Connoley. Does Wikipedia note that Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann – of the now discredited ‘hockey stick’ graph are both colleagues and chums? Or that the Goddard is run by James Hansen, one of Global Warming Theories’ founding fathers, so to speak, who has such an ‘extreme’ position the matter that he has fallen out with most of the others in the pro-camp. Quoting them is like quoting Liverpool Supporters Club on ‘who are the greatest’ football team. Or maybe like using George Monbiot’s vegetable patch as a marker for global climate change. Look at the small print too- Gavin and co admit that their ‘record temperatures’ result from spikes in measurements in the Arctic and ‘parts’ of the Antarctic – data sources that are considered so poor that the Met Office and other climate centrers do not incorporate at all into their models. But the Goddard not only uses these dubious statistics, as they say themselves, they then mathematically extrapolate them ‘over the entire land mass’ – obtaining many more record high temperatures!)]]

    1. Quotes from Wikipedia pages are from versions downloaded on 16 February 2010. The numbers in square brackets are left in to indicate the WIkipedia footnote gobbledegook.

    2. Lawrence Solomon,evidently confused by WIkipedia’s jargon, makes some large over-estimates of the influence of Connolley. I’m grateful to the Wikipedia Review for additional details on William Connolley’s activities.

    2. For those who are interested, the temperature records for the Siberia and China have been shown to have been deliberately falsified, while a much-quoted temperature-survey supposedly demonstrating only as small ‘urban heat’ effect contained key assertions that were impossible -that is, were flat lies. The key temperature graph of the IPCC report the so-called Hockey Stick graph, was inserted 3 times prominently by its inventor in one IPCC report, but then having been extensively discredited – notably for having ‘ironed out’ all evidence of past changes in temperature, not included at all in the next.The IPCC claim that all the ice in the Himalayas would have melted by 2035 was discredited when it was pointed out that it came from just one scientist, linked to the IPCC’s chief, who had no evidence to back it up, and instead a personal interest in the advancing of the claim. The IPCC predictions of massive crop failure in Sub-Saharan Africa and the disappearance of the rainforests due to lack of rain followed the same pattern – one ‘partisan’ source, not peer-reviewed. Indeed, when spotted, they were flatly rejected by relevant specialists. But that debate has been suppressed – up to now!

    1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming
    2see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/william-m-connolley/
    3http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2008/05/03/who-is-william-connolley-solomon.aspx

  129. kwik says:

    stephen richards (11:26:02) :

    “I am not inclined to forgive and forget the past activities of the Grauniad. They knew all along what they were doing. Their derisive remarks against well qualified scientists, many times more knowledgeable than them, were always unacceptable and against all principles of good, impartial journalism.”

    HEAR! HEAR!

  130. Peter Plail says:

    Maybe the Guardian is reviewing its use of extreme language now that it has been on the receiving end of the stream of bile emanating from RC over recent Guardian articles by Fred Pearce.

  131. Ecotretas says:

    This debate about terms is a little bit silly. If one talks about GW, we’re all talking about AGW. The deniers are those that deny the Earth being warmer in the past. As they seem to deny (do they?) that it was also colder…
    And if you talk about Climate Change, I can tell you that I’m a believer. I believe climate is changing today, it has changed in the past, and will certainly change in the future!!!
    Who are the deniers after all???
    Ecotretas

  132. Mike says:

    So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”? I do not know if that term has been used on this blog, but it certainly gets used a lot.

    I would tend to call Inhofe a denier and Lindzen a skeptic.

    In terms of debate, one needs to distinguish between scientific debate and public debate. There is no scientific debate on the veracity of natural selection driving evolution, but there is certainly a public debate. There is very little debate amoung professional climatogists the AGW is real and series. Even Lindzen says humans are responcible for about 1/3 of the obversed GW.

  133. Richard Wright says:

    It seems more than a tad ironic that Dawkins, who proclaims that 98% of the world is delusional, would complain about the nastiness of debate.

  134. dearieme says:

    “My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years”: my position is that it’s perfectly plausible that it has warmed, but until the effect is quantified competently and honestly, it seems premature to say that it’s certain. But it seems likely, I’ll grant you.

  135. Jay Currie says:

    I suspect it is dawning on the folks at the Guardian that the AGW position is looking rather less secure than it did, say, in October. From which it follows that calling people who a) have helped this happen, b) have been questioning that position all along, “deniers” and worse made the Guardian look quaint and outmoded. Now that is all very well over on the Fabian economics and policy side of the paper, but the hipsters on the environment beat couldn’t bear the ridicule.

    Slowly the actual science – with its complexity and uncertainty – is supplanting the all to neat, exact to the fourth decimal place, confections generated by computer models. The need for transparency and an audit trail have become mainstream. Bloggers like our host and Steve McIntyre have more credibility than the climategate emailers.

    The Guardian is simply trying to keep up as the world changes.

  136. Anthony

    I wish you well in your initiative to stop the name-calling and get both sides to concentrate on the issues. Too bad the AGW lead salesman and slide-show jockey doesn’t keep up with the spirit of the thing: http://www.herkinderkin.com/2010/03/al-gore-goes-on-the-attack/

    I object to his assertions that AGW-skeptics constitute a a criminal generation. I object to being tainted by association with unnamed AGW-skeptics funded by big oil. I object very strongly to having the skeptical position likened to the desperate attempts by tobacco companies to descredit those who established the dangers of smoking. Especially from the son of a tobacco farmer! Al Gore knows what every politician knows – that one can spout the most crude obscenities with impunity as long as one avoids using “obscenities”.

    PS – my cheap shot referring to Al Gore’s father only goes to show that I can be just as guilty. I rest my case. It will be a long haul bringing sense to the rhetoric. Thanks for having the guts to try it. I for one will do my best to practise moderation.

  137. Not Amused says:

    I guess nailing it down to the actual true label of “AGW skeptics” (being that nobody is skeptical of climate per se) would be too much to ask of The Guardian et al at this point ?

    Perhaps one day in the future we could be labelled appropriately as such (political correctness and all). Much like how history has played out with other minority “unfavorable” groups…

    *sigh*

  138. Jose A Veragio says:

    Good work Anthony.

    That offensive piece Monbiot’s royal flush: Cut out and keep climate change denier cards that has typified the Guardians coverage, still taking pride of place on just about every Guardian page remotely connected to Climate Change, makes a mockery any supposed change of heart ‘though.

  139. latitude says:

    “In terms of debate, one needs to distinguish between scientific debate and public debate.”

    Mike, I think the real debate is “just how much of this is climatologists blowing smoke”

    Honestly, do you really believe that the scientific community is that smart?

    Look at all the things we can not do, control, predict, cure, or even have a clue what makes it tic.

    and a bunch of climatologists want to profess that they not only have it all figured out, but know how to fix it.

    It all flies in the face of common sense, and that is the real debate.

  140. Wormsnapper says:

    Great idea: start negotiating with frauds and liars who’ve been crapping over science for twenty years. Not.

  141. Stephan says:

    One person who should be ashamed of himself Mr Tim Flannery Australian of the Year There will be more frequent and intense droughts in Australia
    http://www.news.com.au/national/record-rain-breaks-drought-in-boost-for-farmers/story-e6frfkvr-1225836346302

  142. Nick Yates says:

    Well done Anthony, although I think an apology from The Guardian would have been more appropriate.

    On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.

    I think it’s going to be increasingly obvious who has really been in denial about the eveidence..

  143. Mike,

    While evolution certainly goes on, it has so many drivers, and they interact in such a complex way that the evolutionary science is in the state of a constant flux and development.

    As to the AGW theory — apart from the fact that some 35,000 professional scientists signed a letter stating that it is a hoax — never forget that “very little debate” may have different explanations: it could be “consensus” (which means exactly nothing in the scientific world); it could be also “suppression,” “persecution,” and “censorship.”

    There was “very little debate” among the Soviet scientists about the “bourgeois” nature of such “pseudo-sciences” as genetics and cybernetics. And yes, this silence of the lambs was also portrayed in the Soviet media as “scientific consensus.”

  144. JDubya says:

    As someone with a degree in Physics, and had studied this subject in 1991-1993 before leaving graduate school to pursue a real career, I find it hilarious when I am called a “skeptic” or a “denier” by people who have no scientific education whatsoever. These people are drones. Even the ones in the press and media disgust me greatly. It is as if they are the sole decision maker here. What do you get? You get hilarious moments in journalistic history when a plastic top like Rick Sanchez attempts to seek the English translation for “9 meters”. What a load.

    What is even more amazing to me is that people who call me a “denier” call themselves a “believer”. This is the main problem. In physics, I was not taught to “believe” that Force is the product of a body’s mass and the acceleration. It is not something that can be “denied”. I was not “skeptical” about the Laws of Thermodynamics. However, these very real and very permanent, unchangeable laws seem to be broken by the “believers” to attain their “results”.

    When I was in undergraduate physics, I took a 400 level modern physics course. It was extremely difficult, but it was the best course I took. The professor would make us apply changes to the Force Laws, such as instead of inverse square, the relation was exponential, etc. This shaped our understanding of the laws and why there are relations, like the inverse square law.

    The problem is we have a new religion stemming from those who want to “believe” that Man is the center of the problem here. This may be the result of the generational shift and self-centered desires of the “Me” generation. Those who reject the traditional cultures and practices, pursue towards redefining everything and everyone by their own circular lexicons, and hyphenate everything under the sun to effectively categorize and box us up in our personal zones. And now these people, the “believers”, see themselves as the saviors of the planet. All of us masses are heretics.

    Let’s go this route; let’s say that all of us who have a science degree, regardless of how many peer reviewed journals we publish endless modeled graphs and hyperbole, that we are the “science educated class”. Those who want to “believe” cannot classify themselves as “science educated class”, because science is not about truth and false. It is about right and wrong. When your theory is wrong, it is wrong. A lot of bridges have fallen from wrong theories.

    The rest of the people, who may not have gone done the path of science education have every right to participate. Those who want to understand the whole issue, both sides of the equation, per se, should be called “vested participants” as it is everyone’s right to understand our world and to participate in making it better. Those who want to remain one-sided in terms of “belief” will still be called “believers”.

    The end result is this: many theories, some completely ridiculous and downright stupid, have been showing significant flaws to the point of bursting. This is due to the fact that these theories were wrong, not that enough people did “believe” these ideas. Bad ideas occur all the time. These usually lead to better ideas. Bad ideas are not false, they are just wrong.

    So when I hear that the “press” is discussing how to classify us, I laugh. I have a classification for them that has been tossed around quite a bit. I call them “dinosaurs”.

    Oh, and still a great site here, Mr. Watts. Keep growing.

  145. J.Peden says:

    Mike (13:17:17) :

    So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”?

    Well, we can’t call it “science” because many of its main proponent Climate Scientists refuse to follow the Scientific Method. So what term do you propose instead?

  146. jlc says:

    I’m not a scientist. I’m an engineer. I design and build dams and hydroelectric projects. To do this, I need a good understanding of both climate and weather and I’ve been doing this for 45 years. I’ve worked in Mongolia where temperatures drop to -50°C and Australia where they go to plus 50°.

    I, personally, am not aware of any warming over the past 45 years, but am prepared to acceot that some has occurred.

    I consider myself to be a climate-change skeptic.

    1. There is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that there has been some warming since 1970.

    2. Obviously, most of this evidence comes from areas where most of the nearly 7 billion people on the planet reside

    3. For the most part, temperature date from the places where people don’t live in great numbers (95% of the area of our “fragile” planet) is generally anecdotal and not scientific

    4. There is no way of establishing if temperatures since 1970 have been warmer than the MWP or the Roman max

    5. If 1. is correct, there is no way of establishing magnitude of change to a precision of better than ± 1° (since 1970).

    6. If 1. is correct, there are many possible explanations: natural cycles, land use changes, CO2.

    7. If sea levels are rising by 3 mm/year, we would have seen a 2 m rise in sea level in Port Philip Bay (at Melbourne, where I was born and last visited in Jan 2010). When I look at the rocks at Picnic Point in Sandringham, I have difficulty seeing more than 25 cm rise at most.

    As a serious, competent and honest engineer, I find it troubling to find that there are “scientists” who are not skeptics.

    Thanks, Anthony. WUWT has really been a breath of fresh air for me – to realize that there are intelligent people out there who are not prepared to go along with the herd mentality.

  147. pwl says:

    From the article: “Blogs on genetics, the science of evolution, astrology and astronomy attract fierce postings from staunch believers and disbelievers, but inevitably it is climate change that has provoked the most abuse, especially from climate change deniers or “sceptics”.” – Amy Turner

    That is a false statement in my experience. I find that it is those that support the alleged AGW hypothesis are the ones who can’t bite their tongues and keep their fingers from typing all kinds of vitriol. Just asking basic questions about the alleged AGW hypothesis trigger the nastiest ad hominem splatterings leading to censorship and exclusion from particular web sites in question; e.g. pharangula. Certainly living in a “green stronghold” city such as Vancouver one gets this type of caustic vitriol a lot as well when the topic is the alleged AGW hypothesis.

    Being “right” at the exclusion of being able to politely discuss the topic at hand isn’t a virtue and most certainly isn’t a virtue on topics of science.

    There is also the issue of science education, those that support the alleged AGW hypothesis don’t seem to consider that not everyone understands everything as some of them might think that they do. That is why we have questions built into human languages: for learning. It is much more difficult to learn when everyone or just about everyone you talk with about a topic attack you personally for asking questions on the topic at hand (in this case the alleged climate science of the alleged AGW hypothesis).

    Given my interactions with people clearly many people who support the alleged AGW hypothesis are not actually informed at a detailed level about the alleged AGW hypothesis.

    It sure makes it much harder to learn the very many complex details when one is attacked for asking questions about it.

    Human brains evolved to easily accept “beliefs” since in many cases if you don’t accept the belief you’ll be dead. For example, kids are usually wise to believe their parents when they say there is a monster in the forest… it’s a good thing too since crocodiles like to chomp on humans just as much as they do other animals.

    Learning to observe one’s own beliefs so that one can intercept their wayward impact upon you and others is an important skill for every human to develop. It’s also an important protection against being conned in life. It’s part of bringing rationality into your life, and rationality is at the root of the scientific method. By belief I mean thinking something is true or false when you have no evidence for it being so.

    Evidence based rational thinking that eliminates belief as much as possible is in many ways alien to many people which is why science education is so important to the survival of our human civilization.

    While it’s expedient it’s not enough for the media and others to simply make claims stating their position when it comes to topics of science, they must provide the actual evidence to back up their claims.

  148. Stefan says:

    Philhippos (11:07:28) :
    Trained negotiators know the vital importance of providing the potential mind-changer with a ladder that allows them to emerge…

    Very interesting point. And great to see The Guardian taking these issues very seriously.

  149. David Alan Evans says:

    I am a denier & proud of it!

    I deny CAGW!

    I accept that we have some influence on the climate through local influences but that CO2 can have significant effects upon the Earth, that I am sceptical of and catastrophic effects I deny!

    The atmosphere just cannot hold that much energy given the current & probable future conditions.

    When we can adequately explain the MWP & LIA, maybe we will have enough to contemplate human impacts seriously.

    It’s the water stupid!

    DaveE.

  150. b.poli says:

    Richard Feyman: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” Deniers or sceptics – does that matter? Both can be very honorable positions and presumedly more honorable than the believer’s (in AGW). The deniers of Himalaya-glaciers-melting IPCC report were correct, not the sceptics. Who were the deniers? Those who went there an looked, real scientists.

    “My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, ….” “Has been” or “is”? GISS is adjusting data (older ones down, younger ones up) every day, CRU are data non existent in the world of science (due to the Royal Scocieties of Physics, Chemistry and Statistica) – and there is no debate?

    “No debate”? Really? “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” and therefore the debate should never end – especially not when data and/or code are hidden. The Guardian has to learn a lot about science. They should start with a little Popper … I don’t care what people, who believe in the end of the scientific debate, call me.

    Warming or not, CO2 or not – the debate will become a political one. How to argue with believe that there is no debate?

  151. S G G Smith says:

    For my part, I’d much rather be called a “Denier” than a “Skeptic” because the latter has connotations like “I have seen, but I have doubts”. Whereas my true position is that “I have seen” and “there are minimal doubts” that the whole thing is a monumental con trick, or at best, a monumental mistake.
    So what should I be called?
    As a scientist looking at climate change, I would actually quite like to be known as an “AGW scientist”. But that title has been usurped by the MSM to describe the clique of IPCC funded individuals whose agencies seek to tell us we’re wrecking the planet.
    So, where do we go from here? Seems to me that we need a new plausible title.

    I’d love to hear your suggestions (if Anthony doesn’t object).

    How does anybody fancy something like “AGW Truth Seeker” (or something similar)? Corny, I know, but you see the sort of thing. (We can work on this.)

    S

  152. Lord Jim says:

    ” Jose A Veragio (13:26:22) :

    Good work Anthony.

    That offensive piece Monbiot’s royal flush: Cut out and keep climate change denier cards that has typified the Guardians coverage, still taking pride of place on just about every Guardian page remotely connected to Climate Change, makes a mockery any supposed change of heart ‘though.”

    Curious, look what Monbiot says about David Bellamy:

    “He [Bellamy] maintains that “since I said I didn’t believe human beings caused global warming I’ve not been allowed to make a TV programme.” This is odd because he stopped making TV programmes in 1994. He was making public statements in support of mainstream climate science until at least 2000.”

    Here’s what Bellamy says:

    “My absence has been noticed, because wherever I go I meet people who say: “I grew up with you on the television, where are you now?” It was in 1996 that I criticised wind farms while appearing on children’s program Blue Peter, and I also had an article published in which I described global warming as poppycock. The truth is, I didn’t think wind farms were an effective means of alternative energy, so I said so. Back then, at the BBC you had to toe the line, and I wasn’t doing that.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/the-price-of-dissent/story-e6frg7b6-1111118127677

  153. Green Sand says:

    Did somebody predict a “negotiation” stage?

    I have never really been bothered about the denier handle, but I am aware that quite a few are. The only one that really annoyed me was being called a “flat-earther” by The Moron (Gordon is a Moron, a piece of prophetic punk rock)

    How about: –

    Seeker – someone making a search or inquiry; “they are seekers after truth”

  154. Jaye says:

    The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science

    This statement invalidates the Guardian’s position wholesale. Reminds of something Rob Wilson or Judith Curry would say.

  155. Jud says:

    Don’t worry about the terminology.
    The eventual outcome will define the long term meaning associated with it.
    A time will come when we will look back on ‘denialist’ as a badge of honour – belonging to the people who were there to defend science in its darkest hour.

    I suspect many who are most entrenched on the ‘post normal standard practice’ side of the ‘debate’ right now will have quietly turned their coats inside out by that time, and will fondly recount their valiant battle against the corruption of science to anyone who will listen.

  156. leg says:

    Anthony: for all the years I have been following your web sites, I have seen very few lapses to name-calling on your part or by those you invite to post. You are one of those whom I call a gentleman – in the finest sense of the word. I will not subscribe to any web site (or news program) where nastiness is the norm. My compliment to you is that I visit here nearly every day.
    I hope you grasp the fact that it often takes decades to change entrenched, bad science. You (and others like McIntyre) have shortened that time frame dramatically. Thanks.
    Essentially this site (and ClimateAudit even more so) is a peer review site. Peer review done in live-time via the web is fascinating to see and fun to participate in. I’m really hoping other sciences will see the value of this and start turning to it as a way to really share and debate information. If they follow your web site’s example, it could be an exciting (and fun!) step forward for science.

  157. Richard M says:

    Mike (13:17:17) :

    So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”? I do not know if that term has been used on this blog, but it certainly gets used a lot.

    I would tend to call Inhofe a denier and Lindzen a skeptic.

    In terms of debate, one needs to distinguish between scientific debate and public debate. There is no scientific debate on the veracity of natural selection driving evolution, but there is certainly a public debate. There is very little debate amoung professional climatogists the AGW is real and series. Even Lindzen says humans are responcible for about 1/3 of the obversed GW?

    Personally, I’m skeptical of Lindzen’s guess.

    The question about warming is also moot. Even if there is no warming doesn’t mean AGW is false, and likewise, warming itself does not mean AGW is true. The only thing that matters is whether the sum of our knowledge is sufficent to understand climate.

    In cancer research a lot has been learned over the last 50 years. Much more time has been spent in this research than has been spent studying climate. Still, we have no cure. What does that mean? It means we KNOW that we still have more to learn. In climate science you have nothing to measure your knowledge against. You simply have assertions by some climate scientists that they have enough knowledge to make their assertions.

    The fact that some people believe these assertions and some people don’t is usually based on many factors. I think experience has caused many people to doubt that our knowledge is sufficient to understand climate. It doesn’t help that many of those making the assertions have been hiding data, massaging data and attempting to control the peer review process.

    PS. The real debate in climate science is about sensitivity. It is what determines whether any severe problems are even possible. In that area there is much debate. If you don’t understand this, you have on blindfolds.

  158. R.S.Brown says:

    Anthony,

    It’s my impression that some consider ’sceptic’ to be on par
    with the shorthand concepts of “know nothings” and in the
    lowest form, “Troglodyte”.

    One one side of the debate, ’sceptic’ is a badge of honor,
    with centuries of saying “Prove it.”. The other side seems
    fixated on depicting the “sceptic” as being willfully ignorant.

    Debates alway seem to come with lapel pins and labels.

    May we continue to call the trolls “trolls” ?

    REPLY: Troll is usually applied to somebody who posts anonymously, and I’ve used the term since it started on early BBS’s and not in climate debate. -A

  159. Jan Curtis says:

    “Climate Skeptics”…. I don’t believe that ANYONE is skeptical that climate exists!

  160. Jose A Veragio says:

    Speaking of the Guardian, what’s happened to George Monbiot ?

    Have you seen his latest piece,

    Are we really going to let ourselves be duped into this solar panel rip-off ?

    Championing the little guy, who’s being ripped off by big Government !

    Decrying the incredible inefficiencies of Solar & Wind power !

    Astounding.

    Are he & Lord Monckton really just kindred spirits.

  161. LeoR says:

    Rational discussion is returning to this field of science. Why? Because the truth is winning out, and the proponents of AGW are running scared. Some have crossed the line, and should be prosecuted. The politics are slowly being weaned out, and without this political support, I suspect the hypothesis of AGW and it’s doomsday effects will be proven wrong or have none to minimal impact. Proven cost-effective technology in service or in the design stage, should once again take a front seat, to solve real pollution problems.

  162. Pete Ballard says:

    Amazing what good can come from just a little leak/hack.

  163. Paul Vaughan says:

    There’s no victory here. There term “climate sceptic” simply doesn’t fit reality. I am most certainly NOT sceptical that climate change occurs naturally. Also, “denier” is a useful term for differentiating hyperpartisan clowns, who pollute serious discussions about natural climate variations. I advocate use of the term and dismiss frivolously-based coercion to reserve use of the term for very narrow contexts (which have absolutely nothing to do with the climate discussion). Others may disagree – no problem with disagreement – it is normal. The term “climate sceptic” is just going to mislead the public into thinking, “What idiots! They think climate is static! They MUST be political hyperpartisan nut-jobs.” We can’t settle for this. “Nonalarmist” makes WAY more sense – it conveys the truth – i.e. “This person simply is not alarmed about climate change” (which includes natural climate change …something we’ll have to keep endlessly pointing out, of course). Having conveyed all this, I will add that I respect the host – (I disagree publicly out of a sense of responsibility).

  164. pwl says:

    “Three cheers for democracy, then. But what about faith in the academics’ authority?” – Amy Turner

    What? You’re kidding right Amy? Faith?

    Belief is thinking something is true or false when you have no evidence for it being so.

    Faith is believing something is true or false even when you have tons of evidence that it is not so. With faith you don’t care about evidence since your “faith” will carry you instead of the hard objective reality.

    Amy Turner is asking us to rely upon “faith” to trust “in the academics’ authority”? You’ve got to be kidding.

    Maybe if Phil Jones and Michael Mann et. al. were forthcoming when asked the first time with their data and program source codes they might have been afforded some respect as a scientist. However, that ship sailed a long time ago by their own decisions taking with them any hope of any “faith” or “respect”. Their bad decisions have lead them to bad scientists.

    Furthermore, “faith in authority” is a logical fallacy when it comes to science. It’s just really bad thinking on Amy Turner’s part to appeal to authority. It shows that she doesn’t comprehend the scientific method at all. Science and scientists are supposed to be questioned about their claims, that is how science progresses.

    Clearly Amy Turner would rather science be a religion with blind faith in beliefs just based upon the high academic priests pronouncements that it’s true. It’s a sad day for alleged science journalism Amy Turner.

  165. pwl says:

    Oops, that should be:

    Their bad decisions have lead them to BE bad scientists.

  166. Edward Bancroft says:

    This is a welcome shift in the Guardian stance on AGW, but is I think more designed to damp down some of the impetus of those who have demonstrated the flaws and misdirections of the IPCC/CRU/AGW camp. The Guardian journalists can see that a lot of traction has been gained by the opposition to the AGW belief over the last few months, and that certain major UK media, The Times, and The Telegraph, in particular have been active in exposing the deceit.

    The Times and Telegraph both have circulations higher than the Guardian, and a readership with higher educational attainments than their own reader base. I suspect that the Guardian readers have mostly arts or sociology backgrounds, whilst the others have a mix of socio, arts, economic, and of course science backgrounds. The weight of informed opinion is clearly not in favour of the Guardian.

    In the past, the Guardian has not held back from using single local weather events to justify AGW. The floods last year in the UK were blamed on AGW, the hurricane Katrina also, and a hot summer in 2003 was also given the weather=climate journalistic spin. Yet in their article, when the Daily Express uses the recent very cold winter to question AGW, they say:
    “With due respect to the Express’s scientific rigour, is it appropriate, do you think, to dignify such claptrap as climate change scepticism? ”

    So most dangerously, the Guardian are still not aware of their own hypocrisy, nor indeed of their possible culpability in misleading the public with their unquestioning, uncritical, and unjournalistic AGW stance.

  167. Marx Hugoson says:

    The real problem with us “Deniers” is this:

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/410397/dilbert_the_knack/

    When ever I meet a fellow “Denier”, 90% of the time I ask..”Are you an Engineer”. About the only “engineers” who are AWG cultists (heh, heh, my term for them..call me Dogbert) they say, “Yes, how did you know?”.

    Max

  168. Jordan says:

    Guardian: “they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause …”

    On this side of the House, we have a particular view about who believes any old rubbish to suit their cause.

    Guardian: “If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier”

    I give you the shaft of the Hockey Stick. This is a well documented claim that the climate had not changed for more than a millenium …. bringing us neatly back to those who will believe any old rubbish.

  169. geo says:

    Good for them.

    If the high-profile skeptics would like a chance to reciprocate, then giving coverage (and deploring the phenomenon it descrbes) to this would be a pretty good place to do it: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-cyber-bullying

  170. Marx Hugoson says:

    Opps, Charles can you fix the problem?

    The real problem with us “Deniers” is this:

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/410397/dilbert_the_knack/

    When ever I meet a fellow “Denier”, 90% of the time I ask..”Are you an Engineer” they say, “Yes, how did you know?”. About the only “engineers” who are AWG cultists are computer engineers(heh, heh, my term for them..call me Dogbert)

    Max

  171. hunter says:

    My take is that this is an incremental step, in line with Dr. Curry’s of last week, rather than a sea change.
    A sea change would be for the media to start saying “‘alleged’ climate crisis”, and to label AGW promoters as extremists or political supporters of AGW, etc.
    A sea change would be for politicians to critically review the claims and methods and procedures of AGW promoters, while the promoters are under oath.
    We are not there yet, but things are changing.
    The sea may not be changing, but the tide is turning.

  172. David, UK says:

    “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

    Very few are genuinely sceptical? Oh please, O-Guardian! There were enough genuinely sceptical scientists (and people in general) BEFORE the Climategate revelations. Now AFTER those revelations I would hope MOST people are sceptical. And if they are not, then it is they who are in denial.

  173. Gail Combs says:

    As far as I am concerned “denier” is in the same category as the politically incorrect term for“black” yet It is acceptable for politicians and the media to call me a “denier’ but it is not acceptable for me to use the politically incorrect term for “black” to describe Obama.

    Pot met kettle. The hypocrisy is sickening.

    I am afraid I agree with Alexander Feht at (11:20:06)
    You are dining with the Devil who wishes to have the appearance of occupying the moral high ground, and you are granting that moral high ground to the Guardian in the way you are dealing with them. CAGW has been a fraud knowingly used to manipulate the public for over 35 years. It has done much harm including killing thousands if not millions of children through starvation.

    “Using United Nations global poverty statistics as a base, it is now clear that United States and European Union biofuel policies will significantly contribute to the early, avoidable deaths of between 10 and 20 million people in the year 2008 alone…. Two years ago the price of corn was only $2 bushel, but expanding ethanol production has pushed corn prices up to over $6 a bushel today, … In the year 2007, the USA alone turned enough corn, soybeans, and rapeseed into biofuels to satisfy the yearly caloric needs of over 250 million people. The World Bank states that staple food prices have increased by an incredible 80% in the 3 year period from 2005 to 2008, and that 33 nations now face political instability as a result. There have been food riots in at least 20 different countries, even in wealthy Italy.”
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_christop_080410_the_great_biofuel_fa.htm

    Here is the evidence that CAGW was a fraud done for political reasons:
    “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill … All these dangers are caused by human intervention and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”

    — in The First Global Revolution, pp.104-105 by Alexander King, founder of the Club of Rome and Bertrand Schneider, secretary of the Club of Rome

    Ask the writers at the Guardian how they feel about contributing to the deaths of thousands of children in their frenzied support of Global Warming. Are they going to apologize to the families of all those children? Are they going to make monetary restitution when time proves CAGW to be the biggest science fraud put over on a gullible public?

    I would really like to hear an answer to these questions from the Guardian staff. I think it is about time the media has its feet held to the fire when they contribute to the deaths of millions because of irresponsible reporting.

  174. Gary says:

    OK, should global warming “alarmists” will now be called “advocates?”

    I expect there will much opposition by those who have called themselves “sceptics” about many other issues because from my observations they mostly support AGW ideas and severely criticize those who don’t. We’ll be accused of trying to camouflage ourselves with *their* label.

  175. pat says:

    the ‘D’ word is only a symptom of a much bigger problem.
    read the Guardian’s piece – how many times does it mention ‘climate change’? why doesn’t the article discuss the misuse of the generic ‘climate change’, which should be ‘catastrophic anthopogenic climate change’.

    it is not by accident that the generic terms – ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ have been adopted by the entire MSM. their use is unscientific, dishonest, and propagandistic, and has ennabled the MSM to portray skeptics of CAGW as ‘deniers’ of natural processes. skeptics argue over access to data, interpretation of data that is available, degrees of warming, what it means, what should or shouldn’t be done, etc.

    ridding news stories of the ‘D’ word means nothing if the MSM continues to use these generic terms.

    Sage Journal: What’s in a name? Commonalities and differences in public understanding of “climate change” and “global warming”
    Lorraine Whitmarsh
    Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
    The findings point to important qualitative, as well as quantitative, differences between public understanding of “climate change” and public understanding of “global warming.” Furthermore, the latter term was found to evoke more concern than the former. As discussed in the article, these results have important implications for both researchers and communicators
    This version was published on July 1, 2009
    http://pus.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/18/4/401

    September 2004: The Social Simulation of the Public Perception
    of Weather Events and their Effect upon the
    Development of Belief in Anthropogenic
    Climate Change
    Dennis Bray, GKSS Forschungszentrum, Geesthacht, D-
    21502, Germany
    Simon Shackley, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change
    Research, University of Manchester, M60 1QD
    Tyndall Centre Working Paper No. 58
    In this paper, we explore under what conditions belief in global warming or climate change, as identified and defined by experience, science and the media, can be maintained in the public’s perception
    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/sites/default/files/wp58.pdf

  176. Eric Smith says:

    The Guardian was sponsored, leading up to Copenhagen by Shell Oil, E.ON coal, and nunerous other companies to promote carbon trading. They are still doing it, even though the adverts are gone.

    They don’t believe what they are writing, they are being paid.

  177. Marlene Anderson says:

    It’s a good and welcome start though their environmental editor’s pro-AGW stance is evident from the comment, “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.” The only thing you can deny is that which is irrefutably true and the evidence presented to-date leaves too many questions unanswered or wrongly answered to say CAGW is irrefutable.

  178. berniel says:

    Bishop Hill posted some curious notes about a meeting of press and others at Oxford Uni last Friday. Dunno the status of these notes (verbatum? quotable?) but there are some interesting insights into the views of journalists:

    DA of the guardian:
    I used to think sceptics were bad and mad but now the bad people (lobbyists for fossil fuel industries) had gone, leaving only the mad.

    DA: The meaning of sceptic is very specific. It’s not taxi drivers or people who don’t want to pay higher electricity bills. It’s someone who knows better and takes a contrary view for pathological reasons. No journalists believe that climate science was undermined by the emails.

    DA: We can no longer call people deniers. We need a new term. Some people have suggested “climate creationists”.

    BJ of the Sun
    We need to present the sceptical [point of view]. Last year we just printed press releases on AGW if they came from people with the right credentials; that won’t do any longer.

    FH of Financial times:
    A short-term disaster is needed to guarantee coverage as people aren’t good at processing information about there being no ice at the poles in 30 years. Or get David Attenborough as the front man because everyone trusts him.

    [I've always been curious about Attenborough - avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]

  179. mercurior says:

    If you read the article at the end they state

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/climate-change-scepticism-style-guide

    “If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them). A final quotation, this time from George Jean Nathan: “The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of scepticism.” Let’s hope no one’s burned down the forest to build a motorway or drill for oil.”

  180. INGSOC says:

    Some may have noticed that I have not commented much for the past three months. This is for the exact reasons Anthony eludes too above. (Quitting smoking has had more than a little to do with it as well)

    Enough slander. Time to get back to sound methods. I too am encouraged by the Guardians tone.

  181. John Galt says:

    Mike (13:17:17) :
    So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”? I do not know if that term has been used on this blog, but it certainly gets used a lot.

    I would tend to call Inhofe a denier and Lindzen a skeptic.

    In terms of debate, one needs to distinguish between scientific debate and public debate. There is no scientific debate on the veracity of natural selection driving evolution, but there is certainly a public debate. There is very little debate amoung professional climatogists the AGW is real and series. Even Lindzen says humans are responcible for about 1/3 of the obversed GW.

    A hoax is an intentional attempt to deceive or defraud (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hoax). For most AGW supporters, that certainly is not the case. People are generally misusing the term when the refer to AGW as a hoax or fraud.

    But the sincerity of the climate scientists and non-scientists supported AGW is not really the issue. The veracity of the claims is what is important.

    For instance, what is the factual basis for the claims that recent warming is unprecedented? Is the claim unequivocal or supported by the preponderance of the evidence?

    It is, but only if you out-of-hand throw out the mass of evidence that indicates otherwise.

  182. jothi85 says:

    Anthony,
    The current global warming supporters/protagonists do not stop at just it is warmer, and it is, to a large extent, because of humans. They also go on to expound on unproven theories about what it’s effect will be on the people and the other living things ( crops, polar bears, etc, etc ).

  183. brent says:

    re J.Peden (13:41:41) :

    I’ve long called it “Sceance”

    cheers
    brent

  184. John R. Walker says:

    To put it bluntly, in the current frame of reference, I have no problem with being called an AGW denier. I wear it as a badge of honour!

    I am not interested in the tortological twaddle that comes from ‘the other side’, nor in their concessions at this late stage in the collapse of their fraudulent belief system.

    They do not owe me an apology for calling me a denier, they owe me an apology for being wrong from the outset…

    As far as I am concerned the AGW believers are the deniers not me!

  185. John E. says:

    “I use the term deniers not because I am seeking to make a link with the Holocaust, but because I can’t think what else to call them. They describe themselves as sceptics, but this is plainly wrong, as they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause … We badly need a new term for general use.”

    How about calling them ‘mistaken, IMO.’ The only reason that won’t work for this proud fellow is that he wants a term that allows him to ascribe motivations — “they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause” — of which in most or all cases he has no actual personal knowledge. That’s the rub Mr. Marsh if you are listening to us. What users of this term are after in the first place is an insulting term to characterize those who disagree as tendentious enemies of their own righteous cause. It is self-righteous disrespect for disagreement.

  186. lex says:

    It was the least the Guardian could do. Just 6 months ago sceptics were declared deniers, believers of the flat earth etc.
    Nonetheless I believe one should give someone a chance to retreat.

  187. DirkH says:

    “berniel (14:51:56) :
    [...]
    [I’ve always been curious about Attenborough – avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)”

    Don’t know about the opinion Attenborough has, but he has been used for an AGW film by the BBC where some apprentice scientist impersonator youngster shows him, i don’t know, some hockey stick shaped graph printed in huge size on the floor and a befuddled Attenborough goes along that graph that shows a dramatical and possibly catastrophic upswing… Maybe he had to do that given the employer. You find the snippet on Youtube.
    “The Truth About Global Warming”

  188. Jose A Veragio says:


    [I've always been curious about Attenborough - avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]

    Indeed.

    He saw what happened to David Bellamy, who used to work at the BBC, where he still does and presumably still wants to.

  189. sunsettommy says:

    I use the phrase AGW believer.

    Accurate,neutral and easy to understand.

  190. mick says:

    Climate skeptics? What – skeptical there is a climate? The funny thing is how this’ll probably also re-highlight that earlier, fatuous, intellectual sleight of hand involved with the consensus building style change from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’.

    But i they start up with creationists instead, they’ll have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt they are truly malignant wankers.

  191. meemoe_uk says:

    “On that note let me say that we could all (and that includes me) benefit from the dialing back of the use of labels”
    Ok. I sometimes labeled AGWer as ‘pushers’ since they often seemed to be pushing it on kids while they themselves did hertical things such as drive big cars.

    I didn’t see anyone else use the term. But I provide it here to make sure no one else uses it during this armistice. ( Also in case they need to use it after armistice )

  192. Neven says:

    By objecting to the labels ‘denier’ and ‘denialist’ you allow certain elements (who actually do deny that the atmosphere isn’t warming and/or that there hasn’t been an increase of CO2 and/or that human emissions of GHGs cannot have any influence on the atmosphere’s temperatures) to hide behind the larger group of so-called skeptics. The rise of these elements has further been made possible by an ongoing PR campaign to discredit AGW theory and climate science in general in order to delay action on AGW and maintain the status quo for financial and/or ideological reasons. This PR campaign is more difficult to discern if it can be hidden under the guise of skepticism.

    So there has to be a subdivision in the term ‘skeptic’ into two categories: genuine skeptics and … . What would you suggest, Mr Watts? Inactivists, delayers, pseudo-skeptics, climate creationists?

    Likewise, there has to be a subdivision on the other side into warmers and alarmists, in my opinion. The former being scientists and people who are genuinely worried about the possibility of AGW becoming a serious impediment to society and economy, the latter being enviro’s who scream the end is nigh and polar cities should be created to save the chosen few.

    So in my terminology, you have a spectrum of alarmists and warmers on one side, and lukewarmers (skeptic of catastrophic warming any time soon) and denialists (skeptic of whatever threatens their world view) on the other. I believe it would be a good thing if everyone would honestly say to what category he or she belongs (especially the bloggers who have an influence on public perception) in order to increase transparency.

    For the record, I myself am an alarmist in many ways. :-)

  193. Indiana Bones says:

    Sean Peake (11:18:55) :

    Ian E: Quite right, though I’d rather be called a flat earther than be flat headed (or with a low sloping forehead at minimum) like the many rabid politicians. The former is kind of quaint and endearing, the latter, well.. says it all.

    There exists in this world a virtual cataclysm of cleverness disguised as plain language. However, like any code or encryption – once deciphered it provides endless illumination about its creators.

    Flat earth belief is founded in scripture and embraced with a vengeance by the Church (yet deny it to this day.) One of its more elegant spokesmen Cosmas Indicopleustes, claimed the Earth was flat and lay beneath the heavens consisting of a rectangular vaulted arch. In his famous “Topographia Christiana,” Cosmas described it thus:

    “We say therefore with Isaiah that the heaven embracing the universe is a vault, with Job that it is joined to the earth, and with Moses that the length of the earth is greater than its breadth.”

    Flat headed conservators find their origins in the pulpit where they confound their cleverness with an absence of clothing.

  194. James Sexton says:

    It’s nice to see they’re actually considering counting people skeptical recent climate “science” part of the human race again, but obviously they’ve a long, long way to go.
    “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.”
    This is the problem. Exactly, what (insert any/multiple swear words) evidence is he talking about? The consensus certainty of our increasing temps? Wait, no, it’s the increase in the amount and force of the hurricanes. Or the “evidence” that we’re all going to drown when the Arctic will certainly melt? Maybe it is the evident Himalayan glacial melt. I fear, they are giving skeptics some ink, but they’re not even reading the material they’re printing.

  195. HB says:

    Here’s my comment to Mr Marsh of the Guardian:

    Dear Mr Marsh,

    I have concerns about your conclusions:
    “Rather than opening itself to the charge of denigrating people for their beliefs, a fair newspaper should always try to address what it is that people are sceptical about or deny.

    In the climate debate, I’d be suggesting that we should be focussing on the science. It’s not about belief, its about science, and the climategate emails showed that correct scientific method was not followed. This has required faith, or belief, since the science is not replicable. Steve Mcintyre tried to replicate Phil Jones’s work but couldn’t, and was not given access to the raw data or code, once he expressed concern.

    The term sceptics covers those who argue that climate change is exaggerated, or not caused by human activity.

    How about “sceptics” are those who want to see the evidence, before advocating for a particular point?

    If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them).

    I’m a died-in-the-wool greenie, always have been, and I have seen evidence that the climate is changing, but even Phil Jones has agreed that the world’s average temperature has cooled over the last few years. The world IS currently NOT warming. I’d also suggest that you should check the evidence on the butterflies. I couldn’t find any, but did see that it’s range has generally increased considerably throughout the UK in the 20th century. See here. If they have flown north the last couple of years, how do you know that its global warming causing them to do so? Does this make me a denier?

    Calling anyone names is silly and pointless. The climate debate should be about science and evidence. Names add nothing to the debate.

  196. meemoe_uk says:

    Should point out also that the guardian is the propaganda rag aimed at young adults ( clue in the name ) , and so is jealously guarded. the AGW movement is out to capture young people’s minds more than the old peoples.
    Like others have said, I don’t expect there to be any real progress with these people, they’re only doing this denier – skeptic retraction PR stunt so as to look. They’ve no intention of getting at the truth.

  197. Gary Hladik says:

    One word from one paper. Not so much a “sea change” as a “pond change”.

  198. debreuil says:

    “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.”

    I hear that a lot, but that really needs clarification. Which evidence, and which people? Almost to a one, skeptics I’ve come across agree that the world seems to be warming about one degree per century since the LIA. After that there isn’t much to ‘deny’. Do they mean doubt about temperature records? Doubt about temperature reconstructions? Belief that the MWP happened? Belief that the IPCC acted as an advocacy group? Doubt about the predicted magnitude of forcings based on the increase of temp due to CO2? Maybe its worse than that and I just don’t know of enough wacko skeptic blogs..?

    Ideally I would like to see casual statements like that become a bit more specific. If they mean the fringe, it isn’t news (since BBSs the internet has had trolls, nothing to see). If they mean the majority of content (hit wise) then it is an issue.

    I don’t worry about the non scientific fringes of people who are worried about AGW, or even the advocacy groups so much (WWF, Greenpeace). It is the mainstream scientists (real climate, emails) that are acting very unscientific in both the science and the attitude towards science. On the flip side, the mainstream skeptics and skeptic blogs tend to be very open, explain methodologies, supply data, post code, acknowledge and retract errors…

    If you have another Enron (which imo we have here), its fine to tone down the passion — but its very hard to meet them halfway on the facts.

  199. RockyRoad says:

    berniel (14:51:56) :
    (…)
    DA: The meaning of sceptic is very specific. It’s not taxi drivers or people who don’t want to pay higher electricity bills. It’s someone who knows better and takes a contrary view for pathological reasons. No journalists believe that climate science was undermined by the emails.
    ————
    Reply: “pathological reasons”? He actually said that? The reason no journalists believe that climate science was undermined by the emails is simple–anything you see can be ascribed to their version of “climate science”. You wait and see; the next Ice Age will be considered the product of “climate science” and all of you people that contributed to the CO2 level will be terminated. However, these self-righteous journalists have been completely scooped by bloggers on the Internet. That realization has really gotta hurt! (Booker is a “journalist” and he understands what the emails said.)

    DA: We can no longer call people deniers. We need a new term. Some people have suggested “climate creationists”.
    ————-
    Reply: I still prefer the term “climate realist”. It is the AGWers who are turning out to be the “creationists” (something out of nothing).

    BJ of the Sun
    We need to present the sceptical [point of view]. Last year we just printed press releases on AGW if they came from people with the right credentials; that won’t do any longer.
    ————-
    Reply: Yup. “right credentials” now means “wrong science”. Who here would even consider buying a used car from any of these “credentialed climate scientists”?

  200. D Gallagher says:

    I really like Dr. Richard Lindzen’s position – he says that to the extent possible, he is a denier, not skeptic. Using the the term skeptic implies that the warmists have presented a logical and reasonable case for AGW, but that he has reservations about certain aspects. That’s not the case – they are wrong, and he denies any validity to their arguments.

    His explaination is at the 6:00 mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VYbJsaA0Fo

    Regardless of what Anthony and the Guardian think – please don’t call ME a skeptic, to the extent possible, i’m a denier.

  201. Carbon Dioxide says:

    “[I've always been curious about Attenborough - avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]”

    I was also rather bemused by Attenborough’s series on population, because although he doesnt actually mention AGW, he discusses the doubling of the size of humankind since the early 60s, the exponential increase in food production and pressure on water resources since 1970.

    He then talks about the effect of the projected 50% increase in population over the next 40 years and how this will impact on the worlds resources.

    The impression one gets is that it is the truely unprecedented number of people wandering the face of this planet and the demands that places on it that is the cause of the symptoms ascribed to AGW, not CO2 emissions etc.

    Interestingly, in an earlier Attenborough series “The First Eden- Man and the Mediterrean world” he discuses the rise of Classical civilisation and the colonisation of the Mediterrean basin by inumerable Greek cities, supported by a agricultural hinterland- anf their subsequent decline due to the land being over exploited and deforested, the soil being washed into the sea, silting up once prosperous harbours and the cities abandoned and totally forgotten, leaving the area easy prey for the advance of Islam in the 7th century.

    Getting back to his recent series on population, Ithink one would forgiven if this was in reality a sideways swipe at the AGW religion, and one which the fluffy politically correct would find uncomfortable with, that the climate change which they see everywhere is in fact really the consequence of the doubling of the population in the developing world.

    The problem is, theres simply too many of us.

  202. sagi says:

    If the Guardian and other MSM types can use the language ‘alarmist’ vs ‘skeptic’, that sounds balanced.

    The alarm is either valid or not.

    If there is nothing to be alarmed about, than we can move on and get the details right for the record later on.

    If there is something to be alarmed about, then let those who think so make their case openly and respectfully, and convince those who are now skeptical … and vice versa.

    But balanced and non-pejorative labels are needed from the start if there is to be any useful dialog. Until neither side is presumed to be correct by the media no fair discussion can occur in their reporting.

  203. Carbon Dioxide says:

    “Flat earth belief is founded in scripture and embraced with a vengeance by the Church (yet deny it to this day.)”

    And yet, the spheriodal shape of the Earth (and even its diameter to an accuracy of 30 miles)was known and proven in Pagan times.

  204. rbateman says:

    John Galt (12:49:16) :

    The climate does change, which makes climate change an overblown half-truthed non-issue. Perfect for political storms.
    It looks as bad as a car that has been painted with a can of Krylon.

  205. Bob Tisdale says:

    And for those who haven’t noticed, the commenter at the Guardian…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/climate-change-scepticism-style-guide?showallcomments=true#CommentKey:2e5894e5-6042-4794-8c07-be63d41e4642
    …with the greatest number of recommendations is Lubos Motl, a skeptic, a point he is very clear about.

  206. Imran says:

    It is unfortunate that the paper still has those who cling to old notions :

    “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.”

    This to me is the very heart of the matter. Interpreting and wanting to discuss the ‘evidence’ is not the same as being in denial of a ‘truth’. It is about where you draw the line between ‘truth’ and ‘interpretation’. If something is not a ‘truth’ then you cannot be accused of being in denial.

  207. john says:

    A small circulatiob rag that is sinking fast.
    I don’t care what they say or think.
    This is a war to get at the truth, I
    Do not fratenise with the enemy. Sorry old chap.

  208. kim says:

    I never much minded the pejorative ‘denier’ because it was pretty mild compared to the rest of the stuff I’ve been called.
    ==================

  209. IanB says:

    This is a storm in a tea cup. I have worn the badge of ‘Global Warming/Climate Change Denier’ with pride, more now than ever.

  210. peter_dtm says:

    well now – the gruniad is going to stop insulting rational skeptical scientists and people who understand science ?

    The next thing you’ll be telling me is that the socialists who work for the gruniad will propose the lowering of taxes; the shrinking of government and that they will start campaigning for the reduction of the nanny state.

    They speak with forked tongue; they will be sniggering in their oh so superior ‘we know best’ attitude of total delusion.

    They have no interest in truth – they never have; else they would be condemning the entire corrupt 3rd world instead of supporting those anti-democrat anti-western governments who seem to wish for nothing but the end of the west.

    No I am not convinced by them; I suspect they will type skeptic with the same hate and disdain with which they previously typed denier.

    I however will continue to attempt to avoid falling into their trap of meaningless name calling.

  211. Carbon Dioxide says:

    Medieval Catholic Christian proof of the existance of God-

    “God must exist, because if he didnt, those who prey to him would be wasting their time”

    Does anyone else see the inane childishness of what passes for logic in this statement reflected in some of rhetoric churned out as “evidence” for the existance of AGW?

  212. IanB says:

    In fact if anyone wants to call me ‘A IPCC Denier’, feel free.

  213. Carbon Dioxide says:

    Its a circular argument for simpletons, which assumes its own conclusion (ie the existance of God/AGW) is acceptable as supporting evidence for itself.

  214. Jeremy Poynton says:

    @Mark, Edinburgh (11:20:07) :

    Re, Censoring on CiF.

    Yes – on Monbiot’s column today asked him whether he had ever responded to Peter Taylor’s (author of the excellent “Chill”) request to debate AGW with him. This was deleted. The Guardian’s line on AGW is, regardless of their decision to stop using a profoundly abusive term for those who do not toe their party line, is that it is a fact, and cannot be denied or doubted in any way.

    Piss poor, frankly, piss poor.

  215. Mike Ramsey says:

    UPDATE:

    In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article7043753.ece

    “He went on to describe his disbelief at the blogosphere’s vitriol and tendency to overreact to trivia and concluded that “there is something rotten in the internet culture”.”

    There are trolls who, having nothing of substance to offer, resort to hurling insults.  “Insults is all they got”.

    On usenet it is customary to use kill files to filter out known trolls.

    My advice is forget them.  It’s not like they are going to convince anybody that they have anything to offer or that the target of their insults is some how lessened.  Kill file them and remember the usenet adage, “Don’t feed the trolls”.

    Mike Ramsey

  216. bob says:

    The use of the word, denier, is more than disgraceful and should not be used in such a trivial manner. I will note that the editor is right when he says that some skeptics are in denial. The point he misses is that many AGW advocates are in denial, too.

    Thanks for your keeping WUWT discussions on a more civil level.

  217. Neven says:

    [I've always been curious about Attenborough - avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]

    Actually, it was an interview by David Attenborough quite a few years ago that first made me question my skeptic attitude towards AGW: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/attenborough-climate-change-is-the-major-challenge-facing-the-world-479459.html

  218. Carbon Dioxide says:

    The persecution of heresy has always been a sign of the admition of weakness of the orthodox position.

  219. Copner says:

    @Carbon Dioxide.

    > anf their subsequent decline due to the land being over exploited and deforested, the soil being washed into the sea, silting up once prosperous harbours and the cities abandoned and totally forgotten, leaving the area easy prey for the advance of Islam in the 7th century.

    The reason that cities were abandoned, and much of the Byzantine Empire fell easily to Islam, was not deforestation or overpopulation or falling agricultural production per person.

    The real reason: The population was shrinking. Fast. Because of an unprecedented epidemic of disease – worse than the 14th Century’s Black Death.

    This was known as the Plague of Justinian, and was form of bubonic plague (spread by fleas on rats). It started in 541, and there new outbreaks continued periodically until 700. It probably killed 50%, perhaps 60% of the population of Europe, and probably an even higher percentage of the Byzantine population.

  220. copner says:

    @Carbon Dioxide

    The reason that much of the Byzantine Empire fell to Islam, was not over-population, deforestation, resource depletion or anything like that.

    The reason was about than half the population dropped dead within a few short years from an outbreak of epidemic disease.

    It was called the plague of Justinian, and began in 541. Outbreaks continued until 700. It wiped out more than half the population of Europe.

  221. RichieP says:

    Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

    I distrust the Guardian completely, not only for their stance on AGW but also for their shameless and agenda-driven censorship of their Comment Is Free (sic, ha!), that it will take a lot more than an editorial meeting to convince me. They’re very nervous with an election coming up and a hostile Tory party hull-up in the offing. They know they need to be careful about who they upset over the next few months. We need deeds not words from them.

    I’m with these guys:

    @kwik (13:06:36) :
    “stephen richards (11:26:02) :
    “I am not inclined to forgive and forget the past activities of the Grauniad. They knew all along what they were doing. Their derisive remarks against well qualified scientists, many times more knowledgeable than them, were always unacceptable and against all principles of good, impartial journalism.”

    HEAR! HEAR!”

  222. tarpon says:

    I seem to recall who started the name calling, is Al Gore going to buy in?

    But what is now needed is real science.

  223. Anand says:

    Mr Anthony Watts

    I have to strongly object to your line of argument. Mr Mosher and you, in recent times, have pushed the idea that there is much common ground between the scientific intelligentsia in the anthropogenic warming camp and the other side – for which the shorthand ‘denier’, unfortunately or otherwise, has been employed. And therefore the pejorative term ‘denier’ is unpleasant and what not and comes in the way of building bridges across whatever differences there might exist between the two sides.

    The same idea has been advanced by Dr J Curry in a different context, to which Mr Eschenbach took exception to.

    Your Guardian letter also contains another note of reconciliation when it states:

    “…many who simply want the science to be right and reasonable solutions enacted would be a watershed event in mending fences.”

    I don’t presume to tell you the history of the idea of anthropogenic warming. and about how it came packaged with full-blown certainty from the very first day it reared its head. The study of climate has its concurrent birth with this idea, or at least took off in a substantial manner hand-in-hand with the idea. Every penny spent on climate research, every dime sunk in this effort has the tainted handshake of global warming theory to date. With very few exceptions. Does it mean that the scientists involved in individual papers and projects are dishonest? Hardly. But the endeavor of the study of climate change, as many sciences in their infancy are, is still a pseudoscience.

    This endeavor therefore does not deserve, or require reconciliation. I am sure you are aware of the trillions lined up to be invested in ‘alternative energy’, ‘renewables’, ‘clean energy’ and the like under the pretext of the hockey stick. Those investing in this area or those hoping to deprive the hard-earned wages of citizens around the world – the blood and sweat, in these hare-brained schemes – are biding time and waiting for the tide of skepticism to recede. The very skepticism that broke the handle and the blade of the hockey stick.

    It would be a monstrous error at this point to conclude that any skeptic requires recognition of any kind from the advocates of anthropogenic alarmist warming or their apologists.

    Global warming theory does not have a science dimension alone. To characterize it as a Jones vs McIntyre saga would miss the point completely. Do not call us deniers? What next? “Hey, how come you didn’t send me a e-card on Al Gore Day?”

    The warmers are responsible for calling their opposition ‘deniers’. Let them live and die with its usage. It damages their cause every time they use it.

    What “reasonable solutions” are we talking about here, Mr Anthony? Wind and solar power? Cap-and-cap? Artificial trees?

    There are no solutions to the global warming problem. Let’s not pretend

    Regards
    Anand

    REPLY: Object all you want, I don’t much care about anonymous opinion. But I do think you read too much into one line, by “reasonable solutions” I embrace efforts to reduce all airborne pollution, not just targeted ones. Efforts to reduce soot will also reduce NOx, CO2, CO, O3 and others. We shouldn’t focus exclusively on CO2 IMHO. Witness improved air in California’s big cities. I also embrace energy efficiency, which has similar benefits. – Anthony

  224. James Sexton says:

    Mike Ramsey (16:22:08) : ……”My advice is forget them. It’s not like they are going to convince anybody that they have anything to offer or that the target of their insults is some how lessened…..”

    Agreed, I guess, in some social circles, insults simply don’t happen. I’ve never been in one of those. If some troll, or person in front of me for that matter, hurls an insult at me that has no substance, then I know I’m effectively articulating my argument. It’s basically saying, “while I can’t argue with you on the facts, I’ve got nothing to counter with other than, ‘you suck’. I think sometimes people over react to the provocateurs and take personal something said in a very impersonal venue.
    That being said, threatening someones children (an example cited) is way over the top, and I truly hope the law has dealt with that person in the most severe way possible.

  225. Phil M says:

    Want a good laugh? Scroll up and count how many times the word “warmer” is used to describe someone pro-AGW.

    If I’m a “warmer”, does that make you a “non-warmer”? That sounds suspciously like someone that doesn’t believe the Earth has warmed the last 100+ years…

    It’s ridiculous to see a an article like this, on a website that does nothing except actively foster the vitriole and ignorant mean-spiritedness already polluting the science community.

  226. ginckgo says:

    I agree that applying the term ‘denier’ pre-emptively and in a blanket fashion is not appropriate, as many people are true skeptics. However there is large, and very vocal number of people who fit the definition of denier, i.e. no matter how much evidence you show them, the will not change their mind.

    Yes, I know you will say there are similar ‘deniers’ of evidence in the AGW camp, and I don’t disagree with that. Just because people agree with my position, does not mean they do it for the right reasons – right for the wrong reasons can be worse that just being wrong.

  227. DocRock117 says:

    Sean Peake (12:08:23) :

    “If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them)”

    “I may be misinformed (I’m NEVER wrong) but I thought these creatures used to reside in Scotland and disappeared (or moved off) over 110 years ago?”

    Yes they used to be in Scotland, they were reported in the late 1800’s even up to the 1930’s. The Commas’ range also extends in to Scandanavia. In North America they are found from British Columbia all the way across the continent to Nova Scotia. One of the theorized reasons for their decline in Scotland and Ireland was the washing of Hops as that was thought to be their main food source. Nettles are now considered their main dietary choice and that is probably as much of a factor as anything to their “resurgence”. Nettles are plentiful and widespread throughout that range.

    So it is not the first time in history for them to be in that type of climate by any means.

  228. copner says:

    A few days ago there was an article in Guardian’s G2 section about the flat-earth society by David Adam

    A version of the article (abridged?) appears here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2010/feb/23/flat-earth-society

    As you can see you can (and the Guardian has) insulted climate change skeptics – by assocating them with various conspiracy theory, pseudo-scientific and paranormal beliefs – without ever once using the word “denier”.

    (And this is despite the fact, that all important skeptics and luke-warmers are arguing for MORE openness and MORE use of scientific processes and principles, rather than less).

    Here’s the first paragraph of the article:-

    Daniel Shenton should be the most irrational man in the world. As the new president of the Flat Earth Society, you’d ­imagine he would also think that evolution is a scam and ­global warming a myth. He should ­argue that smoking does not cause ­cancer and HIV does not lead to Aids.

    Here’s the 3rd paragraph:-

    In fact, Shenton turns out to have resolutely mainstream views on most issues. The 33-year-old American, ­originally from Virginia but now living and working in London, is happy with the work of Charles Darwin. He thinks the evidence for man-made global warming is strong, and he dismisses suggestions that his own government was involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    Here’s the 5th paragraph:-

    If you thought that flat Earthism was gone, think again. The scientific evidence is stacked against Shenton, ­obviously, just as it is against those who think global warming is a hoax and that the dead stalk the Earth as ghosts – but that doesn’t appear to trouble him in the least.

  229. Phil M (16:40:11) : Want a good laugh? Scroll up and count how many times the word “warmer” is used to describe someone pro-AGW.

    I did just that. In 224 comments on this WUWT topic, the word “warmer” is used to describe someone pro-AGW exactly zero times.

    Thank you for bringing this up.

  230. paullm says:

    Anthony,

    I see no real change in anything but commend you, the mods, guest posters, and most commenters here for maintaining one fantastically well conducted blog.

    But don’t lower yourself to the level of the likes (from what I have been able to tell) of those at the Guardian, Ann Turner, Judith Curry, etc. You’ve, as far as I can recall, have always taken the high road and regulated WUWT in that vein – unlike the character of those above noted.

    One pet peeve of mine: STOP WITH THE “CLIMATE CHANGE” usage! You, Anthony, in your posted letter, etc. are also guilty of mis-associating “climate change” as a labeling of topic of the debate – it’s not!

    For example:
    “That simple, single act, recognizing that the term is erroneous, distasteful due to its holocaust denier connotation, and unrepresentative of the position on climate change of many who simply want the science to be right and reasonable solutions enacted would be a watershed event in mending fences.” – Anthony (above)

    Alarmists discarded Anthropogenic Global Warming for “climate change” to avoid the failure of their fundamental arguments. Skeptics, most likely inclusively believe climate change as a changing climate has and always will exist. What AGW skeptics don’t agree with is significantly damaging AGW – if it exists at all. GW sure, AGW – maybe, maybe not. Those are the issues of import. As the alarmists have attempted to re-identify labels the debate has been spun and is now dominated by distorted terminology: “climate change” by default. This is a truthful and clarity failure in the debate.

    I quite like the following:

    2 03 2010
    Brian G Valentine (11:17:38) :

    Someone in the Washington Post today heeded your guidance, evidently – calling me a “denialist” instead.

    Neither myself not Richard Lindzen, object to being labeled a “denier”

    The term has become associated with a certain set of convictions that, to my understanding, characterize mine

    – I don’t really care being called names if it means the debate is clear and the conclusions understood.

  231. Doug says:

    Deniers is exactly what they are. They are in the same league as those who deny evolution. Their tactics are the same, and generally their political leanings are the same. I don’t see the issue. Call them what they are — deniers.

  232. copner says:

    @Phil M:

    I can speak for anybody else, but I’d personally be happy to change terminology, if better options are available.

    Can you tell me a polite, but concise collective term, and not value loaded (neither for or against), that should be used instead of “warmer” for those accepting the IPCC position?

    e.g. George Monbiot, Phil Jones, and Michael Mann are all _____________

    Can you tell me a polite, but concise collective term, and not value loaded (neither for or against), that should be used for those predicting far more extreme scenarios than the IPCC

    e.g. People who predict the world population will fall by half by 2050, and sea-levels will rise 20 meters by then as well, because of climate change are ___________________.

  233. Bruce Cobb says:

    Mike (13:17:17) :

    So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”? I do not know if that term has been used on this blog, but it certainly gets used a lot.

    I don’t believe it is used at all here, or if so it would be rare, because it would be incorrect, and doesn’t do the enormity of the harm that CAGW/CC has done, continues to do, and threatens to do in the future justice.
    A good example of a hoax would be what Penn and Teller pulled on a group of unsuspecting, clueless “Greeny types” at a rally, where they had a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide. All of those people would, of course believe in CAGW/CC.
    Instead, the phrase that seems to describe it best is probably Cargo Cult Science: From wikipedia: “cargo cult scientists conduct flawed research that fails to produce useful results. Feynman cautioned that to avoid becoming cargo cult scientists, researchers must first of all avoid fooling themselves, be willing to question and doubt their own theories and their own results, and investigate possible flaws in a theory or an experiment.”

  234. paullm says:

    2 03 2010
    Phil M (16:40:11) :

    Want a good laugh? Scroll up and count how many times the word “warmer”…

    I acknowledge that all AGW alarmists may not be alarmists. You may be an AGWer, but then I may be also. Then there is not debate. However, when you describe the discussion here as “…vitriole and ignorant mean-spiritedness…” I would be inclined to believe you are an AGW alarmist.

    How would you like to be identified as, Phil – related to the AGW matter, of course?

  235. JackStraw says:

    Oh the humanity! When Revkin is forced to live without power for 2 whole days, the Prius gets parked and the burning of “recycled carbon” commences.

    Gaia wept.

  236. Dan in California says:

    (14:06:25)
    REPLY: Troll is usually applied to somebody who posts anonymously, and I’ve used the term since it started on early BBS’s and not in climate debate. -A

    Anthony: I don’t use my full name because I am an officer of a US company. The law states that anything I say or write is company policy. My opinions and comments here are personal, not official. I think there is a big difference between the commonly accepted definition of “troll” and somebody who just wants or needs to be anonymous.

  237. Richard M says:

    Neven (15:34:45) :

    The rise of these elements has further been made possible by an ongoing PR campaign to discredit AGW theory and climate science in general in order to delay action on AGW and maintain the status quo for financial and/or ideological reasons. This PR campaign is more difficult to discern if it can be hidden under the guise of skepticism.

    This is not atypical of the paranoid nature of alarmists. Maybe it’s part of this personality defect that attracts them to AGW. Sorry Neven, there is no PR campaign. Just concerned scientists and citizens. Get over it.

  238. Richard M says:

    Phil M (16:40:11) :

    It’s ridiculous to see a an article like this, on a website that does nothing except actively foster the vitriole and ignorant mean-spiritedness already polluting the science community.

    Stage 2 … anger.

  239. Ian Cooper says:

    Anthony,

    this is not only good practice to refrain from ‘tagging’ the opposition, but it is also good tactics to show that bloggers here are focussed on highlighting the fact that we are sceptical of the information being put out, often through MSM sources such as the Guardian, in the name of global warming alarmism.

    I will take a leaf out of Robert E. Lee’s book. Marse Robert couldn’t bring himself to refer to the Federal Army as, “The Enemy,” choosing in stead to call them, “those people.” This is not to say that I think we will go the way of Robert E Lee, in stead if there is an historical comparison I prefer to see this lengthy struggle in terms of WW II. I see Climate Gate as the turning point comparable to El Alemein in the west and Stalingrad in the east. Churchill summed it up best when he said, “Before El Alemein there were no victories. After El Alemein there were no defeats!”

    JDubya

    Well said mate! You touched on something that is often overlooked, and that is the desire to see Mankind at the centre of the universe, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Many people just can’t bear the thought that we are really insignificant in the great scheme of things. We HAVE to be shown to be leaving a significant mark on our planet albeit a bad one. We HAVE to be seen to be in control of nature (despite the fact that there are hundreds of examples that prove otherwise). Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand when it comes to promoting this belief. If one doesn’t believe that we have that much influence on the planet then the believers label that person a ‘denier.’ Perhaps a hundred years ago the term, ‘heretic,’ would have been applied. Of course CAGW isn’t a religion, is it?

  240. paullm says:

    Hey, Dough!

    2 03 2010
    Doug (16:52:39) :

    Deniers is exactly what they are. They are in the same league as those who deny evolution. Their tactics are the same, and generally their political leanings are the same. I don’t see the issue. Call them what they are — deniers.

    I believe we have considered AGW but have concluded that the hard line held by destructively significant AGWers (alarmists) “believers” is likely wrong.

    What to call “destructive significant AGWers believers” skeptics? How about that (DSAGWerBSs for short) or Questioners? Whatever. Just get the debate on AGW right. Forget the “climate change” thing.

  241. paullm says:

    Hey, Doug! – not Dough, sorry.

  242. Anand says:

    “Object all you want, I don’t much care about anonymous opinion.”

    Do I consider my self an anonymous poster? I’ve always posted under my real name. My email address is entered. I can provide any personal information you might request. I addressed you directly in my post to ask you specifically the questions that rose in my mind. If you don’t care much, well I dont know what to say, except – thanks for your honesty! :)

    Those advocating anthropogenic warming will derive credibility from association with skeptical voices, and not the other way around. It is better for the lines between these two disparate entities – the ‘warmers’ and the ‘deniers’ – to remain distinct for a good time to come.

    You conflate CO2 control – an economic issue with air pollution – an environmental issue. This is a fundamental problem, I’m sure you are aware. All the world leaders did not gather at Copenhagen to ‘cool the world’, did they?

    I will venture to apologize if I came across as offensive. Its just rhetoric, believe me. :)

    Regards
    Anand

  243. David Ball says:

    Phil M(16:40:11) : is pretending that there is no censorship on his choice of blogs. Phil M take a step back and think about what you wrote. Ridiculous. Man, there seem to be a lot of pro-AGW comments on here of late, and they are getting increasingly shrill. I could give a (snip) what anyone calls me. Prove that Co2 drives climate, prove that warming is bad, prove that increased Co2 is bad. Call me what you like. I have survived a lot worse.

  244. James Sexton says:

    Phil M (16:40:11) :

    Want a good laugh? Scroll up and count how many times the word “warmer” is used to describe someone pro-AGW. ……blah, blah,blah….

    lol, you’re not really that dense are you? Does warmer carry the same connotations as denier? But, I digress, if you indeed are in the same camp as for instance, Mike Mann, then I’d call you an alarmist (hopefully invoking visions of Chicken Little frantically running around, flapping your wings/arms, screaming “The sky is falling!!! The sky is falling!!!” )

    On a totally different perspective of your statement, you being pro-AGW, are you stating you’re advocating AGW? Because, that would put you in an entirely different camp.

  245. Jack says:

    I think that Mr. Watt’s position is the right one, if for no other reason than to emphasize the seriousness of the matter. “Yeah, yeah, call us names and get over it. But now you have to look at this.”

    They have cheated; they have massaged the data to support their conclusions; and it is something that they have documented themselves.

    That is why, even as yet, they have not released all of the data and all of the computer coding.

  246. Mike Alker says:

    I was getting used to being labelled as a denier.
    I was also waiting for the tide to turn in favour of the real science and be able to label the warmmongers as deniers. Deniers of the real climate science.
    do you think the Gaurdian are just putting up their gaurd for when the tide turns: and they want a little more sympathy for being the real deniers.

    I think i would still regard them as enviroMENTALlists

  247. K-Bob says:

    To deny something requires that something in the past must have happened and you “deny” that it happened. So would that mean that Mann and others are denying the MWP? or are we denying the hockey stick.

    First and foremost, we are “Skeptics of Future Global Warming Alarmism” and question the extent to which man contributes.

  248. JohnD says:

    C’mon, just a little more smash mouth, please?

    With mercilessly self righteousness, AGWarmists have bludgeoned non-carbonCultists for years with all sorts of Gaiacidal invective, in addition to “denier”.

    Yet now we’re supposed to talk pretty to them because the scam is exposed?

    Not only do I call giving-it-back-to-them-with-both-barrels a right just piece of my mind, it let’s them know there’s consequences to acting like a bunch of moralizing hyenas.

    The higher ground is punishing AGW frauds and their accomplices, to lessen the possibility that it happen again.

    Perp walk the bastards!

  249. Philemon says:

    berniel (14:51:56) :
    “Bishop Hill posted some curious notes about a meeting of press and others at Oxford Uni last Friday. ”

    That link was hilarious.

    One cannot hope to bribe or twist,
    
Thank God! the British journalist
    
But seeing what the man will do

    Unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

    Humbert Wolfe: The Uncelestial City 1930

  250. 3x2 says:

    While attempting to build bridges is a laudable activity my big ol’ oil funded crystal ball tells me that the Guardian will be back to what we know an loathe at soonest.

    Hearings out of the way, xgates forgotten and a bit of warm weather will see the machine back to running speed. They just can’t help themselves.

    I have found it absolutely impossible to be too cynical when it comes to these people and a few weasel words from them won’t change that.

    Keep your friends close but your enemies firmly on the ground with your boot on their collective throats.

  251. John Whitman says:

    Anthony,

    I respect your request about using labels, I will follow it on your blog site.

    In order to do this, them my interpretation of your request will be:

    1. Do not stereotype individuals.

    2. Even if it is done to me, firmly point out to the other person what they are doing and say tell them it is bad behavior

    3. Given that satire uses stereotyping and labels and satire is a powerful vehicle for exposing fallacies, I will clearly say when I am starting a satire and when ending one.

    4. Humor is a borderline grayish area that relies on some of the stereotyping and labeling. Please be quite tolerant of humor. But I will agree to try to use discipline when using humor.

    5. When quoting others in my comment responses, I will not use their labels or stereotyping in my quotes. Maybe I call out their use of stereotypes/labels in some witty way.

    Deal. No problema.

    John

  252. AlexB says:

    Well Anthony you are a bigger man than me. It’s fair enough to have opinion pieces but there is useful opinion and then there is unconstructive hateful ranting which any respectable media company shouldn’t publish. I for one will not be gracing the guardian with my web traffic because of the likes of the opinion pieces it is willing to run with. I don’t want to read something like that on either side of the debate.

    I’m glad we have people like you or problems would never get solved.

  253. John Whitman says:

    Moderators,

    So, why do I think you are going to be doing some heavier lifting for a while?

    Heh, a metaphorical pay raise perhaps?

    Some comps or perks?

    Expense paid moderator conferences in Bali?

    John

  254. George E. Smith says:

    Well they use a lot of weasel words trying to avoid the D-word; such as to immdeiately claim that: “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence. ”

    No you clowns; we just see the evidence differently from some of you.

    The IPCC and its devotees for example, see that the global mean temperature varies Logarithmically with the atmospheric CO2 abundance; and they even name that universal constant of proportionality as “Climate Sensitivity”; for which they claim a value of 3 deg C per doubling of CO2; thereby choosing a base 2 system of Logarithms (which is perfectly fine, since the base matters not a jot.)
    But when it comes to the value of their Universal constant; they vacilate, and say it could be off by a factor of three; so somewhere beteween 1 and 10.

    The problem is that there is no peer reviewed (observed or proxy) climate data comprising CO2 abundance, and mean global temperature, for ANY time interval out to the last 600 million years, for which such a logarithmic function fits the data any better than any other assumed relationship; including a linear relationship; as exemplified by the famous data published in Al Gore';s book; “An Inconvenient truth.” pages 66/67, where the two curves for the last 650,000 years are exactly the same (basic) shape, and are clearly NOT logarithmically related.

    So we don’t deny the data; at least that which has been made available without undisclosed mastication.

    And we reach entirely different conclusions from some of you folks who cling to the idea that man is in control of the climate; and we reach those sorts of conclusions that we do, on the basis of good scientific evidence and reasoning.

    All YOU have to do, is to PROVE with either good peer reviewed measured data; and good Physical models for the behavior such data exemplifies; that the climate is changing significantly outside the bounds of natural variability, and past history; and we will listen.

    You might try listening to why we don’t follow your course of argument.

    How come you don’t seem to mention cloud cover a lot in your AGWMMCC dissertations ?

  255. Jeff Alberts says:

    “Climate Skeptics” isn’t accurate either. We aren’t skeptical of climate, or climate change. We are skeptical of the science behind AGW.

  256. David44 says:

    Perhaps we should all employ this little aphorism from American author and journalist Mignon McLaughlin: “Don’t be yourself – be someone a little nicer.”

  257. Ben W says:

    Well done and well said, Mr. Watts.

  258. Jeff Alberts says:

    My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate.

    My position is that there hasn’t been any “global” warming over the last 10000 years that is statistically significant. certainly there has been regional warming, cooling and stasis, but nothing global at all.

  259. John Whitman says:

    ””’George E. Smith (18:47:59) : Well they use a lot of weasel words trying to avoid the D-word; such as to immdeiately claim that: “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.” ”””’

    George,

    Yes, you are correct. There are infinite ways for media and advocates (including scientific ones) to state/imply that skeptics of the scientific theory of CAGW are purposefully ignoring or disputing data.

    Cheer up, the good news is there are infinite number of ways we can articulate skeptical rebuttals and arguments.

    It is better we enjoy our work, even if it is very serious work and makes us angry sometimes. Well, maybe a lot of the time. Even so, fun and positive attitude. Rah rah. WUWT has a lot of fun mixed into the serious business at hand.

    John

  260. Innocentious says:

    If I tell someone that the evidence before me does not seem to add up to the conclusion the offer does that make me a ‘denier’ or a ‘skeptic’ ?

    If someone tells me that God talks to them and offer evidence for it does it not bode well for me to be skeptical?

    If a scientist says something is true then do I have to believe what he says even though my own mind suggests something different based on the knowledge and background I have?

    If we never question and simply accept, especially when the evidence suggests that the science may be flawed then we become nothing more then zealots clinging to the words of people who say they no better then we do. Now that is not to say I am right or that they are wrong only that the only possible way that information can be absorbed in a rational way is through repeatable experimentation being skeptical enough to wait until evidence shows truth.

    Just my two cents, please do not enter into religious arguments with me the idea was to show that just because someone says they talk with God it does not mean they do or do not only that it behooves me to be skeptical of it.

  261. Anand says:

    Mr Anthony
    I’ve given this some thought.

    I think I owe you thanks for the opportunity to post here. But I always thought a moderator read or rapidly screened and was aware of my contributions via posts made here. If I indeed did hear a “don’t care for anonymous opinion” I interpret it thus.

    Those who post here are nobodies to you – personally. This is generally true of Internet/BBS/forum interaction; I am just stating the obvious and not at all in a weepy whiny sort of way. The polarized opinions expressed thereof, and the strong stance that people are able to take in online debates doesn’t matter to you – as they are carried out in the safety of anonymity. In this instance it is because you are after all as a meteorologist and popular blogger in touch with the people from the print and visual media and rightly indignant that these people do not falsely characterize you (and anyone in your position) crudely as a ‘denier’.

    The other face of this anonymity that devalues opinions such as mine – is that what I say matters, not who I am. When I ‘objected’ to what you posted, I expected only a response to what I said, not a dismissal based on the fact that I was anonymous.

    Please read the above in a matter-of-fact tone. I would say the same things if we met in person, for example. I am the same person that posts here. :)

    Mahalo

  262. Bill Befort says:

    Fine work! Even something like a breakthrough. And if you can persuade the media to consider how their facile application of the label “environmentalist” has been darkening counsel for 40 years, we’ll really be making progress.

  263. Physics Major says:

    This is a huge step in the right direction. Let’s all stop the name calling and discuss the science in a polite way.

  264. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    Actually, I prefer to wear the label “climate heretic.” Seems more appropriate.

    Well done, Anthony, thanks for engaging these folks and getting a response!

  265. Allan M R MacRae says:

    For a decade now we have been labelled “global warming deniers”.

    Richard Lindzen now clearly enjoys the term, and I do too.

    It is a badge of honour for those of us who have withstood vile attempts at intimidation, ostracization and threats of violence from the fanatical advocates of the Mann-made global warming movement.

    The shame is on the warming alarmists for their odious behavior, so let them wear that shame with the disgrace it truly deserves.

    I am a global warming denier, and I am proud of it.

  266. Smokey says:

    Check out the first vid: click

  267. Konrad says:

    While I may object to the term “Denier” which I see a as a term of vilification, I do not necessarily object to those seeking to attack skeptics using it. Little Brother has been watching and recording a vast amount of venomous commentary by AGW fellow travelers. I for one will never forgive nor forget. Terms like “denier”, “contrarian” and “big oil shill” make for easy searching of the huge body of evidence stored across the Internet, implicating the many governments, organizations and individuals who have brought us to the brink of a global disaster. Their continued use of terms of vilification in their increasingly shrill defense of the indefensible simply makes future identification of those who sought to promote personal or political agendas through the AGW hoax easier.

    My attitude may seem less than Christian at a time when there is talk of greater engagement and understanding, however the hidden elements of the failed Copenhagen treaty should serve as a serious warning against appeasement. The AGW movement has been a threat to science, genuine environmental concerns, freedom and democracy. A great number of those involved in this global scam should not be allowed to slink away from their past behavior. So many trouble makers hiding behind the one dying stalking horse is a unique opportunity that it would be unwise to miss.

    The fellow travelers in the AGW hoax are presently shocked and confused, but they will regroup. There will be new stalking horses and a similar agenda. The continuing use of terms of vilification in support of the AGW hoax should be encouraged. In the age of Little Brother this can be used to minimize the influence of those promoting the present scam in their future endeavors. Let them call us “deniers”, many years of petulant silence from the AGW believers should be well worth it. Imagine a few decades free from post normal science, MSM advocacy journalese, “Traffic Light” environmentalism, global governance and global taxation.

  268. James Sexton says:

    Anand (19:25:05) :

    I can’t fight Anthony’s fight for him. But,………………………………………………………………………..That depends, if what you are responding to is what Anthony posted, and if it is a legitimate critique, then you should post your name and you should be responded to. Truly, if the response is legitimate, myself and you included, have seen that he does. You know it is contingent of whether he can respond in the post or not. Yes, I’ve seen him cut people out because of their anonymity. We all have. I can only surmise as to why, but I’ve never seen the person come back and restate their assertions with their real names. I wonder, is it because Anthony doesn’t allow dissenting views, or is it that people are afraid to post their names to their views. What’s the worst that can happen? Being called a denier?

  269. John Whitman says:

    WUWT Team,

    I personally would rather be commenting here among people using their real names. It is a personal preference and I naturally have a greater margin of respect for those who do.

    I do have an idea for how to encourage commenters to use their real names.

    Create a positive benefit for those who use their real names without having anonymous commenters losing any of their current ability to comment. A wild idea might be to creat a small WUWT subarea where commenting anonymously is not allowed. Anonymous visitors could see the activity in the small area, but would not be allowed to post. In the common area of WUWT [like is currently done] both anonymous and non-anonymous commenters can both post together. You could try this idea in a beta test period to see how it works out.

    Maybe a bad idea, just an idea. I am sure there could be many ways to satisfy anonymous and real name commenters.

    I have no idea how you could really distinguish whether a person’s name is their real one or not.

    John

  270. James Sexton says:

    I wonder, what qualifies as a denier? Is it the “you can’t prove the earth is getting warmer.” statement? Does that make me a denier? Maybe the earth getting warmer isn’t really bad. Does that make me a denier? What about, “CO2 isn’t significant enough to make it warmer.” Does that make me one? I just wish someone would tell me what constitutes a “denier”, then I would know if I were one or not. Maybe, it is that I don’t believe there ever was a consensus beyond Phil, Mike and Jim……maybe Keith too, but I’m not sure those mentioned really believed the BS they spewed.

  271. Baa Humbug says:

    The only congrats here goes to Anthony,
    The Guardian has begrudgingly conceded.
    Why would I congratulate a person who has been robbing my house regularly because he has agreed begrudgingly not to rob me anymore?

    Anthonys got them on the ground with his boot across their throats and yet it’s still he who is making the reasonable suggestions. Very commendable.

  272. SteveS says:

    So does this mean the terms “climate fraudster” and “data-cookers” are out?

  273. James Sexton says:

    Baa Humbug (20:56:18) :
    They are still robbing us, they’ve just started talking about not calling us bad names while they rob us.
    I still haven’t figured out what the heck I’m denying to be called a denier. I suspect, the answer is “all of the above.”

    There was a British admiral, whose name escapes me at this moment, but a rough translation of his statement may apply. ‘The nature of war is violence. Moderation in war is idiocity.’………..I think that’s pretty close. Let’s not snap defeat out of the jaws of victory.

  274. Al Gore's Brother says:

    I would agree with you but this really needs to go a step further. When the “scientists” begin to use real scientific methods to try to pinpoint the causes of warming rather than trying to fit the results to a pre-determined conclusion then I might oblige. Remember, science is postulating a theory which is presumed right, until that theory is proven incorrect, it is a search for the truth. When climate scientists begin acting like scientists, I will treat them with the respect that they deserve.

  275. Michael Larkin says:

    Anthony,

    IMHO, it’s not merely the word “denier” that matters. It’s the intention behind the attitude that seeks to label one part of society (now in the majority in the UK, I might add) as wrong in their views. The whole tone of the Guardian article takes it for granted that to deny that “Climate Change” is happening is plainly misguided.

    Let’s focus on the “Climate Change” label. The Guardian thinks this is preferable to “Global Warming”, especially now that they’re on shaky ground with that. And so they want to have some other term that will cover anything and everything they’re pleased to believe is caused by anthropogenic CO2 – be it “cold” or “warm” events. However, the fact is that they still maintain all those events are the result of anthropogenic, CO2-caused, greenhouse warming effects.

    This is insincere Newspeak. They want to control the vocabulary because, of course, they think they are still right whatever labels they might condescend to approve or disapprove.

    I look at it from this perspective. There is a hypothesis that anthropogenic CO2 is causing deleterious global warming. The probable majority on both sides support their cause as a matter of belief rather than knowledge. In other words, it’s a symmetrical situation. That is, “deniers” (disregarding for the moment its derogatory Holocaust associations) are just as “wrong” as their counterparts, though there isn’t really an insulting term having quite the same venom for them. I suppose “alarmists” is currently the nearest.

    I say, let’s be logical and even-handed. Those who are choosing to believe, on either side, without full knowledge (mainly just parroting mantras) are both driven by conviction rather than rationality. That’s one point. And the other, is that they have a perfect right to be driven by that conviction. There is nothing wrong with that, any more than there’s anything wrong with choosing to be a theist or an atheist; epistemologically, they are equivalent positions, both being based on belief rather than knowledge. The trouble only arises because some theists seek to attack and denigrate atheists, and vice-versa. The words in and of themselves carry no value judgement.

    My view is that the only logical position is agnosticism. No one actually KNOWS whether anthropogenic CO2 is having deleterious effects on climate. One might have an opinion whether it is or not, one might lean one way or the other, but if so, one is perfectly aware that that IS only opinion, and one may be wrong.

    So in my view, there are only three categories: pro-believers, anti-believers, and agnostics who may or may not have a leaning. I categorise myself as an agnostic with an anti-leaning. My opinion could be wrong. I am open to that possibility.

    As regards the Guardian, its editorial line is pro-belief. They have plainly decided to believe that anthropogenic CO2 is having deleterious effects on climate. All this talk of back-pedalling on the insulting terminology is a disguised form of patronising condescension, a way, being in the unaccustomed position of their dogma being increasingly challenged, of saving face.

    Remember, the Kübler-Ross model of grief goes through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What the Guardian is doing now could be viewed in that model as trying to bargain. We’ve recently had here posts from pro-believers which have also been trying to bargain. The underlying message is, “okay, we will stop insulting you, humour you, if you join our faith”.

    I say, do not play their game. Do not accept their Trojan horse with gratitude. It isn’t actually meant graciously. They have no intention of giving people something, but of taking something for themselves: namely, a false sense of superiority. That is the real name of the game: feeling superior. Hence the frequent calls to authority (x thousand scientists, the majority of world governments, overwhelming consensus, etc.). Now that that is crumbling, now that they may actually face censure for continuing to insult those who merely happen to be on the other side of the epistemological see-saw, they are taking consolation in feeling superior because of their “magnanimity”.

    Ignore the rhetoric. Look beneath for meaning and motivation. Now is the time for true agnostics to rise above it all and try to engage in an open, value-free debate. Which is, of course, what has been missing all along. Basically, I say, bugger that bag of chips; what I want is rational discourse that is light-years away from contaminating value judgements.

  276. John Whitman,

    Many people have a problem with using their real names on Web sites.

    You and I may not be afraid of the establishment. Being an independent free-lance professional, I don’t care if I will be blacklisted by some governmental or non-governmental organization. Being a non-conformist, I even enjoy being blacklisted by totalitarians.

    Not everybody, however, is in such position. People who work in large corporations or in the government institutions may not toe the AGW party line intellectually but would be bullied, non-promoted, or even fired if their bosses would know how they think. I don’t have anything against these people protecting their well-being from ideological predators.

    (Believe me, I know some cases when organizations like moveon.org literally destroyed people’s careers — hate is the only thing they are really good at.)

  277. Capn Jack. says:

    Laughing out loud.

    John Whitman, you obviously are a blog [snip]
    Translation:

    I would rather people behave the way I want them too. WUWT would you please set up an area for me and my reading and my commentary habits. I dont like them other people. My words are sacred.

    Here’s an elegant solution John, dont respond or comment to people you don’t want to comment to.

    Just move on.

    So is commentary on this blog to be limited to Bill Poster’s real name or should Bill Poster be prosecuted.

    I had a quick scan of the site, I can’t find a comments policy.

    The moderation team is

    CTM who has outed himself but likes his handle, breaker breaker come back.
    DB Stealey
    Evan Jones

    Rog TB
    Mike L.

    Capn Jack Walker, mermink hunter.

    Reply: 10-4 good buddy what your 20? ~ ctm

  278. Mark Randa says:

    In the comments section for an article titled “Cyber Bullying Intensifies as Climate Data Questioned” over at Scientific American, a raving warmist ‘lakota2012′ (2012 as in the end of the world according to a calendar?) makes at least five death threats aimed at ‘Deniers’

    “Death is the only cure for Conservative Ignorance.”

    “Yes. It is high time to get the U.N. out of the U.S. and the U.S. out of existance.”

    “Oh look. Another Americant coward who demands that the world can’t be warming because his taxes are too high. These denialist vermin will have to be exterminated of I’m sorry to say.”

    “There will be a price to pay for Conservative traitors who lie their society into destruction. That price is oblivion. And correctly so.”

    And there was one that may have been pulled where he says the trees will look like Christmas Trees with all the conservatives hanging from them, and that he has the rope —and is waiting.

    The people asking questions or making statements were quite civilized. The warmists, — not so much. They are digging their own grave but are too brilliant to notce.

  279. vigilantfish says:

    How about another meaning for denier:

    http://www.stockingshq.com/articles/advice/060113denier.htm

    I find the totally unexpected confluence of words from the French and English languages amusing. I’m not personally offended by the word “denier” as it cannot be removed from the English language due to one unfortunate class of historically-challenged individuals. I think it quite pathetic that scientists and adherents focussed on greenhouse gas warming scenarios (FOGGs) have to name-call to misdirect the general public away from the scientific issues. I personally think that the AGW alarmists should be called “climate gnostics”: this captures the anthropocentric religious essence of the belief that blames corporeal humanity for all the evil (i.e. global warming) in the world.

    Gnosticism, a group of religious beliefs that predated Christianity, had a situation-ethics version of personal morality (post-normal science, anybody?) and viewed the material world, especially the human part of it, as evil. The believers had the divine spark of personally revealed divine revelation that led to personal salvation, while most of humanity were doomed unbelievers, who failed to recognize the fallibility and evil of material existence. There was no set of rules that guided the gnostics: they were reliant on personal divine revelations – just as climate ‘scientists’ seem to rely on novel interpretations of science to justify their proclamations of world salvation.

  280. AndyW says:

    I think the claim that it somehow puts people of this bent in the same boat as Holocaust denialists is very weak as an argument. It would seem to be more because it puts this group in the same boat as flat earthers and other non scienctific groups, which you find distasteful because you are scientific.

    Go on, admit it :)

    Andy

  281. Jeremy Poynton says:

    @CRS, Dr.P.H. (19:58:23) :
    //
    Actually, I prefer to wear the label “climate heretic.” Seems more appropriate.

    Well done, Anthony, thanks for engaging these folks and getting a response!
    //

    Bertrand Russell’s “History Of Western Philosophy” has an interesting section on the rise of science, and what that did to philosophy, which had previously always sprung from religious faith.

    As part of this, he examines what the prime attributes are of each. Imagine my surprise when I realised that AGW is presented, not as science, but as a religion.

    I was, knowing nothing of the matter, and believing scientists would not be prejudiced in any way with regard to the presentation of AGW, once a believer. However, the increasingly strident and abusive language used by such self-appointed evangelists as Monbiot, made made me question what was happening. I slowly became a sceptic, and having just finished the “Science” section of Peter Taylor’s excellent Chill (buy it or get it from your library, it is an excellent read, and almost all of it accessible to a lay person such as myself), I consider my self a full-blown sceptic. Fairground barkers such as Pachauri don’t help their cause, either, or our idiot politicians in the UK, calling us “flat-earthers” and “deniers” when they know nothing of the science, does not help either.

    Mr. Watts – thank you for your hard work, and your excellent blog. Peter Taylor last year challenged Monbiot to a debate on AGW, and having had one Cif comment in a Monbiot column asking him whether he responded, deleted, I have asked him again. So far that has not been deleted, so far, he has not replied.

    Brief catalogue details for “Chill”

    Chill, a reassessment of global warming theory: Does climate change mean the world is cooling, and if so what should we do about it?

    ISBN 9781905570195

    Contents

    PART ONE: THE SCIENCE
    Chapter One UNCERTAIN SIGNALS Is there a human imprint?
    Chapter Two NATURAL CAUSES Part of a pattern
    Chapter Three SATELLITE DATA Evidence contradicts global warming theory Chapter Four CLOUD COVER Changing patterns can explain the warming Chapter Five OCEANS CYCLES Repeating cycles control cloud cover
    Chapter Six POLES APART Different patterns in the Arctic and Antarctic
    Chapter Seven THE SOLAR SOURCE The variable sun creates cycles
    Chapter Eight COSMIC RAYS The missing link?
    Chapter Nine NEW THEORY An alternative explanation of 20th century warming
    Chapter Ten PREDICTION The next fifty years: global cooling?

    PART TWO: THE POLITICS
    Chapter Eleven VIRTUAL REALITIES Misled by computer simulation?
    Chapter Twelve DELUSIONS The hubris of climate prediction
    Chapter Thirteen COLLUSIONS The development of interests
    Chapter Fourteen URGENCY & ERROR The futility of fighting inevitable climate change
    Chapter Fifteen VULNERABILITY & ADAPTATION The necess…

    Summary Reveals a disturbing collusion of interests responsible for creating a distorted understanding of changes in global climate. This book concludes that the main driver of global warming has been an unprecedented combination of natural events.

  282. John Whitman says:

    ””””Alexander Feht (21:31:59) : Many people have a problem with using their real names on Web sites. ”””’

    Alexander,

    I am not intolerant of anonymous commenters. I do blog with them. But I need to be directly honest, in my nonblog life [real one?] I cannot accept anonymity in any of the people I deal with, it would add to my risk. In the blogosphere, there is some potential risk for me to be in a blog with an anonymous person.

    One has to think about the potential risks to the non-anonymous in blogs with anonymous. One cannot just focus on some potential risk to those who fear being intimidated by employers or organized religion, or NGOs or gov’ts because participation in a climate science blog. Such intimidation is illegal in the USA.

    I have a limited ability to understand, I guess, because I cannot imagine here in the USA accepting a situation where I cannot say exactly what I think.

    Perhaps my professional background gave me a thick skin early on in my life. Commercial nuclear power in the ’70s, ’80s & ’90 in USA was considered relatively evil by the environmentalists and questionable by a significant part of the population. So, I developed a tough independent attitude. I have hundreds of anecdotes about really negative behavior toward me. Screw them.

    However, I do have the ability to understand why I cannot say exactly what I think in the totalitarian environment of the Peoples Republic of China. I keep my mouth shut there.

    John

  283. michel says:

    “If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier”

    He is out to lunch, really. Warming since when? By how much? Due to what? If I am sceptical that it is cooler now than it was last July, I am certainly in denial. If I doubt that it is warmer now than in 1200? If I doubt its warmer now than it was in 1934?

    Is the man really saying that if you doubt that modern, post 1975, warming is unprecedented, you must be in denial? That no other reasonable opinion on this is possible? Or if not, what exactly is he saying?

  284. wayne says:

    Anthony, you are a generous man to step forward the way you did. The one thing I wish would have been sent back is what they want to be called when you must reference those on the other side of the fence. Any suggestion I might throw out now would be premature and all seem offensive to them, however a hole exists that needs to be filled. They need to answer the question “We are skeptical observers, what shall we call you without causing offense?”.

  285. Capn Jack. says:

    CTM ,

    Just outa Mermaid town on flip flop. YL Chicken ranchers, finally started asking for chick feed.

    other delegates run out of grant money, way back

    no A&A , on point to jibber jabber, 4-10

    thanks for update on candles burning, while back.

    10-10 Good buddy.

    ON topic, language and comms has rules. The basic rule is play hard but play fair, dont talk jabber and dont swear.

    10-10 all.

    Reply: 5 by 5 ~ c(b)tm

  286. John Whitman says:

    ”””’Capn Jack. (21:35:37) : Laughing out loud. John Whitman, you obviously are a blog [snip]. . . . . . Here’s an elegant solution John, dont respond or comment to people you don’t want to comment to. . . . . Just move on. . . .”””’

    Capn Jack,

    My sincere apologies for suggesting an idea that might disrupt the status quo of anyone here at WUWT.

    Mea Culpa.

    The open play of ideas perhaps should not be even suggested here if it could possibly cause change that threatens anyone.

    John

  287. abraxas says:

    Yes, congratulations to both Anthony and the Guardian.
    DEBATE, albeit sometimes robust, is the only way to go forward.
    Name calling is childish and counter productive … let’s call the AGW protagonists “warmers”!! *grin*
    peace

  288. Michael Larkin says:

    Re: anonymity

    Wherever I comment on blogs, I use the name ascribed to this comment. Hence, if people read my name in any comment, whatever blog that might be on, whether to do with climate or a variety of other topics of interest to me, they can associate that with the one individual.

    But here’s the rub: what if my name is actually a nom-de-plume? How do you know I am Michael Larkin or Phil Fanacapan? And what does it matter? It only matters, I’ll opine, if one is actually a well-known individual and seeking to hide behind anonymity.

    In these days of cyber crime, phishing, and so on, it is actually quite wise to adopt a nom-de-plume. And as has been pointed out, there may be consequences for those who use their real name which they don’t deserve.

    If one were liable to lose one’s means of making one’s living by using one’s real name, I think one would be circumspect about doing so, and rightfully as it would be not only oneself, but one’s family, that would suffer. Hence I personally don’t mind if people use pseudonyms. It’s more important to me that they use it consistently and don’t change it so that they can re-emerge under some other guise, thereby avoiding any opprobrium attached to their former soubriquet.

  289. Ralph says:

    Awww. Does that mean I will have to stop calling them Global Cooling Deniers?

    .

  290. mercurior says:

    “I accept only what I am forced to accept by reasonably reliable evidence, and keep that acceptance tentative pending the arrival of further evidence. That doesn’t make us popular.”

    asimov in foundation and earth says this.

    I dont argue the climate has changed, its always changing, but i do question how much humans has influenced this change. And i also do question which way it will go, colder or warmer, and i also question is warmer a bad thing or a good thing.

    I prefer to be called questioner, we have questions, the AGW/CC lobby wont give us the answers.

  291. John Whitman says:

    ”””’Michael Larkin (23:47:43) : Re: anonymity”””’

    Michael,

    1. As you point out, there are those who weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of anonymity, then choose anonymity.

    2. Likewise, there are those who weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of non-anonymity, then chose not to be anonymous.

    3. In the physical world, virtually nothing I do or the people around me do is anonymous. Yet, I see absolutely no fundamental problems.

    4. Crime exists in both cyberspace and in the physical world. Should always be cautious, and it doesn’t necessitate or even suggest need of anonymity.

    5. Each individual blog can decide to be what it wants to be, just as I am sure this blog will decide to be what it wants to be going forward.

    6. Some blog owners exercise severe censoring as a vehicle to make their blogs be what they want them to be. Others have some balanced moderation and others have no moderation. I have no comment.

    7. I am not sure if the idea of a multi-layered blog could in theory work. Multi-layered blog would conceptual be one where people choose the anonymous option or the non-anonymous option. Both options could see each others posts or not but ability to post may be restricted across options. It allows the exercise of choice with a blog while still being in blog you like.

    Hey, everybody, if anybody from WUWT was here right now I would buy you a bite and a brew in celebration of being flamed [if that is the correct expression] for my very first time on the internet!!! See ’Capn Jack. (21:35:37). Thanks Capn Jack, I would buy you many pints for your flame services.

    John

  292. Richard111 says:

    “… The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”
    What a winging mealy-mouthed comment from the Guardian report above!
    I am not any sort of a scientist and I totaly disbelieve the claims about “global warming due to increasing levels of CO2 in te atmosphere”.
    Here is why.
    Using my laptop calculator and starting with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere at almost 400ppmv, if I divide 1,000,000 by 400 I get 2,500, that means one out of every 2,500 molecules in the atmosphere will be a CO2 molecule. Thus for every 2,500 cubic meters of air there will be the equivalent of 1 cubic meter of CO2. From Avogadro’s number I can find the mass of that CO2. It turns out that the mass will be a fraction under 2 kilograms. The mass of that 2,500 cubic meters of air will be 3,000 kilograms. This gives a CO2 to normal air mass ratio of 1 to 1,500.
    However much heat energy the CO2 absorbs, it will require at least 1,500 times as much energy to bring the air to the same temperature. Actually that is not quite true because normal air needs about 15% more energy than the CO2 to reach the same temperature, so it neads 1,725 times more energy. But there is a problem, the CO2 also radiates back to the ground and warms the ground up some more! If the CO2 is absorbing energy, passing some of that energy to the air, AND radiating energy back to the ground, I am very confused. Especially the bit about the ground warming the CO2 FIRST which then radiates back to the ground to warm it some more. I am unable to find any references to how this works.

    The phrase “voodoo science” seems to be on my mind, can’t think why.

  293. Capn Jack. says:

    John Whitman, I get snipped here and there I dont take it personal.

    No biggee.

    People use nom de plumes for various reasons. When I go hard I use my real birth name. That means to me importance of debate.

    Personally I think Jo Nova’s site has a great comments guide.

    JVK.

  294. max says:

    The real problem for me with this is that I was enjoying welcoming Jones, Curry and so on to the ranks of being deniers. They both have made statements recently which have labeled them as being in the denier camp (MWP open to dispute for example).

  295. Noelene says:

    How big of them.Condescending snip snip snip.Be grateful for the crumbs thrown,is that it?

  296. John V. Wright says:

    Well done Anthony and I also bestow a shallow bow to Mr Randerson – not the full bow of respect, though, as he includes the phrase “very few are genuinely sceptical about the science”.

    How many is “very few” Mr Randerson? What methodology have you used to arrive at this conclusion? I imagine it is a similar methodology used by the Times leader writer (who likens climate change sceptics to ‘village idiots’) and a number of BBC news correspondents who use the formula “most scientists believe” in their reports without any supporting statistical evidence.

    As a former journalist (brought up in the old school where hard facts were required to support any assertion in copy) I believe we have more to fear from those sections of the media who blindly follow the establishment line than we do from self-regarding and blinkered scientists. I invite all followers of this noble blog to challenge lazy and subversive journalism wherever they encounter it.

  297. Frank Upton says:

    I suggest we should call ourselves ‘climate rationalists’.

  298. Bob Layson says:

    Steve Goddard (11:04:02) :

    I never understood how someone could “deny” the future as predicted by a computer model.

    Are low-paid government computer programmers and climate scientists supposed to be some sort of gods who know the future?

    “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”
    G K Chesterton

    I’am afraid that belief in God is itself part of the ‘anything’ that people can produce reasons to beleive in.

  299. David A says:

    This is what they propose…
    We have been discussing such terminology, and some of my colleagues have suggested that Guardian style might be amended to stop referring to “climate change deniers” in favour of, perhaps, “climate sceptics”.

    So if one is sceptical of CAGW, then one does not belive in climate!! Amazing, how difficult is it to call it what it is. (CAGW sceptic)

  300. John Bowman says:

    Better still stop the reference “climate sceptics” or “global warming sceptics”. Are we not CO2-made global warming/climate change sceptics? Is the scepticism not about CO2 taking exclusive control of the Earth’s climate in the latter part of the 20th Century, something it has not done before?

    The evidence of climate change of global warming is not in question, but it is NOT evidence of CO2 being suddenly in charge.

    Words are important and it is a deliberate tactic in my view to keep the semantics focussed on global warming and climate change, for which of course there is observable evidence, because evidence about CO2 is not clear.

  301. Mike Nicholson says:

    Well done Anthony.
    Leading by example is, I think, the appropriate phrase.

  302. John Whitman says:

    ””””Capn Jack. (00:42:50) : John Whitman, I get snipped here and there I dont take it personal. No biggee. JVK””””

    JVK,

    I appreciate your words. Thanks.

    I really would by your some serious bar time in you were in Taipei. I feel that I’ve really been initiated now.

    John

  303. Stefan says:

    Channon (12:52:25) :
    Do I detect a paradigm shift? A feeling of discomfort? A wondering if all those carefully worded statements by various Royal Societies might just indicate that those dead cert bets need hedging?

    I wonder that it would assist science reporting in the media tremendously, to explain to the public what a paradigm is, and then frame all news in the context of the dominant paradigm, and alternative paradigms, if they exist.

    What little I’ve read about the meaning of paradigm, is that, a group of researchers employ a set of methods which they believe to be the best means of discovering objective truths, and when they employ those methods, they do indeed discover truths or data. They then teach those methods to their students who in turn, will also believe that these methods are the best to use.

    A different group of people may prefer a different set of methods, and their methods will reveal other kinds of data. They will teach this to their own students (if they can find any who haven’t already joined the dominant paradigm) and those students will continue gathering data.

    Occasionally, as more data is gathered within a paradigm, the data may disagree with the paradigm’s model of reality. When then happens, it is the smartest and brightest individuals inside the paradigm, who may begin to privately question the paradigm from within. But the majority, who are following the paradigm out of a kind of, average, mediocre adherence to established methods, will reject the data as being erroneous.

    The notion of paradigms acknowledges that you have to be an expert “in the field” (ie. inside the paradigm) to be qualified to employ the methods of that paradigm. But there is also an acknowledgement that other paradigms will disclose their own set of data.

    The big problem is when a dominant paradigm makes claims that it knows more than can be revealed by the sanctioned methods belonging to that paradigm alone. People outside the paradigm can spot this more easily; “whoa! dude! untested computer models don’t foretell the future!”

    Perhaps this is all a bit too complicated, but if you don’t make clear that separate individual paradigms each disclose their own kinds of data (computer models are fine for studying computer models), then when two paradigms come head to head, it looks like only one can be right and the other must be wrong. That’s a problem, and it leads to insane polarisation and stupid labels.

    The way to deal with it, and the media above all should be capable of doing this — they employ many smart professionals — the media should explain that different researchers use different methods which disclose different kinds of information. Then the decision makers can take the sum total of all that knowledge, and begin to integrate it into a coherent picture of everything that is known. If I discover, by walking around fields, that most cows are white, and you discover, by walking around offices, that most suits are black, this is in no way a contradiction. And everyone would see the silliness of me saying, well, most cows are white, and therefore most other things, including suits, must also be white!

    Climate researchers employed certain paradigms and those paradigms disclosed certain kinds of data. Let them focus on the data and the methods, as Climate Audit has done for so long — simply examine the paradigm from the inside and check it was done properly — and meanwhile other researchers can experiment with other methods, like cloud chambers.

    I detest the notion that the cloud experiments were not worth doing because the other methods had already “explained everything”. That’s rubbish. That’s one paradigm claiming superiority, when at the end of the day it is merely one method amongst many.

  304. Capn Jack. says:

    JW

    Blogs are open play of debate. Highest to the lowest.

    My candles in blogging are 12.

    Mea culpae is a religious term, not a debate term and not a science term.

    Have a nice day, sorry to offend your prestige.

    I aint your subbie and I aint your student.

    I only hunt merminks, the sacred cows of the seas.

    Laugh out loud.

  305. RichieP says:

    @ John Whitman (22:19:26) : “I have a limited ability to understand, I guess, because I cannot imagine here in the USA accepting a situation where I cannot say exactly what I think.”

    Am I anonymous? I use an abbreviation of my real name (and am fully contactable via my email provided) but am very wary of using the full version anywhere at all on the web, for a whole range of reasons, including the fact that I a) could be readily identified by the web crawlers our government here in the UK undoubtedly uses to police us, b) work for an outfit that adopts and supports the AGW creed, c) prefer not to be searchable through Google (an untrustworthy and power-grabbing organisation IMO in respect of the issue at debate), and d) because I certainly CAN imagine the situation John describes, being the subject of a state that increasingly does everything in its power to spy on and control its populace’s thinking and free expression and is continually seeking ways of expanding that power.

    That is the sad truth of the direction the UK has been heading in for some years now. Nor do we have an enlightened constitution that guarantees free speech (the most precious jewel of the US). We have no true constitution at all and only have a very limited democracy. Perhaps I’m a coward, though my own view is that I’m simply a careful and discreet realist, especially as my family depend on me. And, in person, I am very willing to debate my views with those who don’t hold them; they are not secret from those who care to enquire. I will fight my corner in live argument.

    I came here first because I’m a natural sceptic (this is the normal UK spelling chaps) and have always questioned authority when it appears irrational or oppressive, as the AGW creed has always seemed to me. I’m not a scientist (classics trained) and hugely value the opportunity to observe and sometimes take part in debates here and, even more perhaps, value the opportunity to learn from the real scientists and experts who make this site so fascinating and rewarding. I’m a little sad if Anthony regards anything I may say “anonymously” as without much value (though I can cheerfully survive if that’s so) as it’s usually from the heart, probably often off-beam but without abuse. I can only thank him and his collaborators for providing a place where I can find some sane understanding and knowledge and I’m certainly not going to give WUWT up!

    The Guardian may be calling a brief truce but I truly think it’s a smokescreen/displacement activity, until they feel safe to resume their frequently vicious and irrational attacks on those who disagree with their world-view. If they really change, all well and good – we shall see and I will be pleasantly surprised. And I’m very happy to be a denier, now a badge of honour.

  306. Allan M says:

    berniel (14:51:56) :

    [I've always been curious about Attenborough - avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]

    Attenborough is a patron of the Optimum Population Trust (as is Porrit), an odious little crowd of misfits, misanthropes and malcontents, who believe that there are far too many of ‘other’ people, and that something must be done about it. Try their website, but it is a bit sanitised from what some of them say in private.

    Sir Julian Huxley, former president of the British Eugenics Society, said in 1951, after the death camps were becoming known, that “the message of Eugenics might be unacceptable for a generation.” His successors are now pushing it with a vengeance, and AGW is useful to them.

    Why don’t I want to be polite about these people? Yet another crowd of ‘intellectuals’ who are never wrong.

  307. John Whitman says:

    ”””RichieP (02:39:13) : Am I anonymous?”””

    RichieP,

    I don’t know. I think only you know.

    Just like you don’t really know if I am anonymous.

    So, we could just be lying to each other. OK.

    So, lets figure out a way in the early 21st century to verify to each othert that we are who we say we are. No problem. Shall we proceed? I am up for it.

    John

  308. Ken Harvey says:

    While the AGWers continue to draw conclusions from “data” that has been demonstrated to be defective beyond belief, and which has been demonstrated to have been inappropriately manipulated, I feel that it is my bounden duty to treat them with the utter contempt which I believe that they deserve. To be polite to such as these would be to fail my fellow man.

  309. John Whitman says:

    ””””Capn Jack. (02:32:25) : Mea culpae is a religious term, not a debate term and not a science term.”””

    So this is debate?

    So perhaps you didn’t understand the latin. I will try in english.

    I made “a formal acknowledgment of personal fault or error” in suggesting change to you regarding anonymity here on WUWT. I really did.

    Debate terms are what debaters use, if we were debating and I used the term then it is a debate term. Would you then start a subdebate during the debate to have my terminology stricken?

    Yes, modern latin was (is) almost exclusively used by the Roman Catholic Chruch in Western Europe for the past 1500 yrs or so. Using modern latin does not make one religious, even if it in a common expression of the Church. Since I am not religious . . . . ?

    Do you accept my apology or should we debate that too?

    John

  310. Rowland Pantling (UK) says:

    I object to being called a climate “sceptic”. Once we have won the right to be called climate realists, then surely the battle will have been won. So much hot air is wasted on this topic. Climate is one of the most chaotic systems known to man. By definition, therefore, it cannot be predicted. End of story.

  311. Alexander says:

    Wonderful initiative, Anthony, you are a very civilised person who understands the meaning of adult responsibility and the harm derisory labels can do. It is my understanding that such labels are a device that allow the users to avoid meaningful intellectual discourse and also allows the users to dehumanise those they label. Reference the historic Nazi use of the term ‘untermenschen’ used to deny any Jew full membership of the human race. George Monbiot’s playing-card gallery in the Guardian is the most egregious use of the technique I have seen in recent times; this is still posted in the Guardian and if the Guardian journalists are serious, should be removed and apologised for with alacrity.
    As to the question of posters using anonymity, I am very cautious about using my own surname on blogs due to both the high incidence of cyber-crime and the personal nervousness the ‘surveillance society’ here in the UK induces. I reside in the UK as a guest and I do not wish to prejudice that status. However, my real name is used in my email address, which is in the records of WUWT so the moderators or anyone alse who is an official of WUWT can contact me by email at any time.

  312. Anand Rajan KD says:

    James Sexton
    “…then you should post your name and you should be responded to. Truly, if the response is legitimate, myself and you included, have seen that he does. You know it is contingent of whether he can respond in the post or not. Yes, I’ve seen him cut people out because of their anonymity. We all have. I can only surmise as to why, but I’ve never seen the person come back and restate their assertions with their real names.”

    I’ve always posted with my full name at WUWT. And yes, I think I can face a significant negative fallout for posting in science blogs, given the position that I am in.

    To see the issue of global warming through the simple lens of “is the temperature rising?” is to set an extremely dangerous precedent. The overall tone of the “Mind your Language” article in the Guardian is condescension. I would hesitate to exonerate the Guardian, let alone the whole of journalism for that one piece.

    Among those who characterize online debate as “vicious” and “vitriolic” are frequently journalists who never understood the internet. No quarter to them.

    No more posting at WUWT for me. Have fun.

    [Reply: don't give up so easily. I've been snipped off and on, and I'm still here because I believe in what we're fighting against. Also, no one will remember this particular incident by next week. We'll all be off on another subject. ~dbs, mod.]

  313. Chris Wright says:

    This is excellent news. I’m happy to be called a climate sceptic, as scepticism is – or once was – the fundamental basis of science. Scepticism doesn’t mean the automatic denial of anything. But it does mean that one does not accept something to be true simply because it comes from authority. Scepticism means looking at the evidence and asking awkward questions. If the evidence is strong and there are good answers for the awkward questions, then no problem.
    Clearly, Galileo was a sceptic, and in an age when your beliefs could kill you. I’m happy to be with Galileo.
    The use of ‘climate change sceptic’ was always nonsensical, as well as insulting. A major sceptical argument is that the climate is always changing. It is the IPCC who deny significant climate change before the 20th century. The hockey stick is the perfect symbol of climate change denial. How ironic….
    Chris

  314. Graphite says:

    Perhaps they foresee the eventual outcome when ‘deniers’ are proven to be correct – and do not want to elevate the status of ‘holocaust deniers’! – Although even demonising (or imprisoning!) ‘holocaust deniers’ on principal doesn’t seem right to me!

  315. Neil Craig says:

    When the Guardian used the term “scientific consesnsus” to describe catastrophic warming I asked them, wrote a letter & attempted to put an online comment asking them to name 2 scientists not funded by government who have supported catastrophic warming. They didn’t reply or allow the question online or in print. They clearly know they cannot name more than 1 independent scientist in their “consensus” yet they have continued, repeatedly to use the term & to censor any questioning of it.

    If this is “outrach” let them stay in their corral.

  316. John Whitman says:

    ””””’Anand Rajan KD (03:39:56) :

    [Reply: don't give up so easily. I've been snipped off and on, and I'm still here because I believe in what we're fighting against. Also, no one will remember this particular incident by next week. We'll all be off on another subject. ~dbs, mod.]”””’

    Anand,

    dbs the mod is wise.

    Look, I just got my first flame ever on the inernet tonight at the hands of noneother than the worthy Capn Jack. I am honored. Could be the start of a special friendship.

    John

  317. fafhrd says:

    Usually, with so many comments to read through, it is more often the outrageous than the profound that gets picked and carried through the thread. There is a game played by many (labelling avoided) to see how quickly they can hijack the thread. The use or lack of a “real” name is like many of these attempts. If you feel that something has been written that you need to respond to – then do so. Otherwise ignore it or respond with LOL (my favourite). For me, the issue of what one is called in this debate (as we finally seem to have one, even if it is weak) is like the hijacked thread. Call me what you want, just stop shovelling the manure.
    Many years ago I read about AGW and I was very sceptical of the conclusions of the “experts” and those supporting them. I did my own reading of the available research and found that I did not believe what they were saying. I was a “disbeliever” (which as others have said would make me heretic was this a religion – oh wait …). The evidence is the denier of the AGW/ACC theorem. I personally deny that there is a consensus. I deny that those believing in AGW/ACC have the right to cause such upheaval in the world. I deny that the correct scientific methods have been used. I deny that, because my degrees are in other fields than climatology, I have no say as to whether or not the statements of these “scientists” are correct. I deny that I enjoy putting quotes around words, but it seemed “appropriate”. Call me what you will, but it doesn’t mean I will stop trying to get to the truth and from spreading where I may. I prefer Un-believer, but denier will do.

  318. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Ken Harvey (03:03:51) said:
    While the AGWers continue to draw conclusions from “data” that has been demonstrated to be defective beyond belief, and which has been demonstrated to have been inappropriately manipulated, I feel that it is my bounden duty to treat them with the utter contempt which I believe that they deserve. To be polite to such as these would be to fail my fellow man.

    Well said Ken – I agree.

    While Anthony, who I like and respect, tries to stop the “other side” of this debate from continuing to throw sand, I wonder if we are being too kind.

    We “global warming deniers” started this debate being respectful, only to be vilified and ostracized by people who are now proven fraudsters and crooks.

    A trillion dollars of public money has been misappropriated, funds that could have been used to ease human suffering and improve the planet. Instead, these scarce resources have been wasted. used to subsidize energy frauds such as wind power and corn ethanol.

    The deliberate, coordinated vilification of “deniers” led to death threats against honest, outspoken climate scientists like Dr. Tim Ball.

    Other “denier” scientists suffered worse outrages, that I am not free to reveal.

    Serious crimes have been committed by the global warming alarmists and their supporters.

    It is not up to us to be generous and forgive. We do not have that right.

  319. I don’t think it’s true that “climate change skeptics (or whatever term you prefer) don’t question that there has been global warming.” Many clearly do, in this thread alone.

    You can say that “many” don’t question that, or even “most,” but it’s simply not true that people on the other side are just making up the fact that this position exists.

  320. Gary Pearse says:

    Well, the Guardian’s reluctant agreement to limit or reduce the use of the D word is nevertheless good to see, even though it stems from the the paper’s recognition that they have been too all-in (as in Texas holdem) with AGW hype and had no where else to go after climategate and the continued bleeding of the IPCC. Ever gracious, Anthony should be appreciated for having opened the door to a dog with its tail between its legs. I don’t see helping the media to change over to more objective reporting as letting people get away with fraud. It is afterall, the media and there job is to sell papers, etc. The elitist scientists and the green and red mob who perpetrated this shamefull descent of climate science and tainting of all science are, as we speak and write, being taken care of by scientific bodies now speaking out about the issues and those who were deceived. Of course there is and will be whitewashing but I believe the main ones are essentially through – can it be that they will be flooding the scientific literature and giving papers at scientific gatherings after all this? No, I expect some retirements or career shifts. But Lord, they burned up an unbelievable amount of money (50B someone said somewhere) and how many B went into wrong technologies and huge government and private spending – well, lets let it be an education and hope the knowledge puts us on our guard for a very long time.

  321. Gary Pearse says:

    Moderator, my offering disappeared! I don’t believe I said anything too disrespectful.

    [Reply: it's been rescued from the spam filter and posted. Three minutes elapsed from the time it was submitted. ~dbs, mod.]

  322. Jim Clarke says:

    It is still very disturbing that the Guardian believes that few of us are skeptical of the science. Do they think we are few in number, or that we really don’t believe what we are saying because of all the money ‘big oil’ has been sending us? (I am still waiting for my check and its been 20 years!)

    Frankly, I don’t think I have ever met an atmospheric scientist that is not at least somewhat skeptical of the AGW theory, at least in private conversation. Those that are more assured use the caveat that “Even if we are wrong, it would still be good to mitigate CO2″ indicating that they may not be as confident about the science as they are pretending to be.

    The Gaurdian might do well to send in an ‘undercover’ reporter to a conference and find out what people really think during the cocktail hour.

    Skeptics…we are legion!

  323. David Harrington says:

    Bravo Guardian and believe me I don’t say that every day…!

  324. Capn Jack. says:

    Skeptics are not deniers.

    Personally sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

    In maths there is only only one law.

    The law of axiom.

    Our rules are subject to change, on a better axiom.

    A better rule.

    Semantics is not math and it it not science.

    To see roller boards in statement and understand statement is an achievement.

    But to see science this low, math this low is travesty.

    Like a tabloid in a supermarket.

  325. Pamela Gray says:

    I actually have an old textbook on Eugenics. The popular view is that Eugenics was a WWII German phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth. The book is devastating to read. I also have read a civil war book written in 1864 by a military officer. In it he describes his take on the issues and his experience inside Washington. It also is a devastating book to read. Why? Both books clearly see these issues from the perspective of a benevolent view that is perfectly natural and even sanctioned by the right hand of God (more so the civil war tome). Taken literally (which I did not), it would surely jade your previous perceptions that if people are kind on the outside, they must be kind on the inside and would do no harm.

  326. RichieP says:

    @John Whitman (02:56:03)

    “So, lets figure out a way in the early 21st century to verify to each othert that we are who we say we are. No problem. Shall we proceed? I am up for it.”

    How to do that? Whatever string of characters I use to name myself, there’s no obvious way to guarantee that identity, unless posters here are registered and/or log in. On the other hand, if someone malicously hijacked my web handle, the change of style and tone might be an obvious sign but still not proof positive of anything. What do you think?

  327. G. Karst says:

    I really don’t see why the terms “AGW convinced” or “AGW unconvinced” is not sufficient to describe both sides of climate debate. At least it shows proper respect for people. GK

  328. Dave says:

    What, then, shall we call a “milliband”? Time to get on the other foot.

  329. RichieP says:

    @ Dave (07:00:48) :

    “What, then, shall we call a “milliband”? Time to get on the other foot.”

    A milliband: The time elapsed between the utterance of words critical of CAGW belief and the use by the believer of the term “Flat-earther” ?

  330. Richard M says:

    Paul Daniel Ash (04:57:18) :

    I don’t think it’s true that “climate change skeptics (or whatever term you prefer) don’t question that there has been global warming.” Many clearly do, in this thread alone.

    You can say that “many” don’t question that, or even “most,” but it’s simply not true that people on the other side are just making up the fact that this position exists.

    And, on the other hand, we’ve now seen evidence that AGW is based on exaggerations and questionable data with Trenberth even admitting they can’t balance the energy budget. Clearly, the scientists have not been honest in stating their uncertainties.

    Does that make anyone who still believes in AGW (like you) a complex climate denier?

  331. Doc_Navy says:

    It has been my take for a number of years now that the mindset of those who believe in and support CAGW is fundementally different than those who are sceptical. In my opinion it’s really quite simple:

    The “Consensus” crowd, when trying to ge a handle on Sceptics, tends to ~erroneously~ focus on the “GW” portion of CAGW findng it easier to to just generalize and toss the word “Denier” around at anybody who throws up a “Time Out” sign. The direct message being that sceptics are in “denial” that the Earth has warmed, with the implication being that that “denial” flies in the face of an overwhelming MOUNTAIN of irrefutable, peer-reviewed evidence, supported by an international army of completely unbiased scientific organizations and all the scientists therin, that Mankind has caused said warming, and that warming is going to be 100% catastrophic.

    The REALITY is that 99% of those labelled “Deniers” have absolutely ZERO problem with the fact that the Earth has warmed, or that CO2 does, in fact, have SOME effect. (the magnitude of which has yet to be determined)
    Instead we sceptics tend to pretty much exclusively focus our attention on the “CA” portion of CAGW. Catastrophic?!! Really? No benefits, huh?Mankinds fault?? How do you know? Anything like this ever happened before without Mankind’s input? Oh… you want me to sit down and stop asking questions… why?
    Our scepticism stemming from an ingrained and highly sensitive “BS detector” honed by decades of slimy political and activist propaganda. We don’t NEED to be a Ph.D in Animal Husbandry or Veterinary. Medicine to know BS when we see it. Likewise, we don’t NEED to be a “Climatologist” to understand it when we are shown poor climate science. When we are shown a steaming pile of bovine excrement and asked to call it a plate of waygyu steaks… we are, naturally, repulsed. When it is a person who’s authority is based on public trust that is the one holding the pile… we are appalled and outraged.

    I dunno… it’s been pretty simple to me for a long time. I guess that’s what has frustrated me so much when dealing with the CAGW crowd.

    Doc

  332. Tom G(ologist) says:

    To Doug (16:52:39) :

    “Deniers is exactly what they are. They are in the same league as those who deny evolution. Their tactics are the same, and generally their political leanings are the same. I don’t see the issue. Call them what they are — deniers.”

    WRONG, sir. On every point. There is more hard evidence for evolution than there is for almost every other major branch of science. It is better understood than the theory of gravity – we at least know what causes evolution to occur. It has been confirmed by empirical observation and rigorous experimentation from independent lines of research thousands – nay TENS OF THOUSANDS of times over.

    Please cite ONE experiment which documented that CO2 is THE cause of ostensible global warming. There are none. All we have is a weak and indirect correlation.

    Denying evolution is a religious issue – PERIOD. there are no exceptions. I know, I am also deeply involved in that issue.

    Questioning the questionable scientific methods and conclusions inflicted on us by an unscrupulous cadre of advocating scientists is simply NOT being in a state of denial so stop trying to foist that label on us.

    I agree with you that there are a lot of non-scientists who have two things in common – denying evolution AND denying climate change. They have no place in the serious debate.

    THEY are not US. I think it folly to come to a web page which is frequented by many people who are educated in relevant disciplines and spout off that we are simply cretins who won’t ‘believe’ what you choose to ‘believe’. There is no belief involved here, which is what a denier trades on.

    We want evidence produced through sound, tested and confrmed science. Produce it and we’ll join your parade. Don’t have it? Stop equating us with anti-evolutionist wankers.

    Besides. If the community of practicing scientists have all concluded that the points we have been making these many years are significant enough to warrant position statements on openess and transparency, and if the perpetrators of poor science are being forced to concede the doubts we have been promoting for those same years, who in the world are you to hold out that we are just simply plain old unadulterated, ignorant, flat-earth, anti-evolution deniers? Wake up and recognize that the science community has awakened before you and is already conceding things need to be done differently. For the single reason that our concerns and questions are VALID.

  333. Doc_Navy says:

    @Paul Daniel Ash

    Ifind your comment interesting. Interesting because there are ~SO~ many on the “Consensus” side that are in complete DENIAL of obvious FACTS. May I point out a couple?

    1. No matter how you crack it: no warming since 1998, no statistical warming since 1995. Period.

    2. Proof of warming DOES NOT equate to proof that Mankind caused it.

    3. The premise of, “After plugging in everything we could think of, we still can’t account for the warming, therefore it MUST be Mankind!” ~ISN’T~ a scientific argument… hell, it’s not even a LEGITIMATE argument. It’s an argument from IGNORANCE.

    4. You can’t appeal to your own authority.

    5. The MWP did, in fact, exist and it was warmer than now.

    6. There are no such things as “Tipping points” leading to “Runaway Greenhouse effect”.

    7. In the same vein, there have been times in the geologic past when atmospheric CO2 ppm was 10x greater than now, it wasn’t catastrophic.

    8. Earth is NOT Venus. Never will be… Ever.

    9. Glaciers make extremely poor indicators of Global Warming.

    10. The polar bears are doing just fine. Better than fine, in fact.

    (Bonus) Climate Scientsts are human too, guess what? They can (and probably are) wrong about a great many things. They need to get off “the high horse”.

    (Extra Credit) “Climate Science” is an INFANT science, Svante A. Arrhenius was a CHEMIST first, physicist second, and NEVER a “Climate scientist”.

    Thise are just a few things off the top of my head.

    Doc

  334. Bernd Felsche says:

    Linguistic nuances are important for carrying messages that you might not want to convey openly. If I were called an un-believer or an infidel for not believing in AGW catastrophe, then those making the statement immediately draw upon the religious nuance.

    But use of the D-word draws upon rather unpleasant nuances; which can be especially insulting for those from certain cultural backgrounds. But the nuances are also used to make the object of derision appear more “evil” than the literal meaning of the word in the eyes of the followers. It’s the first step to de-humanising opponents, a process which ultimately gives consent to actions against them as non-humans.

    The word-game can be defused; usually with humour; associating different nuances with the word. Objecting to the use of the word tends to reinforce the nuance instead; which is fine if you wish to reserve it for that purpose. And it doesn’t disarm opponents in a free world.

  335. Doc_Navy says:

    @Capn Jack

    Not to intrude… but umm, If I may, there are a NUMBER of “Debate terms” that happen to be in latin:

    -argumentum ad antiquitatem
    -argumentum ad ex nihilio
    -argumentum ad hominem
    -argumentum ad ignorantiam
    -argumentum ad logicam
    -argumentum ad misericordiam
    -argumentum ad nauseam
    -argumentum ad numerum
    -argumentum ad populum
    -argumentum ad verecundiam
    -circulus in demonstrando
    -dicto simpliciter
    -non sequitur
    -petitio principii
    -post hoc ergo propter hoc
    -tu quoque

    Just to name a few…

    Doc

  336. NickB. says:

    Al Gore called us “Climate Deniers” the other day*

    Does that mean we don’t believe the climate exists?

    I’m so confused, I’m glad I have the “consensus” crowd to tell me what I think and believe.

    /sarcasm off

  337. Gail Combs says:

    John Whitman (22:19:26) :

    “…I have a limited ability to understand, I guess, because I cannot imagine here in the USA accepting a situation where I cannot say exactly what I think….”

    My uncle was a buyer for the government at one time and then worked for Haz… he was fired for refusing to lie and black balled for years. I discovered the last company I worked for falsifying data that put people at risk of death from plane crashes (three planes did go down). I was fired within hours of bring the matter up to the plant manager and black balled. I have not been able to get a job since.

    Alexander Feht has highlighted a very real problem. The personnel departments in corporations even have a name for it, it is called “being a team player” and team players are not skeptics of any type. There was a darn good reason for “whistle blower” protection laws in the USA, unfortunately the do not work in the real world.

  338. toyotawhizguy says:

    I too find the “denier’ label distasteful since the way it is used is to imply that AGW skeptics are motivated by thought processes having equivalence to bigotry, but am able to shrug it off, given the nature of the source(s). The use of the label is a greater reflection of the personality of the persons using the label (i.e. arrogant in their position, agenda driven, as well as being unable to win their argument based on the science and the facts). In reality, the use of the label is nothing more than a “talking point”. If the warmists tossing out the label had good science to back up their position, they would debate based on the science. Al Gore refuses to debate Christopher Monckton, even though Gore has been challenged to a debate by Monckton. Instead, Gore appears on television spouting his pseudoscience, debating no one, and might as well have the word “denier” inked on his palm as a crib note.

  339. kwik says:

    Doug (16:52:39) :

    “Deniers is exactly what they are. They are in the same league as those who deny evolution.”

    Doug, I have read all the books by Richard Dawkins. Did you?

    I can recommend “The selfish gene”.

    The “AGW Theory” is not science. Its Cargo Cult Science.

    When you too discover whatsa been going on in the IPCC process, you will probably be angry too. I hope so.

    Regards, kwik.

    I am a “Refutnik”.

  340. toyotawhizguy says:

    @Doc_Navy (08:42:45) :

    “3. The premise of, “After plugging in everything we could think of, we still can’t account for the warming, therefore it MUST be Mankind!” ~ISN’T~ a scientific argument… hell, it’s not even a LEGITIMATE argument. It’s an argument from IGNORANCE.”

    You make several great points. For point #3, an analogy would be “Black Box Testing”, where you have a sealed black box with a power supply bus, a power supply ground, signal inputs and signal outputs, but you are not allowed to open up the box to look inside. By analyzing the inputs and outputs, you analyze the design, and if a defect or defects exist, identify them also. This is all without opening up the box. In the Climatology analogy, the black box has 1,000,000 input wires, has 1,000,000 output wires, and one large wire connects to the power supply (the sun). All of the signals on the input wires are varying due to each wire being connected to a unique random noise generator, and the power supply voltage (the sun) is also varying. Of course all of the outputs are varying too. The engineer has to determine what is inside the box, and to determine how each input is affecting the outputs and what causes them to change with time. Usually, the engineer is allowed to alter the input signals as he wishes, but in the Climatology analogy this is not allowed, except for a slow ramping upward of the DC voltage on the 300 green wires labeled “CO2″, superimposing the DC voltage onto the random noise. The engineer has at his disposal 2,000 analog meters with test leads, thus can only measure 0.1% of all of the wires. The testing is ongoing for several years, and most of the meters break down, and many are replaced with new digital meters having a different calibration. In the end, the engineer is left with only 500 meters. After collecting a lot of data over a period of several years (however much of the older data gets lost in the process :-) ), the engineer points to the green wires labeled “CO2″, and says “That’s the reason for all of the changes observed in the outputs. Why you ask? I can’t think of anything else.”

  341. RichieP says:

    @ Doc_Navy (09:06:29) :”Not to intrude… but umm, If I may, there are a NUMBER of “Debate terms” that happen to be in latin:”

    Wonderful list! The ‘tu quoque’ is one we all must encounter frequently in reading of CAGW blogs and articles recently.

    ‘Tu quoque (“you too”). This is the fallacy of defending an error in one’s reasoning by pointing out that one’s opponent has made the same error. An error is still an error, regardless of how many people make it. For example, “They accuse us of making unjustified assertions. But they asserted a lot of things, too!”‘

    http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/fallacies.html#Tu%20quoque

  342. DR says:

    Relating to your update – the Dawkin’s story is more complicated than has been portrayed here or in the Times article (see the oldest comment on that article for an explanation, and indeed Dawkin’s apology on his own website). There are more details here http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/

    As I understand it, Richard Dawkins (or rather his website administrator) was criticised by the contributors to his online forum for announcing that the forum would be radically changed, much more heavily moderated and all previous threads deleted. The forum was soon after closed to all new comments. This was understandably very unpopular with forum members and the volunteer moderators who made their feelings known on other forums. The criticism was not from people criticising Dawkins’ ideas but from his supporters who were losing a much-valued resource. And the forum closure was not as a result of the criticism but the cause of it.

    So let’s not jump to conclusions without checking the data…

  343. APF says:

    El oh el. We’ve already won. This is the media’s equivalent of raising the white flag. Of course they know how to reach out to any group, to diffuse tensions etc – they don’t need to ask a blogger that. They’ve realized that we’re now the majority.

  344. kwik says:

    Carbon Dioxide (13:01:45) :

    “Reading between the lines, I consider that that Prof. Dawkins is trying to tell us something which would be career suicide for him to articulate further.”

    Even though someone is a great source of information on one subject, doesnt mean he cannot be mistaken on another.

    For example; Isaac Newton was heavily involved in alchemy.

    But still , the “Principia Mathematica” was great.

    Noone is 100% right all the time. Maybe he realised he was on thin ice.

    Still lots of fun reading his books.

  345. toyotawhizguy says:

    @Doc_Navy (08:42:45) :

    “8. Earth is NOT Venus. Never will be… Ever.”

    Doc, your points are so “spot on” that I couldn’t resist commenting on #8.

    Warmists have pointed to the fact that Venus’s atmosphere is 96.5% CO2, then make the claim that this is why Venus is so hot (+460 deg C surface temperature, the “official” published value ).
    [Anecdotal: As a junior high student in the 1960's, my science class was taught that the atmosphere of Venus was thought to contain large quantities of Ammonia gas. In the 21st century, Ammonia isn't even listed as a trace gas for Venus' atmosphere. My how the "facts" have changed!]

    What the warmists fail to say (at least via MSM conduits):
    -Venus’ orbital radius is 0.723AU (Semi-Major axis), thus its solar irradiance is roughly 1.73 times that of Earth’s. A higher level of insolation means more energy reaching the planet system, thus more heat and a warmer planet.
    -Venus atmospheric pressure at the surface is 93 bar, that’s roughly 92 times as dense as earth’s. Venus has roughly 2.33 EE+05 times as much CO2 (total mass) in its atmosphere as does Earth, even though both planets are very similar in size.
    – Mars (much smaller than Venus) by comparison has a 95.7% CO2 atmosphere but has a mean surface temperature of -46 deg C. (The % by volume of CO2 for Mars is 0.99171 times that of Venus, an insignificant difference, but average surface temperature is +733 deg K for Venus vs. +227 deg K for Mars, a 69% difference)

    There’s not even a correlation here between % CO2 and surface temperature. The warmists would argue that both planets would be cooler with less atmospheric CO2 (or no atmospheric CO2), but that remains unproven, and the burden of proof is on them. Until they can prove both correlation and causation, the warmists are busted. Mars’ cool surface temperature must be mainly due to other factors, such as:
    – Mars atmospheric pressure at the surface is 0.6 to 1.0 kPA, which is roughly .006 to 0.01as dense as earth’s.
    -Mars’ orbital radius is 1.524AU (Semi-Major axis),thus its solar irradiance is roughly 0.506 times that of Earth’s.

    What does correlate in both cases is the level of solar irradience (directly proportional to average surface temperature) and atmospheric density (also directly proportional to average surface temperature). Warmists tend to ignore these two variables, at least as presented by the MSM, since these weaken the warmist’s position.)

    There is also reason to be a bit skeptical of the official published Venus surface temperature of +460 deg C. The Soviets landed the Venera 13 lander on the planet in 1982. “The lander survived for 127 minutes (the planned design life was 32 minutes) in an environment with a temperature of 457 °C (855 °F) and a pressure of 89 Earth atmospheres (9.0 MPa).” [Source: Wikipedia].
    On the surface of Venus, with a successful landing, landers fail when their limited cooling system capacity becomes exhausted. How could the Venera 13 lander have lasted for almost 4 times of that expected if it was truly subjected to nearly the expected temperature of +460 deg C? Electronic equipment in general does not tolerate temperatures in excess of the maximum design ratings. And limited cooling systems don’t just magically quadruple their capacity. I’m not the first person to raise this skepticism as regards Venus’ official surface temperature.

  346. Skeptic says:

    I agree with your suggestion about dialing back the rhetoric. It does get out of hand at times. However, I think I would like special dispensation when it comes to Gore or Mann. There’s just something about these two that prevents civilized dialogue.

  347. Phil A says:

    “[...] My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate. [...]“

    Completely agree, but hasn’t it been warming for more like 300 years? Granted, that is still “100+” but it was kind of fundamental to my originally becoming a sceptic that unless they could explain what caused the 1700s and 1800s changes and show that mechanism had not been working in the 1900s that I was reluctant to believe that the latter changes in the 1900s were even likely to be principally man-made let alone the 95% probability.

  348. ploffy says:

    All scientists are skeptical, but only a few deny the validity of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

    All scientists are skeptical, but only a few THOUSAND deny the validity of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

    FIFY

  349. Clawga says:

    Deniers is sooo 15 minutes ago …. now we’re “nutters”

  350. John Whitman says:

    ”””’Gail Combs (09:28:56) : Alexander Feht has highlighted a very real problem . . . . . . a darn good reason for “whistle blower” protection laws in the USA, unfortunately they do not work in the real world.”””’

    Gail,

    First maybe we need to think about what anonymity is. I just made up this definition of the top of my head, “lack of information that would allow someone to be able to physically locate you or your assets”.

    Perhaps we are talking across two different concepts in regards to anonymity on blogs:

    1. Intent to Take Responsibility – We expect this of professionals and of, well, ‘responsible’ people. Cyber crime is a risk sure, but there are technical mitigations .Keeping technically updated plus being careful is wise. Be careful just like you are in the physical world.

    2. Intent to Avoid Identification – Possibly are ~ 3 reasons to avoid identification.

    2.1 One possible reason is that a commenter on a blog is trying to avoid identification because the person is scared of something [cybercrime, surviellence, etc] or someone [employer, paparazzi, gov't, society, police, etc].

    2.2 The other possible reason is that a commenter on a blog is trying to avoid identification for purpose of doing something they know is not legal/moral/responsible.

    2.3 It is just plain fun to get outside yourself and playact. This reason is the entertainment value of anonymity.

    I suggest we focus on paragraph 2.1 only, since I do not think the other areas are at issue in our discussion. NOTE: Regarding 2.3 “entertainment value”, on some social blogs this is a main purpose, on science blogs it probably is a minor incidental purpose.

    Do you (and other commenters) think this is a fair framework to base our continued discussion on?

    Reminder that my preference is have blog experiences with people who represent themselves with their actual identities. I do blog with people who avoid their identities, but that is not my preference.

    Finally, of course, how could anyone know if a person is using their actual identities? But, of course, that question isn’t limited to cyberspace. I think we have to presume innocence in regard to claims/credentials of actual identity.

    John

  351. 1DandyTroll says:

    ‘In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.’

    Missed this one, and I like to try it on for size.

    What is the actual time frame in your reality for a long time, considering “long time blogger”? I know of people who have logged their time from the early 90’s, and they’re still logging their existence still. Most every one else tend to wink out of existence the moment they face like the rest of the planet who thinks otherwise.

  352. Just The Facts says:

    Anthony

    So was this all just crap from the Guardian? Their Climate Change Scepticism page still leads with their “Editors’ picks” “Top 10 climate change deniers – Monbiot’s royal flush: Cut out and keep climate change denier cards” “Monbiot’s top 10 climate change deniers”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-change-scepticism

    Sea Change? I don’t see any change…

  353. Michael Reed says:

    Regarding Dillon Allen (11:28:41) comments. Sorry I came late to this discussion, but Dillon’s comments touch on one of my personal pet peeves. Medieval scholars did not believe the earth was flat. This is a slur invented by later propagandists. Columbus argued that the accepted figure for the diameter of the earth was too large, and thus reaching the Indies by sailing west would be easier than any scholar believed. His voyages did not prove the world was round, as is often claimed — that was a well known fact; he in fact proved that the accepted calculation for the earth’s diameter was correct. In short, he was wrong and the scholars were right. However, by an interesting historical accident, his error in calculations turned out to be almost precisely the actual distance to the New World. No disrespect to Dillon intended here. :-) He is just the victim of what passes for historical education these days.

  354. ninaluvchoco says:

    Sir, may I Translate your writing into Indonesian then post it in my blog?

    REPLY: Certainly. – Anthony

  355. One of my greatest pleasures (in an obviously pathetically unexciting life) was to find myself the butt of the Guardianistas’ collective venom. Now, through gritted teeth they will merely condescend to me. From exhilarating bullies to smug know-it-alls. Oh, the ennui! The lassitude! I shiver. I sweat. My teeth chatter. Gotta go over…to Real Climate…for…for…a…fix.

  356. Edward Bancroft says:

    The Guardian might be shifting ground ever so slightly, but it seems that the Faily Telegraph has regressed with this story…

    “Will polar bears make it back to shore?” “The future looks bleak for this polar bear and her cub huddled on a rapidly shrinking iceberg 12 miles out to sea. ”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7078673/Will-polar-bears-make-it-back-to-shore.html

    This is the classic ‘polarbear-on-an-icefloe’ story that has cropped up incessantly over the last ten years. What I want to know is what have the journalist and her editor been doing over the past few months? During which the incriminating UEA emails have been exposed, Copenhagen failed, Pachauri’s melting Himalayan glacier claims debunked, IPCC errors revealed, FOI data access denied, and peer reviewing found to be inadequate. Not to mention all of the material on the Web which casts doubt on the AGW myths.

    Seems like there are still many residual journos holding out, or being pressured in some way to keep spouting the standard AGW lines.

  357. George E. Smith says:

    “”” toyotawhizguy (15:25:35) :

    @Doc_Navy (08:42:45) :

    “8. Earth is NOT Venus. Never will be… Ever.”

    Doc, your points are so “spot on” that I couldn’t resist commenting on #8. “””

    I would not be so quick to say that the long survival of the Soviet Lander on Venus gives cause to doubt the temperature of 460 deg C. I’m not defending that value, but think there are other explanations.

    You say the lander was expected to survive for 32 minutes. A corllary to that thesis, would be that the lander was expected to survive at whatever the presumed temperature was at that time.

    In comparing earth and Venus; CO2 wise, one has to allow for a number of differences.

    On Earth at a mean surface temp of 288 K (15 deg C) the peak of the surface emittet thermal radiation spectrum (presumed approximatly black body like), occurs at about 10.1 microns; but the main operating CO2 absorption band runs from about 13.5 to 16.5 microns; at earth’s surface pressure. That 10.1 micron peak is right in the middle of a major atmospheric window, affected only by a narrow 9-10 micron Ozone band.

    CO2 also has a band at around 4 microns; but only 0.1% of a BB spectrum energy occurs below 40% of the peak wavelength, so that has no effect on LWIR. 4 microns is also eight times the wavelength of the solar spectrum peak at about 500 nm; and once again the BB spectrum contains only 1% of the energy above 8 times the peak, so the CO2 4 micron band is essentially inconsequential on earth.

    On Venus, at 460 C, the surface temperature is 2.55 times earth’s surface temperature; so the peak of its thermal emission spectrum would be at about3.97 microns, so it sits right on the CO2 4 micron band. About 8% of the energy is emitted above the 3.75 times peak wavelength of the CO2 15 micron band, so that absorption is also active on Venus.
    Now the higher temperature of venus would result in a widening of those bands due to Doppler effect, which should go about as the square root of Temperature (K) so that alone would widen the bands on Venus by about 1.6 over what we see on earth, so one would expect the 15 micron band on Venus to collect somewhat more than 8% of the total sirface thermal radiation energy.

    CO2 also has a strong absorption band at 2.5 microns which is 0.625 of the Venus spectrum peak, but the energy there is still only about 3-4% of the total; maybe more with the line broadening.

    Then the collision broadening due to the high pressure on Venus will result in even more line broadening, so the combined effect of the Venus surface temperature and pressure, would be to make a CO2 atmosphere quite efficient in blocking outgoing LWIR in the 2-20 micron range.

    If somehow, earth’s surface temperatures were to rise significantly, the 15 micron CO2 band would become less effective as the spectral peak moves to shorter wavelengths. At the highest present surface temps of about +60 C, or 333K, the emission peak would be about 8.74 microns, or 58% of the CO2 15 micron line. About 35% of the energy lies above 1.7 times the peak wavelength. The 4 micron band is only 45.8% of that 60 deg C peak, and there is still only about 0.3% of the spectrum energy there, so the 4 micron CO2 band has little effect even at the highest present surface temperatures.

    So as earth’s temperature warms the CO2 15 micron band weakens, but the 4 micron band doesn’t kick in to any extent; so CO2 itself cannot drive the earth’s temperature “over the hump” to get to a place where the 4 micron band has a significant green house effect.

    Even without the negative feedback from clouds, I doubt that CO2 could drive earth’s temperature past any “tipping point”. With earth’s water, nothing seems to have been able to get the temperature above the 22 deg ceiling that has existed for the last 600 million years, and has been earth’s mean surface temperature for most of that 600 million years.

    So we currently are enjoying a rare cold snap, that has only existed for any length of time once before in the Carboniferous period; well based on temperature reconstructions of C.R. Scotese

  358. Doc_Navy says:

    Interesting, I never eally thought my quick list of facts would generate such great discussion. I have really enjoyed the posts. To add a little more to the mix:
    (I apologise for the limited use of Wikipedia but they have a number of the Items I would have listed with a better write-up)

    1. Unlike Earth, Venus lacks a magnetic field. Its ionosphere separates the atmosphere from outer space and the solar wind. This ionized layer excludes the solar magnetic field, giving Venus a distinct magnetic environment. This is considered Venus’ induced magnetosphere. **Lighter gases, including water vapor, are continuously blown away by the solar wind through the induced magnetotail.**

    2. Venus’ Atmospheric makeup contains HUGE (in comparison to Earth)amounts of Sulphur products.

    3. Current theory states that Venus’ “Runaway” warming was initially caused by the evaporation of all of its surface WATER due to it’s proximity to the Sun and aided by a lack of magnetic field (see #1) and finally enhanced by a greenhouse effect which INCLUDED volcanic gasses as major a component, in addition to CO2. This state of affairs still exists today.

    *note* Before someone goes off on a rant that Sulphur Dioxide has a cooling effect on Earth’s atmosphere… I once again point out that VENUS ISN’T EARTH and vice versa. Sulphur Dioxide IS a greenhouse gas, it’s more powerful than CO2, and the quantities and chemical make-up of the Venusian atmosphere is vastly different from Earth. The cooling effect comes from the fact that ~ON EARTH~ SO2 dispersion is limited and it is highly reactive to the oxygen (oxidises) in our atmosphere, often quickly precipitating out after forming aerosols (sulphates). In other words SO2 doesn’t travel far and has a short residence in the atmosphere of Earth.

    Venus is an ENTIRELY different scenario. There is no oxygen left in it’s atmosphere to oxidise, the residence time is pretty much infinite as the atmosphere of Venus is in a state of vigorous circulation and super-rotation, and these winds continuously keep the SO2 mixed.

    Here’s a recent study about Sulphur Dioxide’s climate effect on the atmosphere of Mars. (I know, Mars isn’t Venus)

    http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~ihalevy/mydocs/Halevy_etal_Science_2007.pdf

    4. Venus lacks plate tectonics (this is different than vocanics) that would dissipate heat from it’s mantle (Like Earth Has). That heat is therefore conserved and adds to the heat/energy dynamo of Venus’ surface.

    5. Venus has no carbon cycle to lock carbon back into rocks and surface features, nor organic life to absorb it in biomass like Earth does.

    Thanks.

    Doc

  359. Anu says:

    Nobody denies the topic is contentious:

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