Hansen's admission – "skeptics are winning"

Like what Judith Curry saw recently at NCAR’s seminar, he seems to think it is all about communication.

Part of the problem, he said, was that the climate sceptic lobby employed communications professionals, whereas “scientists are just barely competent at communicating with the public and don’t have the wherewithal to do it.”

Yet sceptics are the ones without any MSM support. So where do they get this idea? Full story here

A few things come to mind that he didn’t cover as other possible reasons skeptics are winning:

1. We don’t hide behind FOIA laws, then circumvent them when we lose. If you’d shared the data when asked, Climategate would never have happened.

2. We don’t rewrite history, either by deleting>morphing commentary like Skepicalscience does, or by creating questionable paleostatistical methods to enable pretending the trees tell us last 900 years were flat without any possible natural variance.

3. We don’t call people on the other side of the debate ugly denigrating names like deniers and flat earthers.

4. We don’t keep trying to link weather patterns/weather events to climate in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Burning issue: Hansen’s evidence that the world is hotting up

Moscow, August 2010

Russia experienced its hottest-ever summer last year – for weeks, a large portion of European Russia was more than 7 °C (12.6 °F) warmer than normal, and a new national record was set of 44 °C (111 °F). Raging forest fires filled Moscow with smoke, forcing the cancellation of air services and obliging people to don face masks.

Jim, get a clue, the Moscow heat wave had NOTHING TO DO with global warming. It was a blocking high weather pattern. NOAA’s own work concludes this:

NOAA finds”climate change” blameless in 2010 Russian heat wave

We mentioned this previously on WUWT, now it is officially peer reviewed and accepted.

NOAA: Natural Variability Main Culprit of Deadly Russian Heat Wave That Killed Thousands

Source here

Daily Moscow temperature record from November 1 2009 to October 31 2010. Red and blue shaded areas represent departures from the long-term average (smooth curve) in Moscow. Temperatures significantly above the long-term average scorched Moscow for much of July and August. NOAA credit. – click to enlarge

The deadly Russian heat wave of 2010 was due to a natural atmospheric phenomenon often associated with weather extremes, according to a new NOAA study. And while the scientists could not attribute the intensity of this particular heat wave to climate change, they found that extreme heat waves are likely to become increasingly frequent in the region in coming decades.

So Jim, when you try to tell us that the 2010 Russian heat wave was caused by global warming, people who know better have no choice but to call post normal science BS on you.

h/t to Kevin Hearle


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What kind of sad joke is this? Is there not a soul at The Independent able to understand what started RealClimate? Yes, a PR agency. How about Desmogblog? Another PR effort.
Does anybody know of a single prominent skeptical site that has any PR professional involved with it?

Bloke down the pub

‘James Hansen is known as the father of the green movement’. And there was me thinking that most of them didn’t know who there father was.


The biggest problem scientists have is that they point to ‘Events’ such as these to prove that AGW is occurring, yet when record cold events occur they say its just natural and nothing to do with AGW.
They can’t have it both ways, which is why they are losing the support of the majority of the public.

Brian Johnson uk

I don’t understand how Hansen holds his position of authority. Surely he has to go – as soon as possible. He has enough money to retire, surely?


One day Dr Hansen might discover it is the message that is the issue, not the messenger. The sea levels have not risen, we produced more crops this year than ever, hordes of climate refugees have not invaded our shores. In short every prediction of doom and disaster that he and the IPCC have made over the last 20 or 30 years has failed to come true. One can only scream the sky is falling for so long before people start ignoring you Dr. The gravy train of grant money has been shunted onto a dead end siding as I read somewhere else recently.
Another cold winter as is being predicted it will make it even harder for the band of CAGW believers. It is hard to convince people they need to pay more for fossil fuel energy when that energy is all that stands between them and frostbite. Windmills don’t work very well when the blades are covered in ice and solar panels are useless in a blizzard.

John Marshall

Why would blocking high pressure regions become more frequent? Texas shows that predictions of extreme weather increasing does not take into history which shows decades of drought/ heavy rain cycles. Moscow has hot summers which the blocking high only adds to.
Central continental climate patterns give hot summers and very cold winters. At least that was what I was taught.

Freddie Stoller

If you put your money on a lame horse you gonna lose! it’s as simple as that.

Mike Bromley the Kurd

Well, Pops, yer illegitimate offspring is taking a beating. So it should be, beginning with the Wirth theatrics back in 1988. You were good at communicating it back then….but the theatrics were discovered…revealed…and denounced. From there on your “Barely competent communication” revealed itself. No matter what you do, you cannot dress up simply bad science. Credibility is built on real results.

john e fisk

NEW ICE AGE, I assume we will have climatologists jumping aboard this gravy train next.

Frederick Davies

5. Or maybe it is because sceptics are right.
I bet that did not occur to him ;-D

Hey Anthony, does this make me your pet communications professional? Where’s my paycheck?
REPLY: Sorry, I’m still waiting for Exxon to pay me. When they do, I’ll pay you. 😉 – Anthony

It’s a common and truly bizarre delusion among leftists. The same complaint comes from all other branches of Stalinist “learning” and “science”, especially in the realms of evolution, genetics and psychology.
ALL the mass media, ALL governments and ALL schools carry the pure Stalinist message 100.000000000% of the time. No dissent is EVER allowed in those channels. Any hint of opposition is ruthlessly silenced.
And yet the leftists constantly roar that they don’t have ENOUGH coverage, that the heretics get way too much coverage.

Neil Jones

“scientist lack the skills to make public listen
Shows the way the current thinking is.


While I agree that Hansen has over-estimated the dangers of global warming, he was correct about cap-and-trade, recognizing that it is merely an opportunity to “gam[e] the system at public expense.” And the clipping above shows that he thinks the anti-nuclear reflex in Germany is misguided. It’s a curious fact that some of his policy recommendations coincide with those who have completely different premises, another instance of politics making strange bedfellows.

Well, it is difficult to get the real news on certain websites. So was there a massive ice loss in the Alps this summer due to a hot and dry August and a similar hot and dry September (this month had even a record breaking average temperature). The loss was even 7% of the glaciers.
Also in Switzerland were record breaking high temperatures. But an article about these phenomena does not get into the headlines of this site. However the tiny spell on 18th of September with some snow in the Alps (being melted away within a few days) was brought as spectecular climate news although it obviously wasn’t. It was only the savage of even more massive ice loss. Some snow falling in September was not unusual at all in the Alps, but it is becoming more. Now we can read about ” a little ice age” in north-west of Europe. Completely nonsense for one cold December in Britain does not mean that we have a development like that. The rest of the winter was very mild even. Actually in the northwest of Holland it was not cold enough to reach enough ice thickness to scate. So the cold was appearing only at certain places but not in the whole region of north-west Europe. I think that the record breaking average temperature in Spetember for Switzerland, for Austria and in the northern arctic region of Norway was of more importance. The enormous melt in the Alps is of more importance. However no one will succeed to get that news on this website, for this website has certain selection criteria and a certain policy, further explanation not necessary.
Next link tells the true story about the Alps this year.


Sorry Homer. Push your seat in when you leave.

Ian W

The real problem is that Hansen started making his doom laden prophecies 3 decades ago. Initially in the 1980s saying how the world was going to come to an end in 2012 due to runaway warming, snow ceasing, sea levels rising and huge and repeated storms inundating all low lying countries…. worked as a threat to get the politicians and greens and then the general populace believing what was being said. This started the ‘Climate Change’ bandwagon.
But that was 3 decades ago – and now people are looking around and saying – just a moment – where is the runaway warming – I’m snowed in for the third winter in a row, the beach hasn’t come ten miles inland and there are not any more storms than there are normally…. So the people are now falsifying the AGW theory themselves. They are ably assisted by the poor behavior of climate ‘scientists’ who all appear to be profiting hugely from something that is looking less and less likely to happen while doing all they can to hide their claimed evidence and workings for the apocalyptic forecasts.
However, the politicians and the bureaucrats have eagerly built empires, international agencies and tax systems based on the false forecasts. The fact that the justification for a tax has been removed will not stop them trying to collect it. If your department only exists because wind farms are being built or to measure the carbon footprint of industries – you will defend that department’s empire building against all logic. Unwinding thirty years of bureaucracy, regulation and hugely successful taxation will NOT be easy. Nevertheless if a brave politician were to repeal the carbon tax schemes and regulations – the upsurge in the economy of their country would be amazing. That is the prize to offer the incoming politicians.

They should call him the inventor of global warming.


20 years of being told the world is about to end due to global warming whilst at the same time we had twenty years of dramatically increased CO2 output but declining temperatures would tend to demonstrate to most reasonable people that global warming theory has already been falsified.
I blame the climate. It simply refuses to play ball.

Mainstream media support is not necessary for effective communication. People who doubted the Apollo lunar landings were successful in swinging poll numbers during the 1990s. All it took was a single Fox TV special (“Did We Land on the Moon?”) and the growth of the Internet. The same mechanism is at work today (“The Great Global Warming Swindle”) with Internet blogs such as this.

Message to planet Hansen.
If you have not got your message across by now, you never will.
You have had ALL the MSM in the palm of your hand, the BBC/ABC adore you along with all your Guardian reading left wing UN funded WWF/Greenpeace lobbying bedwetters.
All the left leaning governments of the world love you as you bring the prospect of easy taxation and power over their energy starved subjects. Even some rightish leaning ones see the benefit
of all that windfarm/solar panel business that you have helped create.
That your website is the only one still showing global warming should be a clue to you.
You were wrong, and whatever drove you to this endgame be it political, financial (as we know)
or just a gut feeling or that you had ‘heard the voices’, the fact remains the the ‘science’ of 1998
has moved on a long way and that to try to remain in that era and claim that you had
‘sussed out’ climate variation causes back then is patently absurd.
There is so much that you didn’t know then and to sweep all recent discoveries and data aside as an irrelevance is delusional.
When the time comes it will be unclear if you will be remembered as a misguided well meaning scientist who outstayed his usefulness or a dangerous nutter who helped destroy the modern world
by causing it to implode on it’s own pointless climate legislation.


They have a defective product that people aren’t buying, and they think it’s just about advertising. No – eventually people just stop buying defective or silly products. Pet rocks sold well for a time, and then they didn’t. It reminds of university marxists back in the 1980s telling me that communism was a good system, it just hadn’t been marketed properly. No – the product was defective, in fact toxic.


Skeptics are winning?
Maybe in the USA, and does it matter much in any case? Sure for Americans it matters. But there’s a much bigger world out there where the debate is far, far different, and where the recognition of existing commitment to the system change has transformed the discussion from “if”, to “what do I do to adapt”. This external context is going to frame the future for the USA. The USA debate is somewhat like a side event to the main action, and in the medium term it can only respond to the global context, not drive it.

Brad R

“Father of the green movement”? Since when? Hansen may be the father of the AGW movement, but the environmental movement predates his appearance by quite some time.
If he’s not correcting such a blunder (or is it a brag?), then I’d say his communication problems begin at home.


This posting led me to look at the GISS personnel directory and Dr. Hansen’s entry in particular. I am puzzled as to what this phrase means, “The hardest part is trying to influence the nature of the measurements obtained, so that the key information can be obtained.”


People, some of them eminent on both “sides” of the issue have now been writing for years about communication – much of it concluding that “messaging” and “communication” so often mean – “listen to us – we are the experts – no you don’t need to see how we came to our conclusions”.
Coupled with what we actually see happening with the predicitions that have been made over the last 20+ years, particularly by Dr Hansen, and others……
Add in what appears to be incontravertible evidence that the money spent on pushing the message and producing it is thousands of times more than has been available to “sceptics”…….
In a rational world, the only conclusion is hubris, a sense of entitlement to special expert status, and a rather sneering irritation that the proles just won’t be told.
Come on Dr Hansen, roll your sleeves up, get your data together and sit down and argue it with us. If you’re right, (and even if you aren’t) what’s not to like?


I think there are three reasons why the global warming message is failing, having nothing to do with media.
1, It’s not getting warmer.
2. Great sacrifices needed to fight.
3. Global economy is teetering.
I think with these three factors staring us in the face it doesn’t take a sophisticated media campaign for people to get skeptical.


Mr Hansen you said:
[ ” Part of the problem, he said, was that the climate sceptic lobby employed communications professionals, whereas “scientists are just barely competent at communicating with the public and don’t have the wherewithal to do it.” ].
Realclimate .> Environmental Media Services > Fenton Communications > Tides > George Soros.org
Mr Soros also gave you $720,000,00 to “politicize Science”. in one year.[ page 123 and page 143 ]


Neil Jones says:
October 11, 2011 at 3:49 am
Ve haf vays of making you listen.


‘Sceptics’ aren’t winning the battle, science finally is.


As I like to say: It is always something, ain’t it? It is simple amazing the disconnect from reality people and corporations have today. In their minds, they are not wrong. So when things aren’t going there way, it must be something working against them. James Hansen has the “I’m always right” mentality, so when things aren’t going his way, it must be something conspiring against them because he knows the message is right. It is no coincidence that people or corporations who have this “I’m always right” mentality usually stand to lose lots of money by not being right.

Richard M

fredb: “Skeptics are winning? Maybe in the USA, and does it matter much in any case?
You simply have to laugh at the silly comments from those like fredb. Did he miss out on the positions of China, Canada and India? How about Russia and Brazil? Fred is an example of true denial. Hansen is right on this topic and anyone with the least amount of common sense can see it.
It’s time for alarmists to take heed of the old saying “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” It’s now time to realize you were fooled. You believed the wrong group. So, blame it on them and get over it. You now have been exposed to the truth. If you deny that truth you are now at fault.

Not winning in Australia. Carbon (dioxide) Tax expected to pass parliament tomorrow.


Same old story , the problem is seen as the selling of the message not the real problem which is the ‘quality’ of the message . And if you were really interested in improving the quality of the message , the last people you would turn to would be ‘death trains Hansen’ and ‘St Gore ‘ . Actual AGW skeptics should be happy the greens still see these people was leaders of their cause as they do it far more damage in the eyes of the public than any AGW skeptic could.
But one of the base problems in this case , is that the AGW hardcore simply cannot accept that any views other than their own should receive any coverage at all , so even if its weighted 99% in their favor that 1% is still to much for them . And so they bitch and moan about anything that does not follow the AGW support line being seen in public .They simply can’t allow for other voices and need to come with reasons why it happens , and so we get ‘fossil fuel conspiracy’ the the idea that AGW skeptics should be ignored becasue their ‘bad or mad’ etc .And its why you see some of them calling for censorship, banning of web sites , blacklisting of individuals etc . All that is fairly standard and accepted approach for religions, but has nothing to do with science which is what this is supposed to be about.

Steve Allen

This is a tiny step forward for Hansen. Significant, since of course, he IS the “father” of the AGW movement; i.e, publicly, admitting to the fact his side is losing support. His illogical proposal to resolve the loss seems to be evidence that he now is in denial regarding its causes.

old construction worker

Well Jim, lets talk about your ABC scenario, The Hot Spot, Missing Ocean Heat and heat trapping clouds. And while we are at it, discuss “we must get rid of the MWP” and graphing trees rings data with temperature data.

You forgot to mention that we are the spawn of Hitler, believe the earth is flat and are funded by Big Oil…


I admire Dr Judith Curry so much for what she as done both in Science and in the Blogosphere.
Mr Watts has an excellent site and I read it regularly.
But Dr Curry’s Blog gets so many more thoughtful comments than almost any other Climate related Blog.
I think she is wonderful and would love to meet her one day!

Frank K.

I always come here to WUWT for my daily dose of CAGWism (Hansen being a perfect example of that). In fact, you should have a daily CAGW forecast. It might go something like this…
The CAGW forecast for today:
Partly insane with obfuscation in the upper 70%. Chance of climate science ridiculousness is near 100%. Seven day outlook is for more of the same…

John W

Scorle says:
“Actually in the northwest of Holland it was not cold enough to reach enough ice thickness to scate.”
This is an example of why skeptics are winning. Proponents of alarm tend to make statements implying something unusual is going on, but when one checks it’s fairly normal.
“the Netherlands has mild winters, and the ice often does not get thick enough for skating.”
“The Netherlands has a mild, damp climate. It has gentle winters and moderately warm summers. The sky is frequently overcast in winter, and fog often covers the land. Temperatures average from 60 to 65 °F (16 to 18 °C) in summer, and a little above 30 °F (-1 °C) in winter. Extremely hot or cold temperatures are rare. “

Jim Vanus

Current public opinion may be turning but U.S. public schools have been inculcating the concepts of climate change for a while now. We’re likely to have a generation that believes in doing whatever it takes to rescue the earth from climate change. Children are still being educated in this world view, along with the other collectivist issues.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Web site network includes “Climate Kids: NASA’s Eyes on the Earth,” which use cartoons, games, and other activities to teach children about man-made global warming and climate change. According to NASA’s budget request for fiscal year 2012, totaling $18.7 billion, the agency would dedicate $145.8 million to educational programs. The “Climate Kids” site is supported through NASA’s educational programs, according to a spokesman with the agency. See http://climate.nasa.gov/kids/climateTales/ .


schnurrp says:
October 11, 2011 at 4:27 am
“I think there are three reasons why the global warming message is failing, having nothing to do with media.
1, It’s not getting warmer.
2. Great sacrifices needed to fight.
3. Global economy is teetering.”
The West is teetering. And that’s where the warmists have achieved capital misallocation on the grandest scale. They have wrecked the economies; and it is time they go to Asia now, convince the people there of some of their make-believe, and wreck that part of the world. Follow Maurice Strong.


DDP has it in a nutshell – its not skeptics, its the science that’s winning…
P.S. Must make a mental note to employ a ‘communication professional’….

Chuck Nolan

Mike Lorrey says:
October 11, 2011 at 3:37 am
Hey Anthony, does this make me your pet communications professional? Where’s my paycheck?
Mike, Don’t tell me Exxon is behind on your checks.

John Wright

Sceptics winning? “Mustn’t let that happen, must we?” Just a gambit to re-boost troop morale that must be getting low at the moment.

Paul Vaughan

Assumptions of “randomness” & “i.i.d.” (“independent, identically distributed”) are patently untenable. Take a look at the cumulative seasonal departures from “normal”. Mainstream climate scientists: If you need help interpreting the patterns, please feel welcome to contact me. With Absolute Sincerity.

Peter Miller

Funding for warmist ‘climate science’ outweighs funding for sceptical science by at least 100 to 1, a fact which Hansen dares not mutter, even to himself.
Funding for sceptics is almost entirely from private sources, while funding for warmists is almost entirely from public (government) sources.
And yet the sceptics are winning, even though warmist propaganda is far more sophisticated than that of the sceptics, who just use real facts and real science, a strategy which the warmists abandoned a long time ago.
It just goes to show that when it comes to government, the subject of ‘climate science’ comes at the very top of how best to waste money on useless projects and generating distorted conclusions from originally good data.


LIke Catholics, Leftists are essentially dogmatic, reliant on the dogma. The dogma explains everything, like how the working class are going to respond. So when they don’t respond correctly, the Leftist is left with two possibilities: one, the dogma is plain wrong – impossible: world-view-shattering proposition; two, the dogma hasn’t been explained properly to the people; for, had it been, the scales would fall from their eyes and the capitalist disinformation would have no traction. So, comrades, we must re-double our explaining efforts.

Andrew McRae

Taken from Australian parliament live TV stream tonight, here is a screenshot of democracy being shut out in the cold for the purpose of stopping a global warming of 0.00007°C.
Was it just a lame Liberal party stunt?
Are the rejected submissions just useless waffle that would add no substance to the debate anyway?
Is it the dulling of democracy from a government who no longer have any pretence of answering to the people?
Well now you won’t ever know.

Ric Locke

Roy says:
October 11, 2011 at 4:26 am

This is one of the reasons I have to give Hansen reluctant credit. A man who tells you up front, on his official bio site, that the hard part of his job is cherrypicking the data to get the results he wants must at least be awarded points for chutzpah.