Note – this will be pinned as a top post for a few days. Other posts will appear below this one.
UPDATE2: McKibben has a Forrest Gump moment with his latest propaganda video
I’m doing something I’ve never done before, I’m asking every reader of WUWT to write a letter to the editor this weekend. I don’t take this step lightly, but given what I’ve observed the last few days, I think it is time to stir the power of our collective WUWT community for the common good.
Readers may recall the debunkings I regularly put forth any time paid activists like Bill McKibben, Joe Romm, David Suzuki, or Brad Johnson (and others) try to make claims that human induced climate change is making our daily weather “more extreme”. You know and I know that this is “garbage science” (even worse than “junk science”) because it is an attempt to twist science to strike fear over climate into the hearts of the average citizen. It is an act of desperation, rooted in the fact that the modeled warming scenarios described by the
scientist activist high priest of the global warming movement Dr. James Hansen, just have not come to pass. Climate feedbacks don’t seem to be strong, climate sensitivity doesn’t seem to be high, there’s been no statistically significant warming in the last decade, and thus the only thing left is to blame bouts of normally occurring severe weather on climate change. The level of thinking sophistication here isn’t much different from blaming witches for bad weather in medieval times, but the sophistication of telegraphing this message to the weak-minded is far more sophisticated than in those days.
And, yesterday, we saw a message similar to calls made during those dark times “she’s a witch, BURN her!” in Steve Zwick’s rant on Forbes.com where he says:
We know who the active denialists are – not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies. Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn. … They broke the climate. Why should the rest of us have to pay for it?
The level of delusional fail here is off the scale. If this were an isolated incident, we could simply laugh it off as the hateful rantings of a person afflicted with climate derangement syndrome. But there’s more.
Yesterday, it entered my children’s school (see below), and this week, we saw a survey on “extreme weather” conducted by Yale, use a phrase in the press release that is straight out of a propagandist organization, Bill McKibben’s 350.org. The heat is on to make climate all about the weather for propaganda purposes, and there’s no data to support it. It is a lie of global proportions. We need to step up. Here’s what I found in my children’s school yesterday:
At my children’s school yesterday, they had a book fair. In that book fair was this display from the publisher of a new book INsiders – Extreme Weather.
Of course you know what book I picked up to look at first, and it took me all of about 15 seconds to find this (I highlighted the relevant part digitally):
“Some scientists”? I think the author really meant “some activists”.
To be fair, there are some very good sections of the book well rooted in science, for example this one on lightning:
I know the author, H. Michael Mogil, who is well rooted in science, and who is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist. I can’t imagine him fully signing off on the climate=severe weather idea as McKibben et al put it. But, I think there was pressure from publishers to include the section on climate linkage, and I think he hedged his statement as best he could. My point is that is it beginning to pervade children’s books.
Also this week we had this poll released from Yale University, which got a ton of press thanks to it being carried in the Associated Press. It even made my own local newspaper.
The poll itself is a logical fallacy, with sloppy questions like this one:
I give it a thorough debunking here with a strong emphasis on the reporting bias introduced by our technologically saturated society. Anyone with a cellphone can report severe weather now and within minutes it can be known worldwide.
Here’s a quote from the lead author that was carried in news stories, bold mine:
“Most people in the country are looking at everything that’s happened; it just seems to be one disaster after another after another,” said Anthony A. Leiserowitz of Yale University, one of the researchers who commissioned the new poll. “People are starting to connect the dots.”
At the time, I didn’t note the significance of the “connect the dots” meme, but one of our sharp WUWT readers pointed out that this is the new catchphrase of Bill McKibben’s 350.org movement.
In tips and notes this morning, Nick Ryan confirmed this for me with this letter from McKibben he posted.
Subject: Good news.
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 18:57:30 +0000
Good news this time.
At some point every one of us at 350 has thought to ourselves a little despairingly: is the world ever going to catch on to climate change? Today is one of those days when it feels like it just might happen.
A story on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times described a new poll — Americans in record numbers are understanding that the planet is warming because they’re seeing the “freaky” weather that comes with climate change.
And the story ends by describing the next step in this process: May 5, the giant Connect the Dots day that people are joining all around the globe: http://www.ClimateDots.org
When the zeitgeist conspires to help our efforts, we need to make the most of it. Two weeks is plenty of time to organize a beautiful photo for May 5, one that will help spread this idea. Are you in a place where flood and rain have caused havoc? Ten people with umbrellas can make a memorable “climate dot” for all the world to see. You’ll think of something appropriate for your place — and you can find lots of examples and ideas here.
This movement is growing quickly, and with not a moment to spare — new data from scientists like Jim Hansen at NASA shows that our carbon emissions have already made extreme weather many times more likely. We can’t take back the carbon we’ve already poured into the atmosphere, but if we work together hard and fast then we can keep it from getting steadily worse.
Earth Day is coming up this weekend, and there will be thousands of events across the US. Each one of them is a great place to spread the word about the big day of action on 5/5. When you’re on the front page of the Times it’s a sign that the message is starting to get through — but only one American in 300 reads that newspaper. Now it’s up to all of us to make sure that everyone around the world gets the message, and Connect the Dots day on 5/5 is our best chance to do that. Please join us.
Bill McKibben for 350.org
P.S. It is key to remember that these photos from May 5 are not just for their effect on that day. We need a bank of images showing the human face of global warming — pictures we’ll use for the hard and direct political work of the next few years. If people don’t know there’s a problem, they won’t try to solve it. So let’s show them on 5/5. Here’s a heartbreaking example, from some local activists in Texas:
Climate Activists in Texas
Clearly, due to the timing and the reference he made to “People are starting to connect the dots.”, the poll conducted by Anthony A. Leiserowitz of Yale University is just a tool that is connected to this 350.org “climatedots.org” campaign, it isn’t science, it is blatant advocacy disguised as science of the brand Dr. James Hansen practices.
So looking at what is going in total this week, I think it is time for us to exercise our own rights to free speech, and thus I’m asking WUWT readers to write letters to the editor to your local newspapers and magazines to counter what will surely be a blitz of advocacy in the coming days.
This tactic is used by these NGO’s so there is nothing wrong with it. It is free speech in the finest American tradition. There is one hitch though, and that’s the newspaper editors back-channel.
You see, one of the perks of being a journalist in the TV and radio news business is that I’m privy to how things work. In print media, editors have established a back-channel to alert each other of potential letter writing campaigns, such as those form letters like we see from “Forecast the Facts”.
The key is to make this your own letter, in your own words. While I can suggest topics, the letters need to be written in your own words for them to be accepted.
You can start here with this essay, and draw from it.
Warren Meyer made some excellent points yesterday in his Zwick rebuttal at Forbes:
I really liked this part, which speaks to reporting bias (like we have with severe weather):
In the summer of 2001, a little boy in Mississippi lost an arm in a shark attack. The media went absolutely crazy. For weeks and months they highlighted every shark attack on the evening news. They ran aerial footage of sharks in the water near beaches. They coined the term “Summer of the Shark.” According to Wikipedia, shark attacks were the number three story, in terms of network news time dedicated, of the summer.
Bombarded by such coverage, most Americans responded to polls by saying they were concerned about the uptick in shark attacks. In fact, there were actually about 10% fewer shark attacks in 2001 than in 2000. Our perceptions were severely biased by the coverage.
How to write a letter:
1. Go to your local newspaper website, locate the guidelines for letters to the editor. Typical letter policies limit letters to 200-250 words.
2. Do your research, craft your letter carefully. Cite facts, cite statistics such as I offer on WUWT. Use your own words, don’t quote me, though quoting people like Professor Grady Dixon “…it would be a mistake to blame climate change for a seeming increase in tornadoes” is fine.
3. [added] Readers are submitting content ideas in comments, have a look at those. Fr example Steve E. writes: Dr. Roger Pielke Jr’s posting on the IPCC SREX Report, “A Handy Bullshit Button on Disasters and Climate Change” here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.ca/2012/03/handy-bullshit-button-on-disasters-and.html is also a good source for letter content.
4. Send it, being mindful of length and guidelines.
Thank you for your consideration. – Anthony