'One could even ask whether the effort that we have put into RealClimate has been in vain.'

From The Legend of the Titanic at RealClimate (bold mine):

However, if the notion that information makes little impact is correct, one may wonder what the point would be in having a debate about climate change, and why certain organisations would put so much efforts into denial, as described in books such as Heat is on, Climate Cover-up, Republican war on science, Merchants of doubt, and The Hockeystick and Climate Wars. Why then, would there be such things as ‘the Heartland Institute’, ‘NIPCC’, climateaudit, WUWT, climatedepot, and FoS, if they had no effect? And indeed, the IPCC reports and the reports from the National Academy of Sciences? One could even ask whether the effort that we have put into RealClimate has been in vain.

Look at the data, then you be the judge:

From Alexa.com – note that the lower number for traffic rank is better

(Google is traffic rank #1 for example)

Source for comparisons: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/wattsupwiththat.com+realclimate.org#

Seems like an order of magnitude slam dunk to me, RC can’t even get out of the grass at greater than 100,000 traffic rank…they aren’t even being tracked anymore. Here’s the last 6 months:

Source: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/realclimate.org#

Rasmus goes on to say at RC:

What do I think? Public opinion is changed not by big events as such, but by the public interpretation of those events. Whether a major event like hurricane Katrina or the Moscow heat wave changes attitudes towards climate change is determined by people’s interpretation of this event, and whether they draw a connection to climate change – though not necessarily directly. I see this as a major reason why organisations such as the Heartland are fighting their PR battle by claiming that such events are all natural and have nothing to do with emissions.

The similarity between these organisations and the Titanic legend is that there was a widespread misconception that it could not sink (and hence it’s fame) and now organisations like the Heartland make dismissive claims about any connection between big events and climate change. However, new and emerging science is suggesting that there may indeed be some connections between global warming and heat waves and between trends in mean precipitation and more extreme rainfall.

This is a good time to remind readers and the few remaining RC denizens of why Rasmus Benestad is clueless on the “emerging science” of severe weather = climate change:

Why it seems that severe weather is “getting worse” when the data shows otherwise – a historical perspective


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Jim Owen

As always, the left/alarmist denizens are entirely clueless about history.


The Titanic is not a legend.It broke in half and sank via an ice berg just as CAGW will.


gavin is right about one thing- the more information I attempt to present to AGW True Believers, the more they shriek their ignorance back at me.
Yes, gavin, since ‘PR wars’ were more important to you than REAL science (such as the increasing number of peer-reviewed papers showing NEGATIVE feedbacks), you HAVE lost- just too bad it is going to take an entire generation to get a lot of people’s thinking back on track.


The love of theory ..


Don’t worry Rasmus, the science is in and it is settled. It was a complete waste of time.


The similarity is between climate models and the Titanic, as Rasmus puts it “a widespread misconception that it (they) could not sink” .
Physics meets reality.


“…new and emerging science is suggesting that there may indeed be some connections…”
I think that sums it up pretty well.

john s

I don’t think they should feel too bad about their ratings as compared to WUWT. The fact is that there is little need for warmist websites. We get all the warmist stuff we want or need from the mainstream media. If the CBC were skeptic, or even neutral I might not feel the need for a fix of rampant skepticism form WUWT with my morning coffee.

R. de Haan

Seems to me the market for BS (Bad Science) is evaporating.


cool. the question has been breached. must be the answer passed by a few times for that to happen, eh?
WUWT has done more (i.e., alerted us to and prevented much damage) than all the protest.the.protest donation sponges having catered lunches with astronauts and pretending to be influential among themselves.
WUWT works. It has an inspired crew who knows what they are about. Sharp focus, relentless scrutiny and a frumious BS button. And the mods are the best i’ve ever seen anywhere.
Thanks. Nobody else does it like you do.


“One could even ask whether the effort that we have put into RealClimate has been in vain.”
Yes it has been. Enjoy your loneliness. Now about refunding all the money you took from taxpayers to do your site on the taxpayers dime?

Richard M

RC was in a basic catch-22 situation. If they did not censor skeptics they would have been eviserated. However, by censoring they gave the impression they were afraid to debate the issues. The classic lose-lose situation.
Of course, the reason for this is very simple. There is almost no evidence to support alarmism. They simply wouldn’t let that fact sink in to their own little world of groupthink.

cui bono

If you visit a blog and your comments (polite, reasonable, intelligent) always go awol, you tend not to visit anymore.


Could it be that sites stuffed with taxpayers’ money are bound to fail??


“what the point would be in having a debate about climate change” — now that is a hypothetical question! When another ship radioed to the Titanic to warn them about ice, the reply was to shut up. That does compare with the RC response to skeptics. Other than that, I think the Real Comparison to the RC climate change “debate” is WWF wresting — entertainment only.

David L.

AGW is similar to the Titanic in some ways: after the Titanic sunk in 1912 there was a series of investigations. Experts, learned engineers, etc. disagreed with eyewitness testimony that the Titanic broke in half as it sank. The official report, based on consensus and expert opinion, was that the Titanic sank whole. It took Robert Ballard to discover it on the sea floor in 1985 to prove the experts wrong. They just had to have the story turn out that the Titanic sank whole, against evidence to the contrary. So it is with AGW: they simply need the story to be true, contrary to scientific evidence.

“One could even ask whether the effort that we have put into RealClimate has been in vain.”
Oh, no. You have provided us with much amusement, and with many examples of why it is a bad idea to try to scare people into agreeing with you.


I used to visit RC once in a while to see what was up, so I apologize for boosting their miserable numbers even a little. I’ve also noticed WUWT regulars attempting to engage that lot in honest & thoughtful debate, only to be shouted down.
After the second round of Climategate emails and the total lack of attention paid to climate issues in the 2012 presidential campaign, I suspect they are a testy lot over there. Can’t say I feel sorry for any of them.
As we say in Chicago, “Stick a fork in ’em, they’re done.”

So Gov Funded Scientist are complaining because the proletariat have not been swayed by the Al Gored sermon on the mount and instead the average person seems to be accusing the scientist of playing version of 3 card monty.
It is MUCH WORSE then Expected.


Why resort to “new and emerging science is suggesting” when the debate was already ended by the grantee gravy train crowd in the first place? And the Oscar goes to the group think manipulators who continue to fight FOIA laws based on special case arguments of exceptionalism.

The Titanic sank because the reaction of the Captain exposed the length of the ship to threat. He tried to avoid the unavoidable instead of dealing with it.

According the first Alexa image, RealClimate’s rank improved 45,067 places in the last three months. I hereby confidently state that WUWT cannot equal that rise in the next 3 months. 🙂
There are advantages to being #169,732, you just have to know how to spin it!


Yes it was entirely in vain. As everyone knows, pontificating alarmists are full of self-importance and are tiresomely vain.

Nat McQueen

I never would have even heard of realclimate.org had it not been for WUWT.


I can’t wait to see the Josh Cartoon on the Titanic significance of RC in the climate debate. 🙂

Jenn Oates

We just finished our STAR tests here, and one question asked which of the choices can cause the temperatures on earth to rise. The correct answer was burning more fossil fuels.
I already told my students that was the answer they’d want if that question should happen to be on the test, but I’ve already told them the truth, too.


Jim Owen says:
May 3, 2012 at 9:38 am
As always, the left/alarmist denizens are entirely clueless about history.

While I agree with the gist of your comment, please try to steer clear of the “lefty alarmist” / “right wing sceptic” stereotype. As a solidly left-wing (in fact, borderline communist) sceptic I don’t exactly find it offensive but I do see it as damaging to the “reasonableness” of our position. I’ve learnt over the years that one thing that’s guaranteed to annoy people is to be forcibly categorised according to one attribute, whether that’s skin colour, religeous beliefs or position in a debate and have assumptions made about their entire personalit as a result.
As the rational side of this debate we should be accepting that scepticism isn’t a political trait, any more than it’s a gender or ethnic one, and leaving the other side to continue forcing people into ill-fitting pigeon-holes 🙂

Tom Deutsch

@martinbrumby, Real Climate is not funded with taxpayer money.

Richard deSousa

When Mann and
Schmidt created RealClimate they sought to blunt the Sceptics from telling the truth about the climate. Thanks to the Internet they weren’t able to monopolize climate science. Climategate I and II plus Fakegate emails were exposed to the world and the nefarious deceit these clowns tried to perpetrate on the world.

Paul Westhaver

Why would a traffic rank in another region be so substantially different than in the USA. I presume google is used everywhere and that most people have the same habits regardless of locale… That is everyone wants to download music, check the weather, do banking, etc.
So why would WUWT be so popular in New Zealand but ranked lower in the USA? It is a sociological puzzle to me.
New Zealand is a western society…. they bank, dance, buy cars….What’s Up with That anyway?


Surely a science historian could come forward now to compare and contrast past science scandals and group think enforcement tactics and how they unraveled. This is an opportunity on the scale of This Time Its Different by Reinhart and Rogoff on the history of sovereign debt crises. Or, where oh where is the intricate research of Robert Caro in looking at the parallels of LBJ’s rise to power. We need you now!


I agree with Chas…the true analogy would be between CAGW and the Titanic, not skeptics and the Titanic.
CAGW was the ship that could not be sunk, they had the “consensus” and the science was settled. Then one night the WUWT data iceberg appeared and gashed a giant hole their wonderful CAGW ship. Some of the crew and passengers bailed out quickly and saved themselves, however, “the band” (Hansen, Mann, Jones, Tenebreth, etc.) played on, lulling many into a false sense of security. The ship is sinking and they don’t even know it.

Paul Westhaver

Tom Deutsch says:
May 3, 2012 at 10:10 am
@martinbrumby, Real Climate is not funded with taxpayer money.
OK OK OK…. Taxpayer funded nutty projects like Global Warming, and Solar Power and Wind Mills and all that eco religion nonsense, promoted at various web site, funded or not by more taxpayer money is doomed to failure since the entire premise upon which the web sites operate is doomed to failure.
OK Better..???

So… Because you get more traffic you’re right? It may comfort you, but it’s not science.

Anthony: The RC-Titanic Header is perfect–your best post header to date.

Harold Skolnick

I cannot give any scientist of any age better advice than this: the intensity of the conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing on whether it is true or not.
— Sir Peter B. Medawar, Biologist

stan stendera

ANY organization stuffed with goverment money is bound to fail. See Solendra[sp?].

Gavin is a public employee and it is apparently a large part of his day job to monitor and post at RC.


Let me get a quick-fix going on that first paragraph:
However, if the notion that information makes little impact is correct, one may wonder what the point would be in having a debate about climate change, and why certain organisations would put so much efforts into mindless panic, public disinformation, slander and character assassination, as described in books such as “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Scientist; ClimateGate The CruTape Letters, The Resilient Earth, The Inconvenient Skeptic, The Hockey Stick Illusion, Don’t Sell Your Coat, and many others (sorry if I missed any – I’m not at home and can’t look up at my bookshelf!).


Chris Reynolds says:
May 3, 2012 at 10:23 am
So… Because you get more traffic you’re right? It may comfort you, but it’s not science.
Wrong way to look at it. WUWT gets more traffic because the science IS discussed, new research IS argued over, old science IS challenged and / or supported, and people are not screened out for having a different opinion of what the World is doing. People such as you, in fact.
surreal climate gets less traffic because their entire argument consists of Snark.

– I thought comedy was dead, but then I realised the BBC has sneaked in the NEW Monty Python : Harrabin, Black & Shukman & their North American sidekicks Hansen, Mann & Gleick (AKA the Joker) + the Australian Flannery wearing the big clown prediction shoes…oh and there’s a whole posse of Hacktivist sidekicks led by Monbiot “If the story fits my dogma, then I won’t check the facts, just churn it !”
…. if they all sink on RC Titantic ..who will there be left to laugh at ?

Owen in GA

It takes but one counter example to an hypothesis to send the whole theory to the graveyard – unless it is CAGW and the demonization of CO2, then it can be wrong as often as needed since it doesn’t make predictions, just projections.. (ok this probably doesn’t need it, but let me add /sarc)


“Ice berg, what ice berg? Thanks to fossil fuel CO2, children in the future will be lucky to ever see an ice berg!…..So goodnight, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain, James Hansen, r.c., signing off.”

David Ball

Jenn Oates says:
May 3, 2012 at 10:09 am
Be careful. I would hate to see you lose your position because of your views. The paradigm has shifted on the internet, but proponents of AGW are still in positions of power. Perhaps even a zealot parent could do your career some tangible harm. I urge caution, and it is a very sad academic state of affairs to have to do so.
As an aside and to stay on topic, I would suggest that the ONLY traffic RC gets is due to WUWT?. That gives me a three mile smile.

Will Nelson

Interesting philosophical question Rasmus raises: Does the CAGW alarmist propaganda have little impact on changing minds and if so, what’s the point of RC?
Katrina? Katrina? Oh yeah I remember now, that was that levee failure back in 2005 from a Cat 3. There’s an example of a REAL human caused disaster, unlike GW.


Early on, I visited “Real” (haha!) Climate a few times. It was immediately obvious from their venom-filled, spittle-spewing, diatribal drivel that their arguments were entirely based on fallacy instead of science. I seldom returned to sample their PC web-a-tronic Ipecac™. WUWT sank their Bismarck.

Tom Ragsdale

Mark Twain wrote a short story that highlited the slow speed of communication in the late 1800’s titled “Cecil Rhodes and the Shark” wherein a fisherman catches a shark in Australia that had swallowed a man in possession of a newspaper. The paper carried a story about the war that had just been declared in Europe. This news had not yet reached Australia and the man made out very well in the wool market.

Bruce Cobb

“One could even ask whether the effort that we have put into RealClimate has been in vain.” Oh, I wouldn’t go that far. It did manage, at least for a while, to give the appearance of offering science, and of fooling the more naive and less bright. It was a good effort. Go ahead and give yourselves at RC and other pseudoscientific sites like the hilariously-named “SkepticalScience”, DeSmogBlog and others a big round of applause. You deserve it.

Will Nelson

Paul Westhaver says:
May 3, 2012 at 10:15 am
My hypothesis is, the better the education system in a given country the higher the WUWT rank. See Thailand.


My daughter sent me this cartoon which is perhaps on topic.