The Guardian: “Stop making sense: why it’s time to get emotional about climate change”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Guardian social scientist Rebecca Huntley, climate activists have to get even more emotional to convince the rest of us of the importance of global warming.

Stop making sense: why it’s time to get emotional about climate change

Rebecca Huntley 
Sunday 5th July

It took me much longer than it should have to realise that educating people about climate change science was not enough. Due perhaps to my personality type (highly rational, don’t talk to me about horoscopes, please) and my background (the well-educated daughter of a high school teacher and an academic), I have grown up accepting the idea that facts persuade and emotions detract from a good argument.

Then again, I’m a social scientist. I study people. I deal mostly in feelings, not facts. A joke I like to tell about myself during speeches is that I’m an expert in the opinions of people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Over the 15 years I’ve been a social researcher, I’ve watched with concern the increasing effects of climate change, and also watched as significant chunks of the electorate voted for political parties with terrible climate change policies.

There is clearly a disconnect between what people say they are worried about and want action on and who, when given the chance, they pick to lead their country.

The science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows. But climate change is more than just the science. It’s a social phenomenon. And the social dimensions of climate change can make the science look simple – the laws of physics are orderly and neat but people are messy.

In an article for the academic journal Risk Analysis, the head of Yale’s program on climate change communications, Tony Leiserowitz, showed that in 2003, when respondents were asked in surveys for their first reaction to the phrase “global warming”, only 7% reacted with words like “hoax” or “scam”. By 2010 that had risen to 23%. There was a parallel trend in the UK: between 2003 and 2008, the belief that claims about climate change had been exaggerated almost doubled from 15% to 29%.

Rebecca Huntley is the director of research at Essential Media.  She is an author of numerous books and a regular commentator on radio and television. She is an adjunct senior lecturer at The School of Social Sciences at The University of New South Wales.

Read more:

There is an alternative to trying to persuade people with emotion. Green activists could try making sense.

If climate activists had embraced nuclear power from the start, I would never have questioned global warming predictions. It was the absurdity of the proposed renewable solution which first raised questions in my mind about climate claims – if the proposed solution doesn’t make sense, maybe none of it makes sense.

The handful of green activists who are now embracing engineering sanity does not make up for the rest of them.

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July 5, 2020 10:04 pm

The Guardian has zero credibility, I don’t waste my time reading it.

Harry Davidson
Reply to  Fred
July 6, 2020 4:24 am

It’s got the best football pages, when they can be bothered with anything outside the top 6 of the PL.

Reply to  Harry Davidson
July 6, 2020 6:01 am

# BackPagesMatter ?

John Francis
Reply to  iane
July 6, 2020 4:09 pm


Walt D.
Reply to  Harry Davidson
July 6, 2020 10:16 am

Now that the games are played behind closed doors, can you actually trust the Guardian to print the right score?

Reply to  Walt D.
July 7, 2020 10:03 am

They’ve manipulated numbers concerning everything else, so maybe just a matter of time before sport-scores get falsified. Who’s going to challenge them?

Reply to  Fred
July 6, 2020 5:48 am

However, as a narrative producer/echo chamber, it’s OK to read a headline to know what the Left is up to and what narratives/strategies are being amplified.

And note: One thing the Left is hugely successful is using any component that has worked, especially ones that were winners. Like rinse, repeat.

It this case, the Covid-19 hysteria generated and amplified by the Left’s various organ was like hitting a Grand Slam Home Run right after winning Golf’s Grand Slam and Tennis’ Grand Slam. It just doesn’t get any better than hysteria driving an agenda.

malcolm andrew keith bryer
July 5, 2020 10:12 pm

More emotional and unthinking? What a good idea! How about lining up in your emotional thousands on the White Cliffs of Dover and then hurling yourselves over the edge? That will show all the rationalists and climate deniers that you are serious!

Tiger Bee Fly
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 6, 2020 6:23 am

So this psychiatrist wants parents who fantasize about murdering their own children in order to offload the responsibility of raising them protect them wants them to have “safe spaces to express these fantasies.“

Here’s another thought: contact the police and social services, you God damned idiot.

Reply to  malcolm andrew keith bryer
July 6, 2020 12:29 am

Planned Patsies. There is precedent in Dodo Dynasties and other dysfunctional choices and orientations.

Reply to  malcolm andrew keith bryer
July 6, 2020 12:34 am

I have grown up accepting the idea that facts persuade and emotions detract from a good argument.

But having failed with facts I suppose we’ll have to fall back on scaring the shyte out of people . OH wait, didn’t we try that too ?

A joke I like to tell about myself during speeches is that I’m an expert in the opinions of people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

At least that’s honest. Now why does that mean we should believe your dishonest, BS claims like:

The science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows.

If you don’t like horoscopes why do you believe climate models?

Reply to  Greg
July 6, 2020 4:03 am

“If you don’t like horoscopes why do you believe climate models?”

Now that is funny

Reply to  Greg
July 6, 2020 11:15 am

“The science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows.”

Shows right there her scientific illiteracy. She hasn’t the skill to determine what is fact vs conjecture.

Reply to  BobM
July 6, 2020 3:45 pm

Bob, since they tag the word ‘scientist’ onto just about every university graduate these days, she thinks that she is a scientist. She is not, they used to call people in her field of work ‘social workers’. I doubt that she would even know what the scientific method was.

She is simply one of the people who have been labeled ‘scientist’ to make her more useful as a propagandist. Scientists these days are so tied in with politics that that have lost their integrity, the truth is irrelevant.

The numbers of scientists and actual ‘experience’ based experts to speak out against CAGW are growing, and I hope it continues. Though the way the MSM is, the platform is somewhat limited. People want to hear the truth, or even just to know the whole story so they can decide for themselves. They are being taken for fools when all they really want is facts. That’s why they are so hungry for movies like Michael Moore’s and books like Michael Shellenburger’s.

You can’t call just anyone a scientist and expect that they will be trusted. That was what once set scientists above politicians, they had to prove themselves, over and over. Isn’t that what the scientific method was all about, proving that your theory is correct as opposed to a ‘consensus’ amongst you and your buddies. These days a scientist is ‘bought’ to promote a political agenda. I’d like to see them once again separate and above politics, as respected advisors.

Ms Huntley is of the same ilk as Naomi Oreskes, I find her to be arrogant and dismissive of others views.

To all the ‘actual’ scientists on this site, no offence intended, just keep up the fight and regain the respect you deserve.

Reply to  BobM
July 7, 2020 5:11 am

Religion lives in a state of certainty , science in a state of doubt … Paraphrase of richard feynman

Peter K
Reply to  malcolm andrew keith bryer
July 6, 2020 3:23 am

As soon as you become emotional, you will lose the argument.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Peter K
July 6, 2020 4:29 am

Sales 101: You sell on the emotions of the buyer. Facts are secondary only to find out where the hot/cold buttons are.

“You don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.”

The warmists have been successful in selling on the emotion that climate change is bad.
Until people see climate change as good that will not change regardless of the facts.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
July 6, 2020 9:37 am

I was taught in sales 101 that people make their decisions emotionally then justify them rationally.

Except that in practice, most of my easier sales were won without the rationality part being invoked.

Even business systems decisions are not exempt from human flakiness.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Mr.
July 6, 2020 1:36 pm

In Sales 102 you learn to encourage their decisions by helping them with their “rationalizations” and confirming their decision as correct to avoid buyers remorse.
Everyone wants to be told they made the right decision.
Waiters are a good example of that confirmation: “Excellent choice sir,” even though the waiter may dislike the food that was ordered.

Reply to  malcolm andrew keith bryer
July 6, 2020 4:25 am

I frequently wonder about people like this.
Do they know that their food doesn’t really come from “the store”? Same thing for clothing? Do they have any idea where stuff goes when they flush the commode? Have they gone out and done a dead critter count at wind farms and solar farms? Ever wondered what happens if there’s a blizzard or tornado and that whole thing shuts down for months?

I believe (oh, bad word!) they don’t have a clue; that they think summer heat is climate (not!) and that water just comes out of the faucet, etc., etc., etc.

Gee whiz, people, lemmings are smarter than that!

Reply to  Sara
July 6, 2020 4:34 pm


July 5, 2020 10:13 pm

Is this the same reason the BLM are rioting?

Burning, Looting, and Murder is an effective persuasion method and vents frustration at the same time?


David Bunney
Reply to  RockyRoad
July 7, 2020 4:10 am

Yes Climate Alarmism is another branch of the same anti-western revolt… it comes from the brain virus known as “Critical Theory” that toxic mix of isms and ideologies… atheist cult religions. This is why the Guardian, BBC and the Independant all react the same way on BLM issues as on climate issues… that is their dishonest game… we are trying to rebuke them with facts but they are not interested in REAL truths and facts… they just want their end goals.

July 5, 2020 10:15 pm

As Michael Shellenberger notes in “Apocalypse Never,” if environmentalists are antinuclear they aren’t clear on the concept.

July 5, 2020 10:21 pm

She’s well educated, rational, a social scientist, daughter of academics with an innate ability to determine the veracity of another persons opinion, but please do not think that this is an appeal to authority.

Reply to  dnalor50
July 6, 2020 12:15 am

A rational social scientist..

Now there’s a bizarre concept !

Reply to  fred250
July 6, 2020 12:40 am

Now there’s an oxymoron.

Reply to  lee
July 6, 2020 6:27 am

actually Im pretty sure shes an Aussie moron;-(
she gets airtime on abc far too often

Reply to  dnalor50
July 6, 2020 12:36 am

Social science: trying to prove facts about the universe with questionnaires.

Reply to  dnalor50
July 6, 2020 12:40 am

She is an adjunct senior lecturer at The School of Social Sciences at The University of New South Wales.

Is that supposed to be an accolade or an insult?

adjunct as in unpaid. A “senior” unpaid lecturer in sociology, the bar must really high for a post like that !

Reply to  Greg
July 6, 2020 7:10 am

an adjunct senior lecturer?

Does that mean that she hasn’t been paid for a long time?

Reply to  dnalor50
July 6, 2020 1:37 am

You’d think that a self-styled ‘expert’ on human behaviour would recognize groupthink when she sees it!

July 5, 2020 10:23 pm

Greta Thunderbird is doing more than her fair share of not making sense. However, she is not that far ahead of the rest of the Alarmists. If they reject Nuclear Power, they are not serious.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
July 6, 2020 4:53 am

Nuclear and atomic power are the only energy solutions of the future since they alone have essentially unlimited potential! All that we lack is the political will!

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
July 6, 2020 10:23 am

You are mistaken. They are serious. Very serious.
Very seriously unbalanced…

Geoff Sherrington
July 5, 2020 10:27 pm

” …. correct to the highest degree of certainty that the scientific method allows”?
Sorry, Rebecca. The scientific method calls for hypotheses to be constructed, predictions made, tested, then discarded if they fail.
I am unaware of any substantial climate change hypothesis that has not been shown to fail. Geoff S

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 5, 2020 11:22 pm

The fallacy in her statement there, Geoff, is her incomprehension of what constitutes ‘the scientific method’. She sees the simplistic and assumption riddled computer models as an accurate enough reflection of the incredibly complex reality to accept the outcomes as valid. And she trusts the purity of motives of the ‘scientists’ who create the models. So what could possibly go wrong?

Reply to  Richard (the cynical one)
July 6, 2020 7:12 am

The models predict that CO2 will cause the planet to warm.
CO2 went up and the planet warmed.
Ergo, the claim that CO2 will wipe out all life on the planet has been proven.

July 5, 2020 10:30 pm

The Guardian is now read by people too dumb for The Daily Star.

Reply to  Graemethecat
July 6, 2020 2:33 am

…. and those poor souls who suffer from the highly debilitating Chronic Virtue-Signaling Disorder

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 6, 2020 5:16 am


John V. Wright
July 5, 2020 10:31 pm

So in the 7 or 8 years from 2003, a time when climate change scientists were making the most absurd global warming forecasts and filling the media with dire predictions, scepticism about their claims more than doubled. And Rebecca hasn’t joined up the dots to figure out why.

These po-faced policers of other people’s moral values and duties are unintentionally amusing. Indeed, much of the Guardian’s content is side-splittingly funny – the writers just don’t know it. Back in the 60s and 70s, when its contributors included Harry Whewel, James Cameron and, of course, Jack Trevor-Storey it had genuine class. Then it became a creature of the hard left and sadly lost its way.

Needless to say, the newspaper has been a vociferous supporter of the statue-smashing vandalism that characterises much of the BLM movement but has curiously failed to address its own slave-owning past. In much the same way that socialist governments are always running out of other people’s money, it’s a case of “do as I say, not as I do” with the Guardian.

Reply to  John V. Wright
July 6, 2020 2:08 am

I’ve often wondered what the greats of the old Guardian like Neville Cardus would say about the newspaper as it is today. I suspect it would be highly uncomplimentary.

July 5, 2020 10:54 pm

There is a typo in the article

But climate change is more than just the science. It’s a social phenomenon.

Should read

But climate change is not science. It’s a social phenomenon and socialist activism.

July 5, 2020 10:54 pm

I quite like her joke that she says she’s an expert in the opinions of people who don’t know what they’re talking about. She doesn’t need to go too far for material. The saying “it takes one to know one “ is appropriate.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Zigmaster
July 5, 2020 11:30 pm

Rebecca must talk to herself a lot.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 6, 2020 12:52 am

Chris Hanley

Who said that? 🙂

Ron Long
Reply to  HotScot
July 6, 2020 2:57 am

I read an interesting, and apparently well-researched, paper once saying that only crazy or very intelligent persons talk out loud to themselves. I offer this comment to defend myself as I shout at the idiots on the TV (mostly CNN International) but neither expect nor wait for a reply from them.

Reply to  Ron Long
July 6, 2020 10:37 am

Why do you continue to torment yourself buy watching that rubbish. That’s why they provide a remote with an off button. Do yourself a favour.

John Endicott
Reply to  Zigmaster
July 6, 2020 3:21 am

Indeed Zigmaster, She clearly has lots of personal experience what with her being one of those people who don’t know what she’s talking about. Case in point, that she says “The science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows” shows she doesn’t know anything about the scientific method or how it’s been (mis)used by climate science.

Joel O’Bryan
July 5, 2020 10:56 pm

First, I would tell Ms Huntley that her Social Sciences are not science and only imitate science in form but not repeatability. This is essentially one argument Dr Feynman made regarding the social sciences are better described as pseudoscience.

Second, she said, ”The science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows.” which is an outright laughable statement.

That statement from her clearly shows she knows absolutely nothing about climate science and the alarmist claims being made by the climate dowsers she has so much faith in. Also she clearly knows nothing of the natural sciences and what uncertainty is as well no understanding of the real practice of the sciences like physics, chemistry, and biology..

Ms Huntley is simply pathetic… and she doesn’t even know it.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
July 6, 2020 6:24 am

Well she is certainly well versed in the use of logical fallacies

Robert B
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
July 6, 2020 4:31 pm

The scientific method allows? Contrary opinions have not been allowed for decades. Well before some argued that ‘the science’ shows that the world has warmed 0.6°C in the 20th C, and most before 1940, which as been ‘robustly adjusted, again, since.

Poor numbers calculated in dubious ways, but labelled sacrosanct by a self designated elite, backed by self serving rulers, is not the scientific method.

Climate believer
July 5, 2020 11:00 pm

I saw this the other day pop up in a Google news feed. I never click on any Guardian poison like this normally but for some reason I thought I’d take a peek.

As you can see from the excerpt above it’s really bad, but the worst, if you dare go there, is the comment section.

There I think there you can see quite clearly the ramping up of the cultural war over this battleground that is climate change.

The totalitarians/puritans/marxists call them what you will, are sharpening their pitchforks for the next Great Purge folks, and it ain’t pretty.

John Karajas
Reply to  Climate believer
July 6, 2020 2:19 am

They are the modern-day equivalents of Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi who was an ardent environmentalist, a proponent of organic farming, and very much into animal welfare. Pity was that he also was very much into hating many of his fellow human beings, Oh Wait——!

Alastair Gray
July 5, 2020 11:19 pm

This creature is so blind she cant see her own blinkers bu t insists on putting these blinkers on the rest of us. for our own good you know.
What a doubleplus Paragon of woke British goodthink
Put up a statue of her so that I can pull it down

Phillip Bratby
July 5, 2020 11:22 pm

What does a social scientist know about “The science behind climate change”? Obviously nothing, based on this Grauniad article.

July 5, 2020 11:30 pm

The article author doesn’t know what science is. Science is all about falsification, not the promotion of a false paradigm.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
July 6, 2020 4:35 pm

Excellent, Zoe!

July 5, 2020 11:31 pm

How dare you all…… You should be subjected to the ducking-stool….

If you’ve done nothing wrong you need fear not.

Reply to  Jones
July 5, 2020 11:40 pm

What are you talking about Jones?

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 6, 2020 2:14 am

Thank you kindly Phillip. My English humour is frequently lost on others.

Reply to  Jones
July 6, 2020 5:06 am

Yes thank you Phillip, but my question was to you Jones. Your comment was a little obscure, did you forget the ‘sarc’ tag?

July 5, 2020 11:32 pm

The science is very clear, we are living in a Ice Age.
Everyone agree we not going to leave the ice Age, what isn’t agree upon is
when we going to return to the glaciation phase of our Ice Age.

A reason we not going to leave this Ice Age is because we have a cold ocean. The average temperature of all of Earth’s oceans is about 3.5 C.
In terms of human lifetimes and the ocean does change it’s temperature much.
I don’t believe there any evidence of the ocean warming or cooling as much a 1 C in time period of less than 1000 years. But over periods of 10,000 years or more the ocean can change by 1 C.
Over last million years of our Ice Age, the ocean has cooled down to about 1 C and has warmed up to about 5 C.

As far as I know: At all times the ocean is cooler, global average air temperature is lower, and all times the ocean is warmer, global average air temperature is higher.
It well know that in last interglacial period, Eemian when global average air temperature was at highest was when the ocean was significantly warmer than our present ocean temperature of 3.5 C.
In terms of within our present interglacial period, Holocene:
“The Holocene Thermal Maximum, also called the Holocene Thermal Optimum, occurred at different times in different parts of the world but generally between 10,000 BP and 4,000 BP. I use BP to indicate years before 2000. The world ocean was probably 0.7°C warmer than today 8,000 BP.”,warmer%20than%20today%208%2C000%20BP.
And: “First, the world was much warmer 8,000 BP than today and the total heat stored in the atmosphere and in the oceans was much greater. That 0.7°C represents the heat required to warm the atmosphere to over 700°C. This would never happen, of course, ocean-atmosphere heat transfer processes would work to move heat from the ocean to the atmosphere and back again to keep temperatures moderate and stable”
[I assume the ocean was about .5 C warmer]
Also I will note:
“During the “Green Sahara” period (11,000 to 5000 years before the present), the Sahara desert received high amounts of rainfall, supporting diverse vegetation, permanent lakes, and human populations”
Wiki says:
“The end of the glacial period brought more rain to the Sahara, from about 8000 BC to 6000 BC, perhaps because of low pressure areas over the collapsing ice sheets to the north.”
I would say, if our ocean warmed by .5 C the Sahara desert would be green.
But it’s going to take at least centuries to warm the ocean by .5 C, and I think we should make Sahara desert green, before nature might be able to do it.

Reply to  gbaikie
July 6, 2020 12:36 am

“The science is very clear, we are living in a Ice Age. Everyone agree we not going to leave the ice Age, what isn’t agree upon is when we going to return to the glaciation phase of our Ice Age”

Recent research by reknown climate scientist Professor Mark Maslin shows that our fossil fuel emissions could extend this interglacial by 60 thousands years as it continues to get hotter and hotter.

Reply to  Chaamjamal
July 6, 2020 2:14 am

I hope he’s right, but probably not (the “could” word is the clue). Interesting paper though, and I haven’t read Ruddiman (2003), his reference 13 but will this week.

Reply to  Chaamjamal
July 6, 2020 9:58 am

Yeah, even reknown climate scientists think are in Ice Age and we going to return to a glaciation period {have things like 1 mile high ice cap over NYC and sea levels 100 meters lower}.

And were times {tens of millions of years ago} when Earth wasn’t in an Ice Age- Earth was not covered with vast deserts, and their was huge tropical forests in the World.
But Earth now is unusually cold, perhaps the coldest it’s ever been.

One hope for such a warmer time period, but I think realistically it’s not going to happen unless humans make it happen. And if humans are spacefaring civilization they can easily do this.
But right the only easy thing to do is to make Earth become even colder.

Reply to  gbaikie
July 6, 2020 10:57 am

Well, besides nuclear, surely we we will be in a position to build giant reflectors that are tunable and in stationary orbit somewhat sideways-on to the planet and choose exactly how we warm the planet via insolation. We probably already have everything we need for this technology, except satisfactory ways to defund parasitic politicians.

….. since we now know that carbon dioxide’s effect is too pathetic to handle the job.

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 6, 2020 1:50 pm

Yes, and have the virtue signaling of using arctic lands to grow bio-sustainable natural food, which is harvested by the certified traditional methods of the indigenous Eskimos.

July 5, 2020 11:49 pm

I deal mostly in feelings, not facts.

As do most ecomentalists

July 5, 2020 11:59 pm

“It took me much longer than it should have to realise that educating people about climate change science was not enough”

I have to agree. Educating people about climate change science is not enough. You also have to educate people about statistics. Climate scientists too.

Doc Chuck
July 6, 2020 12:01 am

Social ‘science’ does allow for considerable intrigue with one’s own musings as a sort of bona fide human phenomenon in itself and so rather ingrown in its seeming high valuation. But as classics professor Allan Bloom observed (over 3 decades ago now) of fellow social science faculty members in his book “The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students”, they so lacked confidence in the real worth of what they had to offer their students in the form of a relativist openness that they quickly caved in to each rebellious student challenge to the traditional operation of a university. And here we are in the logical extension of that asylum run by inmates who are themselves bereft of any abiding wisdom that is contrary to their primal lust for expressive novelty.

July 6, 2020 12:06 am (headlined “ Greta Thunberg, the climate campaigner who doesn’t like campaigning”)

Chris Hanley
July 6, 2020 12:06 am

“It took me much longer than it should have to realize that educating people about climate change science was not enough …”.
I wonder what Rebecca’s definition of ‘climate change science’ is.
I also wonder what entitles Rebecca to educate anyone about science of any kind when her only academic qualifications appear to be merely in film studies and something called ‘gender studies’ that has nothing to do with the study of Latin or French nouns and pronouns.

Louis Hunt
July 6, 2020 12:06 am

“…in 2003, when respondents were asked in surveys for their first reaction to the phrase “global warming”, only 7% reacted with words like “hoax” or “scam”. By 2010 that had risen to 23%.”

Imagine that! Now, if any of the catastrophic predictions made by Al Gore and others had actually come true, the public would have become more convinced of the need to address climate change instead of more skeptical. Perhaps Rebecca Huntley should take that into consideration instead of thinking she is just so much smarter than the rest of us. You can claim, “the science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows.” But if you can only point to the output of computer models rather than actual observations, then people are going to start thinking you’re selling snake oil. No amount of emotional temper tantrums is going to change that. Show us actual data that the climate is getting worse, or keep your mouth shut until you can.

Reply to  Louis Hunt
July 6, 2020 12:16 am

Dunning Kruger in action. No one’s ever told her she’s thick.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
July 6, 2020 1:52 am

She’s too thick to believe it.

Also, why are most of the comments on here referring to climate change, when this is all about phony-climate change? Let’s not fall into the “liberal” words-trap. The only thing the liberal totalitarian wannabes are liberal with is other people’s money. Climate change is something else. That’s actually real.

July 6, 2020 12:09 am

This paragraph stood out: “ Given that climate change is such a discomforting topic, I see this cognitive dissonance all the time in focus groups, where people try to find reasons other than climate change for the events happening around them, even when faced with a strong scientific explanation. They pick it apart because of Dunning-Kruger and then, because of confirmation bias, try to find a blog that states something other than what the scientific evidence shows.”

July 6, 2020 12:26 am

So, The Guardian’s plan is to sustain the status quo. After a long progression of em-pathetic appeals and intimidation, more people are choosing to stand, rather than kneel. Good luck.

July 6, 2020 12:31 am

The Guardian is down to what, 200,000 a day sales? It is so bad they are begging from money on their website.

Clearly people have switched off, in their droves, from the Climate Doom cr@p. Like crying wolf, people eventually become desensitised. Then, if they have a brain, start to wonder if it was always a lie.

You cant fool all the people all the time. Climate Doom doesnt get a special ticket.

Ray Sanders
Reply to  Matt_S
July 6, 2020 1:56 pm

“The Guardian is down to what, 200,000 a day sales?”
In pre Covid February their sales were barely over 125,000. Since then likely nearer 20,000….seriously.
It will probably cease to be in a print version within a couple of years/

Reply to  Ray Sanders
July 7, 2020 12:27 am

That bad eh? Good.

Stephen Skinner
July 6, 2020 12:36 am

“…the laws of physics are orderly and neat but people are messy.” – Rebecca Huntley
“When the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large scientific method in most cases fails.” – Einstein
“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality” – Einstein
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Einstein

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
July 11, 2020 4:42 pm

“…the laws of physics are orderly and neat but people are messy.”

Spoken by one who is neither an expert in physics nor computer modeling.

Capell Aris
July 6, 2020 12:46 am

Rebecca Huntley ‘is an author and researcher with degrees in law, a first class degree in film studies and a PhD in Gender Studies’.

I wonder where she places herself on the Dunning Kruger curve?

And while we’re here, doesn’t the Dunning Kruger curve tell all scientists how pathetic social science is?

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Capell Aris
July 6, 2020 2:00 am

“I wonder where she places herself on the Dunning Kruger curve?”

Probably one of the most common issues where complexity is involved.
I meet truck drivers with seriously more rational thinking, maybe caused by these people depend on rational thinking in order to succeed.

July 6, 2020 12:52 am

Not to worry my dear, Prince Charles himself will keynote the Davos World Economic Forum, slightly delayed by the pandemic.
His keynote address? Why, “The Great Reset”.

This is the next phase of Germany’s “Great Transformation”, a mere runner-up, authored by Dr. “John” Schellnhuber, CBE, as Merkel’s “science advisor”. And the good Dr. John has the Pope at his side with his “Laudato Si” encyclical. He even got a CBE, Commander of the British Empire Royal Title. How’s that for “high society”?

I just cannot understand why the Guardian’s Ms Huntley is worried at all.

Nick Graves
July 6, 2020 12:53 am

Scientific method:

So logically, if she weight the same as a duck, she’s made of wood?

And therefore…


George Lawson
July 6, 2020 1:11 am

“my background (the well-educated daughter of a high school teacher and an academic),”
That tells us all we need to know. This lady seems to think that because she was the daughter of parents who have lived in narrow-minded academic protection all their lives that we should all accept her silly views. All she does is demonstrate how inexperienced the academic world is, and how they have corrupted the minds of the unthinking masses.

July 6, 2020 1:12 am

“I’ve watched with concern the increasing effects of climate change,”

What? Things like warmer weather, milder weather, less cyclones, tornados etc., less bushfires, more rainfall, increased agricultural production, increased global greening.

Let’s have more of these “concerning effects.”

Reply to  John
July 6, 2020 2:40 am

What do you mean more? Let’s just have two examples for starters. Come on Rebecca, the podium is yours ……

Reply to  John
July 6, 2020 9:39 am

“I’ve watched with concern the increasing effects of climate change,”

The thing she watches with concern is the reaction (“effects”) of the people she looks down on. Not the actual physical world.

She conflates/combines the physical world with the reactions of the social world, and thinks the reactions are due to climate rather than hype. AND THEN goes on to claim that we need to increase the hype.

Remember, she’s “an expert in the opinions of people who don’t know what they’re talking about” … essentially no one is as smart/perceptive as her, very few people are on her level (except maybe Hannibal Lecter).

Reply to  DonM
July 6, 2020 4:46 pm

she’s “an expert in the opinions of people who don’t know what they’re talking about” – like hers?

She probably nods her head knowingly, importantly, when she hasn’t a clue, and takes every outlandish climate “crisis” headline as accurate without a skeptical thought, because she lacks the background and the academic ability to understand the topic (they self describe as a social “science” but we should dispute that vigorously). All sounds good to her, though, so logical and so socially acceptable, so she’s on board with looking down on those with the opinions that don’t know what they’re talking about. Those deplorables.

Serge Wright
July 6, 2020 1:23 am

This article seems to be a response to counter the logical arguments put forward by Shellenberger and Michael Moore , in their recent forays into exposing the nasty facts surrounding RE.

However she does drift back to “green science” with this sentence.

“The science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows”

But it does raise the question – Can a consensus of less that 100 scientists that are not randomly selected, be considered the scientific method ?.

Reply to  Serge Wright
July 6, 2020 8:14 pm

–But it does raise the question – Can a consensus of less that 100 scientists that are not randomly selected, be considered the scientific method ?.–

It does not matter how many scientists
Can less than 100 scientists be used as sample polls in indicate the wider view of views of thousands of scientists. Sure. But doesn’t matter if 100,000 scientists had some opinion.
What is the best average surface air temperature of Earth.
I say 20 C.

Why is pre-industrial time important?
What was the average global surface air temperature of pre-industrial time?
Can anyone give the time period of pre-industrial time?
“Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution, which occurred from 1750 to 1850”
[[I am saying that is correct, but gives general idea]].
Anywhere within 100 year period and before this time. So obviously 0 AD is pre-industrial as is 1 million years ago.
Anyhow, the Industrial Revolution is said to have started in England and 1850 AD is when said to have started in US. And some other countries may not have yet, revolted. It’s quite eurocentric or non global way of looking at things.

Why would someone say got to keep average temperatures from not rising above 1.5 C or 2 C above pre-industrial time temperatures?
Are they afraid to use the words, Little Ice Age?
Is reliable benchmark temperature related to pre-industrial time?
{obviously not.}
Are we trying avoid the issue that no one actually knows what the average air surface temperature of Earth is, now, or at any other time in the past?

I know that average global ocean surface temperature is about 17 C and average global land air surface temperature is about 10 C and together they average to about 15 C.
I am also aware the the Southern hemisphere has been long considered to be cooler than Northern hemisphere. And this difference is about 1 C.

Should we be concerned mostly about global average surface temperature or be more concerned with global land average surface temperature.
Maybe we should be more concerned about the average temperature of Earth’s two ice caps.
Or since the Greenland ice cap is warmer, it’s temperature should important.
All I know, it is very cold.

Back to point, what is the pre-industrial global temperature?
I will give quiz question:
A About 13.5 C
B About 14 C
C About 14.5 C
D Some other number {explain}.
It’s not really a quiz, it’s an opinion poll.
Also what is 2019 AD global temperature?
A About 15 C
B Some other number {explain]

Now I don’t think global air temperatures matters much. I think average temperature of entire ocean determines global temperature
My answers are D and B. Explaining: D: about 3.4 C and B: about 3.5 C

But were I believer in global warming cargo cult religion, I would say it should have something to do global water vapor.
So need to know how much we have now. Guess how much was in pre-industrial time, and determine what would too much water vapor in the future.
Because if I was cargo cult believer, I think I would know/believe doubling of CO2 is about 1 C, and such doubling is suppose increase water vapor, and thereby maybe cause some significant amount of global warming.

July 6, 2020 1:27 am

Since she prefers emotion to facts, she is not a scientist.

Reply to  marty
July 6, 2020 2:43 am

She’s angling for a professorship in some kind of “science” at Harvard.

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 6, 2020 5:14 am

Phillip perhaps we should insist that she provide the math to prove her stance as a scientist?

Reply to  marty
July 6, 2020 8:16 am

Anything with the word “social” in front of it is absolutely NOT a science.

Vincent Causey
July 6, 2020 1:37 am

I had to allow myself a smile when she wrote “the highest level of certainty the scientific method allows,” because that shows that her whole premise is based on something which is not true. I suppose she never steps outside of the bubble of true believers, and is not even aware of the all the mess that climate science is in. But, people like that are probably resistant to uncomfortable truths anyway, and would likely even tell Richard Lindzen that he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Bruce Cobb
July 6, 2020 3:24 am

“it’s time to get emotional about climate change”
Yes. Because they haven’t tried that before.

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 6, 2020 3:28 am

‘Highly rational’ … but we need more emotions! You just couldn’t make it up.

July 6, 2020 3:33 am

I am neither an alarmist nor a denier – How can one deny that climate changes? I accept real science – theories fought between scientists to arrive at conclusions that either prove or disprove their theories.

This interesting footnote in the guardian:
“The Guardian believes that the climate crisis we face is systemic. We will inform our readers about threats to the environment based on scientific facts, not driven by commercial or political interests. We will keep reporting on the efforts of individuals and communities around the world who are fearlessly taking a stand for future generations and the preservation of human life on earth. We want their stories to inspire hope.”

And Ms Huntley’s:
“More science isn’t the solution. People are the solution.”

Dismissing science in favour of people’s opinions – how can we survive as a species?
How can the Guardian say “We want their stories to inspire hope.” ? when all I hear is doom and gloom from Extinction Rebellion, climate modelers and the media.
And sadly no real, practical, realisable solutions for 7 billion souls offered by the protesters.

Alasdair Fairbairn
July 6, 2020 3:36 am

Those with a high opinion of themselves should avoid displaying their ignorance.

Ian Coleman
July 6, 2020 3:55 am

If this woman thinks that climate change theory displays the highest level of certainty that scientific method allows, she can’t know much about Science, because that statement is indisputably false. I can’t think offhand of a more fatuous statement made by anyone in the climate change movement, which is going some on the fatuity scale.

And what emotion does she most want to evoke? She doesn’t say, but you just know that it’s fear.

July 6, 2020 4:15 am

Some individuals only appear to be crazy (manniacly-hasenian syndrom) because pays good money, but for groups, association etc., even as high up as democratically elected governments, the collective madness is no exceptional state of human masochistic fallibility.

Just Jenn
July 6, 2020 5:53 am

You know what word I’m tired of? Science.

Why? Because it’s the new buzzword. I’ve been around long enough to hear “synergy” used completely out of context to the original parameters and definition of the word and used as the new buzzword in the business world.

Funny how you don’t hear synergy used anymore in business….why? Because it was overused as all buzzword are but more importantly because the business world realized that true synergy is not something they can achieve and therefore the word did not hold up to it’s definition. By over-using synergy (and symbiotic…ugh, don’t get me started on that one!), the business world didn’t get it’s affects…and so the buzzword died along with the HUGE profit margins that using the word was supposed to produce.

The same can be true for the word science. Overused buzzword but this time in the political world…and it needs to go to the wayside as the be all end all term that will bring about exactly what they want if they just invoke the word into every sentence. The buzzword will solve all our ills! Just keep saying it and it will be true!

It is not a buzzword but more importantly; science and the pursuit of knowledge utilizing the scientific method is NOT and I repeat NOT a religion nor does it belong in a temple. Any use of the word to imply otherwise is deceitful and no better than overusing a buzzword and believing in the power of invocation.

Tiger Bee Fly
Reply to  Just Jenn
July 6, 2020 6:28 am


John Robertson
July 6, 2020 5:56 am

As I read the posting,it occurred to me that the Guardian is now doing satire.
The woman’s self description is priceless.
You could not make up such idiocy as an act of fiction.
Climatology has fallen so fast,that the chosen ones are reduced to self mockery.
I wonder if being 100% wrong in your “projections” of doom,could offer any explanation for the public ignoring your panic?
Chicken Little,the old version,still marches amongst us.

July 6, 2020 6:03 am

She falsely claims the science is settled to the highest levels possible (in which case why is ECS running at 3C +/- 1.5C!) before rolling out three main reasons for people not accepting AGW theory; confirmation bias, Dunning-Kruger and cognitive dissonance.

Unsurprisingly she doesn’t address the fact that alarmists also use exactly the same methods to confirm their own alarmism.

July 6, 2020 6:10 am

As anyone who has a 5-year-old can attest, telling them they can have a cookie only after they put away their toys, is likely to be responded with – “That’s not fair!”

Tiger Bee Fly
July 6, 2020 6:26 am

So employing proxy armies of fascist blackshirts to tear apart US cities isn’t emotional enough? Makes me wonder what would be. Maybe a dirty bomb or two?

July 6, 2020 6:34 am

They’re jealous of BLM and ANTIFA.

Bruce Cobb
July 6, 2020 6:56 am

If I were them, I wouldn’t just rely on more cowbell- I mean emotion. I would get the MSM pounding the “fact” of climate change, governments and NGO’s, “science” institutions”, as well as the entire education system touting it, and $billions of dollars spent “educating” sheeple -I mean people.
Oh, wait.

July 6, 2020 7:06 am

“Stop making sense”?

When have they ever made sense?

July 6, 2020 7:11 am

As always for these “social scientists” they believe that they have the moral highground and have no sense of rational thought based on facts. Adding to that the “religious” righteousness of their alarmism means that they no longer need to debate anything. The social science is settled.

July 6, 2020 7:14 am

Read her title as “Socialist Scientist” the first time.

Murphy Slaw
July 6, 2020 8:13 am

Rebecca Huntley has a very high opinion of herself.
I’m not sure it’s warranted.

July 6, 2020 8:14 am

Yeah…that’ll work. Like a spoiled brat at a supermarket checkout screaming because his parents won’t buy him candy….he thinks that if he screams LOUDER, he will get his way…..but he might just be hauled out of the supermarket only to get his just reward when his parents get him hone.

Al Miller
July 6, 2020 8:25 am

”It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
Paul Watson,
Co-founder of Greenpeace
So I guess the highest scientific standard in her eyes is this type of Marxist indoctrination agenda. It had nothing to do with science and people like her should stop giving science a bad name. Conversely scientists need to defend their integrity by denouncing the “horoscope” science of alarmism.

Schrodinger's Cat
July 6, 2020 8:53 am

for a self-diagnosed well educated, highly rational academic, she demonstrates quite eloquently that she hasn’t got a clue what she is talking about when she pontificates about climate science.

July 6, 2020 9:25 am

The science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows.

If “ha”= laughter, then the above quote = “ha”^1000.

Here, I’ll start the expansion of the expression: hahahahahahahahahahahaha …

You can finish it, but make sure you end with lots of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, and while we’re at it, why not make the “!” indicate the factorial operation, which makes “ha” go on even longer. I guess it’ll take several lifetimes to finish, then. Oh well, you gotta start somewhere.

July 6, 2020 10:06 am

Start using emotion? When has climate change hysteria been anything but emotion? When James Hansen conspired with the Media Party in the Senate to testify about Global Warming with the air conditioning off over 30 years ago, was that a scientific argument or an emotional one?

July 6, 2020 10:14 am

While the Guardian my have no credibility at all, the story does suggest you are all just lab rats to the social engineers. When can we form the class action lawsuits based on mental torture?

I’m not so sure anymore that the NK methods of indoctrination and starvation in the name of the Kim lineage of leadership are that much worse than the climate crusaders.

Andrew Lale
July 6, 2020 10:21 am

That is all.

July 6, 2020 10:23 am

Is this an early manifestion of a ‘Shellenberger Effect?’ When the facts aren’t on your side it’s time to crank up the emotional stuff to 11.

July 6, 2020 10:30 am

I’m glad there was some left over to talk about the subject after getting through all the talk about herself.

Walt D.
July 6, 2020 10:59 am

Climate Change should stop pretending that it is science and admit that it is marketing.
Their basic problem is trying to sell the public something that they don’t want to buy.
If you look in the Daily Mail over the weekend, you will see heatwave headlines -104F (don’t ask me why DM uses Fahrenheit) as if this is something awful, while a picture on the same page show crowds of people at the beach enjoying themselves. I don’t think anybody on the beach is considering going to Siberia for their winter holiday.

David S
July 6, 2020 11:14 am

“Stop making sense: why it’s time to get emotional about climate change”

This is a change???

Joel Snider
July 6, 2020 11:44 am

Quick – hate-bait and then act on a temper tantrum – don’t think. Knee-jerk.

Yep. Progressive MO. Every time.

paul courtney
July 6, 2020 12:39 pm

Here in the USA, we are being treated to alot of emotional arguments about how tearing down statues of Lincoln vindicates the murder of George Floyd. These folks don’t see the slippery slope before them. Maybe it would help if they watched film of Nueremburg rallies- that painter with the little mustache was, like, the best emotional arguer ever! Dr. Huntley might wonder where “winning with emotional arguing” could lead.

July 6, 2020 1:16 pm

Great album by the talking heads “Stop making sense”, almost as good as “The fear of music”.

As an aspect of rhetorical persuasion not so much.

Next album should be “The fear of affordable reliable electricity”.

Reply to  Jon
July 6, 2020 8:35 pm

Their best album was Remain in Light. Quite possibly the best album of all time.

Same as it ever was.

There is water at the bottom of the ocean …..

… and so on

old engineer
July 6, 2020 2:36 pm

Philosophically I am opposed to ad hominin attacks. However, after reading the comments here, I realized it really is fun to demean such an arrogant fool as Ms Huntley.

Robert B
July 6, 2020 4:34 pm

A joke I like to tell about myself during speeches is that I’m an expert in the opinions of people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

You’re not an expert. You’re a practioner.

July 6, 2020 6:04 pm

Ms. Huntley: We’re past the dawn and now going into the Age of Aquarius. Each astrological time period lasts an average of 2,150 years. Our planet is leaving behind the Age of Pisces and entering the Age of Aquarius. Oh, the wonder of it all! I get soooo emotional when I think about this. Won’t you join me?

Craig from Oz
July 7, 2020 12:51 am

From the full article:

“The third and final bias is cognitive dissonance. When people encounter actions or ideas they cannot reconcile psychologically with their own beliefs, they experience discomfort. They then try to resolve their discomfort by arguing away the new evidence.”

Well. There we go. If you disagree you are in denial of the truth. The author should know. She is a Social Scientist and has studied! You do not. You are just an angry cis white male trying to resolve your discomfort.

Or… Our brave author might just be displaying her own inability to take advantage of the Conservative Advantage. She believes that because ‘deniers’ and their arguments upset her, then they must in return be upset by her and her arguments. Since she is a Social Scientist, she clearly knows that SHE is correct in which case ‘deniers’ are only arguing because they refuse to see/accept the truth.

Our poor misguided child.

What she fails to understand is it is not the ‘ideas’ that Conservatives are concerned about – Conservatives are by nature curious about new ideas, because their immediate goals are to advance themselves and those in their immediate care and they wish for improvement. A Conservative will observe an idea and embrace, reject or monitor it based on what sort of advantage it will give them. Ideas that are of no advantage and don’t affect them are at best watched with mild bemusement, but idea that will damage their existence are pushed back against.

Leftie – I like nuts
Conservative – apathic towards nuts
Result: Shrug. That’s nice I guess.

Leftie – I like nuts
Conservative – I like nuts
Result: We should share a bowl

Leftie – Nuts are great and everyone MUST eat them
Conservative – Nuts give me a life threatening rash
Result: I seriously need you to stay away from me. Honest. Go away. Please.

The problem with a Leftie Mindset is that they have developed the idea that things are absolutes. Nuts are good, or Nuts are bad. Once they have reached an absolute they struggle to understand how someone could disagree. They like nuts, therefore you must also like nuts or there must be something wrong with you. The act of there being a non absolute answer to a situation bothers them to the extent THEY are the ones to start to filter their social circles into those who agree with them (Nuts are good) and those who are simply WRONG.

Rebecca herself jokingly indicates that at some level she accepts and embraces this. She is an expect on understanding the opinions of people who don’t know what they are talking about. It is not that you have a different opinion, you have a WRONG opinion so clearly you have something wrong with you that can be unwrapped and discussed by clever people who are Social Scientists. The fact you just don’t like nuts does not enter into it, you have much deeper mental biases.

The other manifestation of thinking in absolutes is why the Left always ends up turning on itself. A Conservative rarely will spend their entire day worrying about nuts. There is SportsBall to watch. Bills to pay. Ungrateful offspring to supervise. Races to Ism. Women to oppress. Minorities to push down stairs and/or whatever us nasty Right Wingers do with our spare time. Lefts on the other hand are focused on the absolutes and ally with the other absolutes… right up until one of them deviates from the officially published script and embraces a different absolute.

By the way, is the Guardian still running at a loss?

Craig from Oz
July 7, 2020 12:56 am

Also I love the way that the photo of How Dare You Greta has become visual shorthand for Angry Leftie Having a Hissy Fit.

Face it, Greta and her script writers owe Conservatives for the publicity. If it wasn’t for the memes everyone else would have forgotten she was even in the US. A Left talking point lasts until the next hashtag comes out, but a meme can keep on giving and giving.

July 7, 2020 8:14 am

When did it ever make sense and who declared the start and stop points for the science process.

July 7, 2020 1:58 pm

only 7% reacted with words like “hoax” or “scam”. By 2010 that had risen to 23%. There was a parallel trend in the UK: between 2003 and 2008, the belief that claims about climate change had been exaggerated almost doubled from 15% to 29%.

But this raises new questions. Were the Brits…
A. More literate (at least those encountered in places where the polls were taken)?
B. More used to not giving a damn about wannabe O’Briens without proper electrical appliances?
C. More bold due to more milquetoast answers proposed?
D. Have the poll takers less experienced at operating thimble rigs?

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