Category Archives: Climate Propaganda

“Genuine climate alarmists” spreading misinformation?

At the beginning of this week, I had my coffee-almost-spoiled-my-keyboard moment when I read a The Guardian article titled “There are genuine climate alarmists, but they’re not in the same league as deniers“. There were some surprising claims in this article and while writing this post, it became rather long, so I will split this into separate posts.

This first post will be about the main subject of the article. The author, Dana Nuticelli, explains that the skepticalscience site has a page about climate misinformers. Currently, all those misinformers are “deniers”, but Dana claims there are also “genuine climate alarmists” who spread misinformation. Those climate scientists are not in the list, their (failed) arguments are not debunked, yet part of a “constant deluge of climate myths”.

That is interesting to hear coming from this source.

Two examples of such “genuine climate alarmists” are provided in the article. The first is Guy McPherson. I have not heard of him before. He apparently claimed that climate change would likely drive humans to extinction by 2030. Dana explains that being already halfway and looking at the current human population, it will be rather unlikely that the human race is going extinct in the next couple decades. Okay, I can understand that this is a alarmist claim.

The other example is Peter Wadhams. I heard of him before and even wrote some posts mentioning him here, here, here and here. According to the article, Wadhams predicted in 2012 an ice-free Arctic by 2016, which didn’t happen when 2016 came along.

That was rather gentle description by Dana. Sure, Wadhams predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2016 in 2012, but he also predicted an ice-free Arctic:

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The IPCC is not alarmist because it understates sea level rise (while using words like “endgame” and “5 minutes to midnight”)

Almost three weeks ago, I wrote a post on the “climate myth” that the “IPCC is alarmist”. I then focused on how an actual statement from Dr. Roy Spencer was changed beyond recognition before it was “debunked” in a skepticalscience article. The climate myth “the IPCC is alarmist” is tackled in their article by the use of four examples. The subject of this post will be the argument of the second example:

[…] By 2100 sea-level rise was predicted by the IPCC to be in the range of 18-59 cm. It is now believed that figure may be far too low, because estimates of contributions from Greenland and Antarctic ice-caps were excluded from AR4 because the data was not considered reliable. (This omission hardly supports the notion that the IPCC seeks to exaggerate global warming trends).

I heard similar claims before. The IPCC is excluding things that it is not sure about, so their predictions could be much more alarmist if they wanted to. Therefor the IPCC is considered “conservative”, “cautious” or “to err on the side of the least drama”.

In this case, if estimates of contributions from Greenland and Antarctic ice-caps were excluded because “the data was not considered reliable”, then it is likely that the sea level rise is going to be faster than projected and then the IPCC isn’t exactly alarmist if they report this number that is too low. At least when it comes to sea level rise.

Well, yes … and no.

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Some fun with the escalator

Previous post about the “climate myth” that the “IPCC is alarmist” was about an actual statement from Dr. Roy Spencer that was contorted into something that was not recognizable as his statement anymore. In that post, I made the remark that fabricating arguments of the other side seems some sort of a habit of the “skeptical”science team. I have seen them doing the same thing several times before.

This week I bumped into yet another example in which the skepticalscience team, who are clearly alarmist, made up the “arguments” of the other side. That example is called the “escalator” and can be found in the right sidebar of their website.

For those who didn’t see the graph before, it is a moving gif depicting two scenarios. The first scenario depicts how the, ahem, “contrarians” see the graph with global surface temperatures since 1970:

escalator graph blue lines 625px

The moving gif slowly iterates through every blue trendline and at the end the blue lines disappear. Then these are replaced by one single red line showing how, ahem, “realists” see the same graph:

escalator graph red line 625px

Basically, those “contrarians” are so short-sighted that they see a series of cooling trends, while not recognizing the overall upward trend. Skepticalscience explain it as those contrarians don’t know the “difference between short-term noise and long-term signal” and “inappropriately cherrypick short time periods that show a cooling trend”. This:

simply because the endpoints are carefully chosen and the trend is dominated by short-term noise in the data.

At that time, I was already rolling over the floor laughing…

Those endpoints are indeed “carefully chosen”, let there be no doubt about that! But not by those “contrarians”. Most of those blue trendlines didn’t make any sense when it comes to their claims. Those blue lines were clearly chosen by the skepticalscience team themselves for maximum visual effect.

That is easy to see. First consider the source of this data:

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The noble art of framing the Greenland melt as worse than it is

The subject of previous post was a scene in the documentary “Before The Flood” in which Leonardo DiCaprio had a conversation with Jason Box in Greenland. I then came to the conclusion that they didn’t give a honest representation of the facts. This post will build on that, but it will expand it to how the public perceives such a scene.

From my own history, I remember that I was interested in the global warming issue, but I was too busy with other things in my life. I wasn’t checking facts, I just relied on what the media was claiming. I believed what they said was true and, although I assumed that they were exaggerating the issue, I believed that in essence they were right. This post will be about how people with no background on the issue (and do not check these facts after viewing for example this documentary) will probably perceive this scene.

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Oh, My God! Greenland is melting!

Before The Flood - sceenshot 4

After the claim of the projections of the climate models being “really conservative”, the scene continued with a conversation about the Greenland ice loss:

[Jason Box]
If climate stays at the temperature that it has been in in the last decade, Greenland is going away.

That is interesting. When I heard this claim, it started to itch to explore this a bit more. But before doing that, let’s see how the conversation on the glacier continued. Leonardo walks towards a crevasse in which there was a violent stream of glacial water finding its way to the ocean:

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The “Alice-in-Wonderland” consensus position

alice in wonderland

Advancing to the introduction of the “Alice In Wonderland” paper of Lewandowsky/Cook/Lloyd and already in the second sentence I bump into this (my emphasis):

… the consensus position that global warming is happening, is human caused, and presents a global problem is shared by more than 95 % of domain experts and more than 95 % of relevant articles in the peer-reviewed literature (Anderegg et al. 2010; Cook et al. 2013, 2016; Doran and Zimmerman 2009; Oreskes 2004; Shwed and Bearman 2010).

… presents a global problem …

… shared by more than 95 % of domain experts and more than 95 % of relevant articles in the peer-reviewed literature …

?!?!?!?

I have read the Anderegg 2010, Cook 2013, Doran & Zimmerman 2009 and Oreskes 2004 papers and at that time I found nothing of that kind. In none of those papers participants were asked whether they considered this warming to be a global problem.

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The introduction that shapes perceptions

Continuing from previous post in which I looked at a “rebuttal” in a Guardian article on an alleged claim made by Roy Spencer in his Guide to Understanding Global Temperature Data. This puzzling rebuttal of the first argument was not the only thing that caught my attention. Another thing was the claim that the Spencer white paper was a classic example of a Gish Gallop.

He claimed that Spencer producing “such a large volume of nonsense arguments that refuting all of them is too time-consuming”. Which is indeed (a variants of) the definition of a Gish Gallop. That seemed a bit funny because my first impression when I read the Guardian article was that the introduction was a quick succession of a bunch nonsense factoids, not related to the argument.

Let’s first see how Spencer was introduced:

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