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Garden variety climate change deniers

The effects of climate change are not just a scientific model which may or may not happen sometime in the way off future. Climate change is in front of our eyes. As I write this, the temperature outside is 43.8 degrees, heading for a forecast of 46. This would make it the hottest day of my life and today Adelaide is the hottest city in the world. The weather, of course, is just weather and doesn’t in itself prove climate change is real. What does prove climate change is real is scientific study of the influence of carbon emissions on the world’s climate. Scientific consensus has monumentally smashed any sort of doubt by, at last count, showing only 0.01% of climate scientists questioning the validity of anthropogenic climate change as scientific fact. But, while the experts tell us climate change is happening, and while I experience for myself the changing climate in Adelaide which has seen us hit record after record, to a point where the weather maps are adding new colours to show new extremes, there is still far more denial of this science than is rationally possible, in a country where we all learnt to read at a very young age.

Whenever a conversation starts about climate change, whether it be on social media, in the mainstream media, in government, in the private sector or just around a neighbour’s BBQ, the deniers are there to take the discussion away from ‘how do we deal with this problem’, and divert it to ‘does this problem even exist?’ Like whack-a-mole zombies, the deniers have a pre-rehearsed line prepared for every occasion which they unwelcomely insert into every potentially productive discussion. I’ve put together this handy guide to your garden-variety climate change denier pests, who pop up all over our community with new ways to block action to save our planet:

FREE MARKETER DENIERS
The ‘climate change can’t be happening because it’s problematic to my free market ideology’ deniers.
It’s not a coincidence that some of the richest people in the world fund campaigns to spread doubt and lies about climate change. It’s also not a coincidence that it’s the free-marketers who form shady right-wing think tanks, designed to fight any sort of move by a government to combat climate change. To these free-marketers, environmental protection is just another way the government limits their precious free market, which in their minds, limits the amount of money they can extract from the planet the governments are trying to protect. Maurice Newman, Tony Abbott’s top business advisor, is a member of one of these secretive societies, as revealed in this piece by Graham Readfearn.

So let’s break it down to really simple language to explain why these people deny climate science. They are rich. They want to get richer. They are worried that if the government forces them to readjust their profitable activities to take into account the pollution their profitable activities cause, they might not be as rich as they were hoping to be. On the planet they are destroying. I don’t think a more ridiculous reason for denial could possibly exist. When you take into account the damage the changing climate is doing, and will continue to do, to their precious economy, as well as the planet where they spend their money, how can these so-called-business-savvy people not see that it’s in everyone’s best interest to take climate change seriously? How many profit-making tennis games have to be postponed before these people realise this is about them too?

The problem with these deniers is that they have the funds behind them to influence a lot of other gullible people who are, by their political affiliation with these types, liable to believe everything they say. Like the Tony Abbotts of the world, who need the money of well-known-climate-denial-funder Gina Rinehart to bankroll his election campaigns. What can we possibly say to these people to snap them out of this idiocy? How about we try saying ‘please stop blocking action to combat climate change. We all have to live on this planet. And this is where you make all your money’. An un-liveable planet would be a market free of profit I would have thought.

MUDDYING-THE-WATER DENIERS
The ‘climate change might be happening, it might not, but if it is it’s not caused by humans and so there’s no point doing anything about it, I’m really not making much sense’ deniers.

These deniers will never admit that they are a product of the campaigns by the free market deniers because that would be inconvenient to their argument. What they don’t realise is that, as acting as the astro-turfing mouthpieces, or the tentacles of the great free-market-climate-change-denying-squid-like-beast, they often end up not just sounding like foot soldiers, but often like robotic climate denying software algorithms funded by free marketer deniers. But I don’t think they mind that they sound like lunatics who can’t string a thought together let alone an argument. Because this is part of their strategy. An example of the muddying-the-water climate denier can be found in this exchange:

James Hare

You see how this one never out-right denies climate change, he just spreads doubt? So when we start talking about bushfires and how they are becoming more frequent and more serious due to climate change, these deniers question the link between bushfires and climate change. When we say climate scientists are in agreement of the facts, they say thousandaire climate scientists are part of a left-wing conspiracy to get more research funding. When we quote scientific evidence of a warming atmosphere, they say that the warming might be happening, but it’s not man-made. When we say it is man-made and we have to do something about it, they say there’s no point doing anything because there’s nothing we can do to fix it. And the argument goes around and around and around until the person who started the original conversation about the problem of climate change and what we should do about it ends up being so confused and so frustrated that they give up altogether.

This has happened to me on Twitter many times, and I know I shouldn’t fall for it, so I’m trying to stop. Let’s remember that the whole point of these deniers is that they don’t make any logical sense. They’re just there to divert attention from the urgent need for our community to do something about climate change. Whether they’re saying wind-farms cause headaches, polar-vortexes are not related to climate change, or they’re repeating crap they’ve heard Lord Monckton say while on his Rinehart-funded trip around Australia, we should just ignore and block these people whenever they pop up. Or ridicule. That can also help combat the frustration.

ANECDOTAL DENIERS
The ‘I remember when I was a boy it was really hot once’ deniers.

This type of denier is again related to the free marketer denier, but again incapable of admitting this link. Usually this link is a shared voting intention with right-wing political parties. Funny that. Are you seeing a pattern here?

The sort of thing you hear from these people is shown in the tweet below, from a radio presenter at 2CC Canberra:

Mark Parton

As the climate trend keeps climbing upwards, you find that the historic temperature date they quote is getting further and further into the past. You almost have to feel sorry for them. Parton’s not even been able to say ‘it was hotter than it is today when I was fifteen’. He’s had to go back to the 19th Century, to a town in outback Queensland. Mark goes on to try to use the pretence of reasonableness to explain why he thinks climate change isn’t happening:

Mark Parton1

It’s fairly easy to combat these deniers. All you have to say is ‘no Mark, it’s not all about you. The weather in your back yard is not of itself evidence of a global climate trend. So what if there was a hot day in 1969 and you happened to remember it? It’s the trend that is important! Why is the trend on an upward trajectory if climate change isn’t real?’

Annoyingly, many journalists fall for this sort of denial, sometimes inadvertently, sometimes not. It’s when they say ‘Adelaide experienced extreme temperatures today’ and instead of continuing this statement with ‘this is further evidence of the weather outcomes that we will see from a changing climate’, they stick their viewers’ heads back in the sand by saying ‘and it’s the hottest day since the 12th of January 1939’. Nothing to see here, move along.

JOKER DENIERS
The ‘I’m above all this climate change stuff because I don’t take anything seriously’ deniers.

Again, these deniers are related to free marketer deniers, but have just chosen a different tactic for expressing their opinions about climate change. Opinions they have no right to as not a single one of them has any scientific training, let alone expertise in climate science. These people’s chosen tactic is disdain delivered like a totally un-funny stand-up-comedian. Chris Kenny is the best example of this type of denier that I’ve come across. I wrote to him about this a year ago and his son has also weighed in on his father’s irresponsibility, but judging by this tweet, Kenny hasn’t changed since:

Chris Kenny

That’s right. Those pesky climate scientists are just over-exaggerating climate change, because, because… actually I don’t think Kenny has ever come up with an explanation as to why thousands of climate scientists would do such a thing. What do we say to these people? I find in Kenny’s case it’s best to laugh at him. Not with him. And to tell him he’s a puppet of his free marketer heroes/employer whose only achievement so far in life appears to be fathering at least one son who is nothing like him.

So there you have it. The first step to solving a problem is identifying it. These are the deniers we have to put up with, who are doing their best to delay or stop action to slow the catastrophic effects of climate change. These are the people the mainstream media call on to help them to show ‘balance’. These are the people our country elects to govern us all. These are the people who continue to get very rich from their denial, while poor people are the first to suffer from the effects of climate change, not having the funds to insulate themselves from harm’s way. So we keep fighting. We do it for our children. We do it for our global community. And we do it for ourselves. Because climate change is happening right now and we have to do something about it.

[twitter-follow screen_name=’Vic_Rollison’ show_count=’yes’]

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63 comments

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  1. silkworm

    There are also the (unconsciously) religiously motivated deniers who say, sure climate change is real, but the climate changes all the time – it’s all part of the natural cycle (God’s cycle).

  2. Joe Banks

    Victoria, you are so driven (thank goodness).
    If we tackle climate change and it turns out that 97% of the worlds climate scientists are wrong, we will create a cleaner world and lose very little.
    If we don’t tackle climate change and it turns out that 97% of the worlds climate scientists are correct… we lose everything.
    It’s a no brainer!

  3. Simon

    Hi Victoria – It is exteremely hot, I’m near coastal Victor Harbor SA and its frying out there!!
    Silkworm made the coment on religiously motivated deniers and I’ve heard the same in several posts elsewhere.
    Not wanting to be a basher of religion as they have every right to peacefully practice theirs.
    Reminds me of a joke-
    A man is washed out to sea in a rip.
    Another man on a surf ski comes by and asked if he can help him,”No says the swimmer God will provide for me”
    A fishing boat passes and askes if they can help him, “No says the swimmer God will provide for me”
    Well out to sea, a ship passes by and offers help again the man says “No God will provide for me”
    The inevitable happens and he saddly drowns.
    At the Pearly Gates the drowned man asks why God had not provided for him.
    St Peter replied – what are you talking about we sent a surf ski a fishing boat and a ship!

    Sorry if I have offended any ones feelings.
    If God has put us on earth then surely our scientists have been put here for a purpose too!! Just because they have an evolution theory which fits the fact well doesn’t mean we can’t believe in a higher power.

    Perhaps our interpretation of the scriptures does not well fit our modern understanding.
    They were written a long time ago, for people not educated as we are, I’m sure some one from the 1800’s would look at you with ammusement if you showed them a computer mouse!! Use our societies talents, if our scientific community is sounding like they are beating a drum, they have been warning us for many decades and they know we are running out of time. It’s not reseach money they want, its our attention and repect for their careful work BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE TO EASILY GET THE CLIMATE BACK TO NATURES LEVELS.

    The moral of my tale is consider the science/ FACTS without prejudice or pre-conception. The scientific community are generally very conservative and won’t jump to comment on something they in reasonable probability can’t substantiate with fact. Not sentiment, vitriole, or what “he said”.

    I would love the deniers to be right and it is some thing else we can deal with. I have challanged myself, and I encourage deniers too as well, to look at the facts OBJECTIVELY.
    Does my understanding of the Human driven climate change theory stand up against the facts? Be a devils advocate for your self – am I correct in dismissing Human driven climate change or accepting it??

    The simple FACT is nothing else is supported by the FACTS other than Human produced GHG’s over powering the natural climate change which is still occuring. If not, deniers, what is it – solid FACT please AND what is the world going to do about it – peer reviewed facts please.

  4. Dan Rowden

    I think this is spoiled by your incomplete representation of your “discussion” with James Hare on Twitter. Nice that you don’t mention that you gratuitously told him to F OFF, to which he politely replied that he had not denied CC (and he in fact did not) and had not stooped to personal invective, when you had been nothing but rude and condescending the whole time.

    I suggest people visit his twitter feed and look at the entirety of the discussion.

    I frankly find your impatience and intolerance of anyone who ever disagrees with you to be disturbing.

    Do scientists agree that Arctic warming could be driving these weather patterns?

    These ideas are hotly contested. The exact mechanisms at work are not clear. Some researchers say it is just as likely that warmer air currents from the south could be destabilizing the jet stream. If Arctic warming were to blame, the effect should be the strongest in the northern hemisphere’s summer and fall, says Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Moreover, Trenberth says, it is unclear how this seasonal warming effect would persist into the dead of winter.

    Is this kind of unstable jet-stream activity on the rise?

    Probably not, according to research published in September by Elizabeth Barnes, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Barnes’ analysis of data from 1980 to 2011 found no evidence that this kind of weather system is increasing in frequency. She also did not find any connection between a warming Arctic and a meandering of the jet stream.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alden-wicker/judging-thy-neighbor-isnt-helping_b_4591906.html

  5. flohri1754

    Extremely well put …. I am coming to rely upon AIMN columnists to actually cut through the fog of the Australian MSM …. thanks.

  6. allenmcmahon

    Victoria; Where do people like me fit.

    I accept the physics that a doubling C02 on its own since the industrial revolution leads to a 1c increase, we have had the bulk of that effect, that we also affect climate by land use and particulate pollution, especially by burning brown coal but I believe that there is not enough evidence that there will be a large multiplexer effect from increased levels of C02 that will result in catastrophic global warning.

    It seems that its and either or situation you have to accept CAGW or be branded a denier which of course closes down any forum for debate.

  7. Victoria Rollison

    Allen, to be honest I’m not really interested in debating the science with you at all because, unless you’re a climate scientist, which I suggest you’re not, your opinion is irrelevant to me. I go to a medical doctor when I’m sick, I go to a mechanic when my car breaks down and I go to a climate scientist for all my information about climate change. Since 99.99% of climate scientists are saying the same thing – that climate change exists, that it’s getting worse, and that left to keep getting worse it will have catastrophic consequences for our ability to live on this planet safely, I am really only interested in debating different ways to deal with this problem.

  8. Chris Atkins

    Its not just the heat though! (People seem to assume climate change is just referring to heat!) Look at what has been happening in the US, Canada and the UK! Extremely cold!

  9. Carol Taylor

    I recall a comment on another blog where the person stated that he had been to Scandanavia and denied the reports that the water level mark was rising due to the melting of the polar cap. J* observed that the tide came in exactly as it did 10 years ago.

  10. Carol Taylor

    Victoria, my youngest is a science PhD. A while ago I suggested that she might like to write a topic about climate change, and while her PhD is not about climate change it is concerning the effects of same. Her response to me was that Australia and certain parts of the USA are the only countries still languishing behind, still debating the science – every other country in world moved on a decade or more ago, attempting to find solutions. While we waste time debating the reality or of it or not, the rest of the world has moved on.

  11. Victoria Rollison

    Dan, I’m starting to think you sit around all day waiting for me to post articles so you can be the first to throw in the criticism. Is it just me or are slightly obsessed?

    Yes I told James Hare to foff, on my very public twitter feed, and I would do so again given the opportunity. His ‘I’m smarter than climate scientists and I know more than everyone else on this topic’ attitude is completely representative of the muddy the water deniers that I’ve written about. Hence why I posted these tweets.

    As I said in the post, not all the deniers blatantly deny that climate change exists, but they do exactly what Hare has done in the exchange with me on Twitter (which by the way he instigated, not me), which is to basically say nothing except ‘I think you’re wrong but I have no evidence as to why’.

    Since you’re sharing articles about the polar vortex and the link between this weather event and climate change, did you take note of the Obama’s science advisor said on the topic?

    http://www.salon.com/2014/01/09/white_house_climate_change_can_explain_the_polar_vortex/

    I am more than happy for you to continue to read my posts and to comment, but do you have to be such a tool about it?

  12. Keith

    Victoria, I wonder how many climate change deniers actually read papers by climate change or watch any number of clips put out by climate scientists. The weather patterns around the planet are quite unique I would have thought; with the polar vortex, extreme storms in the UK, lower than usual snow in Scandinavian countries, and heat waves in Australia. These circumstances at least would provide a circumstantial case that climate change is operating.
    But, climate scientists are saying their data and models do show that climate change is occurring.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    For climate deniers I suggest they look further than just Australia: http://arctic-news.blogspot.com.au/

    If you are a climate science denier can you please provide a critique on the information from the two sites referenced. If you can’t, how can you deny something you know nothing about?

  13. allenmcmahon

    Victoria, I also have no interest a debate, there is little to be achieved when opinions are set in stone but I am always open minded and follow the science, not blogs on either side and the science was certainly ignored in the reporting of the Queensland floods of 2011-12.

    Professor Stewart Franks is eminently qualified when it comes to hydrology, and yet when it came to the Queensland floods in 2012 the ABC chose to go with David Karoly and Tim Flannery. They spoke to Franks and the choice was made because Franks said the floods fell within the boundaries of natural variation whereas the others raised the spectre AGW.

    So if you follow the science this article by Franks in The Conversation, which you will surely agree is no denalist site, is worth reading.

    There was no rebuttal just silence.

    http://theconversation.com/climate-and-floods-flannery-is-no-expert-but-neither-are-the-experts-5709

  14. PaulaR83

    Victoria, I don’t care if you are debating whether climate change is real or not. But you are calling all “deniers” in the same boat. Frankly, this is abhorrently wrong in your Opinion. My Opinion. Is that change in climate is brought on many factors. The world is how many billion years old? It’s been through many ice ages and heat ages before we came along. How long has studies on global climate been done? How far does our history books take us, in the western civilisations? We don’t know. The Facts are not enough. The world is too old to be debating whether climate is changing. Of course it is. The debate is whether the change we are in now, is man made, or not. Frankly, my Opinion is yes, the climate is changing, but how much impact have us humans made in the last thousand years…? I believe the natural world global cycle we are in now, we humans may have a small impact on “extreme” weather conditions. Yes, I believe we should stop the traditional fossil fuel industry, and move onto clean, green renewable energy. We should be recycling. We should be changing and evolving, isn’t that what makes us human? We are ever changing and ever evolving. Look back in the history books and read about all our revolutions. We are in another revolution, a global one. So I say to you Victoria, I am a denier and a believer, so what in your puny arrogant mind does that make me..? Me. We all have opinions. That’s what makes unique. That’s the beauty of debate. We can all have our opinion and share our ideas and values. But to do it in a bullying, self righteous way is a disgusting right to information and right to free speech. And you know what…? I don’t care. Because that is your opinion, and you’re welcome to it. Just don’t spew your filth on everyone just to change a few minds. We are all “coming of age” into a new millennium and a new age. And I accept that. Do you?

  15. Victoria Rollison

    Why do all these people who have zero qualifications in climate science think they’re entitled to an opinion about the existence and extent of climate change? I don’t care what you think your opinion is. I care about scientifically proven facts. That is all.

  16. Kerri

    For mine, there are two types of climate change deniers.
    Type 1/ THE GREEDY
    Type 2/ THE LAZY
    Type 1/’s don’t want to change their ways because it is more important for them to be rich right now and to be as rich as humanly possible. They are also greedy because they don’t care if others are poor or if in the future others need to live a more frugal lifestyle in order to repair the damage they are doing to get rich right now!!
    Type 2/s Simply could not be bothered. Don’t want to invest in new technologies. Don’t want to change their way of life. Don’t want to know about things that force them to change. Will happily let others do the work for them. So the simple solution is denial.
    How anyone can get through these thickheads is beyond me. Hence a carbon tax, which forces change is the way to go.

  17. allenmcmahon

    Victoria said,

    ‘Why do all these people who have zero qualifications in climate science think they’re entitled to an opinion about the existence and extent of climate change?’

    Do you have climate science qualifications that entitle you to an opinion about the existence and extent of climate change?

    Did you read the Franks article, if so what are your thoughts, after all he is climate scientist with an extensive publication history.

  18. Kaye Lee

    allen, I have studied enough to make me inquisitive but not enough to make me an expert on anything. Whenever I am having to trust someone whose knowledge is far greater than mine, I check their credentials first.

    Macquarie Generation operates two of the largest coal-fueled power stations in New South Wales. According to the University of Newcastle, Franks received a grant for $85,000 from Macquarie Generation in 2007.

    Franks was a co-author of climate sceptic book Taxing Air: Facts & Falacies About Climate Change, released in May 2013. The two key authors of the book were geologist Bob Carter and newspaper cartoonist John Spooner. Fellow climate sceptics Bill Kininmonth, Martin Feil and Bryan Leyland were also authors. The Institute of Public Affairs sent copies of the book to Australian Members of Parliament and hosted a launch event.

    Australian mathematical physicist Ian Enting, author of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute book Twisted: The distorted mathematics of greenhouse denial, has analysed the book, describing it as being characterised by “half-truths and slanted misrepresentation” and “appalling hypocrisy”.

    2009

    Stewart Franks was a signatory to a petition-style project organised by climate sceptic group the International Climate Science Coalition, which asked people to endorse a statement which read:

    We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming.

    Tom Harris, the Executive Director for the ICSC has been commenting on stories here. I would suggest you read his responses and comments re questions about the science and judge for yourself..

  19. Denny fairclough

    Victoria…eloquent and correct as always. For the most part, I think you have been heroically restrained. There just isnt the time to waste on these tiresome, science challenged idiots. Like trying to debate a lobotomized rock. Bad enough to lose the Planet due to abject stupidity. Taken there by morons is a real kick in the guts.

  20. oldfart

    @Kerri
    Actually there are three types of deniers, you forgot the “It’s all to hrd and scary, time to hide my head in the sand” type. These people will agree with the least personally confronting view.

    Their grandchildren and great grandchildren shall curse them for what they did to the planet and what they did not do for the planet

  21. oldfart

    Mark Parton is a denier running true to LNP form(very right wing). he did mention to you he was a failed candidate in the ACT didnt he? Can/’ stray from the party line can we Mark

  22. Andy Johnson

    I believe in anthropogenic global warming, but you need to take a deep breath.
    People have a right to their opinion – you should be arguing it has no basis in scientific fact, not that they can’t hold it. It’s zealotry and absolutism on all sides – from deniers and the Greens – that has led us to this point.

  23. Geoff Of Epping

    Dan Rowden. You may think you are the voice of reason, playing the devil’s advocate and all that…..but golly you are an annoying person with your ever so politically correct fence sitting. don’t you get angry about anything? Do you always have to shoot the messenger?

  24. James Hare

    Victoria please don’t apologise because that would show you were capable of fair minded thought and lend weight to your article.

    For the record I believe:
    1. The climate is changing
    2. Man contributes to that change
    3. It will be difficult to secure an international agreement capable of making any real difference to emissions
    4. Countries need to start preparing for a world when the climate has changed rather than unilateral ineffective action like carbon taxes

    Kind regards

    “Hare”

  25. Dan Rowden

    Geoff,

    I have never, ever, not even once, played “Devil’s Advocate” over anything. I have no idea why anyone would think I was doing so in this instance. When Victoria spills her bile out on these pages you all totally lose any sense of reason and decency because she pushes all the emotional buttons that are so easy to push. She is a female version of Bob Ellis, except that he can occasionally be eloquent.

    She owes James Hare an apology. Full stop. Victoria is the reason I have stopped writing for AIMN. I will not associate myself with such intellectual and moral dross and “incredible and ferocious” sanctimony.

    I will reply to her substantively in due course. Strap yourself in.

    Btw, I actually like her passion and would probably agree with her on almost everything – up to a point – but her style of communication is nothing short of an embarrassment to the Left. Someone needs to tell her.

  26. CMMC

    There are so many tiny minds out there who seem to think, with apologies to Archimedes, “Give me an armchair and I will move the world!”.

  27. Fed up

    So, if I get it right, there are new types of deniers, the ones that believe the science, but believe we are incapable of preventing the climate changing.

    One that says, we have no right to stop those making money out of fossil fuels, no matter the harm they caused to the in world of ours.

    So much so, that the only alternative is to learn to live with the disastrous results.

    I would still rather make an attempt at preventing CC by moving onto to renewals, leaving the fossil fuel in the ground.

    I suspect, CC or not, that is where we are heading anyway, as renewals become cheaper and more efficient.

    Same as some believed, it was essential to dig asbestos from the ground and float the community with tobacco.

    Just as well, that those who provided the horse and dray, back at the beginning of last century, were not successful at thwarting that engine, that drive our cars.

    Yes, the world is always changing. New technology emerges, at the expense of what is already in place.

    The time for power being generated from fossil fuel has passed..

    That is the reality of the situation.

  28. randalstella

    Dan, let it go please. It is not that important. Only you think it is so important to do a ‘substantive’ reply to defend yourself against Victoria. I do not mean to belittle your concerns or your difference from her. It seems to go back to before my time here.
    You and Victoria have important contributions to make. I am sorry that you feel that somehow writing articles here means that you would be associated with her and her approach. I think that maybe only you feel this.
    I think you have exaggerated what you see as her failings in her approach. Likening her to the Mike Rann bromancer is a bit of a low blow – particularly given his attitude to women, (although I know you do not mean it that way). Perhaps you can see that while you can expressly dislike her approach, making a federal case out of it is disproportionate.
    Please return to writing articles here – with Michael’s cooperation of course.

  29. allenmcmahon

    Kay, As a hydrologist Franks was contracted to give his expert opinion on how best to remove the water from the flooded mines and he also does work on the water table and its effects in relation to the mining industry, how terrible of him to accept money and provide information fossil fuel industry.

    He is an eminent and well respected scientist I prefer to go with how his peers regard him that than activists who seek to discredit him personally but are unable to fault his work.

    It seems that its quite acceptable for scientists to accept funding or have interests in companies in the renewable energy field and that these scientists are still considered independent whereas do work for a coal company and they are immediately compromised. If only life was that simple.

    My views are well left of center but on climate change while I accept the effects of C02 and our contribution to AGW I do not accept that CAGW is proven. Is it possible, yes, do I think on the evidence to date it is highly likely no. I use blogs to get information that I can follow up and I make to occasional comment. I make my decisions based on what I read in scientific papers. Each new paper that comes out is jumped on by one side or the other as definitive proof either for or against CAGW which is patently ridiculous given that around 85% of results are not replicated. Each paper represents a small step forward, or back, nothing more.

    Weather events are just that and nothing more, climate is judged on a 30 year trend but people latch on to any event as proof of their beliefs. Temperatures have risen steadily since the Little Ice Age so I would be more than surprised if we were not setting some records but these temperatures and the periods of high temps. are not unprecedented. The BOM uses records from 1910 but they have records from the 1880s which can be easily accessed on the BOM site. If you compare what is happening now to those earlier records it was as bad and in some cases worse during that period than now. The BOM says they use 1910 onwards because the records are more accurate but there is nothing to justify this conclusion. Measurement was by Stevenson Screens which were in use throughout this earlier period and for a long time afterwards and the recording methods were unchanged.

    Climate Change is the new kid on the block. While the effects of C02 have been known for a long time most of the research has only happened since the late 1980’s and there are still many significant unknowns.

  30. allenmcmahon

    Kaye apologies for leaving out the final e.

  31. Kaye Lee

    allen,

    As I have said before, if the science is right I don’t care who funds it, but I DO find it an amazing coincidence that very climate change sceptic I have researched has been paid by the fossil fuel industry – EVERY one of them.

    I was referring to the paper he wrote with Bob Carter and some cartoonist which has been widely criticised. I also find it unfathomable that any form of scientist would sign a “petition” saying that human emissions of CO2 will NEVER cause global warming in the future. His association with Tom Harris’s group of fruitcakes, who are most definitely paid by the fossil fuel industry, is sufficient to make me view him with suspicion.

  32. allenmcmahon

    Kaye,

    I am not interested in conspiracy theories but far more interested in Franks scientific qualifications, his publication record and the scientists who cite him.

    Stewart Franks is now Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Tasmania. He currently serves as President of the International Commission on the Coupled Land Atmosphere System (ICCLAS), a commission of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS).

    IAHS works with UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organisation hardly dens of evil deniers.
    Many of the scientists who work with him no doubt disagree with his views on AGW but respect his abilities in the field of hydrology.

    Considering his achievements and his status as a scientist the fact that you think he is some stooge of big oil is just hand waving and totally irrelevant.

  33. Kaye Lee

    So you choose to ignore everything I said allen? Why is that? The paper that has been panned, the “petition”, the association with Harris? Franks may have done some good work in his field. His statement that human emissions will NEVER in the future cause global warming disqualifies him from any credibility in the field of climate change imo.

  34. allenmcmahon

    Kaye,

    So he authored a paper with Carter and it got panned, nearly every paper gets panned by both sides and often it is little more than nitpicking. I am interested in his work on hydrology and any negative critiques of these and in particular his papers on the Queensland floods.

    Judging from the people who cite him, particularly those who disagree with his personal views, he is making a credible contribution to our understanding of the climate system so on this issue we will have to disagree.

    For the record I do not subscribe to his views,our actions are affecting the climate, but I think it is at the lower end of the scale.

    You are no doubt aware that there are more that thirty climate models used in IPCC assessments. They all hindcast but only a few have scenarios that predict CAGW. Are all of the other scientists deniers?

    As for the Harris’s and Monckton’s they totally lack credibility but I also feel the same about Gore and Flannery.

  35. randalstella

    To accept the very high degree of consensus on AGW is to accept the need to act against it; to change quickly and forever the major means of energy conversion. Vague references in amateur guesses about “the lower end of the scale” on consequences are directly against the bases to that consensus; involving positive feedback effects which will not lessen without direct intervention.
    Once again we are getting casual personal impressions used as if cautions about science. Such discussion is meaningless without involvement in the science.

  36. Fed up

    Well, I do have problems when one uses that ship that got caught in the southern oceans as proof for their stance.

    Not once did they ask how so much sea ice, happened to be around. Not once did they ask, how the ship happened to be caught.

    Now, if the ice was formed by excessive, unusual low temperatures at this time, maybe their beliefs might have some legs. Yes, if there was a cold snap that ice them in.

    It did not take much searching, to know this did ot happen. One only has to look at daily weather maps.

    Then one has to ask themselves , where did the sea ice come from.

    It appears the answer is simple. If come from the large block breaking of the land ice. One could assume, because of warmer weather. Could be wrong there.

    Now it appears, that is where the excessive sea ice came from, that is floating on the seas in the region.

    Now when there are prevailing winds, that in this case, blew the ice into the bay, where the ship was anchored, it finds itself unable to move. Has to wait for the winds to change, blowing the ice out. This is what happened, and the ship was able to move on.

    Nothing there to say, there is no man made climate change.

    The only way the denier beliefs would carry any meaning, if there had been extremely cold weather in the area.

  37. allenmcmahon

    randalstella said,

    ‘Vague references in amateur guesses about “the lower end of the scale” on consequences are directly against the bases to that consensus; involving positive feedback effects which will not lessen without direct intervention.’

    So are scientists whose work supports ‘the lower end of the scale’ and which is incorporated into the IPCC reports are in your opinion ‘ vague references in amateur guesses’. The information in the modelling sections of the IPCC reports show there is a diversity of opinion in the modelling community.This diversity is not reflected in the executive summary which is reported widely and always released months in advance of the hard science.

    We quite happily acknowledge that the media work on the basis that the scarier the news the better it sells unless it matches our own opinions.

  38. Jonathon

    Great article, I feel like I’m better equipped to deal with the different types of deniers. Thank you

  39. Victoria Rollison

    So I am the reason you have stopped writing for the AIMN, Dan? What happened, did people not agree with you so you gave up? What a pathetic cop out. If you have something valid to add to this site, you have been given every opportunity to provide it. But no. Instead you go about attacking everything I write with comments full of hatred for me, and completely lacking in rational argument to defend an alternative view. I have no idea why you hate me so much, but it’s actually got to the point where you’re not just unpleasant, you’re also quite scary.

    This site is an independent blogging site where bloggers like me should feel comfortable to contribute our thoughts and to receive reasonable feedback on our views. Your behaviour is completely contradictory to the spirit of the site.

    Why don’t you go and write your own open letters somewhere else (in an amazingly similar style to the one I use) and stop reading my posts if they are so detestable to you? That would seem the best outcome for everyone.

  40. allenmcmahon

    @ Fed up

    Sea ice in the Antarctic is trending above the 1981- 2010 median so there is more sea ice around.

    In the arctic however it is trending below the median and 2012 was the lowest extent on record. The previous low was in 2007 with a bounce back of 1 million sq. kms in 2008 and 2009. Subsequent research established that the 2007 low was a result of wind and currents dispersing the ice. There are no simple and absolute answers.

    I get my base information from Climate4u. Is a good resource as it shows is the figures from the various agencies that track climate trends, sea ice being just on thing charted.

  41. randalstella

    The lower end of what “scale”, when and for how long? Which “scale” are you referring to with such detached assurance?
    The diversity of opinion among the vast majority of climatologists who accept AGW relates to diversity of scientific issues, measures, models. .There are “scales” anywhere you look. There are indices which some think most significant and predictive. Others put more emphasis on others.
    This diversity is not the point – for the political will to act on AGW. The strongly supported consensus across such scientific debate is for urgent action now.
    To find excuses for not tackling AGW with urgency right now is to give comfort to anti-scientific lunacy. You’re not doing that are you?

  42. Keith

    Kaye Lee, deniers such as Tom Harriss have been pushing that water vapour in the atmosphere and sun activity are arguments in their favour. However, those arguments have been done and dusted by climate scientists.

    David Attenborough, who has spent a life time investigating the environment, definitely has a view that anthropomorphic climate change is a real concern.
    When scientists from a number of specialties agree that climate change is real; then, deniers need an incredible amount of expertise to dent the science.

    James Powell has stated: “The scientific literature since 1991 contains a mountain of evidence confirming man-made global warming as true and no convincing evidence that it is false. Global warming denial is a house of cards.”
    James Powell has done literature reviews, and has found that of 2,258 peer reviewed articles written by 9,136 authors between November 2012 till December 2013. Importantly, there was only one dissenting author.

    Climate change deniers comment that there is no consensus between climate change scientists; clearly very wrong.

  43. Dan Rowden

    Victoria,

    You are right. An infantile and irrational being to be sure, but in this case accidentally right.

    Feel free to continue to demean and defame people without fear of interference from me.

    Bye Bye.

  44. allenmcmahon

    @ randalstella

    Diversity of opinion is important as it goes to the heart of the matter. There is no one size fits all ‘climate scientist’ they are represented across a wide range of disciplines. People often decrie the qualifications of scientists because their qualifications do not make them ‘climate scientists’. On the other hand, the head of the IPCC, Rajenda Pachauri, is often refereed to as the world’s foremost climate scientist when his expertise is in economics and industrial engineering. The IPCC does no science merely collates it and Pachauri is an administrator. Others with similar qualifications who represent a contrary view are dismissed out of hand.

    Am I assured in my views, far from it, am I convinced, no, I am simply undecided but lean towards a lower sensitivity figure than most. I support continued research because In the long term climate record there have been some quite catastrophic changes over short timescales so the more that we can learn about climate the better.

    If we could transition to renewable energy and meet base-load power requirements I would be all for it, not because of AGW, but because it makes environmental sense. To me the best option is nuclear but there is a great deal of public resistance despite the safety improvements with the latest technology.

    Am I supporting anti-scientific lunacy I don’t think so.

  45. randalstella

    The consensus in climate science is for action against AGW – urgently. You stated that those expressing the most concern were able to use the Media, because the Media like simple drama.. It read like innuendo of ‘alarmism’.- particularly given the attacks from anti-scientific vested interests which the MSM have been very eager to recruit.
    Positive feedback processes within complex, open systems, are hard to predict; but trends are searched for. The trends on AGW are very concerning indeed; across a range of indices Who is prepared to risk the trends not bringing significant and perhaps unadaptable change? We know who.
    I agree fully with you that we should not need AGW to turn our energy processes towards greater sustainability and,greater respect for the planet.

  46. Fed up

    allenmcmahon, yes, more sea ice. The question is, where is it coming from. What is causing it. Do you have any answers. Have there been extensive seasons of extreme below average temperatures that has led to the forming of this ice. Where does sea ice usually come from. Sorry, my knowledge is badly limited. Could it be that rising temperatures are leading to land ice, breaking off, entering the sea. I simply do not know,. I am sure the deniers that use this event, have not even bothered asking the questions.

    As we know, the ocean currents have a big effect on our current. We also know that the temperature of land and seas also play a part,

    We also know that if we have a simple explanation for a complex problem, it is likely to be wrong.

    Sadly, like most, one has to stick with the majority of experts, especially when they reside in the high 90% or better,
    The question I ask, is not that there is more sea ice, but has there been a period of lower temperatures that has produced that is, or has it come from somewhere else. Like off the continent, or land. has the ice just moved about.

  47. Victoria Rollison

    Thank goodness for that. Finally Dan has said goodbye. If anyone wants a laugh, check out Dan’s exchange with James Hare (@DoogieHare), my perfect example of a muddy-the-water denier. It’s hilarious because Dan sent him this post and is basically saying ‘look at this James, this horrible girl has defamed you by calling you a denier when you’re not’ and tries to encourage him to comment. And then James starts doing his ‘muddy-the-water’ denial routine with Dan, where he says climate change is only partially caused by humans, basically reiterating exactly what I said. James is careful not to out-right deny climate change, as I said, he just spouts bullshit about natural climate change, even using the term ‘medieval warming period’. Then Dan obviously realises his mistake and ends the conversation by saying ‘It wouldn’t have to become an debate over climate change.’ Ummm, no, it would, because James is a muddy-the-water denier just as I said. Hilarious.
    https://twitter.com/danrowden61/status/423818777524850689

  48. allenmcmahon

    @ Fed up

    The antarctic is quite interesting as temperatures are so low snow does not melt but becomes glacial ice. Not a biggie because precipitation is so low that it is regarded as a desert, go figure. However on longer timescales small things do add up.

    Most of the sea in the antarctic comes from low sea temperatures and the formation and extent is determined by winds and currents. However In the west antarctic there is warming in a relatively small area in the region of the Ross shelf so some quite spectacular bergs carve from the land. There have been a variety of reasons given, undersea volcanoes, air temperatures, warm currents etc but nothing that I think is really definitive, it may be a combination of all these factors or something we are just not aware of at this stage.

    As sea ice is affected by factors other than air temperature it will be some time before the full data is in and analyzed. Suffice it to say that the recent weather conditions that affected our research ship in no support provide evidence that AGW is not happening but I would also say that the recent heatwave that I have been suffering through in Adelaide does not support that it. Weather is just that weather.

  49. John Fraser

    <

    @Dan Rowden

    It appears you have, for some unknown reason, lost the plot.

    I sincerely hope, whatever the problem is, that you return to the Dan Rowden that wrote this :

    My respect for you continues.

    John.

  50. diannaart

    On the topic of increased sea-ice in teh Antarctic compared to decreasing sea-ice in the Arctic. The polar zones have different geo-physical properties. Antarctica consists of a huge land mass roughly the size of Australia. Observations have revealed a decrease in land-ice with an exponential increase in sea-ice.

    A better explanation than I can give is to be found here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice-intermediate.htm

    Also, weather events are not the only indicators of CC. The demise of fauna and flora as temperatures alter, changes in migration of birds and other animals, another example is the increase of malaria and Ross River virus bearing mosquitoes towards NSW and northern Victoria:

    http://www.climate.org/topics/climate-change/migratory-birds-climate-change.html

    http://cameronwebb.wordpress.com/tag/ross-river-virus/

    http://www.fnpw.org.au/plants-a-wildlife/land-mammals/mountain-pygmy-possum

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/30033846?uid=3737864&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21103289272167

    The impacts of increased CO2 + other greenhouse gases, degradation of environments from mining, clear felling or changes in seasonal temperatures – the truth is out there, for anyone willing enough to research.

    Taking a more flippant approach such as categorising climate deniers is cathartic but unhelpful in gathering people together in a concerted plan to save the current conditions which serves the present needs of flora and fauna.

    While change is inevitable; too much change too soon to adapt is a threat to ourselves and other animals. I really believe this is stating the bleeding obvious, however must continue to take a stand against wrecking our environment.

  51. Möbius Ecko

    Why do the deniers ignore research like this coming in that is not a long term danger to the planet but is happening now?

    Why, even if they have the remote possibility of being right, do they want to risk so much in doing the bidding of their pay masters?

    Don’t they care about their future generations?

    Is their greed and ideology so much more important than a planet?

    It saddens me so much that a few very rich and powerful can put considerable resources into ensuring their wealth above all other considerations, but it angers me that there are those willing to deliberately obfuscate, distort and deceive for those very rich and powerful for the money and a flawed ideology.

  52. noel wardle (@noelwardle1)

    A serious young man is Dan……Been on the planet surfing and snowskiing for 60 yrs, no scientific explanation to offer but I can definitely tell that the environment has changed just by keeping my eyes open.
    Love your work Virginia

  53. Dan Rowden

    @John Fraser

    Please email me if you wish to discuss if I’ve lost the plot or if my criticism of Victoria’s behaviour was justified.

    danrowden61@gmail.com

  54. randalstella

    Rhona,
    It is a clique of idiots for large corporate interest; expressing the self-importance of their submission to the irrational and counter-factual.
    However, did you notice the blogger who insisted that the issue of AGW needed to be taken seriously, and not ridiculed, because ‘warmists’ had the ear of Governments? He/she urged sober discussion on how to break the political commitment to anti-AGW policy. They do feel under threat.
    And, while the commitment of Governments is by no means substantial enough, AGW is not going to disappear as an issue – however many idiots there are who will speak and even vote against the science, on the say-so of Media tarts.
    The urgency remains of course to get leading examples of Governmental action going across the world; for other nations to follow. That shows the disaster of our last Fed, election, which has scuttled our potential example. Murdoch et al will live in infamy forever because of such sabotage of science and reason.

  55. Rhona Eastment

    I checked out Craig Kelly MP’s Facebook page, as I had been alerted to his postings. In answer to my comments, this is his reply, and really I don’t know how to reply to him, I guess it is futile:

    Craig Kelly mentioned you in a comment.
    Craig Kelly wrote: “Rhona Eastment – Thanks for your comments. I appreciate opposing comments putting an alternate point of view – as I find it sad that most that have an opposing view are so incapable of constructing an argument, that they resort to abuse and profanities. Therefore I’m pleased you actually posted an argument. I wish there was more of it.

    However, in relation to the survey’s that claim a 97% consensus, these have been widely debunked (don’t take my word for it, have a look at the methods used to come up with these numbers) – but the main reason they re meaningless, is that they fail to ask the right question.

    The question is NOT have we experiencing some anthropomorphic Global Warming – almost all of the so-called ‘Skeptical climate scientists’ (and there are hundreds of them) agree that if you increase Co2 you will get some anthropomorphic Global Warming – the question is how much.

    So the real questions that need to be asked are;

    1. How much or the recent warming was caused by the increases in Co2 and how much is a natural continuation of increasing temperatures that have occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age ?

    2. What is going to happen temperature in future as Co2 emissions increase as China, India and African nations lift millions out of poverty and give their people economic opportunity ? (Especially considering that none of models have been able to predict the recent 17 years of hiatus – nd even the most firm believers in dangerous global warming no longer deny the 17 year hiatus)

    3. Whatever this change in global temperatures is – will it be good or bad ? (Remember for up to 2 degrees of warming increases prosperity – only above this level does warming negative effects. )

    4. What steps can we take to reduce Co2 concentrations in the atmosphere?

    5. How much will these ‘steps’ cost and what effect will they have on Co2 concentrations – and how will this effect global temperatures ?

    There the questions that need asked and ponder and debate – however nonsense and meaningless surveys claiming 97% consensus only prevent this most important debate from going ahead.”
    Reply to this email to comment on this link.
    See comment

  56. diannaart

    Rhona

    Thanks for publishing response from Craig Kelly. While there is much that can be challenged in his claims, one in particular stood out:

    3. Whatever this change in global temperatures is – will it be good or bad ? (Remember for up to 2 degrees of warming increases prosperity – only above this level does warming negative effects. )

    This from someone who believes 97% of climate scientists is a fabrication, yet blithely claims a 2 degree increase in global warming increases prosperity?

    How to engage a reasoned discussion with such people?

    Excuse me, but I just have to go back to bed a cry a little.

  57. randalstella

    Rhona,
    You should remind the MP that his leader professes belief in AGW. You should ask why he does not follow his leader on this important matter of policy. Does his leader know of the disagreement? Tell him that you are sending his reply on to his leader.
    You could ask him what is his background in climate science.
    You could ask him why he takes such a risk against worldwide, persistent specialist advice that the planet’s whole ecostructure will change irremediably unless there is action against CO2 emissions. Are these scientists all conspiring fools? What if they are not? What makes him more credible than them?
    You could ask him how he wants to be remembered if his own views on climate change turn out to be wrong. (They are of course already proven wrong; but we cannot get too complex in our arguments with Federally elected reps.)
    Ask questions which (politely) threaten his image of himself, and his security.

  58. diannaart

    Found a couple of interesting points from TNYT’s Nicholas Kristof, such as:

    HERE’S a scary fact about America: We’re much more likely to believe that there are signs that aliens have visited Earth (77 percent) than that humans are causing climate change (44 percent).

    Wondering if similar levels of belief in alien visitation versus AGW is hust as likely in Australia.

    Another point Mr Kristof makes:

    In politics and the military, we routinely deal with uncertainty. We’re not sure that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, but we still invest in technologies and policies to reduce the risks. We can’t be sure that someone is going to hijack a plane, but we still screen passengers.

    We can’t be 100% sure that an increase in CO2 levels to an equivalence not experienced for about 4.5 million years, will drastically alter our present living conditions, but I really wish we would start to play it safe.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e00ba374-b9a4-11e2-bc57-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2qui6HS66

    Not even dinosaurs were around 4.5 million years ago, plenty of sharks though:

    https://www.sharksavers.org/en/education/biology/450-million-years-of-sharks1/

    Terrestrial animals with a vertebra didn’t arrive until around 3.6 million years ago.

    http://animals.about.com/od/amphibians/ss/landtowater.htm

    Therefore, sharks have done rather well throughout many climate changes on earth. Not so much for dinosaurs and I cannot even imagine how such levels of CO2 will effect mammals – maybe some will adapt, maybe some won’t.

    Whatever, our fellow science denialists want to take the risk and experiment with changing earth’s atmosphere to something very different than the conditions which allowed our species and other animals to evolve.

    At least it won’t be boring.

  59. Peter Wade

    Victoria ..not being a smart arse but, as one who claims to be interested only in solutions, your article has evoked a tsunami of opinion on everything but.
    I confess to not reading every reply, nor every article you’ve penned, so if I say less protestation more action please, you’ll forgive me if I’m unfair.

    Pete ark_required

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