Gavin Schmidt: The emergent patterns of climate change

Twelve minutes of information on global climate models (GCMs) and how they are created, used and verified.

All models are wrong, some are useful, as many have said. its just whether they are useful.

And they are useful, or as Gavin says they are skillful.

Denial Tango

What’s the fourth monkey doing….?

Q: What’s the difference between a climate change denier and a computer ?

A: You only have to punch the data into a computer once.

AGW Deniers, a taxonomy

On the Grauniad CiF comments section, the question was posed:

Here is a question for both sides. How do you term someone who accepts that the climate is changing, but who is not convinced that man is entirely responsible?

How long is a piece of string ?

(1) Sceptic. Informed, and asking for more info. Will read links provided to scientific literature and change stance according to the Evidence(TM).

(2) Innocent or naive. The individual has been unaware or uninformed of AGW for whatever reason and has not read the scientific papers, associated scientific literature and has say, stumbled on this article and BTL comments. May change their stance given enough scientific Evidence(TM).

(3) Misinformed. The individual may have stumbled upon several bits of science on websites that give conflicting views of the state of the science and assumes they (the sources) are right. May change their stance given enough scientific Evidence(TM).

(4) Gullible fodder. The individual has stumbled upon several websites that give conflicting views of the state of the science but predominantly the denier websites like GWPF and WUWT and assumes they are right. Unlikely to change their stance given scientific Evidence(TM).

(5) Denier. Has made up their mind and no Evidence(TM) will change it. This may be due to any or all of the following:
– Dunning Kruger
– Ideological orientation
– Willful ignorance
– Cognitive dissonance
– Mistakes science for policy
– Conspiracy theorists

(6) Shill. Paid to deny.

I had to think and exercise the brain cell to come up with this list. Input is welcome and this will be subject to updates.

AGW: The Denier’s Playbook

Though it is American, it is relevant world wide.

How to manufacture doubt:

  • Deny the Science
  • Question the motives
  • Exaggerate the costs

The Senator points out this consistant pattern on ozone, acid rain and now AGW. The only one he doesn’t mention is the similar range of points that the Tobacco industry used.

Blimpage 2 – Science Mystified

Quite by co-incidence a shortly after posting about the excellent initiative by Science to promote access to proper scientific papers to (US) school students, a colleague in the war against the unscientific drivel gpwayne posted on his blog about how the Heartland Institute was sending letters to US Teachers promoting their own publication the NIPCC which is the usual gish gallop of wishful thinking, handwaveium, unobtanium and outright unscientific assertions.

Needless to say, the open letter he wrote highlights the multiple lies they are pedalling, and illustrates how this organisation has a track record such as denying smoking causes lung cancer and sponsored bill boards equating climate scientists with serial killers (charming, but unscientific).

So I am now even more pleased that Science are doing the right thing in promoting scientific thinking:

As emphasized in the SitC Teachers’ Guides, each paper is designed to be used to illustrate general points about the way that science is done and the nature of scientific communication. Thus the exact topic covered in class is less important to us than the fact that students will be exposed to an authentic science paper and learn how the authors use evidence to derive important new understandings.

Which is what science is about – not starting from an ideological view of the world but collecting and understanding the facts, and then proposing the underlying mechanisms and expressing them in theories and hypothesis to derive established science.

AGW: Finally an American Senator tells it like it is

Finally an American Senator calls out the deniers on their campaign of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD):

For more than two decades the climate denial movement has been well organized and funded by the fossil fuel industry and conservative ideologues and foundations. The mission of these paid-for deniers is to “manufacture uncertainty,” to manufacture doubt, so the polluters can keep polluting.

This isn’t new. We’ve seen self-serving strategies like this one before: they questioned the merits of requiring seatbelts; they questioned CFCs causing the deterioration of the ozone layer; they questioned the toxic effects of lead exposure; and they questioned whether tobacco was bad for you—same strategy to manufacture doubt; often the same cast of characters.

So, when it comes to big corporate polluters of today leaving our children and grandchildren a damaged and more dangerous world, where then is the concern for those children and grandchildren? To have children and grandchildren pay for the care of their grandparents through Medicare and Social Security is a sin and an outrage. To force on them the untold costs and consequences of the harms done by today’s corporate polluters? For that, the future generations’ interests receive nothing from the Republicans but stony silence, or phony and calculated denial.

How did we get into this mess, when this is the anomalous speech ? Why is the body of Evidence(TM) built up over 150+ years ignored by the deniers ?

Here’s a piece from the Torygraph that is thought provoking:

Why is it acceptable, in certain educated circles, to cheerfully express total ignorance of the largest, and most important, domain of human knowledge? Someone who professed to know nothing about, say, music, or books, would be rightly scoffed at. But it’s fine, apparently, to be clueless about science and maths.

Because the deniers rely on ideology rather than science.
In fact they rely on the gullibility and ignorance of the public.
Which quite frankly is rather insulting.

AGW: I Evade My Responsibility

Here’s something I picked up a good few years ago from the Grauniad CiF website:

I evade my personal responsibility for the things I choose to do. I blame the government, the oil companies, George Bush, the economy, the wealthy and anybody else I can think of for the destruction that my lifestyle causes.

I put my comfort, my convenience and my conformity ahead of the lives and livelihoods of thousands of future generations, and I try not to think too much about my daily contribution to the destruction of the world that was left to me by thousands of past generations.

I put myself far, far ahead of my ancestors and descendents and take from them for the most trivial of reasons.

I ignore the real human pain, suffering and death that my behaviour causes. I turn the page, switch the channel, and change the topic of conversation.

I pretend that the science isn’t definitive yet, or that there’s no point in changing before others do, and I convince myself that ‘scientists’ will come up with a technological solution that will make my lifestyle and me OK.

I avoid, I deny, I justify and rationalise, I pretend, I project, I squirm and squeeze and do whatever I can to maintain my concept of myself as a good person while still doing what I do. I evade my moral responsibility a day at a time in the hope that reality will somehow be different tomorrow morning.

I steal from those who live far away from me, and who I do not know because I see their pain as cartoon pain, and not fully real.

I casually destroy what future generations will depend upon to live because they have yet to be born and it is only me, and my time and my normalcy that is important.

I am like those who, sixty years ago, did their jobs and lived their normal lives and didn’t ask questions about where their Jewish neighbours had gone. I am like those who participated in slavery and other atrocities, except that the effects of my crimes will outlast all those others.

And it is OK, because today I am normal, and busy, and have other things on my mind and, if what I do is really so bad so many people wouldn’t be doing the same, would they?

But when, in the hours before I die, I think back upon my life and what it has meant, I must do one thing. I must hope and hope and pray and pray that there is nothing beyond life and beyond time and beyond myself, that there is no balance, no karma, no morality and no justice.

Because if there is, and I do what I do, knowing what I know….
Well, lets not think about that.

Interestingly, an American Senator has also made the point that for all the moralising of the tea baggers, their denial of climate change is a glaring omission in their manifesto:

So, when it comes to big corporate polluters of today leaving our children and grandchildren a damaged and more dangerous world, where then is the concern for those children and grandchildren? To have children and grandchildren pay for the care of their grandparents through Medicare and Social Security is a sin and an outrage.

To force on them the untold costs and consequences of the harms done by today’s corporate polluters? For that, the future generations’ interests receive nothing from the Republicans but stony silence, or phony and calculated denial.

If you wrote the original text, please let me know so I can attribute it appropriately.