Climate Reality Success

I watched much of the Climate Reality broadcast. It was excellent. Al Gore is not a scientist, and he’s not perfect, but he is the driving force behind this project and probably the single individual doing the most to raise awareness about this, the most important issue facing the world. Good job Al.

The 24-hour netcast consisted of 24 repetitions of essentially the same presentation, one from each time zone. Good. It was important to repeat the presentation so that all of the nearly 9 million viewers could hear it. Probably the best thing about it is that it focused on the deniers and their pernicious campaign to create doubt about what really is settled science.

There’s lots of climate science that’s not settled, and there’s tremendous uncertainty about the future course of climate change, but this much is settled:

Global warming is really happening.

It’s caused by human activity.

It’s bad.

The obstacle to doing something about it is an orchestrated campaign of denial, funded by fossil-fuel industries and perpetrated by both those who are in denial, and those who are outright liars. As the Climate Reality netcast emphasized, it’s based on fake science from fake skeptics who learned their tactics denying the health risks of cigarettes, and global-warming deniers include some of the same people such as Frederick Seitz and S. Fred Singer.

The presentation emphasized many of the “red herrings” used by deniers to create doubt. It was disturbing to hear John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, spread the truly idiotic, moronic idea that volcanoes contribute more CO2 to the atmosphere than human activity. Who you gonna believe — John Boehner, or the U.S. Geological Survey? Boehner didn’t even bother to find out the truth — he just regurgitated the lie he’d been fed because he was so eager to believe it. By his eagerness to indulge disbelief, with his astounding ignorance and culpable laziness about investigating this issue, Boehner embarrassed himself, he embarrassed the state of Ohio he represents, and he embarrassed the United States of America.

It was troubling but not unexpected to hear similar idiocies from Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Rick Perry. It’s obvious that the Republican party in the U.S. has attached itself to denying science — and not just global warming, but evolution as well. Their anti-science madness is a real threat to our freedom.

It’s time to hold the deniers accountable for their sins, especially politicians, especially in the United States.

There were a few hitches in the netcast. The first presentation was from Mexico City, in Spanish. The problem was that the English-language translator did a poor job. This was even worse in the presentation from China, when the translator had great difficulty maintaining the flow. But overall, the presentations were excellent, the discussions afterward were interesting, and the message came through loud and clear: the reason we’re not tackling this problem seriously is the denial campaign, which creates confusion with nothing but a bunch of red herrings.

The final presentation was given by Gore himself, and in my opinion was by far the best of all. Good going, Al.

It was also interesting that Anthony Watts devoted so much energy to ridiculing the project. He and his crew sound desperate. Considering the stink he made recently about Arctic sea ice only almost setting a new record in several data sets, Watts & Co. literally stink of desperation. Good.

The deniers have delayed action for a long time. Their campaign has been very successful until now — but the tide has turned. They’re losing.

Some of the credit goes to bloggers like the folks at RealClimate, journalists who have showcased the issue, scientists like James Hansen who have worked so hard to publicize the danger. But Al Gore gets more credit than anyone else. Despite his imperfections — warts and all — he has done more than anyone else to make this issue known. There are plenty of fools, both in government and the citizenry, who are still wallowing in denial, but you’d be hard pressed to find somebody who isn’t aware of the issue. Most of the credit goes to Al Gore.

And that’s why the deniers hate him so much. Now that Al Gore has turned the microscope on the deniers, exposing their tactics, their folly, and their lies, they will no longer be able to hide. They can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

The day is coming soon — I predict by the end of this decade — when deniers won’t be able to fool anybody. Except themselves.

63 responses to “Climate Reality Success

  1. Is the broadcast archived anywhere?

    [Response: Don’t know, but it might soon be here.]

  2. Give ’em hell, Al!

    He gave ’em the truth — they thought it was hell.

  3. Morano has been going full five color six typeface on this for a couple of days. Not a happy camper.

  4. Surely Anthony Watts is not a denier!

  5. As cliche as it sounds, I think it really is possible to gauge the effectiveness of a climate communicator by the level of attacks on him or her by the discommunicators. Gore gets pummeled for everything he says or does publicly, right down to the color of his socks and what he orders for lunch. Hansen, Mann, and Santer all leap to mind as other examples in the US of people who will never be free of the deniers’ lies. And, of course, there are far too many examples of physical threats, which even I’ve received.

    Such acts of extremism are the ultimate revelatory gestures because they’re all the deniers have. Science certainly isn’t on their side, so they have to scream and hurl insults and threats, and pound the table with their shoe.

    Some day people will look back on this period and wonder what the heck happened to make so many of us act like self-destructive lunatics. My guess is they’ll find the whole episode as puzzling as we do.

  6. Well spoken and all true!

  7. Gavin's Pussycat

    > It’s bad.

    Not remotely as bad as it will be.

  8. “The day is coming soon — I predict by the end of this decade — when deniers won’t be able to fool anybody. Except themselves.”

    I suspect you will be right, Tamino. I think that AR5 will still not convince a significant number of folks (and the denialists will be out in full force to attack it), but by the time AR6 comes out, there will have been so many obvious and significant climate changes that it will be very difficult to deny ACC.

      • I too suspect that there will be a noticable shift in acknowledgement of AGW by the decade’s end.

        Sadly, I also suspect that by the time this comes about, the actual response, whatever humanity finally comes up with, will be largely “too little, too late”…

        On the matter of Watts and his psychophants, they really are shrill this week. Everything from calling the recovery (?!) of Arctic sea ice, to claiming again that Salby has proved that humans are not causing the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.

        At what point will such profoundly harmful pseudoscientific denialism be made a crime against humanity?

    • I wish I thought so, but I don’t.

      The deniers have the enormous advantage of appealing to the human antipathy to change. There is no plausible geophysical event that could erase the doubt in the public mind about climate change, and doubt is all the deniers need.

      • Adam, I disagree.
        When London, New York, Miami, and dozens of other cities start being seriously affected on a regular (e.g. yearly) basis by higher sea levels, people will sit up and take notice.
        When the first heatwaves arrive that push local conditions close enough to the heat stress limit that tens of thousands of people die in a day, people will sit up and take notice.
        When crop failures due to drought and/or flood lead to rationing even in the wealthy western nations, people will sit up and take notice.

        Of course, it’ll probably be far to late to take effective action by then…

      • Antipathy to change can switch with amazing speed to clamor for change. Ask Hosni Mubarak.

  9. I would also like to give some credit to Tamino, and to Skepticalscience and a lot of other bloggers, and to scientists like Mann, Jones and others that keep on doing research despite endless harassment. Keep it up folks.

  10. Second year in a row that the monsoon has brought historic flooding to Pakistan. The change to La Nina means that Texas will continue to suffer crippling drought. And on and on. If there’s Justice in the world, by the end of the decade, the pictures of deniers will be in children’s text books.

    The amazing thing to me is this: from AGW to Peak Oil to our horrific trade imbalance to extracting ourselves from endless Mid-East vendettas the rational answer is to turn to new and green energy technologies. Yet, the politicians bought by the carbon clowns all have us doubling down on carbon. Over the war in Iraq, the right-wing media loved to accuse dissenters of treason. Whose foot does that slipper fit?

  11. Tamino: “The day is coming soon — I predict by the end of this decade — when deniers won’t be able to fool anybody. Except themselves.”

    I am afraid you are more optimistic than I am…or perhaps I just think that the ranks of denialists will not shrink appreciably, and these folks will continue to delude themselves.

    The thing is that the problem is not lack of intelligence, but intelligence misapplied. Not idiocy but stupidity, rationalization masquerading as rational thought.

    I have to say that I was apalled a few years ago when I first heard someone say “The facts don’t matter.” However, I’ve been hearing this more and more of late, and I have to say that for a large proportion of humans, this is probably true.

    I had hoped that perhaps science could provide the rigor that would tell us the things we need to know whether we want to know them or not. I no longer entertain this hope. I now believe that the human species is fatally flawed, and the flaw is not lack of intelligence, but rather inability to face the truth. There will still be global warming denialists long after our species has been reduced to small bands of subsistence hunter-gatherers barely scraping by on the hell we’ve created.

    • I don’t think so, Ray. The real denialists are a noisy minority now, and though the politics seem quite horrific in the US at the moment, most people are more supportive of reality than not. As the invective, appeals to force, and general nonsense level continue to increase–as they must, since what they are denying is a progressing reality–those folks in the middle will increasingly recognize kooks as kooks. I think even some of the noisemakers will start to have doubts, and tactfully fall silent, or perhaps change the subject to their next hobby horse. Some will even deny their previous climate denialism, in an irony I can’t wait to witness.

      Of course, even if I’m right about that, it’s an open question how bad will be the damage we will have inflicted by then.

      • Kevin, I don’t see it. The Teabaggers control one house of Congress. This year looks to give them the other as well, plus the Whitehouse. I fully expect the US to be reduced to “Haiti with Nukes” by the end of a Bachman or Perry Presidency.

        Even with control of one house of Congress and the Whitehouse, the Dems don’t have the cojones to actually enforce the fricking law as it is currently written, let alone introduce new regulation.

        In every public forum, the voices calling attention to reality are shouted down–be that reality physical or fiscal.

        And of course we need look no further than the debate between creationists and scienctists to see that rationalizing trumps rational thought. Fewer USians believe in evolution than believe in angels. Civilization was nice while it lasted.

      • Kevin,

        The high-profile deniers will have to choose between just a few paths once the evidence is so stark that even those people not currently engaged on the topic realize what’s going on. I agree that some will simply change the topic (where are all those Y2k doomers, anyway?), but my guess is that the highest profile, including Foxians and Limbaugh, will go for the ultimate chutzpah award and blame scientists. They’ll say that we’re seeing so much suffering and all these billions in losses because the scientists “failed to make a compelling case”. I know, it’s a real head exploding notion, but I’m convinced that’s how it will play out.

        Paul Gilding, in The Great Disruption, talks about how no one knows what the tipping point for public attitudes on climate will be, as we’ve already had more than enough examples to get our attention if we were so inclined. He also says that eventually things will get so bad that we will hit that tipping point and then have to leap into action. My fear that we’ll be so far down the wrong path by then that we’ll have locked in not just a lot more warming (“in the pipeline”, as we all say so often), but a lot more actual and very painful impacts.

      • I don’t think it will play that way, Lou. The deniers will claim natural cycles or cosmic rays or HARRP or anything but AGW, even after Houston is under water.

        Get over the idea that facts are the most important factor in the public battle over climate change. People who rely on facts to form their opinions are distinct minority of the human race, as we will see in the next US national elections.

      • Paul Gilding, in The Great Disruption, talks about how no one knows what the tipping point for public attitudes on climate will be

        I think the disappearance of Arctic sea ice at the end of Summer will be a pretty likely one, although that will take a few more (<10) years. If humanity just carries on regardless when that happens then there really is no hope.

  12. I add my thanks to all Tamino’s, SkSci’s, RC’s and many others’ efforts. I really think the zeitgeist has shifted this year, I myself can feel that I am much less likely to let slide myth-making and conspiracy theorizing than I used to be (in blog and conversation), and I know others feel the same way. I think a lot of that confidence comes from having excellent sources of information like those mentioned.

    Here’s an interesting link to a new poll from Reuters/Ipsos suggesting that something is doing some good (they suggest the contrast between Republican debates and the actual weather outside).

    • Thanks for that link.

      Anecdotally, I have the impression that there’s been a noticeable shift among the denialists I argue with online; fewer try to deny the fact of warming, and consequently there’s more of the “it’s natural” and/or “it’s benevolent” memes.

  13. The polls say Ray’s right. Sheer belief in AGW is at an all-time low among the US public. Rick Perry is likely to be the next president of the United States.

    Frankly, I think it’s too late. If we’d started 20 years ago, we might have been able to do something. But I don’t see any _realistic_ way to stop civilization collapsing completely no later than the 2050s.

    • I’d already commented above before I read Ray Bradbury’s and Barton Paul Levenson’s comments, but I too agree that there is a huge barn door and bolting horse phenomenon involved.

      Ray is close to the mark when he says that humans are “fatally flawed”. As a species we are “flawed” on an evolutionary scale… our intelligence is an adaptation for a peculiar combination of cooperative behaviour, endurance hunting, and of verbal/symbolic communication, with the side effect of permitting the spectacular emergence “objective” analysis and understanding, and of explicit self-awareness and understanding of mortality.

      The trouble is that in the evolution of these characteristics, we haven’t simultaneously evolved an instinctive capacity for adequate perception of the reach of our impacts beyond our immediate spheres (in the contexts of both time and space) – what perception exists, largely exists as a capacity learned through a combination of especially-developed intelligence in some individuals, and of objective education. Neither is sufficiently pervasive across our scoiety. It is not surprising that such wisdom did not simultaneously evolve with ‘intelligence’ – the scale of time of human impacts on the environment are different to those required for real-time feeding-back via genetic selection.

      It is for this reason that I have long contended that “Homo sapiens” is a misnomer: Homo intellectus would have been a more appropriate binomial. As a species we are ‘intelligent’, but we are not wise. The emergent aspects of our intelligence are out of synch with the impacts we exert on the biosphere, and without either the long-term wisdom or the innate behavioural traits to counter these impacts we will eventually be selected out of the system.

      The upshot is that we are likely to completely FUBAR our nest before we realise – as a species – that it has happened, or is happening.

      Perhaps the future will see a last-minute gasp of evolutionary adjustment for some of our descendants; perhaps not. Societies such as contemporary Western civisilation… well, mostly likely the future will look on us as we look on the civilisations that built the pyramids, the moai, the dolmens and the henges.

      Time will tell.

      • Well we had better learn then and quick about it.

        I think you give a fair description of the human intellect. It is clearly much more complicated than that. I also believe that intelligence is something different to just hard wired responses or leaned behaviour. Intelligence is something more fluid and dynamic – how else to explain humanity´s extraordinary evolutionary progress. Civilisations have risen and fallen, but humans continue unabated. When one way of doing things fails, they simply invent a new one. Intelligence seems to be then, the capacity to create entirely new responses, an ability to use the mind in an infinite number of combinations. I am no mathematician, so I don´t know if the concept of an infinite number of combinations is correct. But there certainly are an enormously huge number of combinations available.

        Another feature of this intelligence is the ability to make rapid assessments, ditch all known solutions as untenable and go for the unknown- kind of like quantum jumping.
        That is the kind of intelligence that got humans where they are today. And if provoked by environmental changes and system breakdown will come into play again.

        Wisdom, I think, is not just the ability to learn from our experiences and not make the same mistakes. It´s more the ability to see things as they are with total clarity, bypassing all learned understanding and seeing afresh and understanding differently and more profoundly.

        Humans are capable of wisdom. But I do agree with you about the term Homo Sapiens Sapiens. It is a term we have bestowed upon ourselves for our own aggrandisement- and is little in evidence. The term Homo Intellectus is much more descriptive. Though I fear you are being too generous- Homo Erectus still has a place in my book-

        It is clear our fiscal systems and our economic theories, are inadaquate and antiquated. Democracy is barely salvageable and there are signs of serious system breakdown ..everywhere. To be cynical- yes we are going to the dogs. But if Dr Fritjof Capra´s análisis, in his book The Turning Point (Pub.1982) is correct, other systems are ready to be put into place, as the old systems degenerate. New ones- different ones- qualitively different ones come into being.

        Aforethought is an attribute of wisdom. The deniers have poured ridicule and scorn, swaggered about and thumbed their noses for so long- . But what they haven´t done is prepared themselves. By blinding clinging to the certainty that it isn´t true- they just don´t see it coming. Those who know what´s happening and see clearly what will happen if we go down a certain road……are prepared, and are preparing, to take the other route. Road less travelled, but sound nevertheless.

      • SJ, I would propose Homo Moronis. Humans have been a pathetically brief evolutionary experiment, and as of now, I would have to rate it a failed experiment. We have survived by expanding our domain. Period. Thus, our intellect has conferred us no advantage over a colony of yeast, which expands to the limits of it’s environment and then dies back.

        Our inability to imagine the future without us in no way guarantees that we have a future, nor that that future will see us in ascendance.

        What is more, the current crisis we face is merely one of many our future would hold if we stayed the dominant species on the planet. Unless we develop the ability to perceive accurately our world and its limitations, one of them will wipe us out.

        Frankly, all I see that distinguishes humans from other species that have been in ascendance is the damage we have done to the supportive capacity of the planet.

      • Jonathan Swift advocated for “rationis capax,” which seems fair–*capable* of reason (but not necessarily always impelled to use it.)

    • I don’t think Perry is electable. He may win the primary, but I can’t see him attracting enthusiastic support among independents.

      Call me a raving optimist; maybe you’re right. But that’s how it looks to me at the moment.

      • OT, but I don’t think he’ll even win the primary. I don’t see midwesterners or the GOP establishment backing someone so crazy…

        The pendulum always swings, we will take care of this, just later than we da@n well should have…

      • Part of me says that the enthusiastic GOP primary voters will determine the nomination – but then, Perry may have a Bachmann moment (or two). There’s plenty of time – Bachmann was riding high and then dropped like a rock; her HPV comment has gone viral and she has found no way to dig herself back out.

      • Perry may have a Bachmann moment (or two)

        Oh, there’s so much ammunition already …

        1. Social Security
        2. He doesn’t believe people should be allowed to vote for their own Senators (wants to go back to the old system of legislatures electing US Senators) – can’t really imagine people wanting to give that up
        3. His HPV decision would dampen enthusiasm among the hard-core religious right
        4. He wants to allow Congress to overrule the Supreme Court

        etc etc etc

      • Kevin and Utahn,
        In 1980, Ronald Reagan was the lunatic fringe of the Republican party. His own VP called his economic program “Voodoo Economics”–an insult to Voodoo, if you ask me.

        in 2000, Dubya was considered an idiot. He was given 8 years to prove it to us.

        What you are failing to realize is that any more the sole criterion for success by a Republican candidate is that he be disliked by the reality-based community. They don’t care if it hurts the country. They hate us more than they love the country.

      • I thought of those precedents, too, Ray. Hey, maybe I’m due to be right. (You gotta admit, it would be a good time.)

      • It is funny that no matter how low I set my expectations of the American electorate, they still manage to disappoint.

      • I think Dubya’s still too fresh for Perry to win, even in the primary. I predict Romney v Obama.

        Regarding the American electorate, I can’t disagree…

  14. Given that there is a lot of discussion on this thread about the US situation, you might be interested in what is happening in Australia. We have a minority government ( which is unusual in this country) but the government has put together a majority of votes supporting an emissions trading scheme, in both houses of parliament. The legislation is passing through the parliament at the moment. Our major conservative party is strenuously opposing the measure. The legislation should be passed by mid November and begin operation on July 1st next year.

    • Stephen,
      Thank you for the update. I’ve been following this situation, and most of what we hear is the resistance to the measures from vocal idiots. I think that the situation in OZ wrt carbon ctrading is akin to that in the US wrt healthcare. That is, it is imperative to the position of the Conservatives that these measures never take effect. When they do and the people see that not only has the country not been taken over by the UN, but that things are actually improved, then they are exposed for the liars that they are.

      Unfortunately, there is a long way to go for both measures to prove their merit, and plenty of opportunity for the idiots to win.

      • “Some things in life are bad
        They can really make you mad
        Other things just make you swear and curse.
        When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
        Don’t grumble, give a whistle
        And this’ll help things turn out for the best…” E. Idle

        Try it Ray!

      • Utahn, you do remember how that scene ended, don’t you?

      • Yes – happily :)

    • The conservatives have run a successful campaign in trying the sink the proposed carbon tax; even if it’s passed (likely), the headspace has been lost, with most polls indicating very weak support for the legislation.

      To brief international readers, the policy aims for a 5% reduction on 2000-level emissions by 2020 (note: this is bipartisan policy). Whilst it’s a small headline figure, it’s much larger (about 15% or so) after considering Australia’s growing population.

      The carbon price will be $23/ton, rising by 2.5% per year in real terms (inflation runs at about 3%), followed by full emissions trading starting 2015 or so.

      The policy is expected to raise A$10B; about half goes to households via a massive increase in the tax-free threshold ($6K -> $18K) and increases in pensions and social security, about a third going to industry assistance and the balance plus a bit more going to direct abatement policies – the headline is a bid to shut down one of the most polluting coal-fired generator in Victoria.

      Overall price increases are expected to be modest: about $10 per week for the average household, which will be offset for most people by a $10 tax cut (see above). Inflation above normal is expected to be about 1%.

      And some history:
      In 2007, a Labor prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was elected on a platform where one of the central pieces was an Emissions Trading Scheme, which entered parliament as the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

      With the greens not supporting the legislation (the targets were considered too soft), the government sought support from the opposition, then led by the moderate conservative, Malcom Turnbull. After negotiations, an agreement was reached that was satisfactory to both parties. A conservative revolt against the agreement was led by Nick Minchin and (now opposition conservative leader) Tony Abbott who successfully challenged for the leadership of the party and dropped support for it.

      Without a means of passing the legislation, the government shelved it, which started a slide in the polls. Rudd was successfully challenged for the leadership by Julia Gillard, who went to an election in 2010 saying “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”, a line that has been ruthlessly exploited by her opponents.

      The 2010 election resulted in a hung parliament, with Ms Gillard forming an minority government with three independents and the Greens, who traded support on condition that a price on carbon be revived.

      And that fills in the backstory. This post isn’t meant to be partisan: merely a list of events that has happened to get to this point. Please don’t consider it an invitation to flame $PARTY of choice!

  15. Ray Ladbury – “I am afraid you are more optimistic than I am…or perhaps I just think that the ranks of denialists will not shrink appreciably, and these folks will continue to delude themselves.”

    There is still a mountain to climb. The Guardian Environmental blog posed the question – ‘Is Al Gore a help or a hindrance to the climate campaign’.

    It attracted the predictable ad hominem ‘Al Gore lives in a big house therefore I don’t need to do anything’ responses, but the depressing thing was the amount of ‘recommends’ that these got compared to the reality-based comments.

    E.g. 750 people recommended this

    devoid of factual content (see my response a few posts down), but clearly what people prefer to believe ….

    • As near as I (and I believe others) have been able to tell, the big reason why Al is such a target is because he is the most successful at raising popular awareness of global warming and the war on climatology that is being raised by certain financial interests. Some environmental groups have bought into this and regard him as an albatross, and, I’ve heard, are trying not to associate themselves with him. Make no mistake, though. If he is cut out the next person that will be smeared will be the next most successful campaigner for reality, our next greatest asset. Then the next. Then the next.

      I remember someone I was arguing with online (at Real Climate, I believe) warning me of how ridiculous I would make myself and of the ridicule I would be exposing myself to if I were to continue to try and draw parallels between the disinformation campaigns surrounding the effects of cigarettes on health and the effects of burning fossil fuel on the climate. The person I was arguing against expected me to back off. Instead I dug into the subject and found all the information I could to draw the parallels as strongly as I could. He went poof.

      In this war, ridicule is a weapon they tend to bring out when you are being too successful, when you are getting too close to the truth. It is at that point you should likely charge ahead. Just make sure you keep your eyes open and don’t make any major mistakes. Al has charged ahead, quite brilliantly and skillfully. He hasn’t made any significant mistakes. He deserves our support. It is a grave mistake to shun him and not to recognize him for the asset that he is.

      • Well said, Timothy. I’m constantly told online how AGW is ‘finished’ in the public mind, and ridiculed for speaking out for sanity. Yet Utahn’s poll showed a different picture, and one that better accords with what I see when I talk to ‘normal people.’

        So I give denialist triumphalism about the same credibility I give the ‘recovery’ of the sea ice, or the allegedly imminent ‘global cooling.’

      • “In this war, ridicule is a weapon they tend to bring out when you are being too successful, when you are getting too close to the truth. It is at that point you should likely charge ahead.”

        Absolutely correct Tim.

    • Achtung, “recommend” on Internet do not actually reflect the correct mindset. Deniers may have organised internet squadrons with multiple accounts etc. , and when one is posting he asks the others to up him.
      As a moderator on a forum I’ve seen this kind of tactic (not from climate deniers, something entirely different), and I do remember Tea Party organisers offer this kind of training/advice.

      Which could by the way be easily done by climate realists. A small team organised a la MMORPG team : a damage dealer replying shortly to the most obvious mistakes, a tank replying in length and exposing the science, a healer to assist the team in case of denier swarm, and maybe a sneak attacker pretending he’s a “skeptic” in order to lull deniers out of the woods so that other can catch them in open field. A concerted effort of several people (through irc, msn, or any kind of instant messaging) has proven successfull on other cases. And this time we have facts and science on our side, plus wonderful explaining sites like SkS, Tamino, etc.

      • It’s worse than an organised gang of deniers modding each other up. It takes all of 25 lines of Perl to automate this.

        It takes slightly more time and lines to even write a script to scan major news sites and their comment feeds for keywords in comments to automatically ‘Recommend’.

        And given that denialist rhetoric is close enough to bot-like anyway, how hard do you think it would be?

        Of course, even writing a minimal Perl script takes more brains than most denialists seem to have. But make no mistake, there are smart people involved in these campaigns, and I don’t doubt using bots to automod comments has crossed their minds.

    • Phil, I ‘d recommend you pay no heed to such meaningless indicators as the number of Guardian CiF recommends. Montford’s and North’s rabbles have realised you don’t even have to login to click that button, hence the most trivial denier nonsense getting uncharateristically, if not ridiculously high numbers.

  16. I just finished reading the final chapter of Dr Ben Goldacre’s brilliant book ‘Bad Science’ – on the media-created scare/scandal over the MMR vaccine in the UK. As I read it, I kept nodding along. Yup, heard that before. Yep, this has all happened again. Yup, the media didn’t do its job.

    But we’ve allowed them, the media, to get away with it all again. Except this time the word has been getting out – thanks to efforts like this one, and to bloggers like Tamino and Deltoid, Deep Climate and Joe Romm.

    Let’s keep pushing back. Writing (politely) to politicians who make egregious statements is very underrated. I now have established a dialog with several who have (so far) stopped making stupid claims in the media. The long term prognosis on this is still uncertain, however.

    • You must have more responsive politicos than I do, duckster–but I’m a patient guy. . .

      • To be fair, it’s only the fact that none of them have made any statements at all that allows me to claim some measure of success.There is no guarantee that one or all of them won’t return to making bone-headed statements tomorrow morning – and then I’ll be back to square one.

  17. Yup, the media didn’t do its job.

    The media has no public interest. It only has a private interest to its proprietors. Its job is to serve its interest.

  18. With faith-based thinking anything, no matter how ridiculous or stupid, is possible. Only data can set us free.
    The right is all about faith-based thinking – about climate, evolution, homosexuality, economics, politics, history, theology (well, I guess THAT’s OK) ……….

  19. Horatio Algeranon

    “Nicotine is not addictive”
    — by Horatio Algeranon

    Nicotine is not addictive
    Smoking doesn’t lead to cancer
    CFC’s don’t hurt the ozone
    Consensus doesn’t give the answer.

    Acid rain is not corrosive
    Doesn’t kill the fish in lakes
    Won’t erode the limestone statues
    The standard “proof” is all a fake.

    CO2 does not cause warming
    Doesn’t make the sea-ice melt
    Climate change is not alarming
    Just the hand that Nature dealt

  20. Just finished watching Al Gore´s presentation. I am not a scientist but I am an educator and he gets top marks for teaching skills.

    My interest in this subject began, like most members of the general public, with his An Inconvenient Truth. This sparked an intense study of the science, the politics and the whole shebang. I have been following it all, and special thanks must go to you Tamino, to the guys at Realclimate, John Cook …..and everybody too numerous to mention, for the painstaking effort and time you give to make the science so accessible to everyone.

    Reading the science, even as a layperson, has been a revelation. It has helped me to understand so much about our planet, and on such a deeper level. I get it, and if I can get it so can others.

    AIT spurred me to action. I sold my car. I entered local politics on the Green ticket and won. People in my local community are beginning to open their eyes and say hey?, and there are signs of changing behaviour all around…

    I say this because two of my favourite commentators in the debate are Ray Ladbury and Hank Roberts for their perceptive comments and their wisdom. And although I think there is no cause for optimism and little cause for hope in the face of the climate vandals ,I still believe we should fight for this. I share that sense of anger and profound sadness, I sometimes despair, but mostly I feel outraged. I was struck by these , Al Gore´s, barely suppressed emotions during his talk.

    The tipping point, the tide turning.. whatever you want to call it, has started. The signs are very small ( I am refering to the social response, not to the climate system- those changes are disturbingly huge, as everyone can see) These signs may be small, but they are most certainly discernible, and so it is perhaps a little early to give up on humanity´s failure to face up and act appropriatley.

    It seems we are living through an evolutionary step. We must change or die out- so change has become less of a choice and more of an evolutionary imperative. In the long term, or even the short term, everyone will be forced to take the consequences of the vandalism that is wrecking our Earth system.. It is probably going to lead to social disruption and chaos, but it may also lead to that vision of the future which we also share: renewable energies, more efficiency, more cooperation, more care , more responsibility……It´s either that or curtains.

    Al Gore´s presentation must go mainstream. No he´s not a scientist, yes he lives in a big house- which only goes to show that being green doesn´t mean living a cave. But he has an extraordinary ability to comunícate, not just the realities of the situation , but also on a gut level. Which is where this debate needs to be right now. Everyone needs to see this. It must reach a widest audience as possible, because what is needed is gut reaction from the public at large. The reaction is predictable; fear and ridicule in some and a wake up call to action for the rest of us. I still cling to the remmants of a trust in our civilisation.

    Maybe it won´t be enough, maybe it is too late. Maybe my belief that we have a tad more time is wishful thinking, but Gore´s presentation is powerful and empowering and pretty much irrefutable from a common sense point of view.

    The truth will out- and writ large. Those who deny human responsiblities, those who don´t know or even care, are about to get a rude awakening. Hubris will be swept away along with everything else. We will come down to sheer survival, which will be meaningful in the long run only if we evolve.

    From an evolutionary perspective- these are very interesting times for humanity. In both senses of the word.