Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum

I’m sometimes puzzled by GWPF (the “Global Warming Policy Foundation”). Do they think their readers are gullible idiots, or is the GWPF itself that stupid?

Case in point: One of their latest makes a big deal about the fact that from February 2016 to February 2018 global temperature data from NASA showed the largest 2-year drop (yes, drop!) in a century. Here’s the data, with a red line showing the trend and a blue line connecting the months Feb.2016 and Feb.2018 (just so you know exactly what they’re talking about).

It’s not so much that the GWPF is making a big deal out of one of the fluctuations (while ignoring the trend); what they really seem intent on is to whine about how the press isn’t making a big deal out of it. Unless you’re blind or incredibly stupid, it’s so obvious this “event” isn’t newsworthy that claiming it should be is the kind of “evidence” which makes climate deniers look like the fools they are.

So why is GWPF doing this? Is their “tribe” really a bunch of idiotic suckers? Or are they just that dum dum dum dum dum?

A recent hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives committee on space, science, and technology, supports the former view. Particularly dum dum dum dum dum were comments from Mo Brooks, congressman from Alabama, who wants to blame sea level rise on rocks and dirt filling the oceans. If that strikes you as soooooooo stupid that you can’t believe it, that you think I might be making this up — check out the video. Around 1h 26m in.

It’s rather like blaming your morbid obesity on the fact that every time you breathe in and out, your weight changes. Forget about the fact that it’s such a tiny change it has nothing to do with your 200-pound weight gain! Blame your obesity on breathing! You certainly don’t need to go on a diet!

The arguments from GWPF often strike me as so incredibly stupid that I wonder whether they’re trying to sabotage themselves. Then I’m reminded just how easy it is to get climate deniers convinced — even fired up — over the stupidest excuse for global warming’s consequences you can think of.

Whether or not GWPF believes their own stuff, clearly the politicians who deny the reality, human cause, and/or danger of global warming are plenty dumb enough to be suckered.

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16 responses to “Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum

  1. … not to mention the fact that a very similar (indeed slightly steeper) two year decline happened the last time “global warming stopped”, (and then somehow started up again) after the 1998 El Nino:

  2. May be is is time to put marges of error around the trend so it is easier to see that this drop in temperature is statistically insignificant.

  3. Actually, if the GWPF types stopped breathing, I’d be fine with that.

  4. Their readers certainly are gullible idiots; as soon as the first article was published on Real Clear Markets, I saw it being passed around by Trump supporters as evidence that man-made climate change is a ‘hoax’, ‘scare’, plot to raise taxes or destroy capitalism, etc.

    I think it’s more likely the GWPF people are intelligent enough to recognise they’re publishing a load of nonsense, but to know they get paid well for doing so, with a ready audience of dolts who’ll lap it up.

  5. Yup. In the age of dumb, dumber, Trumb, just about anything goes these days. And indeed, even the most flat-earther like nonsense is good enough for the denileratie to “maintain momentum” in their quest to capture the minds of the gullible, the conspiracy buffs and the right-wing zealots.

  6. In the now-classic ‘Nigerian prince’ scam, the sheer implausibility of the typical setup message is claimed by some writers on the subject to be not a bug, but a feature. Anyone proceeding to respond to it will already be pre-selected as gullible, which means that the more labor-intensive phase of the scam will be more likely to succeed. (Though that neglects the case of folks who enjoy trolling scammers–but that’s another story.)

    There isn’t a perfect analog to that in the present case, but I think the implausibility of some claims still serves a purpose. I once witnessed a trial for reckless driving in which the defense attorney moved to dismiss upon closure of the prosecution case, on the basis that it hadn’t been shown that his client was in fact driving the car in question. (It hadn’t!) The motion was summarily dismissed, in an entertainingly dry tone, by the judge, who presumably found delivery of the summons sufficient evidence of that; but every argument made thereafter seemed more plausible by comparison. (And the weakness of the way the prosecutor had set forth charges and examined witnesses was strongly highlighted.)

    The aim of these pieces isn’t to convince careful thinkers; it’s to provide emotional cover for those who don’t want to think about the issue. The key isn’t quality; it’s quantity, according to the complementary (and partially overlapping) strategies of the Big Lie and the Gish Gallop. Claims don’t need to be supported, or supportable; they just need to be superficially–and I mean that word in the most emphatic way!–plausible, and more importantly, voluminous.

    Note the structure in the current piece. First, a claim is made. It’s ‘catchy’, if basically meaningless. (The ‘my client wasn’t in the car’ phase.) That’s elaborated by listing several ‘warmist’ stories that sound, superficially, even sillier–“Reporters even found time to cover a group that says they want to carve President Trump’s face into a glacier to prove climate change “is happening.”” The initial foolish claim is normalized, and support lent to the true thesis, which is media bias.

    Then the initial foolish claim is partially conceded, as if in magnanimity:

    That’s not to say that a two-year stretch of cooling means that global warming is a hoax. Two years out of hundreds or thousands doesn’t necessarily mean anything. And there could be a reasonable explanation. But the drop in temperatures at least merits a “Hey, what’s going on here?” story.

    That sets up the Gish Gallop, which features brief mentions of actual research–Lewis & Curry, for instance–the conclusions of which are predictably misrepresented. It’s ‘thin gruel’ from a scientific point of view, but in the established context of wackiness seems sober, respectable, sensible–perfect, in other words, for nurturing the biases of the target audience. The fact that the claims made are unsupported or unsupportable doesn’t matter, because the folk they are writing to are never going to check. They are going to incorporate those claims into the category of things that ‘everyone knows.’

    Things are rounded off with a resounding rhetorical flourish:

    But if fears of catastrophic climate change are warranted — which we seriously doubt — ignoring things like the rapid cooling in the past two years carries an even bigger risk.

    ‘I object, you Honor! No foundation in the testimony!’ But, of course, in this forum there is no instruction to the jury to disregard. So that phantom ‘bigger risk’, though completely unspecified (let alone supported) remains in testimony.

    These guys may be poor logicians. (“May be”, because while we know what they did do, we don’t necessarily know what they could do. But their rhetoric appears to me to be very well suited to its purpose.

    So scorn their morals, their wisdom, and their integrity–but not their abilities.

  7. So the temperature dropped by 0.54 C from Feb 2016 to Feb 2018??
    On the other hand, the temperature rose by 0.82 C from Feb 2014 to Feb 2016..
    This means that the temperature increased by 0.28 C from Feb 2014 to Feb 2018. I’ll bet that this increase is more than twice the CMIP5 model average rate, even with the “unlikely” rcp 8.5 scenario.

    Incredibly stupid, Yes….

  8. Not to undercut Doc Snow’s or Barney’s excellent points in any way, but the old cliché that 50% of the population is of below average intelligence is helpful. When dealing with the likes of the WSJ op-ed pages or the GWPF it’s important to distinguish between the scammers and their marks.

    • Thanks. I’d only add that in at least some cases, it’s not so much about raw IQ or educational attainment as it is about emotional bias. IOW, sometimes the stupidity is entirely wilful.

  9. The dumber the claim the stronger the pledge of allegiance to the anti-green movement.

    Added benefit: when people honestly reply that the claim is dumb you can play the victim and complain that civilized debate is made impossible by those scientific extremists.

    This has nothing to do with science, this is the culture war.

  10. Wilful ignorance.

    “the temperature of sea water has no direct effect on sea-level rise”

    The target audience know its crap.
    Such propaganda reinforces the tribal mantra that climate change is not real. Tribal identity is not based on rational thought it is an instinctive herd behavior.
    Debunking such rubbish has no effect as anyone who does is obviously not a member of the tribe.

    The stupidity of the claim has made waves in all the realist blogs .
    That warming water does not expend is so dumb as to be offensive to many of us .
    Those that it is targeted at will not allow reality correcting their willful ignorance as it also means rejecting the tribe.

  11. It works for politicians, and it works for the GWPF. You’re playing the logic and data game, they’re playing the political and emotional game. You’re NOT playing the same game.

    Logic never wins in the short term… until it must in the long term but by then it will be too late. The US just had a massive storm over Houston, supersized by AGW… if that wasn’t a portend to get folks to pay attention, nothing will.

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick:

    We’re not going to turn this in time, (that’s not in anyway a suggestion to stop the good fight but to have a Plan B) knowing that, I’d advise people to start thinking about adding resilience to their life, home and family. Moving away from places like the Florida coast seems.. prudent. Using the science to give you the information you need to make those decisions, where to move, etc in case it unravels more quickly than anticipated (i.e as Professor Ugo Bardi suggests, as a Seneca Cliff).

  12. Peter Dyson

    After the recent El Niño event produced record high global temperatures climate scientists were able to make two predictions with certainty. The first was that global temperatures would drop as the effect of the El Niño waned. The second was that global warming deniers would then shout “global cooling” from the rooftops!

  13. From the OP – “Whether or not GWPF believes their own stuff,…”
    For correctness, the “stuff is not the work of the GWPF but a repost of coverage of the rantings of a delided denialist called Aaron Brown.
    And the GWPF doing this repost is not the ‘Global Warming Policy Foundation which is allegedly an Educational Charity and thus obtains tax-payers money to support its allegedly good works. Because this organisation was effectively spreading lies about AGW and bringing the Charity Commission into disrepute, the GWPF formed the ‘Global Warming Policy Forum to continue with the lies although if you are as deluded as the GWPF this is difficult as they are such poor judges of what is true and what is a bare-faced lie.

    As for the ranting of this Brown character, the Feb2016-Feb2018 GISS temperature change is indeed the biggest-of-type in the last 100 years, the last of the six larger ones in GISS occuring Apr1915-Apr1917, 100-years-&-10-months earlier. Mind, if you ignore Brown’s stipulation that the two data-points be exactly 24-months apart but still be within the following 24-month period, the “greatest global two-year cooling event of the century” occurs multiple times after all big El Nino events (as you would expect), indeed five times in the last year.

    As to why folk like GWPF post such bullshit (and they are not alone in the denial-o-sphere in doing this), the message doesn’t have to be always believable. Yes, there are those swivel-eyed loons who will lap it up as gospel, but they are just one end of a spectrum, at the other end being those who see it as a jolly jape, one in the eye for those supercillious warmists. And any news is better than no news. Fake news may not be believable but it will (mainly) increase believability in the underlying message. So pile it on.

  14. “the fact that every time you breathe in and out, your weight changes.”

    Be careful . lest Steve Milloy pen a WSJ Op-Ed claiming Chicken Little CAGWarmistas don’t know the difference between body mass and buoyancy relative to the density of external and inhaled air.