Naomi Oreskes: The Hoax of Climate Change Denial

Yves here. This piece describes how climate change denialists have opened up a new front in their attacks on climate science. One small quibble: Orekes mentions in passing how John McCain previously supported cap and trade, and has now abandoned that idea and has moved to a more pro-energy producer position. While Orekes does not praise cap and trade, the implication is that it’s a sound policy. It isn’t. It’s worked badly in Europe (scamming is rampant) and even Greg Mankiw advocates carbon taxes instead.

By Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the history of science and affiliated professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University and co-author, with Erik Conway, of . Her latest book with Erik Conway is .Originally published at

Recently, the Washington Post  new data showing something most of us already sense: that increased polarization on Capitol Hill is due to the way the Republican Party has lurched to the right. The authors of the study use Senator John McCain to illustrate the point. McCain’s political odyssey is, in some dismaying sense, close to my own heart, since it highlights the Republican turn against science.

As unlikely as it might seem today, in the first half of the twentieth century the Republicans were the party that most strongly supported scientific work, as they recognized the diverse ways in which it could undergird economic activity and national security. The Democrats were more dubious, tending to see science as elitist and worrying that new federal agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health would concentrate resources in elite East Coast universities.

In recent decades, of course, the Republicans have lurched rightward on many topics and now regularly attack scientific findings that threaten their political platforms. In the 1980s, they generally questioned evidence of acid rain; in the 1990s, they went after ozone science; and in this century, they have launched fierce attacks not just on climate science, but in the most personal fashion imaginable on climate scientists.

While Senator McCain didn’t go directly down the path of attacking science, he, too, shifted in disturbing ways.  After all, with Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, he had been a co-sponsor of the Climate Stewardship Acts of 2003, 2005, and 2007, which called for a mandatory cap-and-trade system to control greenhouse gas emissions.  These were at the time endorsed by many Democrats and most environmental groups.  By 2010, however, he was retreating fast from support for his own bill and insisting that he had capping carbon emissions “at a certain level.” He now calls for increased offshore oil and gas drilling, that important aspects of energy policy should be left to state and local governments, and has criticized both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for climate change as a national security issue — a position that the Pentagon itself .

Still, compared to many of his colleagues, McCain looks like a moderate. They have dismissed climate change as a fraud and a , while conducting McCarthy-esque inquiries into the research of leading climate scientists. Many of them attack climate science because they fear it will be used as an excuse to expand the reach of government.

In a hearing at which I testified last month, Republican members of the Committee on Natural Resources denounced a wide range of scientific investigations related to the enforcement of existing environmental laws as “government science.”  And this, they alleged, meant it was, by definition, corrupt, politically driven, and lacking in accountability.  The particular science under attack involved work done by, or on behalf of, federal agencies like the National Parks Service, but climate science came in for its share of insults as well.

On the face of it, the charges were absurd: most agency science is subject to far more scrutiny, accountability, and oversight, including multiple levels of peer review, than research done in academic settings.  In contrast, research done under the aegis of industry is often subject to no public accountability at all.

In preparing my testimony, however, I realized that something far larger was at stake: the issue of politically driven science itself.  It’s often claimed that environmental science done in federal agencies is “politically driven” and therefore suspect.  It was, I realized, time to challenge the presumption that such science is bad science. While widely held, the idea is demonstrably false. Moreover, the suggestion that “government science” is intrinsically problematic for Republicans who eschew big government ignores the simple fact that most of the major contributions of the twentieth century, at least in the physical sciences, came from just such government science.

History shows that much — maybe most — science is driven by political, economic, or social goals.  Some of the best science in the history of our country was focused on goals that were explicitly political. Consider the Manhattan Project. During World War II, scientists mobilized to determine the details of fission reactions, isotope separation, high-temperature and high-pressure metallurgy, and many more matters for the purpose of building an atomic bomb.  The political goal of stopping Adolf Hitler and the sense that the future of the world might depend on their success provided a powerful motivation to get the science right.

Or take the space program.  The United States first developed advanced rocketry to threaten the Soviet Union with nuclear destruction.  The political goal of “containing” Communism was a powerful motivation for scientists.  In later years, the goal of maintaining peace through the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction similarly to ensure that the weapons they developed would go where sent, and work as advertised when they got there.

In the Apollo program, NASA scientists knew that getting the science right would not only ensure that our astronauts made it to the moon, but that they made it home again. Knowing that lives may depend on your calculations can be a powerful form of accountability.

Some might argue that these were technological, not scientific projects, but it’s a distinction without much meaning.  If such projects led to new technologies, they were also founded upon newly developed science.  Moreover, politics can drive good science even in the absence of technological goals.

Plate tectonics, for instance, is the unifying theory of modern earth science and it, too, was a political product.  The key work that led to it came from oceanography that was part of U.S. Navy programs to develop methods of detecting Soviet submarines, while safely hiding our own.  It came as well from seismology as part of a military effort to differentiate earthquakes from nuclear bomb tests. Military and political goals, in other words, led to research on the fundamental understanding of planetary processes, an understanding that, not incidentally, forms the basis for oil and gas exploration, mining and mineral exploration, and predicting seismic hazards.

Nearly all of this work was done by scientists working directly for the government, or by academics in universities and research institutions with government funds.  The Manhattan Project was government science. The Apollo program was government science.  Plate tectonics was government science.

Saved From the Ozone Hole

Is environmental science any different?

Consider the men and women who for the Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Established in 1985, that Convention protects us from the potentially devastating effects of ozone depletion.  Today, the ozone hole is on the mend and scientists expect a full recovery in the coming decades — something that would not have happened without the work of the environmental scientists who first recognized threats to stratospheric ozone in the early 1970s.

Scientists working at NASA and the University of California realized then that chemicals released into the atmosphere from supersonic transport planes and the space shuttle could react with ozone in the stratosphere and destroy it. Because of this threat, NASA began to fund studies of the chemical reactions involved. Meanwhile, Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina at the University of California, Irvine, recognized that a certain class of chemicals known as chlorinated fluorocarbons, or CFCs, found in hairspray and other consumer products, had the potential to destroy ozone on a global scale.  At first, their predictions were viewed skeptically even by their colleagues: Could hairspray really end life on Earth as we knew it? That seemed an adventurous, if not outrageous, claim.

In 1985, however, Joseph Farmer of the British Antarctic Survey announced the discovery of an area over Antarctica in which stratospheric ozone was dramatically diminished: the “ozone hole.” The following year, a team led by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist Susan Solomon suggested that ozone was indeed being depleted by chlorine chemicals derived from CFCs in catalytic reactions on polar stratospheric clouds.

In 1987, Harvard Professor James Anderson sent an experiment aloft in a NASA U-2 plane over the Antarctic, establishing by direct measurement that the ozone layer had been massively depleted there and that those depletions correlated with CFCs. This was a striking confirmation of the earlier hypotheses. Later, his team obtained similar measurements over the Arctic. All this research was NASA-funded.

On the basis of this work, Republican President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of State George Schultz, and Assistant Secretary of State John Negroponte gave their support to the Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention and so committed the world to reducing, and later to phasing out, the use of CFCs.  In 1988, with the president’s support, Congress ratified the Montreal Protocol.

Susan Solomon has since been elected to the , the , and the . In 2008, she was by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. James Anderson has won more prizes than you can count.  In 1995, Rowland and Molina the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work on ozone depletion.

If ozone science had been distorted, corrupted, or otherwise incorrectly done, none of them would have received such honors. More important, if the science had been wrong, we would be in dire straits right now because the ozone hole would not be recovering. Among other things, skin cancer rates in America would be about 60% higher than they are today. Livestock, crops, and wild plants and animals would have been affected, too.

Bush, a Republican president, was not duped. He did the right thing and protected us from harm, but few people realize just how well the Montreal Protocol has worked and at what little cost. It was ratified by — in other words, the whole world! — and production and consumption of ozone-depleting chemicals has fallen 98%.

Not only did this cost very little as manufacturers quickly replaced ozone-depleting chemicals with new, less harmful products, but the world profited.  The Protocol stimulated competition in technological innovation that reduced manufacturing costs, improved efficiency and safety, and lowered prices for consumers, while we avoided significant economic losses in agricultural and fishery yields and adverse human health impacts.  The indirect health profits in terms of avoided cases of cancers and cataracts alone have been estimated at 11 times the direct costs of implementation.  And there was no net loss of jobs, although there was a shift to more skilled jobs carried out by better-trained workers .

As the risk of disruptive climate change became widely recognized in the 1990s, the ozone success story offered a model for how we might tackle climate change, especially as it refuted the familiar conservative claims that environmental protection restrains growth, hurts the economy, and leads to job loss, or that benefits accrue to polar bears but not people. But the Republican shift to the right was already underway. When it came to the subject of regulation, the GOP was on the road to rejecting any science that pointed in that direction.

In the early part of the twentieth century, Republicans had been pioneers in environmental protection; in its middle years, they had worked with Democrats to pass bills like the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Air Act.  By the 1980s, however, resistance to environmental measures that might limit private sector prerogatives was starting to overshadow their historic commitment to a safe and beautiful America.  By the 1990s, regulation was seen as bad in principle, even when, as in the ozone case, it was clearly and demonstrably good in practice.

Climate Science and the Hoaxers

The ink on the Montreal Protocol was scarcely dry when ozone science was attacked as corrupt and politically motivated (in much the same way that environmental science is being attacked today).  In 1995, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher organized a hearing on “scientific integrity” meant to challenge such science. Representatives of private industry and conservative think tanks began to claim that the science behind the Montreal Protocol was incorrect, that fixing the problem would be devastating to the economy, and that the scientists involved were exaggerating the threat to get more money for their research. Entered into the Congressional Record was the now-familiar claim that there was “no scientific consensus” on ozone depletion, shown to be completely false by the Nobel Prize awarded to Rowland and Molina only a few weeks later.

If one were to strip the names and dates off the record of that hearing, it would be easy enough to imagine that its subject was climate change and that it took place last week. In fact, climate science has been attacked by many of the same individuals and organizations that attacked ozone science, using many of the same arguments, as misguided today as they were then.

Consider what we know about the history and integrity of climate science.

Scientists have known for more than 100 years that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) trap heat in a planet’s atmosphere.  If you increase their concentration, the planet will get hotter.  Venus is incredibly hot — 864 degrees Fahrenheit — not primarily because it is closer to the Sun than the Earth, but because it has an atmosphere hundreds of times denser and composed mainly of CO2.

Oceanographer was the first American scientist to focus attention on the risk of putting increased amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.  During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office and continued to work closely with the Navy throughout his career.  In the 1950s, he argued for the importance of scientific research on man-made climate change, calling attention to the threat that sea level rise from melting glaciers and the thermal expansion of the oceans posed to the safety and security of major cities, ports, and naval facilities. In the 1960s, he was joined in his concern by several colleagues, including geochemist , who first began to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide in 1958, and geophysicist Gordon MacDonald, who served on the first Council on Environmental Quality under Republican President Richard Nixon.

In 1974, the emerging scientific understanding of climate change was summarized by physicist Alvin Weinberg, the head of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who that the use of fossil fuels was likely to be limited well before we ran out of them by the threat they represented to the Earth’s stable and beneficent climate. “Although it is difficult to estimate how soon we shall have to adjust the world’s energy policies to take this limit into account,” he wrote, “it might well be as little as 30-50 years.”

In 1977, , the first administrator of NOAA and later president of the National Academy of Engineering, summarized the scientific findings in the journal Oceanus this way:

“We now understand that industrial wastes, such as carbon dioxide released during the burning of fossil fuels, can have consequences for climate that pose a considerable threat to future society… [E]xperiences of the past decade have demonstrated the consequences of even modest fluctuations in climatic conditions [and] lent a new urgency to the study of climate… The scientific problems are formidable, the technological problems, unprecedented, and the potential economic and social impacts, ominous.”

In 1979, the National Academy of Sciences : “If carbon dioxide continues to increase, [we] find no reason to doubt that climate changes will result, and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible.”

These findings led the World Meteorological Organization to join forces with the United Nations and create the .  The idea was to establish a stable scientific foundation for informed public policies.  Just as good science laid the foundation for the Vienna Convention, good science would now lay the foundation for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in 1992 by President Bush.

Since then, the scientific world has affirmed and reaffirmed the validity of the scientific evidence.  The National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and many similar organizations, as well as leading scientific societies and academies abroad, have all given the work of climate science their seals of approval.  In 2006, 11 national academies of science, including the oldest in the world, Italy’s Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, issued an unusual noting that the “threat of climate change is clear and increasing,” and that “delayed action will… incur a greater cost.” That was nearly a decade ago. Today, scientists assure us that the evidence of the reality of human-made climate change is “unequivocal,” and the World Bank that its impact and costs are already being felt.

The scientific work that produced this consensus was done by scientists around the globe — men and women, old and young, and in this country Republicans as well as Democrats. In fact, curiously enough, given recent Republican congressional “hoax” claims, probably more of them were Republicans than Democrats.  Gordon MacDonald, for example, was a close advisor to President Nixon and Dave Keeling was awarded the National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush in 2002.

Yet despite the long history of this work and its bipartisan nature, climate science continues to be scurrilously attacked.  This past May, the world’s most revered climate scientists Pope Francis to advise him on the facts of climate change and the threat it represents to the future health, wealth, and well-being of men, women and children, not to mention so many other species with whom we share this unique planet. At that same moment, climate change deniers were meeting near the Vatican in an attempt to prevent the Pope from speaking out on the moral meaning of climate change. Whenever there are signs that the political landscape is shifting and that the world might be getting ready to act on climate change, the forces of denial only redouble their efforts.

The organization for the denialist meeting in Rome was the Heartland Institute, a group with a long history not only of rejecting climate science but science generally. They were, for instance, responsible for the comparing climate scientists to the Unabomber. They have a documented history of working with the tobacco industry to raise questions about the scientific evidence of tobacco’s harms.  As Erik Conway and I demonstrated in our book , many of the groups that now question the reality or significance of human-made climate change previously questioned the scientific evidence of the dangers of tobacco.

Today, we know that millions of people have died from tobacco-related diseases. Do we really have to wait for people to die in similar numbers before we accept the evidence of climate change?

Private Funding Creates a Hole in the Atmosphere

Ozone science was not attacked because it was wrong scientifically, but because it was politically and economically consequential — because it threatened powerful interests. The same is true of climate science, which is telling us that business as usual will endanger our health, wealth, and well-being.  Under the circumstances, it’s hardly surprising that some sectors of the business community — especially the , the network of powerful industries that centrally rely on the extracting, selling, or burning of fossil fuels — have tried to undermine that message.  They have supported attacks on the science and its scientists, while distracting research and misleading conferences to create a false impression that there is fundamental scientific debate and uncertainty on the subject.

The point of all this, of course, is to confuse Americans and so delay action, which brings us to the crux of the matter when it comes to “politically motivated” science. Yes, science can be biased, particularly when the financial support for that science comes from parties that have a vested interest in a particular outcome.  History suggests, however, that such vested interests are far more likely to be a feature of the private sector than the public one.

The most strikingly documented example of this is . For decades, the tobacco companies supported scientific research in their own laboratories, as well as in universities, medical schools, and even cancer research institutes.  From their own internal records, we now know that the purpose of this research was not to determine the truth about the dangers of tobacco, but to create an impression of scientific debate and doubt about whether tobacco was really harmful when the leaders of the industry already knew that it was.  In this way, the “research” was intended to protect the industry against lawsuits and regulation.

Perhaps most important, as is undoubtedly true with many of the funders of climate denial, the industry knew that the research it paid for was biased.  By the 1950s, its executives were well aware that tobacco caused cancer; by the 1960s, they knew that it caused a host of other diseases; by the 1970s, they knew that it was addictive; and by the 1980s, they knew that secondhand smoke caused cancer in non-smokers and sudden infant death syndrome. Yet this industry-funded work was significantly less likely to find tobacco use damaging to health than research not funded by the industry.  And so, of course, they funded more of it.

What lessons can be drawn from this experience? One is the importance of disclosing funding sources.  In preparing for my Congressional testimony I was asked to disclose all sources of government funding for my own research.  That was a reasonable request.  But there was no comparable request for disclosure of any private funding I might have had — an unreasonable omission. To ask only about public funds and not private sources is like asking for safety inspections of just half an airplane.

Unnatural Disasters and the Nightmare of Denialism

Many Republicans resist accepting the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change because they fear it will be used as an excuse to expand big government.  Here’s what should give them pause: by delaying action on reducing global carbon emissions for more than two decades, we have already significantly increased the likelihood that disruptive global warming will lead to the kinds of government interventions they most fear and seek to avoid. Climate change is, in fact, already causing an increase in the sorts of extreme weather events — particularly floods, extreme droughts, and heat waves — that almost always result in large-scale government responses.  The longer we wait, the more massive the required intervention will be.

In the future, as the devastating effects of climate change unfold here in the United States, natural disasters will result in a greater reliance on government — especially the federal government.  (Of course, our grandchildren will not call them “natural” disasters, because they will know all too well who caused them.)  What this means is that the work climate deniers are now doing only helps ensure that we will be less ready for the full impact of climate change, which means greater government interventions to come.  Put another way, climate deniers are now playing a crucial role in creating the nightmare they most fear.  They are guaranteeing the very future they claim to want to avoid.

And not just at home.  As climate change unfolds around the globe, climate disasters will give undemocratic forces the justification they seek to commandeer resources, declare martial law, interfere with the market economy, and suspend democratic processes. This means that Americans who care about political freedom shouldn’t hold back when it comes to supporting climate scientists and acting to prevent the threats they have so clearly and fulsomely documented.

To do otherwise can only increase the chances that authoritarian forms of governance will come out ahead in a future in which our children and grandchildren, including those of the climate deniers, will all be the losers, as will our planet and so many of the on it.  Recognizing and emphasizing this aspect of the climate equation may offer some hope of enabling more moderate Republicans to step back from the brinkmanship of denial.

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84 comments

  1. Simon Girty

    This was all simultaneous with business replacing their engineering & QA staffs with marketing, claims & lawyers. So, little surprise the whole Powell Memo period was a serendipitous convergence of sociopathic yuppie jackals warping: nuclear energy, genetic engineering, IC microprocessors, novel drilling methods, pharmaceutical breakthroughs and the internet into something out of Pohl’s “The Space Merchants?” It’s become a unfunny meme that our avaricious overlords simply awaken from drug binges with “They Live,” “RoboCop,” or “Idiocracy” on & proceed to copy the plot lines, for want of any original ideas about theft. We’ve used every discovery to date to subdue, enslave or kill others; it’s always been religious obligation.

  2. kimyo

    roughly speaking, but probably accurate to +/- 5%, two-thirds of americans, australians and germans are against any form of carbon tax. if your concern is ‘authoritarian government’, then take a nice long look in the mirror.

    secondly: although it’s possible that government action will reduce carbon emissions, it’s far more likely that emissions will INCREASE (due to the buildup of high speed rail and nuclear, just to name a couple)

    the single most effective thing we can do to reduce fossil fuel consumption: close the 800 overseas military bases. next after that is conservation, by a wide margin. ms oreskes fails to mention either.

    High speed rail is marketed as a sustainable alternative to air traffic. According to the International Union of Railways, the high speed train “plays a key role in a stage of sustainable development and combating climate change”. As a regular long-distance train traveller in Europe, I have to say that the opposite is true. High speed rail is destroying the most valuable alternative to the airplane; the “low speed” rail network that has been in service for decades.

    The introduction of a high speed train connection invariably accompanies the elimination of a slightly slower, but much more affordable, alternative route, forcing passengers to use the new and more expensive product, or abandon the train altogether.

    1. Ben Johannson

      Interesting link but it provides no evidence beyond the anecdotal to support its conclusions.

      although it’s possible that government action will reduce carbon emissions, it’s far more likely that emissions will INCREASE (due to the buildup of high speed rail and nuclear, just to name a couple)

      This isn’t the subject of the post meaning you threw it in because you have a political axe to grind.

      the single most effective thing we can do to reduce fossil fuel consumption: close the 800 overseas military bases.

      Says who? You?

      next after that is conservation, by a wide margin.

      Conservation of what? In what sectors? With what investments? Paid for by whom, (as you’ve already ruled out public investment)? By what margin?

      ms oreskes fails to mention either.

      This isn’t the subject of the post. No reason why she should mention either. Have you read what she did write?

      1. susan the other

        I don’t think kimyo is at odds with Ms. Oreskes. I agree that 800 military bases around the world are a huge problem because the military is the A-number-one polluter on the planet. Nobody ever argues that fact. Interestingly, in her recap, Oreskes credits the MIC (mostly nasa) with finding problems and solutions to the climate disaster. And conservation is a no brainer. In order to conserve we need to establish a way to do it. It’s only a logistics problem. But there is no question we need to conserve the planet’s resources.

  3. Jim in SC

    According to Coyote Blog, all the evidence of climate change before 1450 comes from studying the tree rings of a single tree. I guess he’s a Republican.

    1. Alex Hanin

      Yeah right. And scientists have never heard of ice cores, lake sediments, etc. Just that single tree. Amazing.

      1. DJG

        Thanks, Alex Hanin. You know the deniers. They pick one piece of evidence and pretend that they have defeated science. They don’t understand how much evidence is out there, because that might cause them to have to reshape their prejudices.

    2. David B.

      Yes, and most of the Republican argument for climate change denial comes from a colossal misreading of a book written, what? 1500 years ago.

      1. Vatch

        Which book? Augustine’s City of God was written between 1500 and 1600 years ago; is that the book?

    3. Adam Eran

      FYI, the “Coyote” is not just a denier, but the Rush Limbaugh of bloggers. In addition to writing a *very* right-wing blot, for his living, he runs a series of campgrounds (KOA?) heavily dependent on inexpensive gasoline. Not exactly the unbiased observer.

      1. Jim in SC

        I think your argument is ad hominem. I’ve found the Coyote to be very logical on most topics. If you don’t like what he says, point out what specific thing he’s saying you think is false. I think his readership rivals this one in terms of knowledge, education, etcetera.

        Some words of Aristotle remind me that one’s expectations of exactness in science need to be appropriate to the subject. The climate may be too complex to model.

        1. kickbassperson

          Where to start. There is so much that is objectively wrong with the Coyote post. I haven’t read anything else by him but this post is crap.

          -“all the evidence of climate change before 1450 comes from studying the tree rings of a single tree”:BS. A paper like that would NEVER get published. Here, Mann uses a dozen different sources of proxy data:

          “Despite Mann’s reticence to allow anyone to check his work’: The data, and methods employed by Mann are easily obtainable and have been validated numerous times by other scientists.

          -“throw out their old consensus on the basis of one study”: Utter nonsense. There are many studies, and many scientists whose work supports AGW. Warming didn’t really start in earnest until the early ’90s so of course warming wasn’t observed until it actually happened.

          -Wegman and Said are know plagiarists and that’s not the only reason their work is suspect.

          I could go on.

          This is a technical subject so it’s no wonder that many people get hoodwinked. Jim…you’re one of the hoodwinked.

    4. Binky j bear

      According to this deformed newt blog, there is no dictionary definition of the words gullible, chump, yokel,goober, mark or loser.

  4. S

    “And not just at home. As climate change unfolds around the globe, climate disasters will give undemocratic forces the justification they seek to commandeer resources, declare martial law, interfere with the market economy, and suspend democratic processes.”

    So if you’re one of the powers that be, what’s not to like? If you favor conspiracy theory, it looks like things are going exactly as planned by those thems.

  5. Jim Haygood

    ‘Despite the long history of this work and its bipartisan nature, climate science continues to be scurrilously attacked.’

    1. Using ‘bipartisan’ and ‘science’ in the same sentence is laughable. The Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq were bipartisan too.

    2. No scientist would use the word ‘scurrilous’ to characterize disagreement with his/her work. This is a political adjective, not a scientific term. But it’s not surprising coming from an author pounding the table with her simple-minded ‘D party good, R party b-b-b-BAD’ rhetorical chant. What a lightweight!

    1. Alexandre Hanin

      Smurfs do exist, it’s just that the government doesn’t want you to know. And don’t say this is “scurrilous”, it wouldn’t be scientific.

    2. sufferinsuccotash

      Where did the author say that the Democratic Party is good? The only reference I found to the Democratic Party was this:

      The scientific work that produced this consensus was done by scientists around the globe — men and women, old and young, and in this country Republicans as well as Democrats. In fact, curiously enough, given recent Republican congressional “hoax” claims, probably more of them were Republicans than Democrats. Gordon MacDonald, for example, was a close advisor to President Nixon and Dave Keeling was awarded the National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush in 2002.

      It’s amazing what you can turn up if you read a piece all the way through.

    3. zapster

      Unscientific and falsely “scientific” attacks are scurrilous. These attacks are not science and are not valid. They are, indeed, scurrilous, with often completely false “studies” and faked data.

    4. Larry B.

      Why wouldn’t a scientist use “scurrilous” to characterize criticism of their work if said criticism was done in the bad faith characteristic of denialists? They intentionally misrepresent legitimate research, cherry pick data, engage in ad hominem attacks and ridiculous conspiracy theories. “Scurrilous” is the probably the mildest way to describe them, a more accurate description wouldn’t be fit for a family oriented blog.

      1. Lady in Red

        No, sir. There are no “climate denialists” (whatever that might be), but there are very very smart scientists who are skeptical of the faux research done, mostly, by govt-funded “scientists” who shoehorn data into pre-determined results.

        NOAA, for example, just finished “adjusting” recent raw data to “prove” that there has been no twenty year hiatus in warming.

        No govt-funded “scientist” — including Naomi — will debate *any* of the skeptics who, contrary to the alarmist meme are funded by “big oil” are, mostly, retired scientists and engineers who run intellectual circles around the likes of poor, incompetent Michael Mann and his infamous hockey stick.

        If you actually believe in honest science, read something outside the alarmist bubble world of jeers and appeals to 97 percent “authority.”

        Read:

        WattsUpWithThat.com
        JudithCurry.com
        ClimateAudit.org

        There is *nothing* “denialist” there, just a hunt for honest science, without the alarmist hysteria.

        ….Lady in Red

        1. weevish

          WattsUpWithThat?! Stop it! Yer killin’ me!

          Seriously, what’s the going rate for this kind of thing? Can you make a decent living at it or is it just a few extra bucks for beer?

          1. Lady in Red

            See? If you live in a bubble of faux science — and even are unwilling to *look* outside of that intellectual bubble — you are trapped.

            But that has nothing to do with the smart, honest folk who actually *do*, discuss, analyze,and promote honest science.

            Alarmists are great at jeering, but little else.

            And, what is at stake? World-wide attempts to mitigate — at horrible expense and world-wide bureaucracy — a non-problem. You might be able to afford more for gasoline and home heating, but the burden will fall, mostly, on third world countries unable to pay the premiums global governments will demand.

            ABC was screaming only five years ago that NY City would be under water by June 2015. Google it. That’s the kind of idiot hysteria that only a non-thinking shepple could love. ….Lady in Red

            1. baldski

              Lady in Red: Think outside the box and ask yourself how all that carbon got buried in the ground? What were conditions on earth like when all that carbon got buried? What was it like in Alaska and Siberia when all that carbon got buried? Was it hot and humid up there at that time, that gave rise to huge algae blooms?

              1. Lady in Red

                Ok, guys. Bubble on! *Trying* to accept some new information might hurt you, after all.

                I don’t know. ….Lady in Red

            2. Larry B.

              Who cares what some idiot reporter on ABC said? Show me an article in a refereed climate journal that was making predictions like that. Hint: most reporters aren’t very smart and will report whatever brings in money.

        2. Alex Hanin

          Some people seem to live in a parallel universe. Realizing that Curry et al.’s arguments are pure nonsense isn’t that hard. You just have to actually read what the ‘97%’ have to say. But how boring would that be? Thinking that one is ‘original’ and a ‘free thinker’ and a ‘sceptic’ is much more fun and rewarding.

          ‘Honest science’… Whatever. Even Curry and Watts would laugh at that one.

    5. Jamie

      I know you’re a regular here, Jim and I have often enjoyed your comments, but I think you missed the point on this one. Yes, ‘scurrilous’ is not a word used to describe honest disagreement, but I think Orestes is referring to the ad hominem attacks, threats and harassment of scientists that have nothing to do with honest disagreement between scientists. I find her language to be quite appropriate.

      1. bh2

        Terms like “denialist” aren’t scurrilous ad hominem attacks on people who hold a dissenting point of view? More and more people snigger at this kind of amusing self-deception in service of confirmation bias. So by all means carry on…

        1. Lambert Strether

          Most of this non-organic commentary, by people who comment on just this one topic, is not a “dissenting point of view,” since that implies good faith. “Denialism” is a perfectly sound word. Where, as here, the context is appropriate, I encourage its use.

    6. Lambert Strether

      Actually, a scientist who can’t recognize and call out a scurrilous attack when they see one is probably not going to be much of a success as a scientist. Darwin needed “Darwin’s bulldog,” after all, and it was a victory for science that he had one.

  6. mad as hell.

    Pope Francis’s encyclical is going to open up a whole new front on the climate change deniers. Will it be a battle or a skirmish? Either way the Catholic Republicans will be wiggling in their pews.

  7. Simon Girty

    K & C Street social networking advocacy solutions’ trolls have only just recently abandoned the lefty blog aggregators, in their roll of industry sock-puppets, pontificating obfuscatory pleonasm & vomiting bilious big lies, over and over, taking up 2/3rds of every ‘comments’ thread. We’d seen a tsunami of this on sites using Disqus and were pretty shocked when they simply disappeared in just under a single week; like a switch being shut off. The fracking, bitumen pipelines from Indian mills & global warming threads actually had actual readers, arguing actual, individual points-of-view… even discussing & informing each other! You don’t figure, that the money was shut off to these trolls due to some bean counter @ Koch Industries finally figuring out the concept of diminishing return? Keeping inebriate boomers in trolls to don’t pay?

  8. Steve H.

    The ironic part is that (imo) the Russians have doubled down on global warming. It opens northern trade routes, makes the steppes habitable and potentially productive agriculturally, and best of all they get paid to do it.

    Nice to know that the deniers are Russian catspaws.

    1. Adam Eran

      But then there’s all that methane under permafrost in Siberia…only 23 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas…I’m guessing that if you’re right, their intentions are to fine-tune climate change not to melt it….

      What could possibly go wrong?

    2. susan the other

      I’ve been wondering about that too. Russia never chimes in with the rest of us on mitigating global warming. And they are planning an agricultural development in Siberia. Putin is said to have commented a few years ago that Russia likes global warming because it makes their landmass easier to develop and their ocean navigable. If I were Russian I might be thinking this too. I guess the same goes for Canada and Alaska. The most terrifying thing to realize, however, is that we cannot turn the clock back to a more temperate climate and already we are seeing the devastation.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        I guess they like massive, multi thousand hectare forest fires ripping across the taiga too. Cause that is what they’ve been getting lately, courtesy of CO2 driven climate change.

    3. Rex

      Russian scientists have contributed greatly to understanding of some climate change effects, including sounding a warning about the dangers of methane releases from a warming arctic, both sea and land.
      Dr. Igor Semiletov, Dr. Natalia Shakhova (), and The Russian Center of Arctic Exploration.

      To name just a few, my awareness courtesy of Robert Scribbler Blog

      Science clarifies physical facts. If you don’t think gravity is a science fact, do you fall off the globe? Actually that wouldn’t be a bad thing…all deniers float off into space.

      War on science is a war on the people.

  9. Walt Guthrie

    “In 1977, Robert M. White, the first administrator of NOAA . . . summarized the scientific findings . . . this way . . ”

    I believe that Dr. White actually contributed to climate skepticism.

    In the early 1960’s, airline pilots noted the vast extent of industrial pollution and asked that the Weather Service report the obscuration as “smoke” rather than as combinations of “smoke” and “haze.”

    In response, Dr. White revised NWS definitions. Haze had been “salt particles or dust.” Dr. White changed the definition so that smoke “transitions” to haze as it travels 25 to 100 miles or more, and large particles settle. After this revision, reports of smoke sharply decreased and reports of haze increased.

    Actually as emissions travel, sulfur dioxide becomes particulate sulfate. These small acidic particles degrade rural and urban visibility alike, reducing summertime visual range to a small fraction of the natural value.

    By misnaming the obscuration, Dr. White impeded public recognition of the geographic extent of emissions. If citizens had understood continental-scale particulate pollution, they could now better imagine global greenhouse effects.

    1. susan the other

      I assume particulate sulfate is acidic. This then added to the acidification of the planet and the oceans. The recent science on how CO2 breaks down in the oceans and hydrogen atoms recombine (forming?) and that process also acidifies the oceans is just the natural extension of our climate crisis. Because it is also a chemical reaction crisis. I think the term “global warming” is (as Hoexter would say) too genteel.

        1. craazyboy

          I should probably add that much CO2 will merely “dissolve” in water – it doesn’t chemically combine. So that makes oceans a good “sink”, until they become saturated. (at atmospheric pressure)

          I think the effect of sulfur is much worse, hence the concerns about acid rain.

          1. Walt Guthrie

            Yes, sulfur dioxide emissions are the chief cause of acid rain. Industrial sulfate is the “summer haze” over hill and dale. It’s widespread pollution hiding in plain view. Dr. White’s 1967 definition revision helped ensure it remains hidden.

  10. Carla

    Beautifully written piece by Naomi Oreskes. Thank you for posting, Yves.

    But isn’t it ironic that climate scientists had to turn to the Pope for support?

    1. Noonan

      Not ironic at all. Their belief in human-caused catastrophic climate change is based on faith, not facts.

      1. susan the other

        I always thought they attributed catastrophe to god’s displeasure with them. So facts are not eliminated.

      2. Lambert Strether

        My favorite tweet.

        Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.

        — Scott Westerfeld (@ScottWesterfeld)

    2. zapster

      By all reports, the Pope turned to the scientists. The scientists did not turn to him.

      1. MikeNY

        Which is as it should be. The man has the humility not to try to ‘out-science’ the scientists. Contrast that with Mssrs Bush and Rubio…

  11. DJG

    The piece suffers from pretending that John McCain is a serious person. Would you hang an analysis of foreign policy on Lindsay Graham?

    1. susan the other

      I think John McCain has secretly taken on the role of court jester. He was once among the most sensible politicians. Why he did an about face is anybody’s guess. It probably went something like this (imo): We have followed the Antarctic Western Ice Sheet and global warming since the late 70s. We knew it was gonna go. And in the going it would take down western banking and finance because who wants to invest in all that infrastructure and real estate nestled along all those coastal shorelines and all those islands. The edict came down in 2006 after a report that there was no hope left: Do whatever it takes to get your money outa there! We need a trustworthy buffoon to smokescreen this panic. Call McCain.

      1. Crazy Horse

        John McCain among the most sensible of politicians? The same McCain who chose Caribou Barbie as his running mate, thereby guaranteeing his defeat in the presidential election? Advancing senility is a much better explanation for his behavior.

  12. juliania

    I came here this morning after tracking the fires in Alaska that erupted over the weekend. I’m at a loss to understand some of the comments here.

    Thank you, Yves, for continuing to bring us articles that explain in depth our current difficulties, how past solutions have worked, (or been stymied) – a sliver of hope for the future if those who can affect change make the effort to do so. If we want to talk about ‘legacy’ (and we do) I think the best legacy for the first George Bush is that ozone depletion correction.

    Intransigency linked to the tobacco terrorists is to my mind the salient point. And time to label those profiting from fossil fuel burning as terrorists was yesterday.

    1. Vatch

      Why do you say that the climate is cooling? it’s not. It’s warming. See:

      Perhaps you have experienced some local cooling? Pockets of local cooling are possible as the average global temperature rises. And there are also pockets of extreme warming, such as India, where asphalt softened recently because of the heat.

    2. susan the other

      The climate is homogenizing. It is getting warmer at night. The ice sheets cannot repair themselves. And overall it is clearly warming – but you won’t notice it so much if you like warmer nights. I can’t sleep at night if the temperature is above 55. I hate summer nights. They are stifling.

      1. craazyman

        don’t you have AC?

        don’t be a martyr for the sake of a pagan nature god!

        It won’t be worth it when you get to hell and there’s a goat with a bullwhip smiling at you. Some people might find that a pleasing image, but there won’t be the pleasant passtimes the world’s sinners partake in in parlors of lust.

        How can NC support daily Water Cooler when there’s a water shortage everywhere? I hope it’s not bottled water carried by exhaust belching trailer truck. This is too serious a problem for idle pretentious dramas.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          No water?

          Let them drink champagne and eat cake.

          Too hot?

          Move them to a cooler planet.

          Next question.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I have the same scorching summer night leepless problem.

        Americans not getting enough sleep while on a zero nutritional GM greasy diet is the reason why, I believe, people are too enervate to protest, to bring about change and hope.

        That’s my theory.

        Perhaps something like a minimum hours of sleep law is required.

  13. Ivy

    I believe in the reality of climate change.
    I also believe in the inability of our current government structure to address the issue adequately.
    There are too many vested interests and too many entrenched bureaucrats with agendas to manipulate whatever becomes the resulting policy.
    One type of solution to the political aspect of the climate change debate would be to have an approach similar to the up or down/all or nothing type of vote that was used on the BRAC list for military base closures.
    What variations on that, or what other solutions may the readership propose?

    1. Deloss Brown

      There will be an up-or-down vote on whether to fix climate change–in 2016. Lines have already been drawn up. One party has fielded about 322 hopeful candidates, all of whom deny that climate change exists. (There are slight variations on the theme among the 322.)

      Like Juliana, I thank Yves for publishing this piece by Professor Oreskes. Like Juliana, I am amazed at some of the willfully obfuscating, obstructive and malicious (scurrilous, even!) comments on here. But I suppose it is better that the deniers spread their soapsuds blather in NC, whose readers are generally pretty smart. It does less harm here than in general public distribution, except to one’s digestion.

    2. bh2

      The climate has been changing persistently and continuously for the entire evolutionary life of the planet. Serious people have known this for a very long time. The geological record clearly shows this to be true. It therefore isn’t controversial.

      The question which has inspired passionate political advocacy is whether this persistent and continuous process is being adversely influenced by behaviors of mankind.

  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    The science is clear on this issue, but as with big tobacco, economic and related political interests present policy impediments both nationally and internationally. Although it has significant influence, the U.S. government does not have global hegemony and doesn’t operate in a policy vacuum on this issue. There are other centers of political power and spheres of global and regional influence. China and India, for example, the world’s two most populous nations, have along with the U.S., refused to sign any treaty that would obligate them legally to reduce CO2 emissions.

    Rather than focusing on transferring sovereign powers of government to large transnational corporations and banks under highly secretive international agreements such as the TPP, TTIP and TISA; and on unilateral and distant military actions in other nations, the focus of U.S. government needs to be shifted to diplomatic initiatives to address the overriding international issue of climate change.

    This will, of course, require that we get our own house in order. Yes, change will be difficult and there are aspects to it that are most unwelcome. But TINA in my view.

  15. susan the other

    I enjoyed this recap. I don’t find fault with any of it. We Americans have always been vigilant about climate changes we cause. And our MIC has found the problems and posed the solutions. That’s just one reason why we should use them now to mobilize our next “war”. Against the further destruction of the planet. But we haven’t always been vigilant about curbing our own enthusiasms. And the military isn’t really suited to ration toilet paper, drinking water, joy riding and frivolous consumerism. That’s where perverted politix comes in. It’s a shame. It’s a free-market shame if there ever was one.

  16. kevinearick

    Old School Perspective

    So, it’s all a big welfare program, for the majority, which wants to talk, supervise others and be paid for the privilege, and real estate is the by far the largest component, all trying to convince you that you need a hundred layers of management to tell you what needs to be done, based upon a theory of moron information advantage, skynet, demanding a share of the output accordingly.

    And they have gone exactly nowhere, watching their standard of living fall, waiting to see where the next wind blows. Even Trump has been sucked into the gravity, talking about jobs with nary a word about work. He’ll find somebody. The enemy is always someone else.

    For the few who may want some perspective, this is what my wife beats me over the head with every night, from Ray Meetmeinthemeadow in this case:

    “Kindness happens when love acts.
    Joy happens when love celebrates.
    Patience happens when love waits.
    …” you get the idea.

    We have a pair of otters now, deer, seals with pups, all manner of birds breeding, and I expect a bear any day now, drawn in by the “eco-tourists,” and my wife is seven months pregnant, so why should I go to the city, to wade through drug needles, used condoms, vomit, and all manner of human waste, to get the city critters on their way, “99%” of whom want to hunt me down, tax me into the grave, and force my children into early childhood brainwashing, by an angry feminist, who is going to vote for Hillary, the $15M woman, promising equality by selling war to ensure the outcome, just another gang, with a female head?

    Old School is just common sense. The majority is always hiding from nature, blaming anyone who doesn’t for outcomes, putting the poor in prison for being poor. A man needs a woman to have children, and a woman needs a man to provide for the future, but look to government for any answer you like.

    Those computers are redundant, arbitrary and structurally embedded to climate variability, with a rapidly shrinking half-life. Good luck with all that, expecting to replace labor with a c-clamp and politicians representing entitlement babies pretending to be labor, without the common sense to get out of the way for their own grandchildren.

    The feudalists are welcome to their lifestyle, of deficits and debt, until they try to impose their political correctness with Family Law on labor’s children, at which point you might want to be able to fix your own crap, or not. I won’t be the one standing in your way if you go to war; you will be looking at yourself in the mirror. Time is merely the distance between what you choose to see and reality, and the speed of light is far slower than what you are told to believe.

    Labor doesn’t work for paper, shiny objects, or arbitrary numbers in a computer. Labor works for its children, which the majority cannot afford under any condition. Do really think that those surrounding you with surveillance, and interfering with your progress, stand a chance in the hell they occupy, or that there is any place left on this planet for the retreads to hide, should labor choose to unleash what it is capable of unleashing?

    Be about your business, and leave the majority to lie in the bed it made, for itself. There is nothing going on in that skyscraper that you can’t see from the basement, if you look. Everything is wired back to the controller. All you need is a meter and a screwdriver. The rest is for show. That error code is the third point on a line, not the first. Don’t address the second derivative and expect a happy outcome.

    Slave or master, employee or employer, in a circle of slaves and masters, make-work jobs all, is a false choice. And what they really hate about you is that you have one foot in and one foot a thousand miles away, because you did your homework, long before class began, early childhood programming right out of the womb, fitting for a cookie-cutter society, of artificial facades. Labor doesn’t care what the Fed does next, but the next point on the curve is +0675.

    Government is never going to give you an incentive to work, to threaten the status quo. Look at the connections in the hash table, not the stack. Donald Trump is a far more serious candidate than most assume, because the real estate welfare state is being addressed, along with everyone’s role in the sh-show. If you listen, all the politicians argue about objectives, and none of them do anything. The doing is always up to you, so you may as well set your own priorities, and learn for yourself.

    If a transgender can make a million on a reality TV show, why can’t a white woman be a black, to complete the circle, and what does that say about affirmative action, rights granted by the State?

    Go to any big city. Order a part, go get it, bring it back, and look at it, and then calculate the real cost, after you have installed and replaced it three times. I don’t need a 3-D printer to make a plastic pair of pliers. I need a machine to reprogram the programmers, now that Virginia has made a shambles of public education, making it yet another piss-poor, economic-activity black hole. Security for those so made insecure is not an economy.

    Global trade among thieves promising something for nothing, driving real estate inflation with the resulting artificial scarcity, is always a bridge to nowhere, but that never stops the majority from queuing up at the abutment, exchanging its children as slaves for a hovel, expecting you to do the same by law. Funny, children aren’t born chasing money, an accounting token, worth no more than the collection of thieves controlling it, in a peer pressure group.

    Nixon was no outlier, and increasing the number of landlords in the ponzi didn’t make natural resource exploitation better, surprise. Education isn’t about the quality of the teacher; it’s about the quality of the student, and retreading corporate politicians as Albert Einsteins, with best business practice, is never going to produce a good result, except as a set of counterweights.

      1. kevinearick

        The only difference between small town politics, big city politics and global politics is the size of the delusions.

  17. dutch

    The IPCC in its fifth assessment report (AR5) expresses far more uncertainty about warming causing “climate disasters” than Oreskes seems prepared to acknowledge. Painting everyone who questions the certainty of dire consequences from global warming as “climate deniers” is unprofessional and impedes open scientific debate.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      There is no longer a legitimate scientific debate about the likely impacts of increasing CO2 and CH4 in our atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.
      The call for “debate” is coming strictly from those who have a direct economic interest in blocking change, & the histrionic sentimentalists who support them.

  18. kevinearick

    Old School Perspective

    So, it’s all a big welfare program, for the majority, which wants to talk, supervise others and be paid for the privilege, and real estate is the by far the largest component, all trying to convince you that you need a hundred layers of management to tell you what needs to be done, based upon a theory of moron information advantage, skynet, demanding a share of the output accordingly.

    And they have gone exactly nowhere, watching their standard of living fall, waiting to see where the next wind blows. Even Trump has been sucked into the gravity, talking about jobs with nary a word about work. He’ll find somebody. The enemy is always someone else.

    For the few who may want some perspective, this is what my wife beats me over the head with every night, from Ray Meetmeinthemeadow in this case:

    “Kindness happens when love acts.

    Joy happens when love celebrates.

    Patience happens when love waits.

    …” you get the idea.

    We have a pair of otters now, deer, seals with pups, all manner of birds breeding, and I expect a bear any day now, drawn in by the “eco-tourists,” and my wife is seven months pregnant, so why should I go to the city, to wade through drug needles, used condoms, vomit, and all manner of human waste, to get the city critters on their way, “99%” of whom want to hunt me down, tax me into the grave, and force my children into early childhood brainwashing, by an angry feminist, who is going to vote for Hillary, the $15M woman, promising equality by selling war to ensure the outcome, just another gang, with a female head?

    Old School is just common sense. The majority is always hiding from nature, blaming anyone who doesn’t for outcomes, putting the poor in prison for being poor. A man needs a woman to have children, and a woman needs a man to provide for the future, but look to government for any answer you like.

    Those computers are redundant, arbitrary and structurally embedded to climate variability, with a rapidly shrinking half-life. Good luck with all that, expecting to replace labor with a c-clamp and politicians representing entitlement babies pretending to be labor, without the common sense to get out of the way for their own grandchildren.

    The feudalists are welcome to their lifestyle, of deficits and debt, until they try to impose their political correctness with Family Law on labor’s children, at which point you might want to be able to fix your own crap, or not. I won’t be the one standing in your way if you go to war; you will be looking at yourself in the mirror. Time is merely the distance between what you choose to see and reality, and the speed of light is far slower than what you are told to believe.

    Labor doesn’t work for paper, shiny objects, or arbitrary numbers in a computer. Labor works for its children, which the majority cannot afford under any condition. Do really think that those surrounding you with surveillance, and interfering with your progress, stand a chance in the hell they occupy, or that there is any place left on this planet for the retreads to hide, should labor choose to unleash what it is capable of unleashing?

    Be about your business, and leave the majority to lie in the bed it made, for itself. There is nothing going on in that skyscraper that you can’t see from the basement, if you look. Everything is wired back to the controller. All you need is a meter and a screwdriver. The rest is for show. That error code is the third point on a line, not the first. Don’t address the second derivative and expect a happy outcome.

    Slave or master, employee or employer, in a circle of slaves and masters, make-work jobs all, is a false choice. And what they really hate about you is that you have one foot in and one foot a thousand miles away, because you did your homework, long before class began, early childhood programming right out of the womb, fitting for a cookie-cutter society, of artificial facades. Labor doesn’t care what the Fed does next, but the next point on the curve is +0675.

    Government is never going to give you an incentive to work, to threaten the status quo. Look at the connections in the hash table, not the stack. Donald Trump is a far more serious candidate than most assume, because the real estate welfare state is being addressed, along with everyone’s role in the sh-show. If you listen, all the politicians argue about objectives, and none of them do anything. The doing is always up to you, so you may as well set your own priorities, and learn for yourself.

    If a transgender can make a million on a reality TV show, why can’t a white woman be a black, to complete the circle, and what does that say about affirmative action, rights granted by the State?

    Go to any big city. Order a part, go get it, bring it back, and look at it, and then calculate the real cost, after you have installed and replaced it three times. I don’t need a 3-D printer to make a plastic pair of pliers. I need a machine to reprogram the programmers, now that Virginia has made a shambles of public education, making it yet another piss-poor, economic-activity black hole. Security for those so made insecure is not an economy.

    Global trade among thieves promising something for nothing, driving real estate inflation with the resulting artificial scarcity, is always a bridge to nowhere, but that never stops the majority from queuing up at the abutment, exchanging its children as slaves for a hovel, expecting you to do the same by law. Funny, children aren’t born chasing money, an accounting token, worth no more than the collection of thieves controlling it, in a peer pressure group.

    Nixon was no outlier, and increasing the number of landlords in the ponzi didn’t make natural resource exploitation better, surprise. Education isn’t about the quality of the teacher; it’s about the quality of the student, and retreading corporate politicians as Albert Einsteins, with best business practice, is never going to produce a good result, except as a set of counterweights.

    The only difference between small town politics, big city politics and global politics is the size of the delusions.

  19. Jack King

    Obviously science should not be ignored, especially on the subject of global warming. Many are deniers because of politics. But science has given us new data to ponder….the slowdown in the sunspot cycle which generally lasts cerca 200 years….and results in global cooling. Will this new data also fall victim to politics?

  20. tiresoup

    The term “denier” is a political, propaganda term. It denies there is any role for skepticism in science. People who use that term are threatened by what should be a normal scientific process of challenging the data and the interpretation of data to find the truth. That science is incremental, needs to be tested, and is subject to change as we gain more understanding is never acknowledged by the hair-on-fire crowd. There is ample reason to challenge the data, the models, and the interpretation of climate models. (Uh, because if your model predicts something that turns out to be wrong, maybe your model is wrong.) Even if climate change is taking us to hell in a hand basket, can anyone of you “alarmists” really honestly say that you think that humans can “fix” something as complex as climate? And by “fix,” do you mean keep it the way it is? The absurdity of believing humans 1) have it all figured out as to what is going on with climate and 2) know how to “fix” it 3) are good enough at government to actually “fix” it – just mind boggling. What I know for sure is carbon taxes will be another global governance boondoggle that will make some people very rich and keep others in line. I’m also pretty sure Mother Nature is much, much smarter than we are. Glad to see some climate skeptics showing up here. Science is not faith and does not require belief, only proof. So called “deniers” are saying the so-called “proof” is unconvincing.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Well, except for the ones funded by Big Oil, exactly as “deniers” were funded by Big Tobacco. Hilariously, many of the propagandists who now work on climate change denial previously worked on denial regarding cancer sticks.

      1. Lady in Red

        Gad! Such a silly lefty meme. Pleeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzze think! Move beyond the slogans.

        This is important. ….Lady in Red

        PS: I know: you will dump this comment, also, because your “flock” doesn’t appreciate being challenged, in any way.

        PPS: Do watch the Walter Cronkite clip. What we don’t know about the weather, never mind the climate, would fill an ocean. What we do know would fill a thimble.

  21. Luke The Debtor

    The upper 700 meters of the world’s oceans have risen by 0.30° F since 1969[1]. LOL. Not. Worried.

    1. Levitus, et al, “Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems,” Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L07608 (2009)

Comments are closed.