10 Replies to “The Billion-Dollar Hoax”

  1. Wow, this is a very thin argument. Does UC Berkley or Tsinghua adjudicate arguments in this way? Of course, yes, in some measure, because they’re all humans, and human love arguments based on ethos and pathos more than we do logos (takes too much time & effort). That some climate scientists may have used foolish and even unethical means to forward their cause does not make the cause illegitimate nor does it negate the factual basis. In addition, to say that those who recognize climate change and push for changes in our behavior are perpetuating a “fraud” is a farce of an argument. Incorrect conclusions, perhaps; fraud? Come on! Next, we’ll hear about a “conspiracy”. I love that thought: a worldwide conspiracy among persons from all over the world. And as to the failure of Copenhagen: again, we see myopia among politicians, not evidence that a problem doesn’t exist. This is a demonstration of the collective action problem, not any measure of proof that human activity has not affected global climate change.

    Finally, why has the Aussie PM stopped talking about global warming? IF he has, it probably has more to do with politics than with science.

    Given the complexity of the climate system, some predictions will prove dicey, and many wrong, but we have to go with the weight of the evidence, and I don’t see that it has shifted.

  2. Seth,

    Isn’t the bulk of this article an ad hominem? Let’s say there was a particularly powerful group of frothing (and credentialed) advocates who hated smoking and wanted it banned. And let’s say this group was willing to stretch the truth about smoking to advance their agenda. And maybe these folks like to cite a particular study that was done in the early days of smoking research that was later discovered to be tainted. Can we conclude, then, that smoking doesn’t cause cancer?

    It seems to me that the article says more about the IPCC than it does about global warming. Perhaps the difference lies in that the anti-smoking organization was created with a cause in mind, while the IPCC is supposed to just look at the science. From my experience, however, climate change scientists (at least the ones I’ve met) are passionate about the issue with the same zeal as any advocate.

    Similarly, I’m also unsure how you can refute climate change by simply pointing at the fact that the Earth has not warmed for the past 10 or so odd years. So one chronic smoker doesn’t develop cancer. Does that mean, then, that smoking doesn’t cause cancer? What about if ten smokers don’t get cancer? 100? Of course not. What matters is the overall body of evidence. Due to the nature of it, said body in regard to climate change is small and young, but the potential costs, if it turns out to be true, could be huge. Tremendous. Catastrophic, even. Large enough to outweigh the cost if we don’t act.

    So we’re stuck. If it’s a hoax, it’s a very elaborate one, probably the greatest ever made, perfectly tailored to prey on our poorly developed ability to identify causal relationships. Why are we so bad at that, anyway? So many of our problems seem to hinge on that.

    Please, correct me if I’m wrong, off the mark, or just plain missing the point, here, but this is how it seems.

  3. It’s very sad to see you going down this road. When you find yourself pointing to such a shoddy, thrown-together scandal-sheet article for support, it’s time to do some soul-searching. It’s obvious where all the money is, in climate change: it’s not in climate research. It’s in mineral extraction. It’s also a matter of public record where the money is being spent: it’s spent on muddying the water about the causes of climate change.

    Are you aware of the term “placement”? PR companies pay reporters a bonus for getting a story published that advances their clients’ interests. Each place a story appears is a placement, and merits another bonus. Remember all those articles glorifying fructose? Those were placements. Similarly, pomegranate juice. There is nothing to be proud of about being taken in by placements.

    Nobody is paying for placements of articles warning about global warming, but there is endless money for anyone playing up the manifestly phony “climategate”.

  4. Steve G., the article to which I linked does several things that “negate the factual basis”. For example, lack of warming in the last ten years, in contradiction of the models on which the predictions of catastrophe are based, is a considerable “negation” of the basis of the argument that if we don’t do something big and soon we’re doomed.

    bennetta, “scam” is a better description than “hoax”. It is one of many scams where someone scares you in order to make you buy protection — from them. It’s one-time, not on-going, so “protection racket” doesn’t really cover it. In contrast to criminal scams, I’m sure many (most? all?) of the scientists involved really believe what they say — but one reason they believe what they say is that it doesn’t help them to be skeptical about it. Lack of warming in the last 10 years is just one of many facts that cast doubt on the predictions of catastrophe.

  5. AAAACH. In the upper lefthand corner is a link to “FOXsports.” Which presumably means that the article you published is part of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Empire. It’s one thing to say that there are reasonable things in that article, but don’t ask me to waste my time to bother reading article from a company that employs Hannity, Bill Kristol, and Bill O’Reilly. My experiment with relying on them as a fair and balanced news source ended a long time ago.

  6. Pat,

    FYI, from Wikipedia: “The Herald Sun is a morning tabloid newspaper based in Melbourne, Australia. It is published by The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, a subsidiary of News Limited, itself a subsidiary of News Corporation….”

  7. Seth, with regard to your point that the lack of warming in the past 10 years contradicts the models: How literally do you mean this? Are you engaging in some playful iconoclasm, tweaking the establishment for fun, or does this represent your objective, rational understanding of the data?

    If the latter, can we infer that you believe that the models predict warming over the past 10 years with a high degree of probability, such that a ten year period with little or no warning would have been essentially ruled out? That would seem to be a straightforward translation of your claim into the language of model predictions and probability.

    If you agree, then could you say what your understanding is of the actual (approximate) probability that the models would have assigned to a lack of warming as extreme as what has been observed, such that it is fair to describe the observations as contradicting the models?

  8. “How literally do I mean this?” I am repeating the remark of a well-respected climate scientist in a Climategate email. The tone of the remark suggested it was a well-known fact (among climate scientists). The lack of agreement was distressing, so in that sense you could say, yes, the observation contradicted the model.

  9. What appears to be going on is that the solar system is cooling again, after warming a bit. There are cycles. Do greenhouse gas emissions have an impact on the cycles? Good chance, but do they create results independent of them? Ah, that is the rub.

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