Really Sciency

Visit my other blog 'Really Sciency' looking at Climate Science and its portrayal, misrepresentation and denial in the media.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Million Dollar Willie

Follow the Money

And oft used argument from science deniers is, ‘Follow the Money’, often spouted with the implication that if scientists actually make a living from their profession they are probably corrupt, and will publish any flawed science as long as the grant money keeps coming. In fact it is usually suggested that they publish flawed science to keep the grant money coming.

The amount of money the science denying crowd arrive at usually varies enormously. For example in man made climate change denial, it always includes research money but can also include any one who might actually profit in some way including the corner shop selling an energy efficient light bulb. It also usually includes the millions used for satellites, their launching and their operation. But what the deniers usually ignore is that scientists do not gain from this, and are not in the position to alter the remote data for their own ends anyway.  Many of the satellites are not specifically geared for climate change work as their primary use may be surveillance, weather and the like which is needed in the modern world even if it wasn’t heating up.

Of course anyone with half an ounce of sense who really was concerned about following the money would wonder how the research side stacks up against all others. When comparing the billions sloshing in the fossil fuels and chemicals industries with academic research into climate change I doubt it stacks up at all.
 So let’s follow some money.

We find that one of the very few scientifically qualified climate sceptics, Dr. Willie Soon, who has actually published research by peer review, has received $1m from oil companies over the past decade according to this investigation.
But let’s clear something about funding up – it shouldn’t really matter where funding comes from. If research shows that 9 out of 10 cats prefer a certain cat food and the research is carried out by a pet food manufactured or research shows a certain product really does make your hair shinier than rival products and is paid for by a hair care company it does not invalidate the research. There may be a conflict of interest but if the research is sound and peer reviewed there is nothing to stop it from being good science. But it has to pass these tests.

So Dr Soon pocketing a million dollars for research is fine if what is produced is good science and all above board. But is it? According the investigation and this article about it, it looks like Soon has claimed in 2004 that "All sources of funding for our research were fully disclosed in our manuscript. Most of our funding came from federal agencies, including the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and NASA" but he doesn’t seem to think substantial funding from the American Petroleum Institute from 2001 to about 2004 of over $150,000 is worth noting. Was this money used for research and not disclosed or used for something else entirely? I can’t really tell from the information in the two references I have linked to.

Another Real Climategate (after this one).

Forget about the CRU emails that became public and cherry picked, surely the emails released for this investigation by an FOI request need some explaining. They seem to show Dr Soon coordinating a plan in 2003 to undermine the IPCC Report years before the report was released in 2007 by contacting other prominent climate sceptics. Soon writes:

“Clearly they [the AR4 chapters] may be too much for any one of us to tackle them all ... But, as A-team, we may for once give it our best shot to try to anticipate and counter some of the chapters, especially WG1---judging from our true expertise in the basic climate sciences ...    

Even if we can tackle ONE single chapter down the road but forcefully and effectively ... we will really accomplish A LOT!    

In all cases, I hope we can start discussing among ourselves to see what we can do to weaken the fourth assessment report or to re-direct  attention back to science …”

Isn’t this real evidence of Climategate – orchestrated and premeditated planning by an ‘A-team’ to discredit a report years before it’s contents could have been fully known and reviewed? It certainly doesn't sound like an ethical scientist doing independent unbiased research.

The A Team

It seems that this 'A-team' contains some of the usual suspects;

Bob Carter
Dr. Sallie Baliunas
David Legates
Randy Randol aka Arthur G. Randol III

I'm the last person to believe in conspiracy theories but... A shadowy cabal of climate skeptics/deniers substantially funded by oil and coal interests who can be seen planing for years to discredit a report on climate change that could be used by Governments to determine policy which in turn could negatively affect oil and coal company profits. It is starting to should like I'm becoming a conspiracy theorist nut-job after all... except I really do think that the 'A-team' has some explaining to do.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

What exactly is 'Climate Denial'?

On another blog where I commented I was asked; "What does "climate denier" mean?", after I was taken to task for using the term. I was even accused of using the term "climate denier" as an attempt to associate those who question some aspects of "climate change" with "holocaust deniers"?

It has nothing to do with holocaust denial – and I would think.assuming so indicates some sort of persecution complex

It is a term to distinguish a genuine sceptic from someone who denies the conclusions of sound peer reviewed science.

Genuine sceptics consider all the evidence in their search for the truth. Deniers, on the other hand, refuse to accept any evidence that conflicts with their pre-determined views.

Lets get something straight – I simply accept the science. I would rather not but it is the rational thing to do. I am neither a ‘warmist’ nor a denier. If the Royal society (and all the credible national institutes and academies of science on the planet) conclude that climate change isn’t anthropogenic or isn’t the problem it claims it is then that is my position because I accept that they are in a far better position to determine the most likely than I. Unfortunately for us all they do not.

To assume form an unqualified position, which almost everyone is, including those who reject aspects of anthropogenic global warming, that the science is flawed or unrepresentative of the science community is pushing the bounds of scepticism into denial.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Why Climate Change Deniers wind me up.

I really couldn't care less what nonsense people personally believe ... as long as those beliefs don't impact me personally. People denying the science supporting climate change is a perfect example of this.

But what I do care a great deal about is the policies and strategies that are taken or will be taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change. I do not want to pay more tax. I do not want my travel costs to rise. I still want to be able to afford foreign holidays. I must be like most climate deniers in this.

If we are paying more in taxes or if money is being diverted from one area to another because of climate change then the discussion we should all be having is whether these policies will work? Will they be effective? Good value for our money? Or just some political fudge paying lip service to the need to do something, or just a convenient way to collect more of my hard earned money as tax and needlessly reducing my standard of living? So this is the debate we need to be having now, not about the established science, but what governments are and should do about it's implications.

The problem is that deniers don’t want to have this discussion. They have their heads buried hoping that all the science is wrong, or worse if they can convince enough people that it is wrong, it will be, and the need to actually debate solutions will vanish. For me that is the real problem with climate denial. It's a bit like getting stuck in an argument about whether bad hygiene can cause serious illness instead of debating the best way to improve sanitation.

While denial or disbelief in climate change still accounts to a sizeable minority of the population, instead of having people arguing what is the best and most cost effective solutions to adopt, we have people wasting time and sowing confusion by harping from the sidelines that there is no problem.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Teach the Controversy - Again!

"Teach the Controversy" was they cry from the Creationists and IDiots to circumvent actual science at school and manufacture a division in the Theory of evolution that did not exist.

Now the climate deniers are influencing school curriculum by the same tactic. They are being asked to present both sides of the global warming debate in classes in a high schools in Los Alamitos.

Why are people so irrational that they consider a balance is needed between the peer-reviewed scientific evidence and internet bloggers? If the science alone is considered there is NO Balance.

Friday, 10 June 2011

A Climate Denier Own Goal?

Climate sceptics are meeting together again for a pseudo-scientific conference . The event is being held at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and organised by a group called the AmericanFreedom Alliance, which claims to be "a non-political, non-partisan movement which promotes, defends and upholds Western values and ideals".

I’m not entirely sure how you can be non-political and non-partisan and still defend and uphold Western values and ideals.

Called; "BigFootprint: Is Green the New Tyranny" the events speakers include Lord (love child of Marty Feldman) Monckton, Benny Peiser (apparently a social anthropologist and Nigel Lawson’s wingman), James (I am an interpreter of interpretations) Delingpole, Phelim McAleer (an "anti-environmentalist" film maker), Steven Milloy (a paid advocate for ExxonMobil who runs the criminally named Junk Science web site), Christopher Horner (an attorney trying to subpoena all of Michael Mann’s emails), and Richard Lindzen (the odd man out as an actual – if oft debunked - atmospheric physicist). So the usual suspects then.

Although this meeting is being held at UCLA it is actually being held at the Faculty Center, a private club on which is independent of the university and they have stated that the presence of an event on campus does not imply an endorsement of the sponsor or the viewpoints expressed.

But what is more interesting is the Organisers of the event. I wonder if some speaking or even attending realise, or even care about what little credibility or reputation they have, or aware of the company they will be keeping?

 The American Freedom Alliance whose mission statement  says;
“The Alliance's conference's programs, publications, websites and networking groups develop tools and strategies to counter ideologies which underly these threats, including radical Islam, moral and cultural relativism, appeasement and excessive emphasis on multiculturalism.

The American Freedom Alliance aims to build a national alliance of people of faith and which involves writers, academics and thinkers from around the world, who will join together through seminars, conferences, publications and activist networks, to promote and protect moral values, democracy and freedom.”

As well as just suggesting some sort of religious and anti Islamic bent in its statement it is an organisation that has promoted intelligent design and tried to screen a "teach the controversy" film called Darwin's Dilemma, at the California Science Center in 2009 and is involved in legal action over its cancellation.

Robert Spencer a American Freedom Alliance fellow also claims Barack Obama is a Muslim and runs a controversial blog called Jihad Watch. Not content with sticking to promoting this trash in the US, Spencer he used his blog to offer his support to the far-right English Defence League: "The EDL is standing up to violent thugs from both the Left and the increasingly assertive Islamic communities in Britain, and they deserve the support of all free people."

So since this type of organisation, supported by these speakers, and is where most climate deniers get their information and ‘science’ from, I’d have to ask;

‘Isn’t it clear to everyone else that climate scepticism is far more motivated by political and religious ideology rather than reasoned objections to the science?’

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Extreme Heat the New Norm

"According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years."

Extreme Heat the New Norm
"Within the next 20 to 60 years, if greenhouse gas levels continue to rise summer temperatures are likely to rise irreversibly around the globe, with the tropics feeling the heat first, and parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas suffering unprecedented summer heat within the next two decades. The middle latitudes, including Europe, China, and the United States, will feel the heat within 60 years."