Saturday, May 23, 2015

WUWT? and Monckton Caught Lying

Anthony Watts and Christopher Monckton, two of the most notoriously deceitful deniers, have been caught lying - and it was their own work that did it.

Anthony Watts is a TV weatherman (not even a meteorologist) who runs the anti-science blog Watts Up With That? and has been famous for a considerable time for the way he uses false arguments and false data to deceive people about global warming and climate change. He receives funds from the Heartland Institute, which means he is funded by the fossil fuel industry. Here is what I said about Watts in a submission to the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge:

Watts is one of the people that I automatically reject as a source of information - and for very good reason. First, he receives funds from The Heartland Institute. This is an organization whose very own internal documents show they fund people for the directed purpose of undermining climate science. That is enough for me to reject him and I use that standard on a routine basis. Anyone associated or affiliated with Heartland in any way is not a credible source. 

But, there is more. My take of the evidence is he fabricates his results. That would be consistent with being affiliated with Heartland. Take a look at a review of some of his work here.

Finally, consider this: When Richard Muller questioned the global average temperature results from the international teams, he set up his own team to examine the question using completely different data. Watts said this:

"I'm prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong. The method isn't the madness that we’ve seen from NOAA, NCDC, GISS, and CRU. That lack of strings attached to funding, plus the broad mix of people involved especially those who have previous experience in handling large data sets gives me greater confidence in the result being closer to a bona fide ground truth than anything we’ve seen yet."
But, when the Berkeley Earth team confirmed the results of the international teams, Watts rejected those results and was quoted by the NY Times:
"Mr. Watts ... contended that the study's methodology was flawed because it examined data over a 60-year period instead of the 30-year-one that was the basis for his research and some other peer-reviewed studies. He also noted that the report had not yet been peer-reviewed and cited spelling errors as proof of sloppiness."
Really!!?? Global warming isn't real because there were some spelling errors???!!!!
For a very revealing video on Watts, I recommend The video that Anthony Watts does not want you to see: The Climate Denial “Crock of the Week.” It is an amazing video and article on Watts. It truly shows just how anti-science he is.

The other well know anti-science denier, Christopher Monckton, is the third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, a hereditary title established in 1957 for the current Lord's grandfather. That part is true, many (if not all) of his other claims are false. He has made claims to being a member of the House of Lords, but he isn't. He has claimed to have been a science adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, but he was actually an economics adviser. At one time, he claimed to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics, but when he was quickly caught in this lie he claimed it was all a joke. He has made claims to having discovered the cure for many diseases, including Graves' disease, AIDS, MS, the flu and the common cold. His education consists of a degree in classics and a diploma in journalism, so he has no scientific qualifications, but he continues to present himself as an expert on the subject. Here is a video of a real scientist responding to some of Monckton's claims. It is a narrated PowerPoint presentation and is about 73 minutes long. Here are some very well made videos about Monckton and his claims:

 
What we have established is Watts and Monckton are two people who have no climate science qualifications, but have managed to promote themselves as being smarter than all of the climate scientists in the world combined. How did they do this? Through lies, false data, false arguments and with the help of fossil fuel money. Is it any wonder that they would get tangled up in their own lies?
 
Well, it's happened. 
 
Monckton and Watts have teamed up for years to produce graphics showing there has been no global warming. See here for one example. This particular lie consists of the ever popular claim that there has been no warming for [insert number here] years. Of course, this is a total falsehood and I have addressed it many times. Here's one example. Certainly, one of the reasons this claim is false is because it selectively picks the pertinent years to use. I showed examples in the referenced link of how even a small change in the selected years makes a huge difference.
 
But now, they have really been caught in the lie. OutOnALimb of the Daily Kos has published an excellent piece revealing how they cherry pick their data. It turns out they have published numerous versions of this plot and they have changed the start and end dates to get the desired results! What's up with that?

Monckton has been forced to change his end points to keep getting the desired results. The reality is, if his claim of no warming was true, there would be no need to change the end points.

So, if there is no need to change their endpoints, why did they? The reason is because the data does not support their claims. In other words, they have been lying about it.

What's up with that?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Religion and Climate Change Denial

I have long suspected there was a link between religion and climate change denial, but I have never been able to find detailed evidence of it. The way I figured it, religion is the cause for people to reject science when it comes to evolution. I frequently find people who reject evolution also reject climate change. Ergo, there is a link between religious beliefs and climate change denial.

Well, someone finally did the work to establish exactly how religion factors in to beliefs on both evolution and climate change. Here is a plot of his work:

Source: Josh Rosenau
The lower area on the chart represents less support for climate change. Likewise, the left side represents less support for evolution. What strikes me very quickly is the way this makes a horizontal band from lower left to upper right (with a few exceptions). In other words, for the majority of people, their acceptance of evolution correlates well with their acceptance of climate change.

Now, the author makes a very important point, one that I share. This chart is addressing religions in general and not specific people. How an individual feels about evolution and climate change is unique to them and they shouldn't be judged by something like this chart. In fact, I remember one of the most knowledgeable individuals I ever had discussions with on evolution was a friend who also happened to be a Baptist minister. He was very supportive of it and saw no conflict between the science and his religious beliefs. But, if you look at the chart, Baptist is way down towards the lower left (I never asked him how his congregation felt about his beliefs).

This is a nice piece of work and one more tool in our fight to overcome the work of the denier lobbyists.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Voodude: The World Is Cooling

I have been having a lively debate with a commenter on one of my recent postings. You can read it all here. This particular commenter, Voodude, claims the world is cooling, not warming. He gives all sorts of arguments to support his claim, including graphs. Let me present some of his arguments and address them for scientific accuracy.

As a note, Voodude has all of the traits of a troll, probably even a paid troll. It is the job of a troll to tie up bloggers and disseminate massive amounts of contrary misinformation, particularly cartoons and bad graphs. Voodude fits the profile precisely.

The world is cooling, not warming.



This was Voodude's claim and some of the graphs he supplied. I will provide my response below.

Voodude "that they try to gloss over the significance of very real data," This is VERY REAL DATA: COOLING since 1997. Data from NOAA satellites. Are you gong to gloss over this? This is not "short term" it is 17 years and it is not "regional weather," but GLOBAL...




Voodude There is no sense denying that the earth had warmed up, just as there is no sense denying that it is cooling. What is significantly different about my point is that it is currently cooling and that your point is old news.

The blackish areas have no anomalous temperature, they are normal. The blue-ish or purple areas are COOLER THAN NORMAL.
 
 

There are more black areas than red areas... and if one adds COOL to NORMAL, it eclipses the warm areas...

The white areas have no anomalous temperature, they are normal. The blue-ish areas are COOLER THAN NORMAL.



There are more normal+cool areas, than there are, hot areas.


My Response

Let's start with the easiest ones first, the last two graphs he provided. His line of reasoning is that the combined area of the cool areas and the neutral areas are greater than the warming areas, therefore the planet is experiencing global cooling, not global warming.

First, let me say this is so ridiculous a claim that this is where I first suspected he was a paid troll. Why would someone make a claim this obviously fraudulent? Why do I call it fraudulent? Just consider the meaning of 'neutral.' It means it falls in neither group. So, you cannot group the neutral areas as being part of the cooling trend. As a counter argument, I would be equally justified in claiming, "The total of the neutral areas plus the warming areas is much greater than the cooling areas; therefore, global warming is real." That would be equally false. The correct interpretation of these two graphs is that the warming areas in both graphs is greater than the cooling areas in total extent.

Did Voodude really believe that horrible claim he made? I sure hope not. His profile on Disqus states he is an engineer. Since he remains anonymous, it is impossible to verify, but I seriously doubt it. By the way, why is Voodude so anonymous?

Let's look at his first two graphs, now. They are equally easy to debunk, but it is a little bit more involved. This issue here is the name at the top of the graph - Mr. Roy Spencer. If you ever use anything from Roy Spencer, it is an automatic given you're going to be wrong. One of his papers was submitted last summer for the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge. You can read about it, and him, here. There is an interesting article about his work in The Guardian.

Voodude tried to justify his graphs with this statement:


 


If you don't trust me with the math, here's a good web site:
http://www.ysbl.york.ac.uk/~co...

The fact is, I don't trust him (and neither should you). So, let's go to the website and see for ourselves. This is a really nice website built by Dr. Kevin Cowtan in the Department of Chemistry at the University of York. Thank you, Professor, for this excellent site. 

Once you go there, you can select the data you want and the time period. Let's try to replicate Voodude's claims and compare them to Spencer's graphs above. He said there was a cooling trend over the last 17 years and he only used the land data. This is what I get using the Berkeley land data for the period of 1999 to 2015:

Source: Kevin Cowtan

Oops! The graph shows a warming trend of .168 degrees Celsius per decade. No cooling trend here. Maybe he meant to use the NOAA data:


Source: Kevin Cowtan

Still oops! There's a warming trend of .14 degrees Celsius per decade.

Okay, we've already busted this claim all to heck and Roy Spencer's claims along with it, but why stop there? There is a major false argument deniers always go for, even though they know they are lying by doing so - they fail to include ocean warming which accounts for 93% of the planetary warming. This is what we get if we include the oceans in our calculations:

Source: Kevin Cowtan
Including the oceans, we find there has been a warming trend of .144 degrees Celsius per decade over the selected time span.

We can safely say the Earth is not cooling and this claim is completely busted. But, there's more.


Cherry Picking

This is one of the most common false arguments used by deniers - picking the data that best produces the results desired. As scientists, it is our duty to examine all of the data and obtain the most correct result. As deniers, it is their job to manipulate the data to best obtain the predetermined result. Admittedly, they are pretty good at their job. Way too many people have fallen for this false argument. Certainly, Voodude has engaged in this very thing. Let's examine, again, his claim - the data from the last 17 years shows a cooling trend.

First question - Why did he go with 17 years? Normal cycles takes decades (manmade) or millennia (naturally occurring). Voodude never actually said this was a naturally occurring cooling trend, so we will consider both. In either case, 17 years is not enough to produce any valid conclusion. I can measure the global temperature in the Northern Hemisphere for the period of August through January and I'll get a cooling trend. That is an example of cherry picking. I selected August through January because I knew the seasonal change would show a cooling trend.

So, if 17 years is invalid, why did Voodude pick it? I'm at a bit of a loss because we already saw above there was no cooling trend during this time period - unless you use Roy Spencer data!

Ah, hah! He not only specifically selected his period, he specifically selected his source of data.

And, all the while, he rejected the use of ocean warming.

This is the very definition of cherry picking. What did Voodude have to say about this?



I don't consider cherry picking to be applicable when the end of the data is current. If one picks a period, like, 1966-1968, both end-points "picked” ... then, that is cherry picking. But specifying one point, as in, a temperature series, while the other point is "now” ... that's a bit different. What, then, are the alternatives? If the end-point is “now”, either I pick the starting point, or you do... somebody has to pick the starting point... So, then, what is the point in labelling a data series (that has the current point at one end) "Cherry Picking”? The current month is taken as the starting point -no cherry picking- and the root-mean-square, linear regression analysis is computed, going back in time, as far as possible, such that the trend is COOLING. The slope, as returned by the linear regression analysis, is negative. Some temperature time-series do not support any cooling at all. If the data supports the conclusion, then IT IS COOLING. You may argue about the length of the trend, as many are short; or about the statistical significance, because temperature series tend not to be significant, but if the data support the conclusion, IT IS COOLING.

His argument is, if he uses today as his end point, he can use any point he wishes and it isn't cherry picking. But, isn't cherry picking defined as using the period you want? Even if he is using today as one endpoint, he is still selecting the period so it will fit his desired results. So, he has sidestepped the very question and issue and fails to address how he used a very specifically selected time period, data set and ignored the ocean warming. 

But, there's more.

Straw Man Argument

When challenged on the science, Voodude threw out these two gems:



Christopher said, of the IPCC, "However, it's evaluations and decisions are based on peer-reviewed science"
so
Where's the Science in this?
IPCC official, Ottmar Edenhofer, speaking in November 2010: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute, de facto, the world's wealth by climate policy. … one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute, de facto, the world’s wealth…” "This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy, anymore.”
http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/star...

Christopher said, of the IPCC, "However, it's evaluations and decisions are based on peer-reviewed science"
so
Where's the Science in this?
”At a news conference [22Jan2015] in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity, but to destroy capitalism.
"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.
Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: "This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history."
Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-...


The answer to Voodude's question in both cases is the same - there is no science in these quotes. So, why was he bringing them up? Simple, they are straw man arguments.

A straw man argument is when a new topic is inserted into a discussion to divert attention from the original argument. This allows the person inserting this argument an opportunity to attack the straw man and make it appear as if they dissected the original argument.

Voodude was making an argument that the world is cooling. What does either of these two quotes above have to do with that topic? If you can't find anything then we are in agreement. The fact is, Voodude threw these out in an attempt to divert attention to the fact he had no science to support his claims. This is a very common strategy among deniers - they have no science to support them, so they distract the audience with something else.

By the way, both of those quotes were taken out of context in an attempt to make them sound different than they were spoken. Of course, that is another false argument, but we'll leave that for another day. Here is a link to a site showing the full quotes.


Conclusion

There is little doubt in my mind Voodude is a paid hack for the denier lobby, probably the Heartland Institute. The reason I specifically mentioned that group of deniers is because we were engaged in a series of exchanges exposing Heartland, Tom Harris, and Russell Cook for the paid deniers they are when Mr. Voodude suddenly shows up.  The timing is especially suspicious with the appearance of Russell Cook who is known to attack climate scientists and climate science bloggers in attempts to intimidate them. Both Harris and Cook were getting beaten up rather badly and ran away, only to suddenly be replaced by Voodude. I can easily imagine Cook calling up Voodude and telling him he needed to tie up my blog.

So, if you come across Voodude, be warned about what he is. But, then again, since he refuses to reveal who he is, all he has to do is change his handle and appear as someone else.

But, isn't that what you would expect from someone who is afraid of the science?



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Impossible Odds of Warming Being Random

In my post yesterday on the April State of the Climate report from NOAA, there was a statement that caught my attention. They said, "nine of the ten warmest 12-month periods have occurred within the past two years."

Whoa! What are the odds of that? Well, it turns out, we can figure that out and have actually done so before. I wrote a post in January about how some mathematicians calculated the probability that every year since 2000 has been one of the 20 hottest ever recorded. They calculated the odds of that to be one in 1.5 trillion. That is correct - one in 1.5 trillion!

In the post, I showed how this calculation was done.  Since we know how to do the calculation, let's do the calculation for "nine of the ten warmest 12-month periods" occurring within the last two years.

First, they said the record was 136 years long. Let's assume the record started in December of that year - 1879. They don't specify and that gives us the most conservative value. That would give us the first 12-month period ending in December 1880. There would be 12 12-month periods ending every year after that, all the way to December 2014. Then there would be an additional 4 12-month periods from 2015. That gives us a total of 1624 12-month periods since the record began.

Now, in the last two years, there have been 24 12-month periods, one ending each of the 24 months of the last two years. So, the odds of one of those months randomly being in the top 10 is 24 in 1624. We have taken care of one of the top ten and one of the 24 12-month periods, that means the chances of a second top-ten 12-month period occurring in the last two years would be 23 in 1623. After that, the chances would be 22 in 1622. For a fourth period, the odds would be 21 in 1621. And, so forth.

Now, for the chances of nine of the top ten happening in the last two years would be (24/1624) * (23/1623) * (22/1622) * (21/1621) * (20/1620) * (19/1619) * (18/1618) * (17/1617) * (16/1616) = 6.174 x 10^-18. That comes out to one chance in about 1.6 x 10^17 times, or 1 chance in about 160 quadrillion times.

What?!!!!!!!

If we rolled the dice 160 quadrillion times, we would get these results only ONCE! In case you're wondering, if we rolled the dice one time every second, it would take us 5,070,094,050 years (including leap years). (Don't wait up, Honey. The craps game is gonna run late tonight!)

ONE TIME IN 160 QUADRILLION!

For the sake of comparison, the chances of the nine of the top ten hottest 12-month periods occurring within the last two years is about 10,000 times as unlikely as the probability of every year since 2000 being in the top 20.

Oh, by the way, global warming has stopped. Didn't you hear the deniers saying so?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

April 2015 Fourth Hottest April Ever

The NOAA State of the Climate Report for April 2015 was released today. While the news is bad, at least it isn't as bad as it has been. April was the fourth hottest April ever recorded, but the temperature anomaly for April was the smallest since last November. And, if you STILL doubt the reality of global warming, consider this from the report:
Examining the data beyond the traditional calendar year, the latest 12-month period (May 2014–April 2015) ties with the record set last month (April 2014–March 2015) as the warmest 12-month period among all months in the 136-year period of record, as shown in the table below. In fact, this record was set several times over the past year, and nine of the ten warmest 12-month periods have occurred within the past two years (September 1997–August 1998 ties as eighth warmest). Nine of these ten 12-month periods also comprise months in two overlapping years. Only the full calendar year of 2014 is among the ten warmest 12-month periods (ties for sixth warmest). 

Our 2015 count looks like this:

April was tied for the fourth hottest April on record;

March was the hottest March on record;

February was the second hottest February on record;

January was the second hottest January on record.

So far, 2015 has one hottest month, two second hottest months, and one fourth hottest month ever recorded.


For the last 12 months, the tally is:


April 2015 was tied for the fourth hottest April ever recorded;

March 2015 was the hottest March ever recorded;

February 2015 was the second hottest February ever recorded;

January 2015 was the second hottest January ever recorded;

December 2014 was the hottest December ever recorded;

November 2014 was the 7th hottest November ever recorded;

October 2014 was the hottest October ever recorded;

September 2014 was the hottest September ever recorded;

August 2014 was the hottest August ever recorded;

July 2014 was the fourth hottest July ever recorded;

June 2014 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May 2014 was the hottest May ever recorded;


So, let's see what the score is for the last 12 months: one 7th hottest month, two 4th hottest months, two 2nd hottest months and seven hottest months ever.

Nine of the last twelve months were either the hottest or second hottest ever recorded.

The last 12 months ties the record for the hottest 12-month period ever recorded. Nine of the ten hottest 12-month periods have occurred in the last two years.

Monday, May 18, 2015

U.S. Warmer Than Average In April

Despite headlines about how cold it was in the east, the U.S. actually had mostly warmer than average temperatures in April. This is according to the National Climatic Data Center, which released its April State of the Climate for the U.S. today. Florida, in particular, had its warmest April on record. Take a look:

Source: NCDC
Once again, reality doesn't support the claims made by deniers.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blame the Heat on Global Warming

I can personally tell you there are more really hot days today than there were even a few decades ago. So can lots of other people. But, that is merely anecdotal evidence and we need something more rigorous than that. Of course, we have exactly that in the data, showing global warming has been getting worse since the 1970s. Nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since 2000. Last year was the hottest ever recorded and this year is already breaking last year's records. So, we have the hard data.

But, what does that mean? How does that affect the average person?

Well, research on this very question has shown that three out of four very hot days can be blamed on anthropogenic global warming. As things get worse during this century, that percentage will increase to 95%. Rain is a different matter. It is estimated we are responsible for only 18% of the very heavy downpours and this will increase to 39% by mid-century.

The researchers reached this conclusion by examining the hottest .1% of days and found they occurred only once every three years in a world without CO2 emissions. But, when they added manmade emissions into the equation, they found there were four of these very hot days every three years. If they continued to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to levels expected by the end of the century, they got 26 days every three years. That's something to look forward to - twenty-six times as many very hot days.

Equipped with figures like this, we can now make very strong arguments about the damage being done due to climate change. If 100,000 people die this year due to climate extremes, we can make a good estimate of how many would still be alive if not for fossil fuel emissions. We can discuss the dollar amount of damage done and present that as part of the argument to form public policy.

So, the next time you find it to be really hot, there's a 75% chance you can thank fossil fuel emissions for it.






Saturday, May 16, 2015

What if Climate Change is Real?

This video is a lecture given by a climate scientist at Texas Tech University. It is the kind of thing people like Tom Harris and Russell Cook would never watch because it shows, graphically, just how wrong they are. Everyone else should watch it. It is about 18 minutes long and worth it. I did not post this because it talks about Texas, but it didn't hurt, either.

What if Climate Change is Real?

Climate Change Deniers Can't Get Science Right II

One of the skill sets of deniers is the ability to twist scientific reports into something completely different. This is either done in as a deliberate attempt to lie and deceive, or it is done because they simply reject science and can't understand it. Either way, it doesn't reflect well on the people doing it.

Case in point, a recent report on research conducted by a team at Duke University. Their paper,

Comparing the model-simulated global warming signal to observations using empirical estimates of unforced noise, was printed in the Nature. All you need to do is read the last line of the paper,

We also find that recently observed GMT values, as well as trends, are near the lower bounds of the EUN for a forced signal corresponding to the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario but that observations are not inconsistent with a forced signal corresponding to the RCP 6.0 emissions scenario.
Let me explain the acronyms for you. GMT is the global mean average surface temperature. This is an observed value. EUN is the 'envelope of unforced noise.' As the authors explain, when a given model produces a result, there is a range of GMT values that represent to range of natural variability in the climate due to many different causes. RCP is the Representive Concentration Pathways. These are the different CO2 concentration scenarios used in estimates and there are four of them - RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5. The higher the number, the higher the CO2 concentration. 

So, what this team did was to independently determine what the GMT was the last 1000 years and compare them to model results. They found the natural variability (unforced signal) was NOT big enough to account for the warming. Instead, they found manmade emissions (forced signal) must be included and their findings come in at the lower end of RCP 8.5, but are consistent with the RCP 6.5 scenario. In other words, they found manmade forcing (manmade emissions) MUST be included in order to get results that are consistent with actual measurements. Natural variability is not enough by itself to result in the observed warming.

Once you understand the acronyms, the conclusion is pretty clear. If you need some additional clarification, you can read the explanation provided by the paper's authors here at Real Climate. A key sentence in the explanation is,

Therefore, our results confirm that positive radiative forcings (e.g., from human-caused increases in greenhouse gas concentrations) are necessary in order for the Earth to have warmed as much as it did over the 20th century.
Therefore, our results confirm that positive radiative forcings (e.g., from human-caused increases in greenhouse gas concentrations) are necessary in order for the Earth to have warmed as much as it did over the 20th century. - See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/05/global-warming-and-unforced-variability-clarifications-on-recent-duke-study/#sthash.RRVLV0um.dpuf
So, what did the deniers say?



Our climate models are WRONG: Global warming has slowed - and recent changes are down to ‘natural variability’, says study – Daily Mail

Happy Earth Day! The Computer Models Are Wrong! – Rush Limbaugh

New evidence against global warming: Take your pick: It's not living up to hype or not happening at all - WND


When I look at these headlines - and their sources - I ask myself, is this a case of deliberately lying or is it a case of rejecting science? Unfortunately, I can reach only one conclusion - it's both.




Friday, May 15, 2015

Ocean Acidification

A commenter (thanks, elfish) pointed out the latest episode of Nova on PBS is about ocean acidification. I don't watch TV, or even own a TV, but you can watch all episodes of Nova on line. You can see this particular episode, Lethal Seas, here.

Ocean acidification is caused when the oceans absorb CO2, creating carbonic acid. Contrary to arguments made by deniers, no one is saying the oceans are turning into an acid. That is not what acidification means. The oceans are base and will remain base, but adding CO2 to them will reduce the level of baseness and make them more acidic. A pH of 7 is neutral (plain water) and is neither acid nor base. A pH higher than 7 is base and a pH lower than 7 is acidic. The oceans have averaged about pH 8.2 for the last 300 million years. In the last fifty years they have dropped to an average of about 8.1. Still base, but more acidic than before. That is a truly dramatic change. By becoming more acidic, the chemistry of the oceans has been changed and the consequences are extreme and widespread.

This episode of Nova explores the chemistry and effects of ocean acidification. It is extremely well done, as is the norm for Nova episodes, and explains the issue very clearly. They also explain the cause and solution very clearly. This problem is being caused by manmade emissions of CO2 and the only way it can be addressed is to reduce our CO2 emissions. 

If you are interested in learning more about this issue, I highly recommend this episode as a good starting point. Even if you already know (or think you know) a lot about the subject, I still highly recommend this episode.

Climate Change Deniers Can't Get Science Right

Scripps Institute of Oceanography made a news release with the title, "Research Highlight: Arctic Sea Ice Loss Likely To Be Reversible," followed by the subtitle, "Scenarios of a sea ice tipping point leading to a permanently ice-free Arctic Ocean were based on oversimplified arguments." My first guess is who ever wrote this piece is unfamiliar with the ways of the climate change deniers. Give them any in to reject the science and they'll take it. And, they did. For instance, the article in The Daily Caller (a trash journal which is famous for its scientific illiteracy) which leads with the headline, "'Irreversible’ Arctic Ice Loss Seems To Be Reversing Itself" and concludes with this gem:
In fact, Arctic sea ice extent as a whole seems to be stabilizing despite this year’s record low maximum in February. NSIDC data shows Arctic sea ice extent is currently within the normal range based on the 1981 to 2010 average extent.

“Global sea ice is at a record high, another key indicator that something is working in the opposite direction of what was predicted,” Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, told the U.K. Express in January.

“Most people think the poles are melting… they’re not,” he said. “This is a huge inconvenience that reality is now catching up with climate alarmists, who were predicting that the poles would be melting fairly soon.”
How's this for an inconvenience, Dr. Peiser?:

Source: NSIDC

Tell us again how the sea ice is at a "record high"? And, would you care to discuss how Antarctica's land ice loss went from 30 gigatons per year to 147 gigatons per year in just one decade? Not to mention the disaster going on with the Greenland Ice Sheet.


Oh, and just what credentials does Peisner have to qualify him on such a subject? He has none. Peiser studied political science, English, and sports science at the University of Frankfurt. He is a past Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology & Sport Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University. He is a “historian and anthropologist with particular research interest in neo-catastrophism and its implications for human and societal evolution.” The Daily Caller's credibility in science is so low they had to get a political science major to discuss the issue of arctic ice loss. Truly amazing!

Well, people like this are being called out. It won't make any difference to the deniers because they have firmly decided to reject science, but maybe someone that is interested in learning will hear. Here is a nice article about the Scripps news release, explaining what Scripps was really saying.

Now, I am not going to give the deniers the benefit of the doubt. I am not going to say this was just the case of someone misunderstanding the scientific paper because the news release clearly stated,
During the past several years, scientists using global climate models (GCMs) that are more complex than process models found sea ice loss in response to rising greenhouse gases in their computer simulations is actually reversible when greenhouse levels are reduced.

Read it again, sea ice loss is reversible "when greenhouse levels are reduced."

And, further,
“We found that two key physical processes, which were often overlooked in previous process models, were actually essential for accurately describing whether sea ice loss is reversible,” said Eisenman, a professor of climate dynamics at Scripps Oceanography. “One relates to how heat moves from the tropics to the poles and the other is associated with the seasonal cycle. None of the relevant previous process modeling studies had included both of these factors, which led them to spuriously identify a tipping point that did not correspond to the real world.”

“Our results show that the basis for a sea ice tipping point doesn’t hold up when these additional processes are considered,” said Wagner. “In other words, no tipping point is likely to devour what’s left of the Arctic summer sea ice. So if global warming does soon melt all the Arctic sea ice, at least we can expect to get it back if we somehow manage to cool the planet back down again.”
Again, the ice will return "if we somehow manage to cool the planet back down again."

This is very different than what the deniers are claiming. And, don't miss the qualifications of the person making this statement: Dr. Eisenman is a professor of climate dynamics at Scripps Oceanography. Okay, this is someone that is qualified to speak on the subject.

Here is a link to their actual paper, accepted for publication in the Journal of Climate.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Florida and Sea Level Rise

Florida Governor Rick Scott has prohibited government employees from discussing climate change, global warming, and sea level rise. Too bad for Florida nature didn't bother listening. Many places along the Florida coast are facing problems due to that same sea level rise the government isn't allowed to discuss. Meanwhile, the state can only watch because Scott doesn't believe in sea level rise and has put off efforts to form a plan to deal with the problem.

Many coastal communities suffer from chronic flooding - streets are now routinely flooding during high tides. Sea water is intruding into ground water - Hallandale Beach, north of Miami, has been forced to abandon six of eight wells due to salt water intrusion. Flood control systems are being overburdened - higher sea levels translate into higher storm surges. Municipalities can't deal with the problem without state help, but the help isn't coming. In fact, Scott has downsized the state environmental agencies, making it even more difficult for the state to respond.

Insurance giant Swiss Re has estimated South Florida could suffer $33 billion in damages due to sea level rise and climate change by the year 2030. That would be a lot of lost taxes for the state, but they don't seem to care. Scott's office denies employees are being censored, despite the evidence of internal emails. At the same time, local leaders complained about the "poisonous political atmosphere."

Well, bad news is on the way. The rate of sea level rise is increasing. Researchers have combined tidal gauge data with GPS data for the land to find out sea level rise is due to two factors - the rise in the height of the oceans and the simultaneous movement of the land masses. What they found is the earlier calculations of sea level rise were too large. That means the more recent sea level rise has been even more than previously thought and is increasing at a rate of about 12% per year. They estimate this will increase sea level disasters from about $25 billion per year currently to as much as $100,000 billion ($100 trillion!) by 2100.

But, it keeps getting better.

The Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula is being melted by warm waters from beneath and warm air from above. Researchers have calculated the ice shelf could collapse within the century, possibly earlier. Larsen C is the largest ice shelf on the peninsula and fourth largest in the world (about twice the size of Belgium). Two smaller companions have collapsed in recent decades. Larsen A collapsed in 1995 and Larsen B collapsed in 2002. Larsen C has lost 4 meters of ice, resulting in the ice sheet being a full meter lower. (NOTE: Here is a timely NASA update, including a nice video, of the breakup of Larsen B.)

Melting of the ice would not in itself lead to higher sea levels because the ice is already in the water. Melting it would keep the sea level the same. But, the ice shelf acts as a stopper for the land ice behind it. Remove the ice shelf and that land ice would be free to move into the ocean at an accelerated rate - and that will lead to rising sea levels by adding more ice to the oceans even without melting it. The accelerated movement of the land ice was witnessed after the collapse of Larsen A and B.

The loss of land ice on Antarctica has increased from approximately 30 billion tons per year in 2001 to 147 billion tons per year a decade later. Add to that rate of increase the amount of ice being held back by Larsen C and the situation in Florida (and other coastal communities worldwide) is looking worse by the day.

But, of course, if we don't talk about it, it won't happen. Just ask Rick Scott.








Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Guest Submission: Letter to Duluth News Tribune



5/09/2015
To the Editors of the Duluth News Tribune,
RE: another misleading article on global warming in the Tribune;

Hello Chuck and other Tribune editors,

I have decided to share my criticisms of deniers, with long comments like this made for the Tribune. 300 words is not nearly enough to ensure an adequate rebuttal of those who try to deny the massive evidence that supports climate science. So by answering in more detail to you, I hope I can make you aware of all the lies and misconceptions currently, and often deliberately, being circulated by AGW deniers.

Just think back to the days when tobacco executives deliberately lied to Congress, and denied the dangers of tobacco just to preserve their profits. Then inject those lies on steroids into our present controversy, and you magnify the significance of climate denial much more. There is really far more material wealth at stake, for big oil CEO’s and executives who need to circulate lies and deceptions in order to maintain the status quo, than there is for those of us who try to tell the truth---no matter how poor we might be. Toss in unlimited campaign funds, tremendous amounts of dark money, and no real accountability, and one begins to discover what's going on!

Sadly the Tribune published another misleading Local View commentary, this time by Karl Spring, the former chief Meteorologist at KBJR/WDLH and Fox21—TV in Duluth, which was also accompanied by a misleading cartoon meant to portray the idea that the science establishing global warming as being caused primarily by man, is not settled and only has made correct projections erratically at best.

However, most meteorologists typically lack the same extensive academic background that climate scientists possess. While climate scientists focus on historical knowledge of world weather patterns, a meteorologist typically requires only a Bachelors degree to qualify for his job which often includes an emphasis on mathematics. But some meteorologists working today still lack any degree at all, and pick up the knack to forecast weather thorough their job experiences. Typically a meteorologist's forecasts may lack long term accuracy, due to the fact that local weather forecasts include many more short term variables than does climate science, which additionally concerns global worldwide trends that are more easily determined by a number of methods—including reports from weather stations all over the world, including satellite surveillance, plus a large number of other data gathering techniques. It is far more difficult to assure us that we will not have a rain storm three days from now, then to analyze the direct observational proof gathered by climate scientists and provided by worldwide monitoring. But still, climate scientists typically require much more extensive educational backgrounds because of the many technical aspects included in their fields, and usually Masters degrees or PhD’s are held by competent and peer-reviewed researchers. Here is a link describing some of the kinds of knowledge that might compliment the job of a climate scientist:


Another good link describing the many kinds of knowledge involved in obtaining graduate degrees in climate scientists is:


Actually, both the cartoons included in the Tribune, and the many of the ideas expressed by Mr. Spring, lack validity and represent common myths about the findings of climate scientists;

In the early days of the ecology movement in the 60s and 70s some climate scientists falsely believed that temperatures might drop during the coming decades and centuries. But even then, more than six out of 10 believed global warming would happen—along with a number of researchers who officially abstained from taking positions, and even fewer who outright denied climate warming. So actually, more than 60% correctly believed then, that climate change would include a gradual warming trend, while very few truly believed in global cooling. Part of the problem had to do with the widespread use of aerosols and their effects on the ozone layer, but aerosol sprays were regulated and the ozone layer was largely restored. Additionally the rapid development of better and more accurate technology quickly convinced many dissenters, that global warming was in fact taking place, despite the plot of a popular but fictitious Hollywood film which included a global cooling theme, and which left a false impression on many viewers.

About the rain forests. They really have been depleting rapidly and amount to millions upon millions of acres lost. What was observed by scientists originally, indicated a complete catastrophe in the making by the turn of the century. But here is a (paste) from a website that details some of the reason why deforestation has recently diminished in many South American countries:

“For most of human history, deforestation in the Amazon was primarily the product of subsistence farmers who cut down trees to produce crops for their families and local consumption. But in the later part of the 20th century, that began to change, with an increasing proportion of deforestation driven by industrial activities and large-scale agriculture. By the 2000s more than three-quarters of forest clearing in the Amazon was for cattle-ranching.”

The result of this shift is forests in the Amazon were cleared faster than ever before in the late 1970s through the mid 2000s. Vast areas of rainforest were felled for cattle pasture and soy farms, drowned for dams, dug up for minerals, and bulldozed for towns and colonization projects. At the same time, the proliferation of roads opened previously inaccessible forests to settlement by poor farmers, illegal logging, and land speculators.

But that trend began to reverse in Brazil in 2004. Since then, annual forest loss in the country that contains nearly two-thirds of the Amazon's forest cover has declined by roughly eighty percent. The drop has been fueled by a number of factors, including increased law enforcement, satellite monitoring, pressure from environmentalists, private and public sector initiatives, new protected areas, and macroeconomic trends. Nonetheless the trend in Brazil is not mirrored in other Amazon countries, some of which have experienced rising deforestation since 2000.”

In other words, environmentalists, conservationists and business interests, accomplished what they were supposed to—they used education to enable depletion levels to drop—because scientists had done their jobs—not because they were completely mistaken! However, the implications by deniers that there was never even a problem, are very wrong, and positive action to preserve the rainforests are still very much needed.

Misconceptions about the idea that Himalayan glaciers could be gone by 2010, or that the Arctic's ice could be completely gone by 2014, are also partly the product of misquoting climate advocates like Al Gore, whose actual words did not support that idea. What he actually said was:

“Last September 21 (2007) as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported that with unprecedented distress that the north polar ice cap is “falling off of a cliff,” One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by US Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.”

Note that there is a difference between the words “could” and “will.” And also a difference between the words “estimated,” and “without a doubt.” There is also a clear difference between saying, “in as little as 7 years and, “no more than 6 years.” The year 2007 plus 7 more, adds up to 2014, so critics jumped all over Mr. Gore for his error. But 2007 plus up to 22 years, adds up to the year 2029, which is still a lot more than 7 years away. Al Gore also said:

“Some of the models suggest that there is a 75% chance that the entire north polar ice cap during some of the summer months will be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.”

So, again, a 75% chance is not the same thing as a certainty, and the fact is that the Arctic ice pack is now nearly free of ice during the summer. So many scientists are worried that the ice loss is progressing even faster than they had projected! And, the many ploys used by deniers include cherry picking short term variations in one spot (during the winter), which then falsely produced an inaccurate indication that a cooling process was evident, instead of (GLOBAL) warming as a (WORLDWIDE TREND)! Cherry picking is also among the usual culprits used to support many other unfounded ideas about global warming. Here are a couple of links that examine the mistaken ideas concerning Al Gores supposed errors;



And finally here is a link to the Propagandaprofessor.org site which include links providing exact quotes of what Gore actually said:


About inconsistencies in the measurements of rising sea levels; Here's another a link to a website:


And here is a (paste) from a website explaining the issues involved with world ocean levels:


“Before the advent of satellite measurements in the 1990s, tide gauges were the main way scientists observed how sea levels changed. Tide gauges measure the height of the sea with reference to a fixed point, usually on land, meaning most measurements are taken along coastlines.

Tide gauges have their limitations, Hay says, with a lack of readings in the early twentieth century and in the southern hemisphere:

'The incompleteness of these records makes obtaining estimates of global mean sea level very difficult.'

In their study, Hay and her colleagues found another way of using the tide gauge records, as she explains:

'Local sea level differs from global sea level due to a variety of factors, including ongoing effects due to the last ice age, heating and expansion of the ocean due to global warming, changes in ocean circulation, and present day melting of land ice. All of these processes produce unique patterns, or 'fingerprints', of sea level change that can be modeled.'

By looking for these fingerprints in the tide gauge records, the researchers can then estimate the contribution each one makes to sea level change. Then by adding them all together, they get a new estimate of the rate of global change.

Using this approach, the researchers estimate sea level rise for 1900 to 1990 of 1.2 mm per year. This is lower than the 1.5mm per year from the IPCC. But they found a much better match between two sets of figures for the more recent period of 1990 and 2010 which both show faster sea level rise of 3mm per year, (the underlining is for my emphasis that this fact is directly relevant to the cartoon's contention on the Tribunes opinion page, which implied that projected sea level increases were grossly inaccurate).

Slower sea level rise in the last century makes the increase in recent years appear even more rapid, Hay says. 'You can see this in the figure below.' etc.”

Although the seas are not going to suddenly engulf large amounts of land areas, the sea levels keep increasing, and by using better methods to calculate them, scientists often see an increasing rate due to factors like increased arctic ice melts etc. In some low elevation areas, sea levels have already disrupted the normal levels, so that many coastal areas are actually covered by greater amounts of water than before. Scientists never said this would happen all at once, or in a very short period of time—regardless of what many deniers might claim.

Recently climate scientists have also been convinced by data, that global warming is in fact, contributing to the severity of storms and extreme weather events. Again this is happening slowly, but global warming can lessen the temperatures differences between adjacent areas both north and south of the jet stream. This allows cold Arctic temperatures to penetrate further into southern latitudes, thus creating the “Polar Vortex” effect. And while some extreme events have not significantly increased, the severity and strength typical in these weather events, appears to result in many more record breaking events. Mr. Spring tries to deny all of this by claiming that as civilization populates more areas, locations which may previously have had only 20 record breaking events, may now have 200—thus he totally ignores the fact that many of these records specifically denote cities and areas of the country where records are based on data from exactly the same cites and geographical areas i.e we definitely know when New York city (for example) has broken a long standing temperature record! We also know that large snow storms, increased droughts, more intense heat waves and flooding, are happening more often. Though they cannot by themselves be directly linked to the effects of global warming, scientists have finally been able to verify definite associations between global warming and extreme weather patterns. And, although world wide temperature averages are definitely on an upward trend, that doesn't mean that different areas are not experiencing other kinds of weather extremes which may include new low temperature records. This is something climate scientists have always asserted. Remember that the weather in California may include droughts and heat waves, while Australia may be having colder temperatures than average—or visa verse. So, no one weather event can be used to definitely prove or disprove the process of global warming—although many different ones—(over time) may be used to affirm it!

In the cartoons above it, and in Mr. Springs commentary itself, the Tribune effectively succeeds in falsely discrediting many of the very real factors that are parts of climate change. Mr. Spring's mention of the fact that the amounts of water, gasses, and minerals on our planet remain basically the same, is really a pretty na├»ve argument. For one thing, carbon based fuels and the total amount of CO2 might be considered as remaining constant as part of the “oblate sphere” that is our Earth, but the oil and carbon based products we use now, have been extracted after millions of years, from areas deep beneath the surface, and are taken from deposits of decayed vegetation and various life forms that became our presently used petroleum. Because we are now extracting those deposits, which then influence our current atmosphere and environment, the rate of our world wide temperatures is now increasing more rapidly than it has in more than 600,000 years, and once it's in the atmosphere, CO2 causes world temperatures averages to rise more quickly than they previously have---even at all times during all those hundreds of thousands of years! Scientist have always acknowledged that during certain geological periods CO2 levels have been very high, but our present accumulations have happened over a much shorter period of time than was the case in eons past! So, it's not just about amounts. It’s about the incredible (rate) of temperature increases in our worldwide environment. But obviously, if we were to try to breath nothing but CO2, try to breath underwater, or try to hold our breath long enough to survive a tsunami, we obviously can not foolishly conclude, (as some deniers claim), that excessive amount of any naturally occurring greenhouse gas are only beneficial to human life?

Somewhat strangely, Mr. Spring also implies that climate science and our opinions about it, have become an exercise in religious debate. Personally I have no quarrel with people who believe being good stewards of the earth is a religious responsibility. However all that we really need to be motivated by is the desire to save our own behinds while recognizing that, what climate scientists are telling us, does not allow us to postpone taking actions in ways which truly might address the urgency of our global situation. 

Am I an alarmist—certainly! I really want the Earth to sustain human life as long as possible, and, I am all in favor of ensuring our ability to live without having to regularly face extreme climate disasters that may threaten to destroy or damage the vast and beautiful earthly garden we live in, and which sustains our lives.

Its really people like Mr. Spring who are part of well-funded attempts to deny the facts that have been revealed by climate scientists, and who consistently use numbers and facts to mean anything they wants them to mean. He implies that actually accepting the real facts denotes some sort of evil plot on the parts of those who accurately acknowledge what is happening to our environment now, or, is even some sort of sin against God? But, because of court decisions like Citizens United, we are making it much easier for plutocrats and wealthy manipulators, to use obscenely large amounts of money to control our political system, and, thanks to deniers, delaying the truth will absolutely ensure a climate change disaster. But it's strange how organizations like those of deniers, which claim to know the real truth, often think nothing about ignoring the many problems we will encounter in the future—just because they dare do nothing but hide their heads in the sand!

Many climate scientists are atheists and many are not. This is not a religious war, nor should it be about politically fueled ideological debates. But unfortunately, that's what AGW deniers seem to want us to think! Just like the tobacco industry, they only need to succeed in furthering unfounded doubts in order to ensure outrageous industry profits—even though allowing extremely harmful weather events to besiege the environment only ensures that their prodigious wealth may really help to destroy our environment! All the while, they think nothing about accusing thousand of scientist all around the world of promoting a hoax! 

All of us, (including deniers), are threatened by climate change. So, if deniers win, all of us will lose. Yet the cruelest the joke is on them—simply because all the money in the word is without worth, if we have no safe and livable world to spend it in. Life may continually go on, but we might very well, no longer be able to come along for the ride!

Sincerely, Peter W. Johnson

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Inhofe's Snowball






Senator Inhofe, would you care to throw your constituents a snowball?

Monday, May 11, 2015

GOP Defunds Climate Science

We have seen Republicans in Florida and Wisconsin prohibit state employees from using terms such as 'global warming,' 'climate change' and 'sea level rise,' but the U.S. House has upped the ante by several orders of magnitude - they are cutting the funds for the earth sciences, which includes climate research. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, lambasted the bill in a 1 May statement:
“If enacted, the NASA authorization bill headed to the House floor later this month would do serious damage to the Nation’s space program, as well as to Earth-observation and Earth-science programs essential for predicting, preparing for, and minimizing the damage from disasters both natural and human-induced.”
The funding is included in the America COMPETES legislation (HR 1806) which came before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The bill cuts funding for earth sciences by nearly 20% and possibly (depending on circumstances) as much as one-third. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) called the America COMPETES legislation “a fiscally responsible, pro-science bill that sets the right priorities for federal civilian research.” But, Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), a member of the House panel, said the legislation would significantly impair NSF and DOE and she called H.R. 1806 “a tragedy in waiting.” She contrasted the current bill with the earlier COMPETES acts of 2007 and 2010, which she said sought to ensure the country’s continued scientific preeminence while growing the economy, stating,
“In contrast, H.R. 1806 is preoccupied with questioning the motives of the National Science Foundation and the integrity of the scientists it funds. In addition, it would put up multiple roadblocks to progress in clean energy [research and development], under the guise of preventing ‘picking winners and losers,’ even as H.R. 1806 picks its own winners and losers,”
I just keep wondering, if there is no global warming, why are they so afraid of it?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tom Harris Exposed

Tom Harris is a noted fossil fuel lobbyist and devout climate change denier. He works as the Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), a group of climate change skeptics that has received funding from the Heartland Institute. Besides working to further fossil fuel interests, he has done the same for the tobacco industry. What a resume.

(UPDATE: Mr. Harris has objected to my above statements concerning his resume and has demanded a retraction. He acknowledges he worked for the Ottawa office of a Canadian PR and lobbying firm called the High Park Advocacy Group (HPG), where he was the Director of Operations. According to the Lobbyists Registration System, Government of Canada, HPG is registered as a lobbying firm for several energy industry clients. He also acknowledges he worked for APCO worldwide, a group known for creating The Advancement of Sound Science Center (formerly Coalition) (TASSC) which worked to advance tobacco industry interests. According to Wikipedia, "an industry-funded lobby group and crisis management vehicle, and was created in 1993 by Phillip Morris and APCO in response to a 1992 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report which identified secondhand smoke as a Group A (i.e. confirmed) human carcinogen. TASSC's stated objectives were to: 1) discredit the EPA report; 2) fight anti-smoking legislation; 3) proactively pass legislation favorable to the tobacco industry. Philip Morris hired APCO Worldwide, a communications consultancy with expertise in crisis management, handling sensitive political issues, lobbying, media relations, coalition building, opinion research, market entry, corporate social responsibility, and online communication. APCO's designed strategies for TASSC aimed at establishing TASSC as "a credible source for reporters when questioning the validity of scientific studies" and to encourage the public to question – from the grassroots up – the validity of scientific studies." All of Wikipedia's statements have references supporting them. Mr. Harris' complaint is that he did not serve as a lobbyist and he was not involved with APCO's efforts in regard to TASSC. You may see our entire conversation below in the comments section. - CK)

Some time ago, through means I am not clear on, Mr. Harris (NOTE: Mr. Harris has been introduced as Dr. Harris by the denier lobbyists, but he is not a Ph.D. He has a Masters of Engineering.) was able to be the lecturer for an earth science class at Carleton University. Basically, it was a science disaster. Hang on to that statement, I'll get back to it.

Before I go on, let me explain that I am not attacking Mr. Harris here. I have no desire to say anything bad about him. I do not know him and cannot speak to his character. As far as I know, he is a good father and husband, gives generously to good causes, likes cats and dogs and is well respected in his community. To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Harris is a very nice person. And, I will say this, he has been civil in our discourse, something very lacking from oh, so many deniers.

The purpose of this posting is not to discredit Mr. Harris. What I want to do is expose the industry he works for. I want to discredit his cause - the denier lobbyist industry that is so determined to lie to and deceive the public. It is unfortunate that Mr. Harris has decided to be a member of that group.

As it turns out, I received a guest submission on some statements Mr. Harris made to some local papers. You can read the submission here. Along with the comments, which is what makes this interesting. So, let's discuss them.

Mr. Harris, it seems, took exception to the article and commented,

The above article is either all wrong or irrelevant, riddled as it is with logical fallacies. But then that is standard stock for people who are angry when their supposedly 'settled science' is shown to not be so settled after all.

The following article lays out a sample of the many scientists who do not support the dangerous anthropogenic climate change hypothesis: http://www.worldcommercereview...

Tom, your target
This started a series of comments, especially a couple in particular,


Your introduction hit all the right notes. I would add that a simple Google search for "Tom Harris Carleton University" will reveal a lot about a particularly sordid episode in Harris' life.


Yikes! That's embarrassing.
Do the search and you'll see what I meant by my response. Apparently, this hit a nerve with Mr. Harris, who engaged with me a series of comments.



Here is one of my replies to this adolescent attack from an employee of Carleton (I understand the university was not pleased to have one employee attacking another in the press without taking any internal steps first):
https://youtu.be/Zeb5XWjSKlA



Strangely enough, professors at universities have freedom of speech. If a university employee wants to denounce you in public, they have a right to do so. It's amazing how you want to silence your critics.



The person was a post doc, not a prof. Do you support a university employee smearing another university employee (I was a sessional lecturer) by going to the press before they have even tried to sort things out internally first (I have never even met or spoken to the person; the first I heard of him was when he went public in the press with his attacks). Do you support a university employee misleading university administrators to get video tapes of my lectures and then launching an error riddled attack in the press without examining the notes I provided students? Interestingly, he is no longer employed by Carleton.



Internal procedures are for grievances. Like I said, employees (post-docs are still employees) have the right to freedom of speech. In your case, where you are deliberately misleading students and misinforming them, I fully support his right to speak up on the matter. That is his civil right, maybe even his civil duty. By the way, post docs are temporary employees, typically employed for fewer than three years total. What I find interesting is how you once again distorted the facts to make it sound like he was fired when you have supplied nothing to support that conclusion.



I stopped reading when you wrote, "In your case, where you are deliberately misleading students" as that is just another insulting logical fallacy. Do you claim to read minds now?


I read some of the statements you made and I know they were deliberately misleading. Such as saying "Interestingly, he is no longer employed by Carleton." Deliberate deception.


Has he returned to Carleton?

Has he? Do you know? And, how is that relevant, one way or the other? Post-docs usually move on to another institution. Again, you are deliberately trying to deceive. The specialty of deniers. Why don't you try some science, instead?
Do you see how he is manipulating the facts? He makes it sound as if the problem isn't his teaching in the classroom, the problem is with a post-doc not using the internal grievance system. Then, he implies the post-doc was fired for his actions and not allowed to return. Both of those statements are unsupported (and probably libelous) and certainly intended to deceive.

But, he wasn't done. Take a look at this exchange that took place after I challenged him to a debate. He wanted me to cover his expenses.


Doesn't work that way. I pay my way and you pay yours.
 


Being a prof at a major university you have access to far more funds than I do and are undoubtedly paid far more than I am as well. Will you or your university cover my costs? You issued the challenge to debate, not me.


I am a retired professor and the only funds I have access to are in my personal savings. You, on the other hand, are funded by the fossil fuel industry. Go to your friends at the Heartland Institute.



There we go - the typical misleading motive intent logical fallacy from someone who "knows the truth." Forget about my agreement to debate you. It would be a waste of my time to debate someone who uses such infantile arguments.



Oh, please. The reason you won't debate me is because you know you'll be embarrassed in front of an audience if you have to justify your answers. Tell us you aren't supported by the fossil fuel industry. 



No, looking over your site, I see that it would be easy to defeat you in debate. For example, your poll question, "Is global warming real or a myth?" is ridiculous.
Why does it matter who helps cover ICSC's operating costs?


Because of a pattern of behavior. Why is it every denier I know of is funded by the fossil fuel industry? Why is it they routinely lie and deceive about this fact? Why is it you are defensive about this? Where is your research? Where are your satellites? Where are your research ships? Where are your scientific expeditions? Where are your published papers? Where are your models? The only thing you bring to the table is doubt. And, that is done to protect your masters - the fossil fuel industry.



If you think I am a liar, then why do you ask who my funding sources are? You would not believe anything I answer unless it fit your predetermined idea of who fund us.
Your question is just another logical fallacy - motive intent (and ad hominem,, since you claim me to be dishonest).

I would eat you alive in debate.



I ask because I already know you are funded by the Heartland Institute. I just wanted to see if you would admit it. And, no, you would never stand a chance against me. Go home and try to tell yourself otherwise.



You say you asked because you already know the answer. Oh, I see, you were trying to trick me.

I am off line for a while. I understand that Heartland donated to ICSC in 2007 (I started in 2008 at ICSC). Since then all donations are confidential to protect donors from harassment from people like you.



It is certainly not harassment to ask what your motivation is. After all, we require our politicians to reveal their supporters for just that reason. Deniers just don't want anyone to realize they are being paid to lie by the very people that are causing climate change and stand to lose money if we do anything about it. Very suspicious.



Yes, it is It certainly is harassment, and a logical fallacy to boot, to ask what your motivation is.



If that is true, then why do deniers keep invoking that tactic with regards to climate scientists? Are you telling people to do as you say and not as you do?
Again, we see he threw out a strawman and tried to change the subject. When asked if his funding came from the fossil fuel industry, he refused the answer and tried to change the subject. If his funding did not come from the fossil fuel industry, what not say so? And, if it did, why wouldn't he be willing to admit it? Why the need for secrecy when it comes to his motives? These kinds of questions are very valid. That is why they are allowed in courts and why politicians must reveal the names of their donors. And, as I referenced, if this isn't important, why do the deniers constantly question the motives of climate scientists who receive government funds for their research?

So, why all the fuss? What is this all about, really? Go back to the beginning. In the 2010/11 school year, Mr. Harris taught an earth science class at Carleton University, Climate Change: An Earth Sciences Perspective" (ERTH 2402).

The course caused an uproar, which led to an investigation. The results of that investigation were released on February 28, 2012, Climate Change Denial in the Classroom: A report on the course "Climate Change: An Earth Sciences Perspective" (ERTH2402) at Carleton University. You can read the entire report here, and it is very damning. Some of the highlights of the report are:


We describe a case in which noted climate change deniers have gained access to the
Canadian higher education system through a course taught at Carleton University. These academics are closely associated with a number of organisations that have involvement with the energy industry.
*****

Carleton University teaches a range of courses on various aspects of climate change and the vast majority adhere to the highest academic standards. However, the content of this particular course is heavily biased against the scientific consensus concerning the
anthropogenic causes of dangerous climate change. Through an extensive audit of the
course material, we identify 142 claims made during the lectures by the instructor, Mr Tom Harris, and various guest lecturers, that run counter to established scientific opinion.
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However, it is important to note that the unbalanced nature of the course, the lack of peer-reviewed literature cited, and the non-science audience mean that the course fails to constitute‚promotion of debate‛ and instead merely presents a biased and inaccurate portrayal of contemporary climate science.
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First we note the lack of scientific evidence that is actually cited in the course.
Rather than present the peer reviewed literature for his students, Harris frequently claims to have spoken to or emailed scientists to ask them for their opinions on particular issues.
As a result, many of Harris’ arguments do not appear to be based on peer reviewed published research.
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Like much of the climate change denial movement, Harris' course is structured around concentric sets of arguments. The first line of defence is to claim that climate change (more specifically, global warming) is not happening. This makes the title of our report accurate: as well as a role for humans in contemporary climate change, Harris disputes even the existence of and our ability to detect warming in global temperatures in the face of substantial scientific evidence and, therefore, qualifies as a climate change denier.
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Perhaps the best summary of the questionable arguments used in the course is given by Harris in the final lecture, where he provides take-away slogans for the students:

  • “The only constant about climate is change.” (TH) 
  • “Carbon dioxide is plant food.” (TH) 
  • “There is no scientific consensus about climate change causes.” (TH) 
  • “Prepare for global cooling.” (TH) 
  • “Climate science is changing quickly.” (TH)
There is a lot more, including an appendix detailing the 142 false claims made by Mr. Harris. 142! The class was for three 50-minute periods a week for 15 weeks. That means he was making a false claim (not including repeats) every 16 minutes, on average.

You can see a more substantial review of the report on Climate Progress, here.

In conclusion, we can use Mr. Harris' own tactics. It turns out he is no longer teaching at Carleton:
“Thank you for your concern on this. The course in question has not been offered this year, and Tom Harris is no longer teaching at Carleton University.
Best regards,
Malcolm Butler
Dean of Science”