Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, December 8th, 2009.


Turning Things Around

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Obama Administration

I found this very moving:

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Climate Change Denial Bullies

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Obama Administration

I take it that the British aren’t quite used to the bullying, consensus-through-intimidation tactics of the American Right. We’ve seen the YouTube video in which a climate change denier makes an ass of himself on British television by behaving the way all righties behave while on American television.

Now George Monbiot tells us that the repetitive talking points of the Right are the products of brainwashing.

When I use the term denial industry, I’m referring to those who are paid to say that man-made global warming isn’t happening. The great majority of people who believe this have not been paid: they have been duped. Reading Climate Cover-Up, you keep stumbling across familiar phrases and concepts which you can see every day on the comment threads. The book shows that these memes were planted by PR companies and hired experts. …

…The people who inform me, apparently without irony, that “your article is an ad hominem attack, you four-eyed, big-nosed, commie sack of shit”, or “you scaremongers will destroy the entire world economy and take us back to the Stone Age”, are the unwitting recruits of campaigns they have never heard of.

Welcome to our world, George. BTW, George ends the column with:

These people haven’t fooled themselves, but they might have fooled you. Who, among those of you who claim that climate scientists are liars and environmentalists are stooges, has thought it through for yourself?

About half of the comments have been removed by the moderator, but many of those that remain amount to knee-jerk rightie talking points, thereby underscoring Monbiot.

At Time magazine, Bryan Walsh writes “The Stolen E-Mails: Has ‘Climategate’ Been Overblown?” which does a good job of explaining the facts behind swifthack. Here’s just a bit:

According to PSU’s Mann, that statistical “trick” that Jones refers to in one e-mail — which has been trumpeted by skeptics — simply referred to the replacing of proxy temperature data from tree rings in recent years with more accurate data from air temperatures. It’s an analytical technique that has been openly discussed in scientific journals for over a decade — hardly the stuff of conspiracy.

As for Mann and Jones’ apparent effort to punish the journal Climate Research, the paper that ignited his indignation is a 2003 study that turned out to be underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute. Eventually half the editorial board of the journal quit in protest. And even if CRU’s climate data turns out to have some holes, the group is only one of four major agencies, including NASA, that contribute temperature data to major climate models — and CRU’s data largely matches up with the others’.

In brief, some of the scientists went a bit overboard battling the climate-change deniers, which is understandable. But the great injustice of this battle between truth and fiction is that the deniers don’t have to play by any rules. They can lie, cheat, fudge, use character assassination and guilt-by-proxy arguments all they like. But scientists may not, because if they fall off their pedestals for even a moment, the deniers will eat them alive.

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