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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Telegraph and climate change denialists

    by Sunny on 2nd December, 2008 at 10:17 am    

    The world has moved on, but the Daily Telegraph is still giving space to climate change denial nut-jobs.

    Alarming though it may be that the next US President should have fallen for all this claptrap, much more worrying is what he proposes to do on the basis of such grotesque misinformation. For a start he plans to introduce a “federal cap and trade system”, a massive “carbon tax”, designed to reduce America’s CO2 emissions “to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80 per cent by 2050″. Such a target, which would put America ahead of any other country in the world, could only be achieved by closing down a large part of the US economy.

    Mr Obama floats off still further from reality when he proposes spending $15 billion a year to encourage “clean energy” sources, such as thousands more wind turbines. He is clearly unaware that wind energy is so hopelessly ineffective that the 10,000 turbines America already has, representing “18 gigawatts of installed capacity”, only generate 4.5GW of power, less than that supplied by a single giant coal-fired power station.

    Thank god that Obama is an environmentalist. George Bush, as Newsweek wonderfully pointed out once he was elected, was not only a nutjob denier but actively obfuscated the data to suit his own fantasy-world and oil interests. In the Guardian last week, Chris Goodall nailed these 10 big energy myths around green technologies - it’s worth reading.

    It’s amusing that while in America the climate change denialists are being killed off thanks to active rebuttals by scientists, here we still have attempts by right-wing rags like the Daily Mail and Telegraph to keep screaming denial. When will it end?

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    24 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. kardinal birkutski — on 2nd December, 2008 at 10:31 am  

      It should strike any half-conscious reader that this
      website has one overriding characteristic: a failure to engage in any argument. And so “climate change” is
      a perfect topic for it because, of course, there IS no argument.

      Why don’t you save yourself some time: just put up a headline “it’s all a plot made up by the Daily Mail” and you can go home and stop blogging.

    2. Bishop Hill — on 2nd December, 2008 at 12:50 pm  

      Very funny to read Sunny criticising Bush for obfuscating the data, when climatologists are so notorious for keeping all of their data and code secret.

      Double standard, or do you condemn the Met Office, NASA/GISS and the Hadley Centre at UEA for keeping their figures secret too?

    3. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2008 at 2:20 pm  

      just put up a headline “it’s all a plot made up by the Daily Mail” and you can go home and stop blogging.

      that is exactly what I’m going to do next time… just to annoy you.

    4. Roger — on 2nd December, 2008 at 9:54 pm  

      “Double standard, or do you condemn the Met Office, NASA/GISS and the Hadley Centre at UEA for keeping their figures secret too?”

      I see; we’ve got to sign the Official Secrets’ Act before we watch the weather forecast. Precisely which “ata and code” do they keep secret? If it’s successfully kept secret, how do you know it’s kept secret anyway?

    5. Bishop Hill — on 2nd December, 2008 at 11:03 pm  


      For example, the raw data used to calculate the HADCRUT global temperature average is not publicly available. Neither is the code used to adjust the raw data and calculate the final average. Hadley have refused to release the data. NASA were forced to release their code, but what they have released doesn’t actually seem to run.

      Paleoclimate data is routinely withheld and virtually no code has ever been released. Some of the data is said to have been “lost”.

      All of the IPCC WG1 review editors’ comments have been destroyed (”not retained”).

      etcetera, etcetera.

      The point is that the multi-trillion dollar decisions on climate change have been taken without anyone being able to verify any of the scientific studies that support the AGW case.

    6. douglas clark — on 2nd December, 2008 at 11:27 pm  

      Bishop Hill,

      Well, what is this web site doing? The hadCRUT data has been available there since 2001, apparently:


      You might want to look at this site if you are open minded on the subject, and they are very good at answering questions too:


    7. Bishop Hill — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:13 am  


      That’s the adjusted data, not the raw.

      I know about Real Climate and follow it with interest.

    8. Golam Murtaza — on 3rd December, 2008 at 9:32 am  

      When Bangladesh (and part of Indian West Bengal) disappears under the sea I’m sure the climate change deniers will eagerly rush forward to offer support to the tens of millions of refugees.

    9. Bishop Hill — on 3rd December, 2008 at 4:40 pm  

      I’m sure the catastrophists will apologise when the lights go out… :-)

    10. Rumbold — on 3rd December, 2008 at 4:42 pm  

      Global warming is really taking effect today.

    11. Golam Murtaza — on 3rd December, 2008 at 6:07 pm  

      Oh yes…the prospect of millions of desperate, destitute climate change refugees is really worth responding to with a smiley face. Hilarious.

    12. douglas clark — on 3rd December, 2008 at 6:45 pm  

      Rumbold @ 10,

      OK. You did happen to notice that this is what we call winter? No?

      You can expect, with climate change to see more extremes, not less.

    13. Bishop Hill — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:44 pm  


      You seem to greet the possibility of lots of grannies freezing to death with equanimity. What about all the people who will become destitute because their employers can no longer operate?

      See? Two can play these games. :-) (I’m still smiling, but you were wrong about what I was smiling at).

    14. Rumbold — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:02 pm  


      I suppose that this qualifies as summer weather north of Hadrian’s wall?

    15. Golam Murtaza — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:07 pm  

      So it’s all a game to you then, is it? And there I was thinking you were taking this seriously.

    16. douglas clark — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:17 pm  


      We have special words like effin’ freezin’ for this sort of stuff. (I was going to put in a smiley, but I don’t dare!)

    17. Rumbold — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:19 pm  


    18. douglas clark — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:20 pm  

      Bishop Hill @ 7,

      Can you point me to a sensible site that discusses the lack of raw data availability and why that might be? Y’know one with climate scientists on it?

    19. Dave S — on 3rd December, 2008 at 10:41 pm  

      Bishop Hill @ 13:

      What about all the people who will become destitute because their employers can no longer operate?

      What a short sighted view!

      Human societies survived just fine for thousands of years before the concept of employment even existed, and we will survive just fine (nay, better) once it no longer exists.

      Sure, there’s a lot more of us now than back then, and that could be a big problem. But there are quite a few studies which show that the Earth can sustain all of our living needs quite fine.

      What the Earth cannot sustain is greed in the form of capitalism and consumerism. But that’s OK - we’ll manage just fine without either of those, just as we did for millennia before they came along.

      Capitalism, consumerism, employment, destruction of the environment - all are linked as part of the same cycle, and none of them are necessary for anybody to be able to live happy, fulfilling lives.

      We must break out of all of them (and probably more) if we are to survive, but we really will be just fine once we get to the other side.

      In fact, we’ll probably be quite a lot happier, with more free time and much tighter communities. Less mental health problems, healthier diets - maybe even longer life expectancy due to the necessary return to a more physically active lifestyle.

      We’ll undoubtedly have a fair bit less stuff (but this is going to happen anyway, because capitalism is wiping itself out) and the things we do have are probably going to be communally owned and shared.

      But the point is: get rid of the stuff that is causing all the problems, and nobody ever need be destitute. We’ll just find other ways of living - such as growing most of our own food, creating our own entertainment, supporting ourselves and our neighbours and so on.

      A sustainable future will be a much happier future for almost everybody except diehard capitalists (who certainly exert a powerful influence over events, so we won’t get there unless a critical mass of people really want to make this happen).

      It’s just the transitional period which will be a little difficult - but it’s not as if we have any choice in the matter really, is it?

      We have allowed our society to imagine systems which when turned into reality are more than capable of wiping out all life on Earth including ourselves.

      Are we to be destroyed by our own imaginary concepts, or are we to adapt to the (very reasonable) limitations imposed on us by nature?

      Adapt or perish - it’s that simple.

    20. Roger — on 4th December, 2008 at 8:44 am  

      Bishop Hill: by “code” in 5, do you mean methods of statistical comparison and analysis?

    21. Bishop Hill — on 4th December, 2008 at 9:06 am  


      The rhetorical devices you use are indeed silly. That’s why I keep smiling.

      The comment about needing a site with climate scientists on it is taking argumentum ad authoritam from a mild logical fallacy to an outright absurdity. Why should it require a climate scientist to determine if data and code have or have not been released? You’re surely not arguing that this kind of thing is not evidence of withholding of data because the author doesn’t work in a university?

      Dave S
      Are you arguing that everyone can be self-employed, but everyone will be able to function without energy? Believe me, living without energy in a cold climate doesn’t lead to “happy fulfilling lives”.

    22. douglas clark — on 4th December, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

      Bishop Hill @ 21,

      I’m quite interested in why any data on climate change should be confidential. Incidentally, as you seem to know something about the case you mentioned @ 21, why does it appear contradicted, within the post you refer to when it says:

      Your request is being considered under EIR and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the EIR 2004, subject to the information not being exempt.

      If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large print, etc. then please let me know.

      Was it subsequently denied, or what?

      I would, obviously be perfectly happy for all data collected being made available on publically accessible web sites in a downloadable format. There is however, a reasonable issue about how quickly that should be the case so that the researchers have the opportunity to publish their findings based on the data they collected or paid for. However, I’d have thought a year is a reasonable limit.

      So, can you answer my question, or not?


      I’m also quite surprised that you’d accuse me of “argumentum ad authoritam from a mild logical fallacy to an outright absurdity”.

      Still, experts, what do they know?

      I am not a scientist, but I spent a considerable amount of time and effort to illuminate - to my satisfaction and to the silence of the denialists - arguements made elsewhere about climate change statistics in Central China. This was a time consuming and ultimately frustrating thing to have to do. Given that, when the answers were finally assembled, they simply retreated into the ether. Quite probably with the intent of finding some other web site to carry their same unabridged misgivings.

    23. Bishop Hill — on 4th December, 2008 at 5:10 pm  

      These are reasonable questions. The FOI for Jones et al 1990 was subsequently refused. They had apparently deleted the data. See here.

      For some other examples: the CRU had refused to give a list of the stations used in HADCRUT3 or the data versions. They apparently did not have a list of the stations they currently use.(!) They subsequently released a list of stations which was incorrect - it included duplicates. The data versions have still not been identified AFAIK.

      Here is Steve McIntyre’s email number 39 to Science, attempting (unsuccessfully) to get the data for Esper et al 2002 and Briffa et al 2006.

      There are more if this is not convincing for you.

      I agree that researchers should be allowed to publish their results first. The norm in econometrics is that you archive the data and code, as used, at the time of publication. In fact though, as far as paleoclimate studies go, the data tends to have been collected years ago for other purposes, and is simply being reused in temperature reconstructions. Some of it is really old. Some of Lonnie Thompson’s widely used ice core records are over twenty years old and still have not been archived.

      The point is that no study should be relied on for policy decisions until its findings have been verified, which means the data and code need to be public.

    24. Bishop Hill — on 4th December, 2008 at 9:55 pm  

      Roger at 20:

      By code I mean computer programs. For both the constructions of the temperature records and the paleoclimate reconstructions, this is the only way to know precisely what has been done.

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