Current climate action and the need for more

By Dana Nuccitelli
Environmental Scientist
Posted on 14 September 2012
Filed under Carbon Reduction

The Australian government's Climate Commission has recently released a new Critical Decade report about International Action on Climate Change.  The report notes that this decade is critical in reducing human greenhouse gas emissions, that we have all the technology necessary to do so, and examines the policies of various countries toward that end.  Their findings are summarized in Figure 1 (Figure 3.2 on Page 34 of the report).

Fig 3.2

Figure 1: Implemented and planned climate change actions in some major emitting economies.  Blue represents a sub-national action, pink represents a planned national action, and red represents an implemented national action.

Australia for example has done quite well, having implemented a carbon pricing system, renewable energy target, and energy efficiency standards on a national scale, with national transportation efficiency standards planned.  However, their success depends on whether opposition leader Tony Abbott succeeds in his promise to repeal the carbon pricing system, if he is elected as Prime Minister in 2013.  But at the moment, Australia is moving in the right direction.

China and India have done similarly well, having implemented a version of three of the four actions, with plans to implement the fourth.  Their emissions targets could still use tightening, but for developing countries which are often scapegoated and used by developed nations as an excuse not to reduce their own emissions (as Mitt Romney did), China and India are on the right track.  China in particular has been investing heavily in renewable energy.

The USA on the other hand is arguably doing the worst on the list.  So far a few individual states have implemented carbon pricing systems.  The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has been a success for 9 states, but is a modest system, only targeting power plant emissions.  Most promising is California's far more aggressive cap and trade system, set to take effect in 2013.  California has long led the way in the USA on environmental issues, so hopefully the California system will be a model that the rest of the country will follow.  While some states have renewable energy and building efficiency standards, the USA is lagging behind on these actions on a national scale as well.

The European Union (EU) deserves high praise for being the only major economy to have achieved all four emissions reduction actions, despite the challenge of achieving agreement between 27 member nations.  The EU has long led the way on carbon emissions, implementing a cap and trade system in 2005, having set ambitious emissions reductions targets, having per person emissions that are less than half of those in the USA, Canada, and Australia, and which in general has been the global model on climate policy.  This is evident for example in their installation of solar energy, where EU nations have three of the top four and four of the top seven nations in installed capacity (Figure 2).

fig 3.4

Figure 2: Top nations in solar photovoltaic installed capacity (gigawatts).  Figure 3.4 in the latest Critical Decade report.

Japan also deserves much credit, being third on the list in Figure 4 (ahead of the much more populous USA), and with per person greenhouse gas emissions at a similar level to those in the EU.

Canada is not depicted in Figure 1 above, but is in a similar situation as the USA.  The per person emissions are roughly the same, and there has been some action on a local level (for example British Columbia's successful carbon tax), but there has been far too little action on a national level.  Canada also has local, but not national renewable energy targets.  The current national government has paid some lip service to climate change, but has taken few steps to actually address the issue, has pushed hard to develop the tar sands, and has generally treated climate scientists as pests.

How Do We Catalyze More Climate Policy?

If we fail to take serious action very soon to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the future climate will be much less hospitable than today's, with potentially catastrophic results; however, our political leaders are currently failing to take the necessary steps to avoid a potentially catastrophic future.  This begs an important question - how do we change that?  Let's begin with the large-scale changes that are necessary, and work backwards to see what we can do as individuals on a smaller scale to make those big changes happen.

Pricing or Regulating Carbon Emissions?

In order to achieve the necessary large-scale greenhouse gas emissions reductions, some form of government action is required.  There is simply no way we can stay within our carbon emissions budget with only individual or small-scale efforts.  On a national level, emissions can be reduced through simple government regulation, as the USA  has begun implementing through the Environmental Protection Agency.

However, putting a price on carbon emissions will generally have a smaller economic impact than government regulations.  A carbon emissions price allows consumers to consider the costs of these emissions and adjust their purchasing decisions accordingly, effectively allowing the free market to assist in the emissions reductions.  Currently, carbon emissions are what's known as an economic "externality" - a factor whose true costs are not included in the price of associated products (i.e. fossil fuels). 

Carbon emissions do damage through their impacts as a result of climate change (for example, economic losses via damaged crops from increased drought frequency), but that cost is not currently reflected in the products' market price, so consumers cannot take them into account when they purchase fossil fuels.  Economists consider this type of externality an economic and free market failure.

There are many different options in implementing carbon pricing - a carbon tax, cap and trade system, cap and dividend, etc.  Each has upsides and downsides which are worth debating, but the important first step is to remedy this market failure and put some sort of price on carbon emissions.

Fortunately, some governments have listened to these economists and implemented carbon pricing systems, as discussed above, but more action is necessary.  So how do we ensure that the countries with national carbon pricing systems keep and strengthen them, and convince the countries without such national systems to implement them?

Demand Climate Policy

Most of us live in democracies, and we can therefore influence national climate policy by making our priorities known.  Climate change is the gravest threat humans currently face, and it should therefore be at the top of policymakers' list of priorities.  However, in a democracy, policymakers' priorities are generally determined by the voters who put them in office.

So first of all, we can make climate policy one of our top determining factors in who we vote for.  We can write letters and/or sign petitions to our policymakers to ensure they know our vote is contingent on their support for climate policy.  We can encourage other voters to follow suit.  The only way to make carbon pricing a top priority for our policymakers is to show them that it's a top priority for their voting constituents.

Educate People

Before they will make it a top priority, people must first understand the magnitude of the climate problem, which many currently do not.  In the USA for example, while a majority of the population supports climate policy, they do not see it as a priority.  Until the issue is considered a top priority by voters, there is no pressure for policymakers to implement carbon pricing.

The climate disinformation campaign has been very effective on this issue.  Despite the overwhelming consensus amongst climate experts that humans are causing global warming, only 53% of Americans believe humans are the primary cause, and only 58% believe that most scientists agree that global warming is even occurring.

According to the March 2012 George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication (CCCC) national poll, climate scientists are the most trusted source for climate science information, with 74% of public trust (Figure 3).

trust

Figure 3: Responses to the George Mason CCCC poll question "How much do you trust or distrust the following as a source of information about global warming?"

Thus as Ding et al. (2011) concluded, if a larger percentage of people realized that there is a scientific consensus on the issue amongst the group they trust most on the subject, more people would believe that humans are causing global warming, and more people would demand that we do something about it.  Thus it is critical to educate people not just on the scientific evidence, but perhaps more importantly, about the existence of the expert climate consensus.

A populace can only make informed decisions if it is adequately informed, and right now the public as a whole is misinformed about climate change.  We can all make a difference on this issue by educating those we know, and we believe Skeptical Science is a good resource to accomplish this.  However, our individual and collective reach is limited - most people are informed (and/or misinformed) by the mainstream media.

Demand Factually Accurate News

Unfortunately the mainstream media tends to believe that false balance is more important than factually accurate reporting.  Too many journalists and news organizations are afraid of being labeled as "biased" if they do not report "both sides" of a story, even if one side is not supported by the evidence.  Thus the climate contrarian position receives nearly as much media coverage as the mainstream position, even though the contrarians comprise less than 3% of climate experts.  This over-representation of the climate contrarian position in the mainstream media for the sake of false balance is undoubtedly the main reason why such a large percentage of the populace is unaware of the climate consensus.

So how do we influence the mainstream media to prioritize factually accurate reporting over false balance?  Just as politicians are influenced by their voting constituencies, the media can be influenced by its viewers/readers.  Television advertising dollars are often driven by the number of viewers, newspaper advertising dollars are driven by the number of subscribers, and online media advertising dollars are driven by the number of pageviews. 

An independent study demonstrated that viewers prefer quality TV programming.  We can reward good stories and media outlets by viewing and subscribing to them (and encouraging others to follow suit) and discourage bad stories and media outlets by ignoring them; thus we can begin to influence journalists' priorities by making them recognize that their readers value factual accuracy over false balance.

This is something of a challenge for Skeptical Science, because we believe debunking climate myths in the mainstream media is an important exercise, but we draw attention to those stories in the process.  By quoting directly from the stories, we do allow our readers to see the myths and debunkings without necessarily having to read the stories themselves and give them additional pageviews.  However, we may reduce our number of mainstream media debunkings in the future.  As they say, "do not feed the trolls."

Using Social Media

We can each extend our individual reach on this issue through the use of social media.  For example, when encountering a factually accurate mainstream media story which does not fall into the false balance trap, we can share it on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to encourage those in our social media circle to also view the article and add to its traffic.  Right now the media also tends to operate under the principle that "controversy sells," and climate contrarian positions inevitably create the controversy that generates viewer traffic. 

Only by increasing traffic to the stories that focus on factually accurate information rather than creating a false sense of controversy can we convince the media otherwise, and social media is a useful tool to accomplish that.

Summary

Only when the media focuses on factually accurate reporting will the public become correctly informed on climate change.  Only then will the public come to understand that the experts are in agreement about the climate threat, and that we must make it a priority.  Only then will the public demand that our policymakers take action to address climate change, and only then will those policymakers implement serious climate change mitigation policies.

It's important to remember that in both democratic and capitalist systems, we each have a significant amount of influence.  Our traffic drives advertising dollars for the media, and our votes determine our policymakers' priorities.  We can each extend our individual influence through the tools of the internet such as social media.  So let's get to work and solve this problem.

This post is based on two posts published on Skeptical Science.

Bookmark and Share

39 Comments


Comments 1 to 35:

  1. Brandon Shollenberger at 06:17 AM on 15 September, 2012
    I know we were recently told skeptics (who follow/participate on blogs) are more likely to be conspiracy theorists, but how does that mesh with:

    The climate disinformation campaign has been very effective on this issue. Despite the overwhelming consensus amongst climate experts that humans are causing global warming, only 53% of Americans believe humans are the primary cause, and only 58% believe that most scientists agree that global warming is even occurring.


    This paragraph claims there is a concerted effort to deliberately and knowingly spread lies that has caused the American population to be misinformed. How is that not a conspiracy theory?
  2. Brandon, concerted efforts that are well-documented and not even denied by the participants are hardly conspiracies. It requires no stretch of the imagination to see the effects of, for example, overwhelming advertising spending by the fossil-fuel industry:
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/09/14/850181/pro-fossil-fuel-groups-outspend-clean-energy-advocates-4-1-in-television-campaign-ads/

    On the other hand, hidden action is known as well in the past from certain players - in particular the tobacco industry, and friends of it participating in the present controversies, including Heartland and GMI.

    Putting the evidence for such concerted doubt-manufacturing on the same level as belief that NASA faked the moon landings, Obama was born in Kenya, 9-11 was planned by the Bush administration, or the world's scientists are all acting together in a secret cabal regarding global warming/AIDS/whatever requires some pretty serious chutzpah. There is no credible evidence for any of those, no player has admitted to such a thing, etc. Totally different situation.
  3. Brandon Shollenberger at 07:50 AM on 15 September, 2012
    apsmith, please make sure you understand what the word disinformation means. Disinformation is not information you dislike. It is not information you disagree with. It is not even information that is wrong. It is information that is deliberately deceptive.

    You claim to rebut my point by saying "concerted efforts that are well-documented and not even denied" are not conspiracies. Either your response is non-responsive, or you're claiming the people involved in what you describe all know they're spreading lies. And this is well-documented. And they don't deny it.

    What makes this a conspiracy theory is that you, and Dana, are both claiming the people you disagree with are liars. You aren't claiming they're wrong, but rather, that they're intentionally deceiving people.

    Even worse, you've provided a link to an article discussing a multitude of ads. The implication of such is every ad (on the wrong side) mentioned in that is part of this supposed campaign to deceive people. No evidence is provided in the article to support that, but you've implied it anyway.
  4. Dana Nuccitelli at 08:57 AM on 15 September, 2012
    Brandon, you're incorrect. I'm not claiming that everyone who disagrees with me is a liar, I am claming there is a disinformation campaign which certain parties are enaged in. That's not a conspiracy theory, it's a reality. Look at any number of fossil fuel-funded think tanks, for starters.
  5. Brandon Shollenberger at 09:34 AM on 15 September, 2012
    Dana Nuccitelli, you say you are "not claiming that everyone who disagrees with [you] is a liar." That's true. I should have been more clear. You are saying there is a campaign specifically set out to lie to people. That means you are accusing people behind that campaign of lying. It does not mean you are accusing other people, such as those who have been misled by this supposed campaign, of lying.

    That said, you are most certainly accusing many people of lying, and you are offering not a shred of evidence for your accusation. You say I should "[l]ook at any number of fossil fuel-funded think tanks, for starters," but you don't say what I should be looking for.

    How could I know the people in these think tanks are trying to deceive me? No matter how wrong they may or may not be, how could could I possibly look into their hearts and know their true beliefs? I can't. You can't.

    Unless you're going to say you have internal memos and documents (which aren't fakes) that show a concerted effort to lie to people, your claim of a disinformation campaign is baseless.

    And yes, claiming thousands of people make a concerted effort to lie to the public about an issue is conspiracy theory.
  6. Dana Nuccitelli at 09:58 AM on 15 September, 2012
    Brandon, ExxonMobil admitted to doing exactly what I describe.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/28/climatechange.fossilfuels

    I'm not really interested in trying to convince you that reality is reality. If you want to deny that there's a climate disinformation campaign, that's your choice.
  7. Brandon Shollenberger at 10:17 AM on 15 September, 2012
    Dana, it did not admit anything like what you claimed. Or if it did, that link doesn't show it. The only thing it "admitted" is:

    The ExxonMobil report says: "In 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy research groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."


    I have no idea how you could possibly interpret that as admitting to participating in a concerted effort to deceive people. ExxonMobil didn't even "admit" the groups they funded were wrong; how could it possibly have admitted those groups were lying? It couldn't. The simple reality is that article does not say anything that supports your claim.

    If you don't want to try to convince me that the reality your perceive is in fact reality, that's fine. Just please don't insult me or waste my time by having me read articles that say nothing like what you claim.
  8. Dana Nuccitelli at 14:28 PM on 15 September, 2012
    Honestly Brandon, obtuse doesn't even begin to describe it. There's a word that starts with "d" that fits the bill.
  9. @8: Sorry, Dana, but I agree with Brandon that you did not provide any evidence for the existence of the climate disinformation campaign. Calling people "obtuse" is not very convincing. If you have the evidence for your claim, present it. Otherwise, retract the claim. /shrug
  10. @10: Brad, I asked that Dana did not present evidence for his claim of there being an ongoing climate disinformation campaign. That's it.

    What you say in @10: "If it were just Dana's opinion, sure, but when you have an expert ..." is not evidence. You just said that someone other than Dana also thinks the conspiracy above exists. Fine, but on what basis? That's what I am asking.

    What you say in @11: "We literally have the most powerful industry that ever existed on earth using much of their resources to smear the science ...", etc, and, particularly, "But I do think that there has been such a concerted, well-funded smear campaign against climate science ..." is not evidence either. Again, you just said that someone other than Dana also things that the conspiracy exists. Again, on what basis?

    I agree that scientists are not supposed to make things up out of thin air. But with regard to this question of a "climate disinformation campaign", I have to say that I am yet to see anything apart from that proverbial thin air. Have *you* seen anything other than "X believes the campaign exists, and I trust him"?

    Thank you.
  11. In my very first sentence above, "I asked" should read "I said". In the third paragraph "Dana also things" should read "Dana also thinks" (damn). Sorry for this.
  12. @13: Brad, let's not dig this deep (if you want a short answer, we should trust science, not scientists).

    I am asking a simple question: do you have any evidence of the climate disinformation campaign that Dana is talking about? If so, what is it?

    I am asking the same question to Dana: Dana, do you have any evidence of the climate disinformation campaign that you are talking about? If so, what is it?

    Thank you both.
  13. Dana Nuccitelli at 01:08 AM on 16 September, 2012
    Okay, let's try to be rational for a second here.

    I hope nobody would deny that there is a climate misinformation campaign going on (i.e. see the Skeptical Science myths database). The only difference between misinformation and disinformation is that in the former case, the misinformer believes what he's saying whereas in the latter case he is intentionally misinforming people.

    So you're now asking me to provide evidence that the misinformers know their misinformation is false. Since I do not have ESP, that is a rather tall order.

    I think the fact that ExxonMobil has admitted that they were wrong to funnel millions of dollars to climate denial groups is pretty darn good evidence. There's also the fact that the misinformers continue peddling the same misinformation for years and decades after it's been conclusively proven wrong. Again see Skeptical Science for dozens if not hundreds of examples, Richard Lindzen being my personal favorite.

    If you do not find this evidence convincing, that's fine. Replace "disinformation" with "misinformation" and the conclusions remain unchanged.
  14. To avoid goal-post-moving let's be a little more specific - what specifically are any of you looking for (which presumably in your innocence you have somehow missed to this point) that you would consider as evidence? For example:

    * A major advertising campaign directed at the American public containing statements designed to give a false understanding about climate science or the impacts of CO2?
    * Congressional testimony containing similarly misleading statements?
    * News articles, opinion pieces and reports by or quoting individuals and think tank representatives with similarly misleading or false statements?
    * Statements from the think tanks and individuals involved that describe their funding from coal and oil industry companies?
    * Statements from oil or coal companies that corroborate this funding?
    * The link between think tanks with free-market views and some of the above campaigns denying the science of climate change?
    * Statements from oil or coal companies that show their funding for the above free-market-oriented think tanks and individuals?

    Or you're looking for something else? Explain please!
  15. Brandon Shollenberger at 04:04 AM on 16 September, 2012
    Dana Nuccitelli, you say:

    I think the fact that ExxonMobil has admitted that they were wrong to funnel millions of dollars to climate denial groups is pretty darn good evidence.


    Again, there is absolutely no evidence ExxonMobil did this. You are making this up. The only evidence you have provided is ExxonMobil said it was going to stop funding some groups who might divert attention from a discussion it feels is important. They do not admit to funding "climate denial groups." They do not admit their funding of any groups was "wrong." For whatever reason, you are simply making things up about what your own sources say.

    Beyond this, you say:

    If you do not find this evidence convincing, that's fine. Replace "disinformation" with "misinformation" and the conclusions remain unchanged.


    Conclusions certainly change. You said you weren't "interested in trying to convince [me] that reality is reality." You then said "obtuse doesn't even begin to describe" me. Finally, you implied I'm a either denier or delusional, saying:

    There's a word that starts with "d" that fits the bill.


    At the point you're insulting people for not agreeing with you (and yes, you've clearly insulted me), whether or not you are right about their being a "disinformation campaign" does change conclusions.

    But it also changes another conclusion. If you cannot provide meaningful evidence of the existence of a disinformation campaign, it is nothing but a conspiracy theory. (-snip-)
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory snipped.
  16. Brandon Shollenberger at 04:14 AM on 16 September, 2012
    By the way, I want to stress something. Dana Nuccitelli told me:

    That's not a conspiracy theory, it's a reality. Look at any number of fossil fuel-funded think tanks, for starters.


    It seemed incredible to me that someone could show think tanks were intentionally lying, so I asked how I could possibly know they were. In response to that simple request, Dana said:

    Brandon, ExxonMobil admitted to doing exactly what I describe.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/28/climatechange.fossilfuels

    I'm not really interested in trying to convince you that reality is reality.


    The article provided showed nothing of the sort, and when I pointed this out, Dana changed his claim. His new claim was equally false, but again, he claimed I was somehow not aware of what reality is.

    In other words, Dana's first attempt to provide evidence for his claim amounted to a hand-waving reference which would was completely impossible to verify. His second attempt consisted of him claiming an article said something it clearly didn't say. His third attempt again had him claiming that article said things it didn't say. And during all this, he painted me as some sort of loon.

    Am I loon because I ask for evidence of serious accusations? Am I loon because I read sources for what they say? Or am I just a loon because I don't agree with Dana's unsubstantiated accusations?
  17. Brandon Shollenberger at 04:38 AM on 16 September, 2012
    Oh, I forgot one last point. Dana Nuccitelli says:

    I hope nobody would deny that there is a climate misinformation campaign going on (i.e. see the Skeptical Science myths database).


    Seeing as a campaign is a systematic course of activities for some specific purpose... I'm going to have to disagree. I don't doubt there are some people and groups involved in such. However, Dana specifically said:

    The climate disinformation campaign has been very effective on this issue. Despite the overwhelming consensus amongst climate experts that humans are causing global warming, only 53% of Americans believe humans are the primary cause, and only 58% believe that most scientists agree that global warming is even occurring.


    This is a claim that there is one campaign, and that single campaign has had a major impact on public opinion in the United States. That means it is not just a bunch of people and groups who happen to share similar interests and thus act toward similar goals. It means these people and groups work concertedly in a singular effort toward specific purposes.

    I would deny that. While some people and groups work together to various extents, the idea of a singular campaign with almost everyone working together seems silly to me. That sounds like a conspiracy theory.
  18. Brandon Shollenberger at 05:31 AM on 16 September, 2012
    I don't generally like discussing moderation policies, but I have to ask. A sentence in a comment of mine was deleted with the note, "Argumentative snipped." I read the comments policy, and there is nothing in it which says argumentative comments are not allowed.

    Are there additional rules I should be aware of, or did you just not mean "argumentative"? There are rules against ad hominem and inflammatory remarks, and I could perhaps see those overlapping with argumentative.
    Moderator Response: Apologies. The descriptor should have read "inflammatory" vice argumentative.
  19. Brandon Shollenberger at 06:19 AM on 16 September, 2012
    Moderator, thanks for clarifying!
  20. Dana Nuccitelli at 06:28 AM on 16 September, 2012
    Brad, I'm not throwing around theories, I'm throwing around facts that I didn't expect commenters here to deny. I guess that was a little naive of me. I should have probably realized that this blog has drawn in an unusual crowd in recent weeks. I suppose I should be prepared to prove that water is wet. It's just hard to find the time and motivation to do so. If somebody denies that water is wet, what's the point in even arguing with him? I may as well just go bang my head against a brick wall.
  21. Dana Nuccitelli at 08:09 AM on 16 September, 2012
    If you want to try and falsify that water is wet Brad, be my guest!

    Hypotheses aren't disproven through denial. Reality certainly isn't.
  22. The climate disinformation campaign has been very effective on this issue.


    I am with Brandon Shollenberger - we need more concrete evidence on something so extraordinary as a "climate disinformation campaign" . We need to see it being shown as existing, forget if it has been effective.
  23. Sorry - not to pile on, but I agree as well. Dana, you've made several accusations. Brandon showed you were not correct with either claim regarding Exxon.

    I for one would like to see a list of the think tanks fossil fuel is finding (or even have funded). That claim is thrown about often, but I've never seen an actual list or example.

    Citation to authority is not a legitimate response when asked a simple question. No one is asking you to prove water is wet. They are asking you to prove your claims.

    If your claims have the merit you say they do - if its is such common knowledge as you seem to feel it is based on your response, it shouldn't be difficult to provide some support.

    Simply presenting an opposing view of the science, itself backed up by its own science, is not "misinformation."

    And despite all the claims we see about it I see few "disinformation" campaigns either. I do regularly see scientists who disagree, and who show their science to back it up.

    Disagreement is not misinformation nor disinformation.
  24. Dana Nuccitelli at 15:40 PM on 16 September, 2012
    A.Scott - if you are sincerely interested in seeing fossil fuel funding of think tanks, look at exxonsecrets.org or desmogblog or sourcewatch.

    And reading Skeptical Science would obviously do you a lot of good too, in general.
  25. Of couse the danger here is that an open minded person could pose the same 'conspiracy' question about many environmenalist (climate related in this case) organisation, and their huge green dollar funded activities. To claim big oil and not accept big green and all the implications that go with the organisation of advocacy might make one seem rather myopic do you not think? Or is introspection and self reflection only expected from certain groupings?
  26. Brandon Shollenberger at 14:15 PM on 17 September, 2012
    (-snip-)
    Moderator Response: Moderation complaints snipped. If you prefer, feel free to interpret "condescending tone" as "inflammatory".
  27. Brandon Shollenberger at 15:17 PM on 17 September, 2012
    (-snip-)
    Moderator Response: Moderator trolling snipped.
  28. Dana, you said:

    "I'm throwing around facts that I didn't expect commenters here to deny."

    Please note that all you have been able to to say in support of your claim of "the climate disinformation campaign" is a link to a piece in Guardian -- which in my opinion does NOT say what you claim it says.

    I would suggest that it is a bit too early to use the words "facts" and "deny".
  29. @36: Brad, it definitely seems that Dana thinks "the climate disinformation campaign" is something that is self-evident. The irony, as pointed out by Brandon Shollenberger in #1, is that Prof Lewandowsky recently did a study which purported to show that people not supporting CAGW (called the "deniers" by the CAGW folks) are more likely to believe in various conspiracy theories than people supporting CAGW. Regardless of how successful Prof Lewandowsky was in showing that, here we have Dana, a strong proponent of CAGW, openly promoting what looks like a classic conspiracy theory. "THE climate disinformation campaign"... jeez.
  30. Dana Nuccitelli at 15:40 PM on 16 September, 2012
    A.Scott - if you are sincerely interested in seeing fossil fuel funding of think tanks, look at exxonsecrets.org or desmogblog or sourcewatch.

    And reading Skeptical Science would obviously do you a lot of good too, in general.


    It appears Dana has given up?

    (-snip-).

    BTW - I do on occasion read SkS - more as a way to follow new works skeptical of science
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory snipped.
  31. Dana Nuccitelli at 12:14 PM on 19 September, 2012
    "It appears Dana has given up?"
    Yes sorry, I have a lot of things on my plate much more important than arguing with concern trolls.
  32. Brad - I think an open-minded person reading these threads would see exactly who was being forthright and honest and who was having trouble with reality; I'm personally not worried in the slightest by your overwhelming number of comments on these threads, they speak volumes.

    Dana, when I read this post at first I actually was considering a comment just as a compliment - you've pulled together here a great summary of the facts of the situation from multiple sources. It's great to review the actual policy responses from different nations (which have not been all bad as you note) - and the graph of solar installation levels is nothing less than stunning. Your post actually gives me a lot of hope for the situation - of course there are still (see comment threads...) a lot of obstacles in the way...
  33. I know we were recently told skeptics (who follow/participate on blogs) are more likely to be conspiracy theorists, but how does that mesh with: [quote]

    Over and over one sees severe errors of both fact and logic from non-accepters. Even ignoring the skeptic misnomer (non-accepters are not generally skeptics, as they readily accept any claim that supports non-acceptance) and the misrepresentation of what "we were recently told", and even accepting for the sake of argument that the quote is a "conspiracy theory" (apparently by virtue of a single letter, 'd" vs. "m") ... a single instance of a conspiracy theory offered by one person is trivial to "mesh with" a statistical claim about a group or a comparison between groups. It's like asking how to mesh the claim that doves are more likely than crows to be white with the spotting of an albino crow ... or, equally bereft of logic, asking how the global temperature trend can be upward when it was cold on some occasion or over some period. (A different sort of abject logic failure is the fallacy of denial of the antecedent when non-accepters claim that humans can't be causing global warming because it's been hot in the absence of humans). While some non-accepters show some statistical competence and some ability to reason non-fallaciously, in my experience a non-accepter is far more likely to commit basic errors of logic, especially when dealing with probabilities.
  34. I would deny that. While some people and groups work together to various extents, the idea of a singular campaign with almost everyone working together seems silly to me.

    Argument from absurdity is a fallacy. But more importantly, you are clearly arguing against a strawman, in a way that is pedantic, sophistic, and smacks of hypocrisy. One can readily talk of "the green movement" or "the environmental movement" or "the Occupy movement" or "the effort to reelect Barack Obama" or "the left" or "the Democrats" etc. etc. without the necessity that every single person in such movements and groups is explicitly coordinating their efforts; all that is required is a commonality of interests.

    That sounds like a conspiracy theory.

    So what? Sounding like a conspiracy theory, or even being a conspiracy theory, doesn't make the theory invalid. The study by Lewandowksy et. al. dealt with conspiracy theories that are contrary to established fact, and the tendency of people who accept such conspiracy theories to reject science.
  35. you've pulled together here a great summary of the facts of the situation from multiple sources

    Indeed. What is most notable about the comments here ... or perhaps not since it is such a common occurrence as to be quite mundane by now ... is the utter lack of interest in the substance.
Comments Policy

Post a Comment

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or register a new account.