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The “Smoking Guns” of climate denialism

by Donald Prothero, Feb 22 2012

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

—The Wizard of Oz

Having just suffered a major court defeat in 1987, the major players in the “Intelligent Design” creationism movement were trying to recover their momentum. They decided to transform and disguise their attacks on science by hiding their religious roots, and changing their creationist textbooks to remove overt references to God. They planned a subterfuge to get their unconstitutional dogmas taught in public schools in the form of “intelligent design” (ID), and claimed to be non-committal about the “designer” (even though every one of them was a devout evangelical Protestant, and open about their creationism when they spoke to religious groups). Behind the scenes, however, their intentions were very clear all along: drive a “wedge” of “intelligent design” to separate evolutionary biology and materialistic philosophy from its support in the United States, defeat not only evolutionary science but also materialism, and replace them with their own theistic dogmas. For public consumption, the ID creationists and the Discovery Institute in Seattle refused to admit that they were any more than scientists who wanted ID to get a legitimate chance of being heard and taught, since on the face of it they made no reference to a specific deity or designer.

But their cover was blown when a document which described their “wedge strategy” was leaked over the internet, and is now available to anyone who wants to read it. The “Wedge Document” describes their true intent: not new and important scientific research on evolutionary topics, but to win the battle by a concerted PR campaign to influence the public and political officials. Unlike all other legitimate scientific ideas that must pass muster of scientific peer review to persuade the scientific community that their approach was superior and truly scientific, the ID creationists planned an “end run” around the legitimate scientific community through PR and political pressure.

Once it was leaked, everyone at Discovery Institute tried to deny it was real, or that they had written it, but enough people have come forward to expose that lie. When ID creationism came up for trial in Dover, Pennsylvania, in 2005, their case was weakened not only by the long trail of documents that showed their true religious motivations (as well as those of the creationists on the Dover School Board), but even by their textbook “Of Pandas and People” which was hastily transformed in 1989 from an originally young-earth creationist book into an ID book. The early drafts were discovered and were full of old-fashioned creationism; the published book had just replaced “intelligent design” for “creationism”. In one crucial case, there was even a draft of the book where careless use of the “Replace” command had resulted in the weird combination “cdesign proponentsists” (“creationists” incompletely overprinted with the words “design proponents”), a true palimpsest which revealed the slipshod job they had done turning a religious book into an ID book. Since 2005, ID creationism seems to have vanished from the creationist political playbook, replaced by “teach the controversy” and other subterfuges.

Those who follow the news know that a “Wedge Document” of the climate deniers has just been revealed. As described by The New York Times and in Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy” blog and many other blogs, someone managed to obtain and leak documents from climate denialist Heartland Institute. These documents expose the fact that climate denialism is all about PR and propaganda, not about science. The head of the Heartland Institute does not deny most of the documents (except one, which reads just like the rest). According to the reporters at the Associated Press and The New York Times, so far everything checks out. It is amazing how much the language reads just like the Wedge Document (which was also denied by the Discovery Institute before they could no longer hide behind lies). The documents clearly show a strategy to create a smokescreen of doubt about climate change, insinuate their ideas into the school curriculum, and to win the battle by PR and propaganda, not by doing good science that would debunk the major evidence for climate change. One quote is particularly revealing:

The “effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.” 

Not much ambiguity there. Reading the context of the entire quote, it’s still clear. There it is in black and white: climate denialism is about preventing teachers from teaching science and focusing on “teach the controversy” and promoting doubt and uncertainty—not doing good science which would show that global warming isn’t real. You couldn’t ask for a clearer example of the similarity of strategies of the ID creationists and the climate deniers.

[The Heartland Institute may have bigger problems than just embarrassment at this exposure. Some of the documents show that they contributed to political efforts to aid Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, influence his recall election,  and attack the Wisconsin unions, in direct violation of laws that prevent non-profits from direct involvement in political campaigns.]

But this isn’t really surprising, actually. Both Oreskes and Conway (2010) and Hoggan (2009) carefully unearthed the paper trail, and showed that the entire climate denial movement arose, not as a spontaneous scientific dissenting movement from within climate science, but as a PR campaign paid for by the energy companies through their “conservative foundations”. For example, Oreskes and Conway revealed from memos leaked to the press that in April 1998 the right-wing Marshall Institute, SEPP (Fred Seitz’s lobby that aids tobacco companies and polluters), and ExxonMobil, met in secret at the American Petroleum Institute’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. There they planned a $20 million campaign to get “respected scientists” to cast doubt on climate change, get major PR effort going, and lobby Congress that global warming wasn’t real and was not a threat. [The infamous Koch brothers were donors to Heartland, as they are for many right-wing causes].

Or how about the recent revelation that the Heartland Institute has regularly been paying off Anthony Watts, a well-known American blogger and denier, and Bob Carter, an Australian denier, with sizable stipends each year as they continue to write anti-global warming diatribes? Instead of the “Climategate” scandal, we now have what is being called the “Cash for Climate” scandal. Another expose showed that 9 out of 10 of the top climate deniers who write on the subject were funded by ExxonMobil.

The right-wing institutes and the energy lobby beat the bushes to find scientists—any scientists, no matter whether they were qualified or not—who might disagree with the scientific consensus. As investigative journalists and scientists have documented over and over again, the climate denialists  essentially paid for the testimony of anyone who could be useful to them. The day that the 2007 IPCC report was released (Feb. 2, 2007), the British newspaper The Guardian reported that the American Enterprise Institute (funded largely by energy  companies and conservative think tanks) had offered $10,000 plus travel expenses to scientists who would write negatively about the IPCC report. So much for the scientific credibility of witnesses who could be bought and paid for with just a bribe plus travel expenses!

The irony in all this is that the Heartland Institute was one of the loudest voices in trumpeting the phony “Climategate” story, which has become accepted dogma in the denialist community—even though those quotes are clearly out of context and do not mean what they denialists claim they mean (just as creationists dishonestly quote-mine scientists to distort their meaning). You can see that for yourself if you read the original documents. There was nothing amiss in those stolen emails except for poor choice of words. Six different investigations in the U.K. and U.S. have cleared Philip Jones and the East Anglia Climate Research Unit of any wrongdoing, yet none of this pierces the “bubble” of the right-wing climate deniers. But now the Heartland Institute itself is the subject of unflattering documents leaked from their own files. And this time there is no quoting out of context, since there is no ambiguity in what they have said and done for years now. This quote is particularly clear:

Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as [Peter] Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.

So much for “fair and balanced” and “listening to both sides of the argument”!

I  had never heard the term “warmist” before—but it strikes me as exactly parallel to the way creationists (and only creationists) use the term “Darwinist” to describe anyone who accepts evolution. As many people have shown, using the term “Darwinist” is a deliberate attempt to make the opponent seem to be a member of a political cult, like a “Marxist” or “socialist”, not a legitimate scientist—even though scientists have gone a long way past Darwin in over 150 years. The parallels between the science deniers, both creationists and AGW denialists, go on and on…

255 Responses to “The “Smoking Guns” of climate denialism”

  1. Florian Freistetter says:

    Nice image at the beginning. But it is very tiny and difficult to read (the link leads to the same tiny version…)

  2. Walter says:

    We now know the leaker was scientist Peter Gleick, and the way he obtained the documents was less than honest, to be kind. Yes, the irony of the Heartland Institute calling foul over leaked documents is so thick you can cut it with a knife, but I have to agree that Gleick’s dishonesty has done more to harm the cause than help it, because he gave global warming deniers a major new talking point: a global warming scientist lied to steal documents. What those documents contained is now irrelevant in the eyes of most of the public. All they’ll hear is a scientist lied.

    • tmac57 says:

      Yes,I am concerned that this will turn out to backfire on climate science,as the denial side has had great success in convincing their followers that any failing on the part of climate science,no matter how small in comparison to their own misrepresentations,lies,hacking,nasty attacks etc.,will bring down the entire science of climate change. At least in the U.S.,their tactics have shown to be pretty effective for what appears to be very little money in comparison to the vast amount of wealth that stands ready to bankroll them (assuming they can do it behind the curtain of anonymity of course).

      • Shane P. Brady says:

        I don’t think Gleick has necessarily hurt anything, but I do think it’s a cautionary tale. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard than those that promote junk science.

    • Artor says:

      I’m not convinced. The more Heartland & the denialists harp on Gleik’s “dishonest theft of documents,” the more their hypocrisy will be evident, since that pretty much exactly what they did with “Climategate.”
      Theft & subterfuge with the intent to commit fraud is one thing. Theft & subterfuge with the intent to expose dangerous lies is another. I think anyone who isn’t already wearing ideological blinders can tell the difference.

      • Max says:

        So you’re saying that Gleick’s dishonest theft was just as bad as the theft of CRU emails.
        Is there any evidence that Heartland stole anything?

      • klem says:

        And no one has stepped forward to accept responsibility for the CRU theft, so they have no one to hang out to dry for that. But Gleick came forward. Why he came forward is a mystery, perhaps he did so before he would have been outed by some one else?

      • Max says:

        Maybe Gleick realized that they had his IP address, or maybe his conscience was eating at him since he resigned from a task force on scientific ethics even before publishing the documents.

      • Markx says:

        “Why he came forward is a mystery…”

        Perhaps it was the trail of evidence (mind you, of forgery of the document) that Steve Mosher was accumulating:

        ….Bizarre use of parenthesis, just like the memo…..doesn’t know how to use commas.

        ….“undermining” is the wrong word. A believer (AntiAGW?) would write ”countering” or something like that.

        ….. the mention of Gleick. ….. what the hell is his name doing in a strategy document? huh? makes no sense….

        …the slam against Revikin and Curry…(Gleick) and Curry had an issue…

        If you want to look for the author of the fake memo, then look for somebody who tweets (and frequently uses) the word “anti-climate”.

        Look for somebody on the west coast (the time zone the document was scanned in)

        You’ll find somebody who doesn’t know how to use parenthesis or commas, both in this memo and in other things he has written.

        You’ll find he mentions (glorifies) himself in the memo.

        Gleick and Taylor have been fighting. Gleick and Curry, fighting. Now comes this bogus memo that turns Gleick into a high profile climate scientist.

        ….. Heartland doesn’t like Revkin, and here in this memo they seem to like him.

      • Max says:

        My mistake, he resigned from a task force on scientific ethics two days after the documents were published, not before.

      • tmac57 says:

        That makes perfect sense,however it is blindingly clear that the denialist side is almost totally immune to explicit examples endlessly pointed out to them of their hypocritical arguments.It just does not stick.They have a ‘teflon’ coating that sheds cognitive dissonance in an impressive manner.
        Further, internal dissent is virtually non-existent,and circling the wagons has been an effective tactic that continues to work for them.You make the mistake that all of their opposition has made:That they are open to an honest debate about the science,and will yield to facts and logic.This will not happen,and they will press on with their agenda no matter what,and unsuspecting people will continue to fall for their ‘muddying the waters’ tactics.

      • Markx says:

        tmac, It is probably fairer and more correct to note that each side is blind to the other’s arguments.

      • tmac57 says:

        Maybe puny commenters such as myself,but I think that the climate science community has fairly addressed the legitimate issues brought up by people such as Spencer,Soon,Christy etc.

      • Janet Camp says:

        But one side is blinded by faith, ideology, and cultishness. The other is “blinded” by reason and tires of trying to point out the difference.

      • Markx says:

        Thanks Janet.

        You state it just as I see it.


    • Douglas says:

      If Gleick had JUST leaked the documents, that wouldn’t have been a controversy. The problem is he perpetrated a fraud to collect them himself under false pretenses.

      Also the quoted memo is roundly considered a fraud, Why? Because Gleick admitted that the only document he couldn’t verify as accurate while perpetrating his fraud, is the one document quoted in this article.

      For skeptics, you aren’t very skeptical when it comes to things you already think you know.

  3. Max says:

    The particularly revealing quote about “dissuading teachers from teaching science” appears in the one document that’s not like the rest. Gleick, who was about to join NCSE’s board of directors, said he received that document from some anonymous source.
    Its last paragraph has another revealing quote: “Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.”

    Sounds like it could’ve been written by Gleick. I’d prefer quoting from the documents that we know are real.

    • Donald Prothero says:

      If you check the links I put in, that “dissuading teachers” quote was checked out by the AP and the New York Times. The guy they refer to confirmed that he was paid to make the materials for public schools which lie about global warming. So it was NOT written by Gleick, because the story was checked independently.

      • BJ says:

        Just like Jayson Blair!

      • Max says:

        Neither the AP nor the New York Times cite that revealing quote. They confirmed that Dr. Wojick was paid to make materials for public schools, but that fact appears in the documents that the Heartland Institute does not deny: “Many people lament the absence of educational material suitable for K-12 students on global warming that isn’t alarmist or overtly political.”

        There they describe current educational material as “alarmist or overtly political,” whereas the revealing quote in the suspicious document describes it as “teaching science.” It’s revealing all right, but it may reveal that Gleick wrote it.

      • Markx says:

        “…that “dissuading teachers” quote was checked out by the AP and the New York Times. The guy they refer to confirmed…”

        No, they simply confirmed he was making educational materials for schools: materials with less alarmist and political messages.

        Very clever, subtle bit of ‘spin’ above by Donald. I wonder if he has considered a career in politics?

      • Somite says:

        No. They were making materials that did not reflect the scientific consensus. I’d like to know what is political about the scientific consensus.

      • Douglas says:

        The use of the word “consensus?”

  4. Lurker says:

    Having just suffered a major court defeat in 1998

    What defeat is that? I am aware of Edwards v. Aguillard but that was in 1987, not 1998.

    but even by their textbook “Of Pandas and People” which was hastily transformed in 1998

    It came out in 1989 (search for Publisher) so I really think you are a decade off in your dates about creationism here.

    See the video on the front page of expelled exposed for confirmation (they say the book was changed from a straight creationist book to an Id book after the 1987 supreme court decision).

  5. Max says:

    Apparently, the only oil connection revealed by the Heartland documents is one donation by the Koch Foundation for a healthcare project. Much of their Global Warming project funding comes from an “Anonymous Donor,” who, I must say, was quite prescient in staying anonymous.

    • Max says:

      The suspicious “climate strategy” document says the Koch Foundation contributed $200K in 2011, while the non-suspicious fundraising document says Koch contributed $25K for a healthcare project in 2011 and was projected to contribute $200K in 2012. Koch confirmed what’s in the fundraising document.

      Sounds like whoever wrote the “climate strategy” document just wanted to mention the Koch Foundation, even though its donation wasn’t related to global warming.

  6. Shane P. Brady says:

    Put me down as one who doesn’t understand why people are still trying to claim the strategy memo was real. It looks pretty fake to me, and was not one of the documents sent to Gleick from THI. Why not just focus on what we know is real? Plenty of stuff there to go off on.

  7. Benjamin says:


    There is a very good take down of Dr. Peter Gleick, the man who illegally stole many of the leaked documents from the Heartland Institute over at by Ronald Bailey. It’s interesting to note that Reason, and Bailey himself, are generally allied to moderate climate change scientists and in the past have been very friendly to Skeptics such as Mr. Shermer. There is a noticeable overlap between those who are wary of pseudoscience (skeptics) and those who are wary of an overreaching government (libertarians). That fact that many within the climate change debate already suspect that Gleick forged the document you compare to the “wedge document” should have made you reluctant to write such an article. It would behoove you to remember that the radicals on both sides of a debate have the tendency to put ethics and honesty a far second to achieving their goals.

    For those who are interested see…

  8. Cow Parsley says:

    I’m frankly shocked that this blog seems so gleeful about the whole global warming thing. Where is the skepticism? It’s up to the ones proposing massive spend and subsidy to ineffective power generating solutions. Where is the skepticism? You seem gleeful in something that has been stated as fake (1 doc). Very poor and unbalanced effort.

  9. Shane P. Brady says:

    Not sure if my comment was deleted or not, but I really don’t know why skeptics are focusing on the one document that looks fake, when all the good stuff is in the other documents.

  10. Trimegistus says:

    Not shown: billions of dollars from governments and NGOs with a vested interest in promoting “climate change” alarmism.

    • Somite says:

      The difference is that money spent in mitigating climate change is based on science. Efforts to discredit the science are unethical and not equivalent.

      • klem says:

        Yea that’s right, huge piles of money supporting climate alarmism is good. Modest sums for climate skepticism is bad.

      • Janet Camp says:

        That should read: huge piles of money (I’ll let that go even though “huge” is a very relative term) supporting climate CHANGE (including the urgency of the matter) is good. Modest (same disclaimer) sums for climate DENIAL is bad.

        The attempt to appropriate the term “skeptic” for denialist simply serves to illustrate the point.

      • Markx says:

        Judith Curry says it well:

        Re Heartland’s funding, I did a previous blog post on this: Blame on Heartland-Cato-Marshall-Etc. Much information about total amount and funding sources is publicly available from sourcewatch.

        The surprising thing is the paltry funding that the libertarian think tanks have relative to the green groups (e.g. WWF, Greenpeace, etc.)

        The more interesting question to me is how have these groups been so effective with so little funds, relative to the much larger expenditures by the green groups.

      • tmac57 says:

        Ever heard of the concept of asymmetric warfare? Why spend anymore than what seems to be effective?

      • Canman says:

        Libertarians are sometimes accused of astroturfing, but I beleive they are genuinely grassroots. Look at the sales of Atlas Shrugged and Road to surfdom.

      • Jere Krischel says:

        @Somite: If you truly believe it is based on science, what necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis would you put forth regarding catastrophic AGW? Feel free to make one up yourself, or quote any set of experts you’d like.

        What we’re looking for is a set of observations that would make you change your mind about catastrophic AGW, that if *not* found would strongly support your hypothesis.

        For example, for evolution, if one were to find a modern rabbit fossil in the pre-cambrian, we’d pretty much have to go back to the drawing board, and either admit time travel into the equation, or some sort of extraterrestrial designer playing games in ancient earth.

  11. BJ says:

    Surprised to see so many logical fallacies on an article on a ‘skeptic’ blog.

  12. BJ says:

    These smoking guns are based on faked documents. Circumstantial evidence points to Gleick as the forger. I think we need a bit more skepticism here guys.

    • Max says:

      Only the 2-page “Climate Strategy” document, not the other bigger documents.

    • Artor says:

      Please detail this evidence, and the supposed fallacies you see.

    • klem says:

      I don’t think anyone is going to prove who foreged the documents unless they come forward themselves. And I’m not sure why knowing who forged them is material.

      • Max says:

        Again, only one memo is suspected of being forged, but it’s the one with the “revealing” quotes.
        If Gleick forged it, that would be really dishonest and possibly libelous. One thing that’s unique to that memo is the last paragraph about climate communications, which talks about helping Gleick’s competitors at Forbes and NY Times. If Gleick wrote it, he may have been trying to defame them. Most of the memo repeats stuff from other documents, maybe to appear legitimate.

      • Max says:

        Also, if Gleick forged that one memo, then he lied to the public, not just to Heartland

      • Shane P. Brady says:

        I don’t think the forged one matters, the good stuff is in the rest. Skeptics are making a little too much hay with an anonymous, anomalous document.

      • Jere Krischel says:

        Can you be specific as to what you think “the good stuff” is? The personal contact information for the Board, or the identities of donors? The idea that someone might get a grant for a project that does not agree with the “consensus” view on the dearth of natural climate change since the industrial age?

        If there was “good stuff” in the rest of the docs, nobody would need to cite the forgery.

    • Janet Camp says:

      Skepticism is not the same as Conspiracy Theory.

  13. Max says:

    If you’re interested, here are the funders of Dr. Gleick’s Pacific Institute.

  14. itzac says:

    Everyone seems to be getting the story about Gleick wrong. As I understand it, he received the documents from someone inside the HI, then impersonated someone on the HI board to obtain his own copy of the same documents, in order to confirm their authenticity.

    And is it really such a big deal that he lied to an organization whose job it is to peddle lies and misinformation. When are we going to stop apologizing for being right?

    • Max says:

      No, you’re getting it wrong. Gleick says he got one 2-page Climate Strategy document from an anonymous source, and then impersonated someone on the HI board to obtain the other documents in order to confirm what was in the Climate Strategy document.
      But the Climate Strategy document doesn’t sound like the other documents, it sounds like it was written by Gleick after obtaining the other documents.

      And yes, it’s a big deal for a scientist to lie. Paying denialists isn’t illegal, but phishing is illegal in some states. Gleick resigned from the American Geophysical Union Task Force on Scientific Ethics a week ago, and he withdrew from joining the NCSE board of directors.

    • tmac57 says:

      Even Gleick has admitted that this was not ethical,so it’s kind of hard to defend,even if you,as I do,welcome the look inside the secretive workings of HI.And the authenticity of the strategy memo is still a question as far as I know,and if Gleick did forge that one,then it’s game over for sure.I certainly hope that this is not the case,and also hope that it turns out to be real.
      One thing that has occurred to me that I have not heard anyone looking into:is it possible that this whole thing might have been a ‘honey pot’ trap set up to snare Gleick since his high profile announcement that he was joining the board for NCSE? That would be diabolical! No,wait,I’m starting to think like the other side,forget that I ever mentioned it.

  15. Insightful Ape says:

    Well if Heartland denies one of the documents presumably all others are genuine.

  16. Somite says:

    Regardless of how you spin this it is confirmations of what scientists and people that understand how science works have been saying.

    There is a well funded effort to create FUD regarding the scientific conclusion that is global warming.

    When you deny the published scientific conclusion you are just falling prey to this misinformation campaign.

    • klem says:

      “Regardless of how you spin this it is confirmations of what scientists and people that understand how science works have been saying.”

      That’s right, the documents show that the climate denial business is not anywhere near as well funded as the alarmists have been claiming for years. The amounts recorded in these documents amount to peanuts. The documents shwo that the better money is one the alarmist side.

      • Ray Butlers says:

        Only someone with bias (no skepticism) would call science “alarmist” while giving denialists a free ride. They have less money=Therefore they are not as bad as the scientists say.

        It takes a lot of money and effort for the truth to be heard. The denialists have full time access to millions of eyeballs in the media 24/7. Real science struggles to be heard, thus the necessity of more funding.

      • Markx says:

        Hey! That ain’t bad.

        Have you ever considered going into the marketing or lobbying business?

  17. oldebabe says:

    DP: This article seems muddled. Always better if one sticks to their own field of expertise.

    • Donald Prothero says:

      I beg your pardon. I have written whole books on climate change (“Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs”, 2009), studied with the giants of the field (Wally Broecker and others), and all my funded research is on climate change. I may not work on ice cores or tree rings, but as a professional geologist and paleoclimatologist and texbook author on those subjects, I know more about it than a layman…

      • Jere Krischel says:

        As an expert, Donald, what would you use as a necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming? Are there any geological or paleo observations you could make that would make you reconsider your support of CAGW?

    • Markx says:

      Agreed, oldebabe. I feel it is probably better described as ‘muddied’.

      What muddies the waters in this debate is the attempt to link “AGW scepticism” with creationism.

      And this focus on the labels each side likes to apply to the other (warmists, deniers and yes, AGW sceptics). I don’t like ANY of the labels, but they do become necessary for clarity during debate.

  18. Insightful Ape says:

    Yeah right, we learn from klem that science is the way to the reaches, that you get more monet for working in the academia than for the Koch brothers…
    What is your source in the leaked documents for this nonsense anyway?

  19. Insightful Ape says:

    Oldbabe, DP is a geologist. Some of the strongest evidence for climate change comes from geological records of ties between changes in greenhouse gas level and climate, most notably at the Permian-Triassic juncture.

    • Max says:

      This article isn’t about the science, it’s about the politics and PR.

      • Ken says:

        Well, yes, because that’s all that’s left. The science is solid now, and the only question left is what we should do about the warming, and that will inevitably come down to politics and PR.

        (Some friends and I were talking about Phil Plait’s Death from the Skies book, and what humanity would do if we spotted an Earth-impact asteroid on the way, but with enough time to divert it. We really couldn’t decide if humanity would manage the project, or if we would all just fall into bickering about who would pay for it and end up like the dinosaurs.)

      • Janet Camp says:

        WRONG–This article is most definitely about SCIENCE–the science that underpins the truth of climate change and does its best to challenge its detractors who offer nothing but well-funded religious claptrap. If the science “side” is “well-funded”, it is only because they have the combined resources of acedemia and the informed public to draw on.

      • Max says:

        It’s about the politics and PR of the science. Being an expert in climate science doesn’t make you an expert in the denialist campaigns, and vice-versa for journalists like Chris Mooney.

      • oldebabe says:

        TXS, Max, for making my point (which I obviously did not make). I certainly did not mean to diminish anyone’s ability…

  20. Walter says:

    While I don’t agree with how Gleick obtained most of the information, there is no evidence he forged any of the documents, and those saying he did need to put forth evidence to the contrary if they think that’s the case. Let’s stick to the facts and not make things up.

    • Markx says:

      In this thread discussion Steve Mosher teases out the evidence that convinced many Peter Gleick was the creator of the Heartland Strategy document;

      (Note, this was prior to his confession.. and did it help prompt that confession?

      Note, I’ve capitalized previously uncapitalized names in Mosher’s post to improve readability a little).

      Steven Mosher (Comment #89946) February 16th, 2012 at 1:52 pm
      I have some speculation on the writer of the document.
      1. West coast time zone.
      2. trashes Curry and revkin, known adversaries
      3. Uses a very strange word (anti-climate) in the document
      and in his tweets
      4. uses parenthesis in a very odd way when he doesnt know
      how to punctuate sentences. in the document and in
      his letter to Pielke.
      5. glorifies himself in the document.
      6. prior history of making phony statements
      ……Bizarre use of parenthesis, just like the memo…..doesn’t know how to use commas.
      ….“undermining” is the wrong word. A believer would not use that word. A believer would write ” countering” or something like that.
      …… the whole copying of the first sentence of the Wojick bio …..
      ….But the thing that hit me first off was the mention of Gleick. …. I thought when I read his name was.. what the hell is his name doing in a strategy document? huh? makes no sense….
      …… then I read the slam against Revikin and Curry….. remember that he and Curry had an issue… and then the west coast time zone thing.
      If you want to look for the author of the fake memo, then look for somebody who tweets the word “anti-climate”. You’ll find it. Look for somebody on the west coast (the time zone the document was scanned in)

      You’ll find somebody who doesn’t know how to use parenthesis or commas, both in this memo and in other things he has written. You’ll find he mentions himself in the memo.

      That’s all the clues for now. Of course it’s all just speculation. Note, he’s not tweeted for a couple days. Very rare for him.
      Gleick and Taylor have been fighting. Gleick and Curry, fighting. Now comes this bogus memo that turns Gleick into a high profile climate scientist.
      Worst of all, Heartland doesn’t like Revkin, and here in this memo they seem to like him.
      This paragraph is the smoking gun. But the gun is pointed at the foot of a guy in California. This is just an extension of his fight with Taylor.


      • tmac57 says:

        Yes,it’s almost as if the author of this clumsy document wanted it to jump out as being a forgery,with little clues leading directly back to Gleick…interesting.

      • Markx says:

        Geez Tmac, that’d be a pretty complex and twisted plot!

      • tmac57 says:

        Yeah,I guess the people at Heartland could not possibly be that clever…right?

      • Markx says:

        Tmac, you have company in this theory. (not company I think you’d want to keep, but company nevertheless…)

      • tmac57 says:

        Well,this was just idle speculation on my part.None of it makes much sense on either side,so I am agnostic so far,except that I do think Gleick acted unethically,as he has admitted.
        What I found deliciously ironic and amusing, reading the comments on Laden’s post,was the deniers who think he is off his rocker for thinking that such a convoluted conspiracy could be pulled off,are likely the same people who regularly insist that the vast majority of climate scientists,and all of the world’s academies of science are in on a massive plot to defraud the world.LOL!!!

    • Markx says:

      Heartland Strategy Document is here:

      Worth a read, we can all reach our own opinion, to me it is certainly a strange structure, and I marvel on the co-incidence that Peter Gleick was the only “high-profile climate scientist” (to quote from the memo)mentioned by name in the document.

  21. MadScientist says:

    How much does the Heartland Institute pay that kook Ken Cuccinelli?

  22. Daun Eierdam says:

    There is nothing unconstitutional about creationism or ID. Please be more careful in your selection of words.

    • tmac57 says:

      No,it’s just unconstitutional to try to get it taught in U.S classrooms,because it has been shown to be teaching religion.

    • Janet Camp says:

      Creationism and ID become unconstitutional when they, as religious principles, attempt to influence publicly funded institutions such as education.

  23. Markx says:

    To me, the most interesting thing that arises from this article is that people with entirely opposite initial convictions on a topic, can read exactly the same set of information and only see support for their original belief.

    In my case I was completely unsurprised at the direction of HI policies.

    But I was amazed at how ill-funded they were, and the fact there was no clear evidence of “Big Oil” funding.

    And I am quite convinced the “Strategy Document” is in fact a fake. It is badly structured and strangely worded, and contains some unique phrasing which caused several fingers to be pointed at Peter Gleick as the suspected ‘forger’ (not as the suspected thief!).

    I believe it was either this finger pointing, or a sudden (unlikely) pang of conscience, which led to his ‘partial confession’.

    Disclaimer: I have no time for creationism, intelligent design, or ‘railroaded’ science indoctrination policies.

  24. Somite says:

    People saying that denialistm is not as funded as the science are not taking into account the millions pouring into lobbying and political campaigns. That is probably more effective than think-tanks. We are also looking at one thnk tank. If you could look at the total number I am sure it would be a lot higher.

    Also, when you are willing to behave unethically you can use the money a lot more effectively. This illustrates it well.

    Also, can you tell me what think-tanks or scientists are supported by greenpeace or the WWF published peer reviewed research is funded by scientific organizations.

    • Markx says:

      Well, I’ll categorically state that I am not a student, nor paid to write comments on blogs.

      Furthermore, I’m not a Christian, or a god-botherer of any sort.

      However, based on my chess-playing prowess and tactics, I now realize I may well be a pigeon.

  25. Markx says:

    Donald, you would appear to be ‘adding an amount of deceptive spin’ in your statement here:

    “….that the Heartland Institute has regularly been paying off Anthony Watts…”

    Watt’s says he approached them for funding his NOAA data project to make that data readily accessible to the public. (and have you SEEN HOW these taxpayer funded organizations like to allow access online? Obscure file dumps, elaborate directory structures……why it would take thousands of dollars and hours to make it useable!) ….. Hey, wait a minute!… It would take Watts about US$88,000 apparently.

    They do not regularly fund me nor my WUWT website, I take no salary from them of any kind.

    It is simply for this special project requiring specialized servers, ingest systems, and plotting systems. They also don’t tell me what the project should look like, I came up with the idea and the design.

    The NOAA data will be displayed without any adjustments to allow easy side-by-side comparisons of stations, plus other graphical representations output 24/7/365. Doing this requires programming, system design, and bandwidth, which isn’t free and I could not do on my own.

    Compare the funding I asked for initially to get it started to the millions some other outfits (such as CRU) get in the UK for studies that then end up as a science paper behind a publishers paywall, making the public pay again. My project will be a free public service when finished.

    • Somite says:

      Because the CRU is a legitimate research organization with research in many areas employing many individuals. Anthony Watts is a hack.

      • Markx says:

        Somite February 23, 2012 at 7:58 am

        says “….Because the CRU is a legitimate research organization with research in many areas employing many individuals. Anthony Watts is a hack….”

        This is your justification for ‘adding an amount of deceptive spin’?

      • Somite says:

        What is your evidence that this was the only instance Watts has received funding from any source? Typical grasping-at-straws denialism.

      • Markx says:


        I present the available evidence…
        You make unfounded accusations, and ignore mis-statements from your own team…

        and I’M the one clutching at straws?

      • Somite says:

        Your evidence is Watt’s statement? I wouldn’t accept that from someone whose main goal is to misinform.

      • Markx says:

        No, I’d not expect you to, and fair enough.

        So, … your evidence is…?

      • Somite says:

        The Heartland leak?

        Which by the way; has anyone noticed how little attention news organizations have been paying to this compared to the stolen emails?

  26. Mikeb says:

    Wow, check out all the CO2 going up in service of this debate!

    This is a war that cannot be won. You’re watching apes at their deceiving/self-deceiving best.

    Everything that I learned in high school about AGW in the 1970s is coming true, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

    • Markx says:


      You mean … it is NOT true that we can solve the problem by setting up taxes and trading schemes, and thereby transferring as much of our wealth as possible to trading institutions and banks and governments??? !!!

      Look, we already know that nuclear power is evil incarnate, and we are not allowed to solve the problem that way.

      • Mikeb says:

        “You mean…it is NOT true that we can solve the problem by setting up taxes and trading schemes, and thereby transferring as much of our wealth as possible to trading institutions and banks and governments??? !!!”

        That’s correct. It hasn’t happened, it won’t happen, which is indistinguishable from can’t happen.

        Enjoy you’re status as observer. It’s very interesting times we live in.

      • Somite says:

        Just like acid rain and ozone. No wait.

  27. Walter says:

    So, the best proof for Gleick faking the evidence is “well, it sure looks like his writing!”? Let’s steer away from any subjective analysis. That’s not proof — that’s opinion. As far as the timing and the nature of the “faked” document, it certainly is a discrepancy, but doesn’t in itself prove Gleick was the one who faked it, if it is a fake. (Never mind the only party claiming the document is fake is the Heartland Institute, an organization that has engaged in deceptive practices to promote its agenda in the past.) It should be noted that journalist David Appell has asked Heartland’s leaders to show evidence to back up their claim Gleick forged the document. So far they’ve been silent.

    • Markx says:

      Nope, I’d say the best proof is that some commentators said, “…gee, that looks just like Gleick’s style of writing, ain’t it strange too that he is the only ‘high-profile climate scientist’ mentioned by name…”, and I thought they were really making quite too many assumptions.

      But, then, Gleick suddenly confesses to being the perpetrator of the phishing scheme.

      Now if the document is a forgery, he looks a little more likely to have been the forger, and the ‘possibly his’ writing tends to look a lot more like …. um….. his writing.

      So, just supposition, small details, exquisite timing, and the fact he was known to be very close to the scene of a known and related crime.

      I’ve not seen anywhere that Heartland has accused him of being the forger. That has mainly been blog commentators.

      • tmac57 says:

        On Heartland’s site,they have posted Bast’s official comments on Gleick’s confession:

        “Gleick also claims he did not write the forged memo, but only stole the documents to confirm the content of the memo he received from an anonymous source. This too is unbelievable. Many independent commentators already have concluded the memo was most likely written by Gleick.

        Maybe not a direct accusation,but a strongly implied one,I would submit.

    • Markx says:

      Thanks Somite.

      And doncha just love the way they present data?

      The Global Temperature Anomoly chart has to start at 1950 to show the correct trend…

      while The Global Precipitation Anomoly chart has to start at 1900 to show a trend… (hey, and that’s upwards, could be handy, thought we were going to run out of water!)

      • Somite says:

        What are you talking about. They are different results! The complete hockey stick is here:

        and here is a gaggle of hockey sticks obtained by numerous independently confirmed methods:

      • itzac says:

        Not to mention the BEST study, which was supposed to prove Markx’s point once and for all.

        Hey, you don’t think…? I mean, climate scientists… maybe they actually know what they’re doing?

      • Mover says:

        “maybe they actually know what they’re doing?”

        Not if they are the product of a late 20th century public school education. If they are, then they are indoctrinated progressive hacks.
        Just sayin’

      • itzac says:

        And I assume you have charts starting earlier that show no trend? Or is it no fair asking you to put your data where your mouth is?

      • Markx says:

        Yep, Greenland ice cores: you’ll have to drop them onto Excel for a chart … that part of the world spent about 8,000 of the last 10,000 years being warmer than today (with a few dips down to recent levels). Before that, it was a LOT colder.

      • Somite says:

        That’s just raw data. Do you have a link to an analysis by a climatologist that supports your assertion?

      • Markx says:

        No, I don’t think it needs ‘adjusting’. The temperature data is directly from NOAA.

        Just put it on a chart.
        Add your recent uptick, you wont even be able to see it.

      • Markx says:

        Try Wiki – here is one of those beloved spaghetti charts – perhaps the Greenland Ice core is in there too…

        But … basically the same result.

      • Somite says:

        The factors that caused temperature changes in the holocene are well understood and are expected. The difference is that current climate change can only be explained by human greenhouse gas emissions.

      • Markx says:

        Somite says “…factors that caused temperature changes in the holocene are well understood…”

        Richard Alley’s statements and publications seem to indicate that we don’t really understand it very well at all:

      • Markx says:

        Re Somite’s statement: “…The factors that caused temperature changes in the holocene are well understood …”

        This intriqued me, but everyting I can find indicates Somite is wrong in regard to this.

        Even in looking back only two thousand years, Jones and Mann say: “..likely… not known precisely…must be imperfectly reconstructed… controversial…paucity of evidence…uncertainty..”

        On timescales of the past one to two millennia, however, it is likely that external forcing due to natural changes in solar irradiance and explosive volcanism and anthropogenic influences from land use changes, greenhouse gas concentrations, and more recently sulphate aerosols represent the dominant forcings of climate variability. Of course, the histories of these forcings are not known precisely, but like the climate itself, they must be imperfectly reconstructed from proxy information sources.


        Evidence regarding the actual nature of changes in ENSO over past millennia … is controversial …. This is due to the paucity of evidence, uncertainty concerning the influences in the proxies used, or the inability of the proxy records to resolve true (interannual)El Nin˜o variability.


  28. Venture Free says:

    The reason that this is likely to have much less impact than “ClimateGate” is because the goal of the Heartland Institute and others like it is much different. They aren’t trying to prove that AGW isn’t a real phenomenon. To be sure if they can do that it’s a major bonus, but ultimately the real goal is to maintain as much doubt as possible about the whole issue. Doubt their honesty and integrity all you want. As long as they can make you doubt the other side, too, that’s all that really matters. Even if you can prove with certainty that they were dishonest or unethical in this case, they still have many fronts on which they can continue the attack.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that you can claim the same thing about the “Warmists.” They could be doing exactly the same thing to drown out the voices of those who say we have little or nothing to worry about. So how do you think we should break that impasse? I mean how does one determine who is right, and who is simply trying to confuse the issue for their own gain (or through simple ignorance and/or group-think)?

    I would think science would help, no? Study the issue. I mean really study it in depth. Become an expert in all the nuances of the data that we have and what impact that has on the final analysis. Spend years combing through everything that’s out there that might affect the conclusion, and at the end you can say, if not with certainty, than at least with a high level of confidence what is most likely to be the truth.

    The reason I’m a “Warmist” is because almost without exception, the ones that have ACTUALLY done this conclude that AGW is something real.

  29. Barry says:

    I agree. But making me drive a hybrid car is not the real solution. Control population is the solution. How you ask. Stop rewarding extra births for starters. After 2 offspring you do not receive any government benefit for the extra children.

  30. Markx says:


    …and amazingly, there is apparently more snow accumulation there now than over most of the last 20,000 years (water locked up in ice during the ice age?)

    The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland
    Quaternary Science Reviews
    Volume 19, Issues 1-5, 1 January 2000, Pages 213-226.

    Richard B. Alley
    Department of Geosciences and Environment Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, Deike Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA

    • tmac57 says:

      Surely you aren’t going to bring Dr. Alley in as a witness that AGW isn’t a problem…are you?

      • Markx says:

        Nope. Just showing his temperature chart.
        As requested.

      • Somite says:

        Through history you can always find non-global spots that warmed or cooled. What matters is the global temperate and unexpected rapid changes. These are the characteristics of climate change.

      • Markx says:

        Somite said: “What matters is the global temperate and unexpected rapid changes. These are the characteristics of climate change”.

        And the climate over the last 10,000 years has probably been more stable than for any other similar time span in the last at least 200,000 years. Though in recent history the LIA and MWP could perhaps be considered anomalous.

        Prior to that, climate behaved more like a yo yo…. And few humans were to be seen anywhere.

      • Somite says:

        That’s because you are not looking at the rates of change. It has never gotten this warm this fast.

      • tmac57 says:

        And those periods in the past where temps did rise rapidly,as shown by Dr. Alley in that video,argue for high climate sensitivity,something that denialsts keep trying to…well,deny.

      • Markx says:

        Sensitive indeed … but to what?

        … and abrupt climate change would appear to be the norm, not the exception.

        “…spoke about sudden rapid change in the climate being the norm throughout history, and not slow gradual change in the climate, which, based on what they keep being told by climate computers, is what most people seem to expect to happen. That would be abnormal if such gradual change did happen, since that is not what typically has happened to the climate throughout history. Sudden, abrupt climate change is the norm, and this is not well modeled by climate computers…”

      • tmac57 says:

        Sensitive to negative or positive forcings (such as Co2)

        here are a number of different forces which can influence the Earth’s climate. When the sun gets brighter, the planet receives more energy and warms. When volcanoes erupt, they emit particles into the atmosphere which reflect sunlight, and the planet cools. When there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the planet warms. These effects are referred to as external forcings because by changing the planet’s energy balance, they force climate to change.

        It is obviously true that past climate change was caused by natural forcings. However, to argue that this means we can’t cause climate change is like arguing that humans can’t start bushfires because in the past they’ve happened naturally. Greenhouse gas increases have caused climate change many times in Earth’s history, and we are now adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at a increasingly rapid rate.

      • Markx says:

        Quoting Skeptical Science Blog?!!

        … notorious for editing comments, re-editing statements already discussed, blocking those who disagree…

        I’m shocked and disappointed beyond description!


      • tmac57 says:

        They don’t block people simply for disagreeing,they just don’t tolerate trolling,ad hominems,or just assholes in general. Not surprised that you aren’t a fan.I see many dissenting opinions in the comments.

      • Markx says:

        tmac57 says:February 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

        “They don’t block people simply for disagreeing,they just don’t tolerate trolling,ad hominems,or just assholes in general.
        Not surprised that you aren’t a fan…”

        Oh! Well played, Sir! :-)

        Yeah, they are certainly very sensitive. I guess that comes with the territory (climate?).

      • tmac57 says:

        In any case,you need to show where SkS is specifically wrong,to prove that they are not a reliable source of climate science.Also,I have seen actual instances of them correcting errors pointed out to them by their critics,something that AGW ‘skeptics’ rarely do.SkS produces an enormous amount of content,and some mistakes are bound to happen,but they are concerned with getting the facts straight,not just cherry picking the data to show a predetermined conclusion.

      • tmac57 says:

        Oh,and by the way,SkS also edits and deletes comments from people who agree with them as well,whenever they cross the line of going way off topic,ad homs,or launching into political rants.They don’t just selectively pick on the deniers.

      • Canman says:

        It seems to me that a lot of boards that moderate comments could avoid a lot of criticism by including a dumpster. Readers could dive in and check out the deleted comments for themselves.

  31. itzac says:

    Thanks for the video, tmac57.

    I asked for a longer record of global temperature anomalies, and you presented a local temperature record. I guess you’re having trouble with the distinction between weather and climate.

    • Markx says:

      You can if you wish, find similar data (going back further) from the Vostok cores in Antarctica. There are lags between the poles, but that does not alter the fact that ‘we’ were globally warmer a few thousand years ago, then temperatures gradually declined and have not exceeded those levels in recent times.

      Other than that, back to the wiki page with all the proxy temperatures on the spaghetti charts. (which also shows the same thing).

      Or you may just be satisfied with the recent (and regularly adjusted) temperature records of this century. And yep, there you go, they seem to be rising …. it can only mean…

      (by the way, I understand correcting instrumental and recording errors, but why is it that older instrumental temperature records are always be corrected downwards, and recent ones upwards? …and why is that done several times? … and why have previously available online century long Australian records suddenly been truncated to only go back to 1950, when the hottest years ever recorded in Australia occurred in the 1940s….?)

      Oh, so much to wonder about.

    • Markx says:

      Another Richard Alley video for you:

      He states his belief in AGW, fair enough, but states simply that he belives the physicists.

      Now we all hear what we want in these, but listen for statements such as:

      Abrupt climate change,
      Sudden surprises,
      be ready,
      Physcists tell us
      ‘high confidence’ humans are the cause,
      we need more bright scientists and engineers (not economists?)working on it.
      Send us your brightest students…

      Sounds like a work in progress to me…. perhaps there is still some science to be done?

  32. Markx says:

    I do feel quite sorry for Gleick. His world must really be crashing about him. All from one unthinking act.

    I think it is one of these cases of ‘power corrupts’ (ones logical thought processes), although in his case it was probably more ‘sense of importance’ corrupts.

    I do expect his friends and connections will look after him and find him a good job somewhere.

    • Tobin says:

      You sure are protestin’ awful hard, Markx.

      • Markx says:

        Well, that particular comment was hardly a protest, more a statement of sympathy…

        … but I can’t talk right now, gotta go and cash my “Big Oil – pay for protest” cheques….

  33. Canman says:

    It’s interesting that whenever there is a debate about special interest groups affecting climate policy, the debate always seems to center on oil companies. Oil probably counts for, at most, about a third of human CO2 emissions, and is used primarily for transportation. While more drilling increases their business, it seems to me that they always make their biggest profits when there is some huge shock to supply. When the world is swimming in oil, their profit margins go down, and they have to cut production.

    Are bloggers and commenters on climate sites part of a concerted effort by the oil companies? Maybe some of them are, but I think their main allegence is to a much bigger and more powerful interest group: People who own cars! And they’re in cahoots with a huge foreign special interest: Poor people who want to own cars!

    This special interest group weilds tremendious political power. Just look at how any spike in gas prices makes those in Washington start talking about opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. They even got to Joe “you just make stuff up” Romm’s Climate Progress blog:

    Discloser: I own a car and a work van.

  34. Kenn says:

    The left uses climate change as a wedge to advance its agenda.

    The right reacts by denying climate change.

    What if politics were left out of the equation?

  35. Markx says:

    Donald Prothero’s article may sum up almost everything that is wrong with the pro-AGW theory ‘action campaign’. (Let me just call the two sides pro and anti AGW, although much of anti-AGW side would appear to be anti-catastrophic AGW)

    He starts with a witty graphic showing alternative scenarios re funding of each side of the debate. The one for the pro-AGW side is ridiculously unlikely. Simply prompting the anti-AGW side to immediately picture a more likely pro-AGW structure, probably starting with “Big Government and Big Finance”.

    Then he tries to align anti-AGW side with creationism. There is scant logic in that, and detailing complicated indoctrination policies and campaigns only prompts the anti-AGW side to see that sort of campaign in the IPCC and UN publications, government advertising campaigns, and mainstream media attempts to blame every single climate event on AGW.

    Then he bases his whole major argument, and quotes directly from, a document which is claimed to be (and in most opinion, is very likely to be) a fake. Nuff said there.

    He goes on to detail a major secret plot by ‘big oil’ to start an international campaign against pro-AGW theories. This very likely prompts the average anti-AGW punter to feel that it is a good thing there are some sources of alternative views and information out there, even if they do acknowledge ‘big oil’ has its own and unsurprising agenda. Any implied parallel with the (again unsurprising) Heartland effort only emphasizes how paltry Heartland’s funding is.

    Then he goes on to detail funding of a couple of anti-AGW figures, falsely mis-stating the available information to say that one (Watts) was on a regular payroll. Again, only emphasizing how little money was really going their way.

    Then he trots out the “Climategate Story” as “phoney”.
    Well, no it wasn’t.The doubts and questions, and details of lost data, and the political machinations of our climate scientist were all laid out for us all to see. There is nothing phoney about all that, and Prothero just appears to be desperately whitewashing. Questions and subsequent enquiries on whether Mann’s scrappy data keeping and his interpretations were really evidence of research misconduct is just a distraction to the real doubt in people’s minds re “the science is settled” and “97% of the world’s climate scientists agree…”.

    Look, with the might of the UN, the backing of most of the world’s governments, the supposed agreement of most of the world’s scientists, the backing of most of the world’s mainstream press, the AGW message turns out to be true, and the message and a call to action could not be communicated to the world, it will indeed be a disgrace and a tragedy.

    And articles like Prothero’s, full of half truths, vague parallels and whitewash, along with all the silly attempts to link every new climate perturbation to the issue, will be primarily to blame.

    • tmac57 says:

      So let me get this straight,if it turns out that 97% of the climate scientists,most of the press,all of the national academies of science on earth,virtually every important science organization in the world,the UN,WHO,environmental organizations,all turn out to be right about AGW,and nothing is done about it because of people such as yourself continuing to spread doubt,then the former is to blame?
      Come on Markx,you have placed your money squarely on the table,don’t try to weasel out now,before the wheel has stopped spinning.Own your opinion,don’t try to retroactively blame others for your poor judgement.

      • Markx says:

        Just saying it like it is.

        Whatever happens, this will no doubt be studied for generations as the worst case of salesmanship ever recorded.

      • tmac57 says:

        Let me guess…whenever you need to decide something by flipping a coin you say “Heads I win,tails you lose”.
        Is that about the way it goes? You have already absolved yourself of any culpability no matter what happens.
        I have always wondered why AGW ‘skeptics’ weren’t more afraid of being held responsible for their interference with finding alternatives to dumping CO2 into our atmosphere.Now I see it clearly…”The Devil (Al Gore) made me do it!!!”
        Pay no attention to the WUWT behind the curtain!

      • Markx says:

        Ha ha… settle down mate.. you are starting to sound like a rabid fanatic (a slightly frustrated one).

        It’s not really about me.

        I do a little more reading than most, so they’ve (you’ve) little chance of convincing me. (Certainly not with the current information and models, and they are losing more credibility with ‘instrument corrected’ data).

        But I can scarcely believe they are unable to date to swing the general populace … and in fact, at this point that situation may be irretrievable.

        Might have done better with different front men (Mann? ha), and less of ‘the science is settled’ stuff.

      • Markx says:

        Here Tmac. Do yourself a favour and read this, to some extent it sums up th current state of affairs:

      • tmac57 says:

        Marx-I read the article,and let me quote from the last line


        I prefer the ‘Fire and Rain’ James Taylor personally.

        I do a little more reading than most, so they’ve (you’ve) little chance of convincing me.

        I am shocked!!! Shocked,I say!!!And all this time I mistook you for an open minded person ;)

      • Canman says:

        The responses from Messrs. Gleick and Taylor, in the comments, illustrate perfectly what we’ve come to expect from the two sides, right down to their pictures.

      • Stefaan says:


        “Swing the general populace” was doomed from the onset, simply because of the time scale. We now see articles on the BBC on how this year’s snowfall is caused by the thinning ice of the North Pole. If next year is snow-free (as is quite possible, weather being a fickle thing), the general populace will be confirmed in the (ever increasing) view that AGW is a load of codswallop. As a species, we simply cannot think two generations in the future (let alone intuitively integrate the inevitable fluctuations of the weather in a long-term trend).

        Together with the lack of real (and affordable) alternatives, this is the biggest problem we have with keeping AGW as a justification for unpopular policy-making. Whatever the general populace was prepared to swallow, they have swallowed. Unfortunately, more insulation, solar panels, wind turbines and smaller cars aren’t enough.

      • Markx says:

        @Stefaan at February 28, 2012 at 7:25 am

        Noted the increased snowfall related to thinning ice – interesting stuff indeed, (and I was in Belarus and Ukraine for two weeks right in the middle of that!) ..

        But again, this is modelling – and based on two instances occurring in a 31 year period … and in no way was it forecast.

        May eventually turn out to all be connected, but I for one can see why doubts are fanned.

      • tmac57 says:

        Whatever happens, this will no doubt be studied for generations as the worst case of salesmanship ever recorded.

        Au contraire,it will be studied for generations as the BEST case of salesmanship ever recorded…for the fossil fuel industry.Hey,it also worked for tobacco…(until it didn’t) Too late for the lung cancer victims though.

      • Markx says:

        US$600,000,000 to one foundation!

        You have little excuse for failure:
        further info on the ‘funding imbalance':

        The Climate Works Foundation has received just short of US$600 million from the the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the most recent donation of US$600 million being made last week.

        Seems surprising ‘The Truth’ is so expensive.

      • Markx says:

        typo above :

        “….the most recent donation of US$100 million being made last week….”

      • tmac57 says:

        The truth is expensive,and lies are quite cheap.

    • julierbutler says:

      “Then he bases his whole major argument, and quotes directly from, a document which is claimed to be (and in most opinion, is very likely to be) a fake. Nuff said there.”

      Now, here is just one of the Pine Island Glacier – sized cracks in your logic here. The document “is claimed to be” a fake. By whom?

      Nuff said there.

      And as for your doubts about “Climategate,” please see Donald R. Prothero’s article explaining why there is this insane “debate” when we should all be acting to stop sending CO2 into the atmosphere before it is far too late to do anything about the situation – and the link to the Wikipedia page about the email “controversy,” which covers all eight investigations, each and every one of them “finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.” (And by the way, why is the fact that those emails were obtained by illegal hacking not a very good reason to consider those who obtained them to be entirely untrustworthy? – At least no-one in that case tried to blow them off as fakes)

  36. Markx says:

    This sort of thing too, on Skeptical Science, does not help.

    Where we have the magical transformation of Extreme Weather to now only being “Heavier Rainfall”.

    Note also the discussion, the moderators and their ‘gang’ happily veer off to talking about one Australian flood, however when a commentator comes in with a link on the USA showing no extreme changes, (which is supported by recent publications)… he is told that he is of topic, the information is irrelevant, and the site he quoted cannot be trusted. This in spite of the original discussion mentioning US weather, that his statement is supported by recent publications.

    Clever as all those dudes in SS are, that sort of page can only satisfy the ‘true believers’.

    • tmac57 says:

      For the life of me I cannot understand how you could read that article,and all of it’s comments,and only come away with the conclusion that you just did.Pathetic :(

      • Markx says:

        as stated:
        “….that sort of page can only satisfy the ‘true believers’.”

      • tmac57 says:

        So then, you are now satisfied? Good to know that I finally got through to you.

      • Markx says:

        Tmac, takes time, data, data collected over time, a lot more science, and accurate information to get through to me.

        How anyone could choose to ‘just believe’ what was initially dished up is beyond understanding. Mann’s hockey stick? Government stories, models no-one except to makers understood? Disappearing MWP?, extreme climate that was going to be droughts, then typhoons and tornados, then just heavier rain, and $$$$$ … banks and traders slavering at the bit ….

        Belief at that point required a faith in government motives and scientific independence akin to the earlier faith shown the church.

        Then, as more data accumulates, it’s blighted by instrument adjustments, and climategates, Manns and Gleicks…

        Slow down a bit, you have only just really started to monitor ‘global temperature’.

        And yes, there is harm in ‘doing it just in case”.

        If it is in fact warming for reasons other than GHGs, then a lot of poor people are going to get a lot poorer whilst a few rich people get a lot richer, and then the poor people will get dead that little bit quicker because energy is priced out of their diminished reach.

      • tmac57 says:

        There are rebuttals to all of your listed objections out there if you choose to look.You can lead a horse to water…

        If it is in fact warming for reasons other than GHGs…

        and if in fact the (extra) warming IS being caused by GHGs (hint:It is)…what is your plan ‘B’? Put up a giant umbrella,and hope for the best?No wait,we can’t do that,it would require governments to coordinate global action,and we know we can’t do that!!!

      • Markx says:

        Hasten slowly.
        Do the science properly and carefully,
        Show some validated modelling,
        Resist trying to rush the science.
        Resist trying to rush the ‘education’.

        If it is anywhere near as drastic as you expect, you will have no trouble convincing the masses, and the money will flow in a waterfall.

        (my only real worry is that the world is probably drastically in need of a new ‘financial system’ or rather ‘source of a logical reason for cash flow’ and this may have been the real logic behind all this…. and without GHG alarms … we got nuthin.)

      • Markx says:

        The total rebuttal in there of the “extreme weather” discussion: (if that ain’t pathetic, what is?)

        “Extreme Weather
        Christy began his written testimony by discussing various recent extreme weather events, and arguing that they cannot be attributed to human greenhouse gas emissions.
        two new papers in Nature …. have presented evidence that changes in the intensity of extreme precipitation since the middle of the 20th century may be linked to human induced global warming, and that in at least one instance, that human influence on climate had likely substantially increased the risk of flooding.

        Other recent research has detected a human influence in observations of extreme temperatures …..”

  37. CountryGirl says:

    I can’t believe all the rationalization going on here. Each of you are stumbling over each other to defend or rationalize what he did. He broke the law. He lied. He created a fraudulent document to cause people and an organization harm. But the most important thing he did which should really piss you off instead of making you all come to his defense; was that he had to make up lies to support his/your belief system. If all he had done was release documents and those documents showed that the Heartland Institute had done something wrong you and he would be vindicated. But quite apparently they have done nothing wrong so he choose to bear false witness in a feeble attempt to make them “wrong” thus making him/you right. This all blew up in his/your face and you are trying to find the right lie to make it all right.

    • tmac57 says:

      Each of you are stumbling over each other to defend or rationalize what he did.

      You will notice that some of us have not defended Gleick at all,myself included.Even though I think Heartland is a scumbag operation,I think Gleick’s actions were unethical.

      He created a fraudulent document to cause people and an organization harm.

      Has this been proven?You wouldn’t want to make an unproven assertion of guilt would you?That would be unethical.

      But quite apparently they have done nothing wrong so he choose to bear false witness in a feeble attempt to make them “wrong” thus making him/you right.

      It is not at all “apparent” that Heartland has done nothing wrong.Their organized campaign (lobbying effort)against truth is,and has been wrong ever since they tried to cast doubt about the hazards of smoking,and now the hazards of CO2 pollution.They may even be breaking the law by representing themselves as a non-profit “think tank”,instead of a lobby for those with fossil fuel interests, but I will leave that for the courts to decide.

  38. CountryGirl says:

    Lobbying against truth! An undefensible position with the juxtaposition of the climategate data dump showing which side was trying to cover up the facts and prevent truth from being exposed compared with the Heartland info that shows them doing nothing wrong.

    • Somite says:

      Both are irrelevant in the end in the face of extensive peer-reviewed research showing that global warming is real.

      • CountryGirl says:

        I think that claim was shown to be false with the climate gate dump. Instead of peer review we had falsification of data, hiding of conflicting data and outright suppression of dissenting peer review. You are in denial; a denier.

      • tmac57 says:

        And yet,9 investigations cleared the scientists of any wrong doing.

      • Markx says:

        Tmac, I’ll agree with you there was probably no major attempt at fraud. More just going with the flow.


        Mann was undoubtedly awfully sloppy in his data compiling, several ‘climate gate’ emails lament being unable to replicate his data.

        Mann was ‘less than scientific’ in lopping a precipitous decline in his more recent tree ring data, and replacing it with escalating instrument data (this was his real trick, not just the splice). His personal ‘mojo’ must be quite formidable in that he is still taken seriously as a scientist, I can see he is very hard working.

        There was a very clear indications of usually successful attempts to stack editorial boards, stack meetings and ensure the ‘right people’ were in the right places.

        And just seeing these ‘97% agreement’ scientists expressing their own occasional doubts about the whole thing was very interesting.

        The whole story certainly ended up looking a whole lot dodgier.

      • Max says:

        Where did Mann replace a decline in tree ring data with instrument data?
        I saw the paper where both were graphed and labeled.

      • Markx says:


        Mann’s trick of ‘splicing recorded temperatures’ as applied to Briffa’s tree ring data;

        Mann’s role summarized here (or go and find original climategate emails):

      • Somite says:

        Do you ever cite a peer reviewed paper to support your claims? it should be a clue you can only “validate” your points with blog posts.

      • Max says:

        I see that Mann wrote, “So, if we show Keith’s series in this plot, we have to comment that ‘something else’ is responsible for the discrepancies in this case…”
        What’s his role in lopping off the discrepancies?
        His trick is to plot the instrumental data. McIntyre accuses him of padding his own reconstruction, not Keith Briffa’s, with the instrumental data when smoothing it to better align it with the instrumental data, which would be less than scientific.

      • Markx says:

        Somite said “Do you ever cite a peer reviewed paper ..?”

        You need to read the blogs – the references are in there;

        (aside, Briffa often shows some ‘scientific concience’ and integrity in the emails, but Mann always seems to prevail with “the cause”)

        By the following day, matters seem to have settled down, with Briffa apologizing to Mann for his temporary pangs of conscience.

        On Oct 5, 1999, Osborn (on behalf of Briffa) sent Mann a revised version of the Briffa reconstruction with more “low-frequency” variability (Osborn, Oct 5, 1999, 0939154709.txt), a version that is identical up to 1960, this version is identical to the digital version archived at NCDC for Briffa et al (JGR 2001). (The post-1960 values of this version were not “shown” in the version archived at NCDC; they were deleted.)

        As discussed below, this version had an even larger late-20th century decline than the version shown at the Tanzania Lead Authors’ meeting.

        Nonetheless, the First Order Draft (Oct 27, 1999) sent out a few weeks later contained a new version of the proxy diagram (Figure 2.25), a version which contains the main elements of the eventual Third Assessment Report proxy diagram (Figure 2.21).

        Two weeks later came Jones’ now infamous “trick” email (0942777075.txt).

      • Max says:

        So Osborn sent Mann the version that wasn’t truncated, and a few weeks later, somebody sent out the First Order Draft where the curve was truncated. Did Mann send it out or sign off on it?

        Jones’ hide-the-decline email refers to something different, a low-profile WMO report where he really did splice the instrumentation data onto not only Briffa’s curve, but two other ones, giving the impression that they all agree. He was rightly criticized for that.

      • CountryGirl says:

        If you agree there was no fraud then you have not read the climategate emails and other evidence. The problem is the fraud, lies and censorship was massive. I don’t think AGW can survive the facts. I do find it interesting how many think that with just a few more lies and misdirections that this “sting” can still be pulled off. I await to see what the prestidigitators (formerly known as scientists) can pull out of the hat. No worries if you get caught we have a team of investigators to white wash the problem and declare that nothing wrong occurred.

      • Somite says:

        You realize the extent of the “fraud” in thousands of words in emails were the phrases “we can use the trick” and “hide the decline”. Both taken out of context. The former was a an expression of mathematical understanding; as in “the trick to solving the problem is:” and the latter was a discussion of Briffa’s results. These were well understood by scientists but they were concerned would confuse laymen, and of course, they did.

      • Max says:

        The “trick” was to plot the instrumental data with the proxy data in the hockey stick graph.
        If you look at the noisy proxy data in blue, it’s pretty flat at the end, but the “smoothed” black curve wiggles and curves up to follow the instrumental data in red. It looks as if that curve was made by averaging proxy data with instrumental data, which is a no-no.

        Jones’ graph in the WMO report not only deleted the “decline” in Briffa’s curve, but it also spliced instrumental data onto three separate proxy curves, making it look like they all agree.
        That’s a big no-no, but the WMO report wasn’t as important as the IPCC report.

        The IPCC reports labeled the instrumental data correctly, but they used Mann’s curve with the wiggle at the end and Briffa’s curve with the “decline” deleted.
        The 2001 report didn’t explain that the “decline” was deleted, but the 2007 report did.

        Still, they could’ve plotted the whole curve with the decline, and explained it in the caption.

  39. psi says:

    I was interested in your website until I saw the bogus word “denialism” in the headline here. Don is clueless. “Warmist is as warmist does.” Skeptics of Global warming have no monopoly on misleading labels; from what I can tell, they use them far less frequently than the polar bear alarmists they are criticizing. Gleick believed that the ends justified the means. If he thought he was doing the world a favor, he was wrong.

    The attempt to reduce skepticism over the failing paradigm of AGW by mythical narrations of its alleged origins will not work. The paradigm is failing. Now I will go collect my big oil paycheck from my evil overlord and mentor, Anthony Watts.

  40. Scott says:

    Looking at the all the time invested by Markx here (over 40 comments/replies, and many more to come!), I’m guessing he’s hoping to catch the attention of Heartland. Who wouldn’t want an extra grand a month just to post the same arguments over and over on the net? Beats the hell out of actually having to get an education and then conduct research to get funding.

    • Markx says:

      NOW we’re talkin’!
      (you’re not a talent scout by any chance?)

    • CountryGirl says:

      Lets be honest: You get funding for research by making headlines, scary headlines are best. Truth is a casualty in the battle for funding and employment.

    • Markx says:

      Sad truth is Scott, I travel a lot, spend a lot of time in hotel rooms, don’t like socializing much, don’t drink much, don’t sleep much, hate most movies and most of what is on TV (including the news, especially those CNN prats, and even now to a lesser extent the BBC).

      So I read (when I was younger, novels, but can’t be bothered now) and research anything that catches my interest.

      Which reminds me: I must stop.

      • Canman says:

        I hope you continue posting. You’re a very good debater.

      • Markx says:

        Thanks Canman. Sometimes I pause and question my own sanity, so I appreciate that a lot.

        I do appreciate all who comment in here for the fact that it has remained a civil debate.

  41. Markx says:

    One thing;

    Realize there is potentially great harm in the “just in case” approach to carbon credits and carbon taxes.

    If this approach is followed, many poor people are going to get poorer, and a very few rich people will get a lot richer. It better be for a good cause, and it better be the right problem we are dealing with, and it better the correct solution.

    Because humans require energy to survive extreme conditions. A good example was the cold snap in Eastern Europe last month. There are a lot of ‘not so wealthy’ people in Belarus, Ukraine, and such counties. Increase the cost of their energy, at the same time make them poorer, and people will die.

    Hasten slowly.

    • Somite says:

      This is simply not true. Well established harmful oil industries will have to innovate and compete with new businesses that offer cleaner energy. No one is arguing for a reduction on standard of living but progress.

      • Markx says:


        Taxes, carbon credits on current energy sources will add cost, supposedly this gets reinvested in ‘green’ but currently mor expensive energy …

        … looks like energy cost must go up, at least in the medium term …. ?

        It’d be a helluva balancing act to keep it stable…

      • Somite says:

        Cost to who? Competition in the energy sector will benefit consumers. At the very least it will prevent the billions in subsidies that currently go to oil companies.

      • Markx says:

        So fuel and electricity will get cheaper?


        Cerainly looking forward to that.

    • Max says:

      If there’s one thing the Heartland Institute doesn’t want it’s for the poor to get poorer while the rich get richer.

      • Markx says:

        Dang, and I thought their motives were pure and selfless….

        ….just like those of our tax hungry governments, the bureaucratic UN, and the ‘champing at the bit’ financial institutions….

  42. Somite says:

    Because it has been brought up before this is a higher resolution version of the graphic at the top:

    • Markx says:

      Somite, citing that graphic now seems a little ironic given the revealed massive disparity in funding (in the opposite direction to that indicated by the graphic)… don’t you think?

      • Somite says:

        Again. Do you think the Heartland institute is the entirety of old industry funding of denial? Most of the money is spent on lobbying and the many other think tanks like Cato that peddle anti-science claptrap.

      • Markx says:

        You keep saying that, but it seems hard to find anything that is more than ‘peanuts':

        An ongoing Greenpeace project launched in 2004, for instance, aimed to provide a ‘database of information on the corporate-funded anti-environmental movement’. However, the sums of money involved were paltry.

        According to Greenpeace, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, one of the most vilified organisations, had received just $2million from Exxon between 1998 and 2005. Yet between 1994 and 2005, total donations to Greenpeace amounted to over $2 billion.

        According to the greens’ conspiratorial narrative, a handful of conservative think tanks with relatively small resources were seemingly able to undo the campaigning of a host of huge international environmental NGOs, national governments, international agencies, and yes, corporate interests, whose combined resources were many, many thousands of times greater.

      • tmac57 says:

        Again,why would deniers spend a penny more than what they need to effectively muddy the waters? Rupert Murdoch is doing the job for free.And deniers have the advantage of not having to tell the truth,or make corrections,or make a coherent argument (many of their’s are self contradictory)or do peer reviewed science.
        How much money did it take to introduce Kudzu into the U.S. versus how much we’ve spent trying to control it’s spread?
        How much did the AIDS denialists have to spend to spread their lies,versus what world health officials and victims have had to spend dealing with the consequences of their lies?
        No,Markx,a simple spreadsheet of who has spent what does not reflect the true costs and implications of the ‘big lies’ of AGW denialism.

      • Markx says:


        David Suzuki and his registered charity:

        • More than US$8 Million in donations in 2010
        • US$4 million as his salary
        • 16 lobbyists on the payroll
        • US$81 million in donations since 2000.

      • Somite says:

        Compare to this:

        146 Million dollars spent in lobbying by the Oil and Gas companies in 2011 only.

        387 Million dollars spent by Energy and Natural resources companies

      • Canman says:

        Those lobbying numbers are huge. I always wondered why petro companies need or get subsidies. Of course huge lobbying numbers imply a huge powerful government that is worth lobbying.

      • Markx says:

        Interesting pages.

        Note US$ 3.3 Billion spent on lobbying in 2011 (reported, that is)

        Sounds like a pretty bent system.
        Bob Dylan “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”

        In addition to campaign contributions to elected officials and candidates, companies, labor unions, and other organizations spend billions of dollars each year to lobby Congress and federal agencies.

      • Markx says:

        Note, in ranking, energy is fifth on the lobbying list.

        Preceeded by Health, Misc Business, Finance/Ins, Comms/Electronics.

        Financial institutions strongly favour carbon trading, and will benefit greatly by its imposition on the populace.

        (Interesting links, thanks Somite)

      • Markx says:

        • The US government has provided over $79 billion since 1989 on policies related to climate change.

        • Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008.

        Banks are calling for more carbon-trading.
        Experts predict the carbon market will reach $2 to $10 trillion making carbon the largest single commodity traded.

        52 sources and references at the end of the PDF (for those who require them)

      • Markx says:

        And … just one more…

        ……by the end of fiscal year 2009, the US government will have poured in $32 billion for climate research—and another $36 billion for development of climate-related technologies.

        In 1989, the first specific US climate-related agency was created with an annual budget of $134 million. Today in various forms the ,funding has leapt to over $7,000 million per annum, around 50 fold higher. Tax concessions add to this. reference details and sources listed

        Nova makes the same point that I frequently make: it does not take a conspiracy, just that there be financial or other beneficial to all participants.

        My personal fear on all this is that the main motive is simply to keep a fading world economy going (although I think probably the motivation is to maintain the wealth of the ultra-rich, not the look after the financial wellbeing of the masses) ….

        …. And that may just be something the world REALLY does need.

      • Somite says:

        Again, this is funding for research by scientists that result in peer reviewed publications. You can not compare these amounts with what industries and individuals spend in lobbying and think tanks.

        If they were honest about this the industries and individuals involved would donate the money for basic research. However, they know the results could be what they do not want to hear.

  43. AL says:

    I don’t know about it being only Creationists that use the term “Darwinist.” I’ve seen evolutionary biologists use the term “Darwinist,” usually to refer to those scientists that prefer an adaptationist explanation for some observed biological trait, rather than a non-adaptive explanation like genetic drift. Of course Creationists don’t use the term this way. They use it as a sort-of pejorative, like a dirty slur label.

  44. Somite says:

    Excellent point by point rebuttal of usual denier “arguments”. This is interesting because it takes the outrageous claims seriously and carefully dismantles them:

  45. Markx says:

    From Somite: William D. Nordhaus (Professor of Economics) wrote a rebuttal of climate skeptic claims:

    (questions in bold and direct quotes in italics .. I hope)

    1. Is the planet in fact warming?

    Answer: A chart starting at a chosen point.

    2. Are human influences an important contributor to warming?

    Answer: Models (need I say more?) (but perhaps very useful things ( – see that with only two cases over 31 years we can explain unforecast extreme snow falls in the Northern hemisphere as caused by melting arctic ice – by modelling)

    3. Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?

    A. He quotes definitions.

    4. Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?

    A. I’d agree with him that “a regime of fear” is certainly extreme, perhaps its just a fear of cessation of tenure and/or funding.

    But some direct quotes from the article help:
    “….Indeed, the dissenting authors are at the world’s greatest universities, including Princeton, MIT, Rockefeller, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Paris…. (my note: consensus?)

    I can speak personally for (my note: in favour of, I presume?)the lively debate about climate change policy. There are controversies about many details of climate science and economics..

    While some claim that skeptics cannot get their papers published, working papers and the Internet are open to all…

    Sounds to me that a discussion seems warranted, and that the web is the place to do it.

    5. Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?

    A. He notes that IPCC editors/authors and those sitting on NAS panels are unpaid – true, but… some are making millions out of speaking appointments, and almost without exception they are relying on research funding, which ain’t peanuts – see posts above.

    And to quote directly: “…they are subject to close scrutiny for conflicts of interest….”

    Yes, the climategate emails indicated they were indeed very closely scrutinized.

    And further: “ …the argument about the venality of the academy is largely a diversion. The big money in climate change involves firms, industries, and individuals who worry that their economic interests will be harmed by policies to slow climate change…..”

    Probably incorrect; I think we all agreed above re the relative scale of the funding.

    6. Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

    Perhaps not really dealt with here, as he goes on to say “…A final point concerns economic analysis….”, then discusses the economics of the matter. But, that is of great interest also:

    ….One might argue that there are many uncertainties here, and we should wait until the uncertainties are resolved. Yes, there are many uncertainties. That does not imply that action should be delayed.

    Indeed, my experience in studying this subject for many years is that we have discovered more puzzles and greater uncertainties as researchers dig deeper into the field. ……..

    …… Moreover, our economic models have great difficulties incorporating these major geophysical changes and their impacts in a reliable manner. ….

    ….. Policies implemented today serve as a hedge against unsuspected future dangers

    But of course he goes on to say this strengthens his case for “action now”.

    I guess we often look at the same things and see different answers.

    “…in my study A Question of Balance (2008) shows that the cost of waiting fifty years to begin reducing CO2 emissions is $2.3 trillion in 2005 prices. If we bring that number to today’s economy and prices, the loss from waiting is $4.1 trillion. ….”

    This last paragraph above starts to look like an idea to me, perhaps we don’t need to delay 50 years, say by 10 to 20 years, if the ‘modellers’ can convincingly show forecasting instead of “hindcast remodelling to explain every single climatic perturbation” it should be pretty darn clear by then!

    • Somite says:

      Or the expert is right and you are just an overconfident dilettante.

      • Markx says:

        Somite, I do admire your faith in experts, and in their noble motivations.

        Noting this particular expert is an economist explaining climate science to us. (and his uncertain, just in case, economic solutions are somewhat less relevant if the science should be wrong.)

      • tmac57 says:

        So,Markx,who is it that YOU have faith in? Seems that you have your own stable of blogs (WUWT,Curry,Jonova,Climateaudit etc.) and experts (Spencer,Christy,etc.).I am pretty sure that you don’t have any deep academic training in physics,or climate related studies,so you are just like most of us schmucks,just trying to sort out the facts.Only problem is,most of us here are siding with the vast majority of scientific opinion,and you for some reason seem to think that you are just a little bit cleverer than we are,and somehow you have stumbled on to a line of reasoning that slipped past the people who have devoted their academic carrier to trying to understand this climate puzzle.
        I don’t really like to use insults to get my opinion across,most of the time,but I think Somite has you pegged rightly: “Overconfident dilettante”.Sorry to go negative,but you just seem to be begging for it.
        By the way,I hope you know how to bake a pie.I would hate for all of those cherries that you just picked to go to waste.

      • Markx says:

        Tmac, I don’t rely on faith. I rely on collating and interpreting all of the information I receive, and my opinion arises somewhere in that process. The process is ongoing, and the opinion can change.

        I’ve looked pretty deeply within to try to understand why I believe or disbelieve certain things, and I do know my mind can easily be changed by convincing arguments, and by clear proof. I’ve often gone into management meetings with a clear opinion of how something will be done, only to have some clever manager or group convince me there is a better way. I’ve also in earlier times been involved in setting up and running scientific trials (not very deep science, but at least all designed with sufficient replicates of treatment and control groups to show the expected differences to a required level of statistical difference). I find I get a feeling of perverse pleasure from convincingly being proven wrong; of finding a better way, or an unexpected result. My mind seems to like these “Aha!” moments.

        No Tmac, I’m probably just a typical example of those who are unconvinced by the ‘proofs’ put forward to date. I can’t ‘force’ myself to change, and for every bit of convincing science put forward there is also all these attempts to link (usually by modelling) every climate event to anthropogenic global warming (even to the point of renaming it as Climate Change).

        This has been exacerbated by attempts to suppress publication and opinion which countered the whole “more extreme storms” argument. One only has to view aerial photos of Miami Florida in the 1930s vs a recent shot to instantly understand the reasons for the higher costs of recent storms.

        Not to mention the jarring “the science is settled” statements.

        Had science been carried steadily forward in the usual way, useful ideas, information and evidence and proof of concepts would accumulate naturally.

        And yes, it may take ten or even twenty years longer. Nordhous even tells us he has calculated a cost of reversal even fifty years from now, and it does cost a whole lot more. But, if it indeed is clear it needs fixing in 10, 20 or 50 years, few will argue at that cost.

        Re Nordhaus, you can read in there what you wish. He very clearly states there is great uncertainty and much yet to learn in the science, and great uncertainty in the economic solutions. I find it rather astonishing he can then put forward the “insurance” argument, as it ignores the possibility of ‘the insurance’ causing great economic harm to poorer people. (And it goes unmentioned that it is equally clear ‘the insurance’ will result in great economic benefit to the few).

        Relax Tmac, we now have a great multi-billion dollar research machine at work on this; give it time, let the data accumulate, let the papers be published, and in ten years your great faith in those scientists, and our politicians, bankers and economists may perhaps be vindicated.

        And at that point you and I will be in agreement.

  46. Beelzebud says:

    As you can see by the comments here, some people have made up their mind, facts be damned. You can show them scientific results from climatologists, but it doesn’t matter to these people, they are not interested in the truth. For whatever reason this issue is pure politics at this point, and Republicans have decided that they are not going to listen to any amount of evidence. You see them endlessly moan about “cap and trade”, and not even 20 years ago cap and trade was THEIR idea.

    I’m tired of the whole issue. As I sit here on a winter day, with my window open because it’s 65 degrees out, I have to ask myself: Who are you going to believe? Oil company think tanks, or your own lying eyes.

    • Markx says:

      Beezlebud, people have indeed made up their minds, as you have yours.

      But the evidence is still coming in.

    • CountryGirl says:

      I am sitting in my comfortable warm living room getting ready to go out and use my snowblower to remove a foot of snow that fell last night. A couple of years ago I had to go up on my roof and shovel off 6 feet of snow out of fear the roof would cave in. All of this is WEATHER and NOT climate. If you don’t understand that you don’t understand the issue. The climate IS changing. It has been changing for millions and perhaps billions of years. It will continue to change regardless of what we puny humans do. We are in a cyclical global warming, the 33rd such globnal warming since the last ice age. The Warmies like to use stats dating back to about 1850 to prove their point. That is when the 32nd cyclical global cooling ended. A convenient place to begin global warming history don’t you think? The current global warming is not even particularly warm. Certainly the 32nd cyclical global warming (the medieval global warming) was warmer and for humans more beneficial. Soon we will begin the 33 cyclical global cooling and it is unlikely that 7 billion people can exist on earth when that happens. We may well see the worst human disaster in history. Thank god for global warming. Beware the minimum.

      None of this is secret or even contraversial. What is/was secret is the intent/purpose of the warmies. The goal is nothing less then fighting over power and money. Have you ever wondered why every solution to the global warming problem is a combination of more legislation and higher taxes? Some warmies have been more honest: “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony … climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” -Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment
      Her statement is clear and she is not alone. Many warmies have outed the cause and either because of over confidence or because they exist in a bubble many warmies don’t really care that the truth is there for all to see. They are the debbie wasserman schultz of the warming community, i.e. they can tell bold faced lies with a smile on their face and are seemingly unaffected by confronting the inconvenient facts. The bubble has burst, the truth is out there. The only question that remains is who much longer can this charade go on and how much more loot can the warmies and their enablers steal…

      • Beelzebud says:

        And of course by “warmies” you mean “scientists”, right?

      • CountryGirl says:

        Most aren’t scientists, most are politicians and scam artists (sorry for the redundancy) who are trying to loot the treasury. Some of the “scientists” have gone over to the dark side and no longer put science ahead of funding.

      • Max says:

        Most climate scientists are “warmies” though.

      • Somite says:

        Yes. Most climate scientists with expertise are “warmies”.

  47. Markx says:

    Re models:

    This from Nature Magazine, an editorial:

    “Reproducibility becomes more difficult when results rely on software. The authors of the editorial argue that, unless research code is open sourced, reproducing results on different software/hardware configurations is impossible. The lack of access to the code also keeps independent researchers from checking minor portions of programs (such as sets of equations) against their own work.”

  48. Somite says:

    Climate change. The creationism of libertarians.

    • Canman says:

      The most popular libertarian magazine is ‘Reason’. They have a website ( with a very popular blog called Hit & Run ( Most of their commenters could probably indeed be called AGW deniers. Their Science Correspondent is Ronald Bailey. He is a former AGW skeptic who changed his mind on the issue when errors were found and corrected in the sattelite measurements done by the University of Alabama in Huntsville. His policy prescription is an internationally harmonized carbon tax. I have not seen any other writer at Reason express outright skepticism of AGW. I think Bailey expresses the feelings of a lot of libertarians well when he says:

      “Is what the government does about climate change going to be worse than climate change?”

      I would say that the main problem with AGW is countries like China and India cranking out coal fired power plants. Peter Huber sums it up very well:

      So does Richard Muller in the first half of this video:

      • Beelzebud says:

        Yeah they went from outright denial, to just saying it’s too late to do anything, or it might be too expensive.

      • tmac57 says:

        “Is what the government does about climate change going to be worse than climate change?”

        I think that this is a legitimate question to ask,assuming it is not just being fronted as another delaying tactic,or reason to doubt the science.
        Certainly there needs to be a fact based and clearheaded discussion on what to do to mitigate and understand the potential problems of raising CO2 beyond 400 ppmv.However,this important discussion is being derailed by phony side issues that try to call into question even the most basic of scientific understanding of climate science,namely:That adding CO2 to our atmosphere increases the greenhouse effect,and that that cannot continue,without consequences that are long term,and possibly irreversible.
        In other words,we are conducting an uncontrolled experiment on our atmosphere that we do not know how to reverse,and while we don’t know the exact damage that it will cause,we have plausible reason to expect that it will not be benign.

      • Markx says:

        Tmac! Now here you put forward the basis of a lucid, sensible, and probably palatable argument (rephrased slightly by me to try to cover most biases….):

        “…..we are conducting an uncontrolled experiment on our atmosphere that we may not be able to reverse, and while we don’t know the degree of damage that it may cause, we have plausible reason to expect that it may not be benign….”

        Give me that argument to run with, ten years, and, say, US$70 or 80 billion, and I’m sure I can sell it.

        Just get rid of the we must act NOW (to get our names into the ledgers of history? to shovel the loot into our personal bank accounts?… or simply to save mankind … very obviously Gleick and Mann are solely motivated by the last stated. ;-) )

        And get rid of the “EVERY happening is a global warming linked disaster”!

        And then you may achieve your aim.

        But it won’t be next week or next year, it will take time, convincing data, and then calm communication and teaching.

        AND … IF AFTER ALL THIS, it is agreed there is a problem and if the solution must involve trading, DON’T allow the Banks/Financial institution to turn it into a huge “futures type” market with its 100,000 fold leveraging into contracts, 98% of which evaporate in the trading process.

        That’s a casino, not a market.

        This trade should be between involved parties only. Keep the looters and manipulators out of the game, and the need for ‘carbon credits’ and carbon trading will eventually diminish (that being the aim of the whole game). Don’t, and it will never go away.

        The original ‘acid rain’ controls simply required the coal fired power generators to buy a government licence to emit a certain amount of sulphurs or nitrates. This price was initially (and cleverly) set to be substantially less than the industry said it would cost to install scrubbers, but still substantial enough to be carefully considered, and the stations were able to trade these licences with other power stations.

        Very soon, as more and more scrubbers were installed, the value of the licences fell to a tiny fraction of the original cost to reflect the truly low cost of installing the scrubbers. (ie, it was really many times cheaper to install scrubbers than to buy the original licence – and thus the REAL AIM was achieved; reduce the output of the targeted emission … and NOT the creation of a huge trading scheme(scam!).

        A carbon market would be huge, and certainly be large enough to create a fluidly traded market of permits/credits between involved parties.

      • Markx says:

        Canman, a very cogent point.

        The rate of technological advancement is accelerating.

        This is another reason to hasten slowly; should the fears prove real, it is very likely many of today’s solutions will prove to be very expensive and unsuitable detours.

      • tmac57 says:

        You both do not address an important aspect of the extra CO2 that we are incrementing each day we continue on the fossil fuel path,and that is that it stays in the atmosphere for very long periods of time.You cannot just suck it back out magically.Once you have raised the level,you are committed to it, and all of it’s consequences.
        Also, there is a warming inertia in the climate system that is basically a ‘bill’ to come due for people who didn’t do the ‘spending’.That is a morally tenuous position.And as I have pointed out to you Markx, repeatedly,your uncertainty defense fails to account for the fact that uncertainty can go in BOTH directions,not just toward a ‘not so bad’ scenario.It can also be ‘much worse than projected’.That’s why we call it uncertainty.
        Another question:How can we depend on technology to solve problems that a large segment of the population deny’s are even problems?Neither of you addressed my point about how we can have a rational dialog when there is this large community of ‘contrarians’ out there that will defend any ‘skeptic’ claim,no matter how transparently false,lacking in scientific support,or contradictory to other ‘skeptic’ claims.As long as it sticks to the party line of opposing AGW as being real,then anything goes.That is not science.That is not rational.That is political strategy,and marketing.

      • Markx says:

        Tmac, you say: “…addressed my point about how we can have a rational dialog …”

        I feel I have done that: suggesting we all slow down and assess the data and the science as it comes in, and Canman’s post suggests time and technology may align greatly in developing the correct solutions, if and when they are required.

        But, (and I do appreciate your personal willingness to debate) is it really dialogue that is wished for?

        Or are we still facing “The science is settled” reply?

      • tmac57 says:

        is it really dialogue that is wished for?

        Judging from your non-responsive ‘answer’ I would have to say no.

  49. Jere Krischel says:

    So now that it’s clear that the document which this blog post so liberally quotes was forged, are people willing to readjust their conclusions? Maybe even add some sort of addendum to the original post indicating that its premise was faulty? Perhaps an apology from Donald?

    The problem with AGW (the catastrophic sort, not the trivial “any non-zero positive influence” which anyone will stipulate to), is that it doesn’t specify a necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis. The only avenue of attack on those people who are rightfully skeptical of a “heads I win, tails you lose” proposition, is that of ad hominem, as shown by Gleick’s deplorable fraud and forgery.

    If we want to play the science game, there are rules. We start with the idea of a necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis (i.e., “show me that humans don’t exist” isn’t a sufficient falsification since the existence of humans doesn’t show AGW is true – even if it is a *necessary* component of the hypothesis). Without that beginning, all we have is pseudo-science, as compelling and as intuitive as it may seem.

    Any takers?