Saturday, November 14, 2015

From the Stupid to the Revolting

What's becoming clear, I think, as time goes by, is that climate denialism has not just lost the science -- obviously -- but can't compete on the moral plane, either.

You might, if you were a thoughtful person in command of the science and the facts, be able to make a moral argument that the world's best future requires a smooth and slow transition from fossil fuels to a noncarbon economy. It would, of course, mean acknowledging the science of AGW, and the consequences, but arguing intelligently and compassionatley that the poor, particularly, deserve fossil fuels to reach a potential of something the West's, and that the world will need to adapt -- intelligently but at cost and at an unavoidable loss -- towards such a future.

Maybe that's wrong, maybe it's not. But a thinking and caring person could think hard about it.

But what seems ever more apparent is that none of the climate deniers are capable of thinking on that level. It's just not in their makeup.

And I think this has never been more apparent than with the ugliness that's appeared in the last 24 hours since the massacres in Paris.

Decent people have the courtesy to let the blood dry on the street before their political attacks. Decent people.

But climate denialists are proving, again, they simply are not decent people.

The first one I noticed was Joe Bastardi, who, as we've seen, is not the brightest bulb on the tree. Big Big Joe couldn't wait to exploit this horrendous tragedy -- remember, France's population is about 65 million, so the equivalent scale of 128 dead would be an unthinkable 630 deaths in the U.S. -- for his own particular purposes:
As if this wasn't bad enough. Bastardi kept going:
Of course, Marc Morano had to spray his scent around:

Frank Bruni at the New York Times found this offensive piece by Roger J. Simon:
Well, apparently President Obama’s justly profound concern about rising temperatures is proof of his inadequate attention to terrorism and an indictment of his ability to do triage overall.

Or so I gather from a column written by Roger L. Simon for PJ Media. Simon characterized Obama as “a ludicrous man who thinks the world’s greatest problem is climate change in the face of Islamic terror.”

Does battling the latter prohibit battling the former?
Besides the basic lack of respect for the dead and injured, and those grieving and afraid in Paris, all these people seemed to forget that the August 2003 heat wave in France left 15,000 dead there, and 70,000 in Europe, perhaps 80,000.

Those deaths didn't come with bangs, sirens, and blood on the streets, but they were deaths and suffering nonetheless, and they do not deserve to be overlooked and forgotten.

Of course, Anthony Watts couldn't help but show his true colors -- has he ever? -- as Sou wrote about here.



It's worth remembering Watts' post about Typhoon Haiyan -- "Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda – another overhyped storm that didn’t match early reports" -- that killed at least 6300 people. Ever classy, Watts is.

But these people are amateurs compared to Roy Spencer, the research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville who is perhaps the leading climate change denialist today. Spencer also likes to claim he is Christian -- but see if you can tell that from what he wrote on his Facebook page just 12 hours after the bloodshed in Paris:


"Fix the weather, and terrorism will go away." Revolting.

"Yes, all of the world’s politicians who have supported a COP21 agreement should still plan on attending. And they should reach out to ISIS to join them in building a better world…a world without droughts." What can you even say to a man who would write something like this -- such a disrespectful man, such a small man?



--

Deniers are fond of complaining that the word "denier" unfairly compares them to Holocaust deniers. I've never thought that -- the word "denier" was a perfectly good word in the English language before the Holocause, with a particular meaning, and that meaning still exists today.

But after seeing the depths to which some climate deniers have sunk here, and so quickly, I'm left wondering if perhaps their analogy to Holocaust deniers is not so far off after all.

20 comments:

Unknown said...

David Appell may have a clear idea of what he means by "climate denier". However, as used by various climate alarmists, the phrase "climate change denier" is a kind of all-purpose insult. Yes, as David says, "denier" is a perfectly good dictionary word. And, "climate change denier" has a perfectly good dictionary definition. Namely, one who denies that the climate changes. Of course, David isn't using the word that way. Everyone agrees that the climate changes.

Basically, you can be called a "climate denier" for disagreeing in any way with an alarmist. E.g., noted climate scientist Prof. Judith Curry believes that the earth has been warming and that man's emissions of CO2 contribute to the warming. She doesn't deny that global warming might be catastrophic. Nevertheless, she's been called a "denier" because she points out the level of uncertainty in the climate models, and she critcizes the science in some climate papers.

Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg has been called a "denier", even though he maintains that the earth is warming and that man's emissions contribute to the warming. His sin is to point out, accurately, that the CO2 reduction schemes proposed by the EPA and the UN wouldn't be sufficient to reverse global warming according to the IPCC's own models.

Unknown said...

Above comment from David in Cal.

David Appell said...

False David.

Curry and Lomborg are called deniers because (1) their immediate instinct is to oppose any science published that support AGW and (2) they cite ridiculous sources like blogs and the like in support of their claims, and take people like Anthony Watts seriously.

Here's the perfect example from Lomborg:

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/03/12/lomborg-tells-bangladesh-not-to-worry-about-sea-level-rise/

Sou said...

They say that tragedy brings out the best in some people and the worst in others. You've covered the subject well here, David.

The main points of your article are well-illustrated in the first comment here, aren't they. Rather than deplore the contemptible (and wrong) article by Roy Spencer, or the callous opportunism of other climate science deniers, David in Cal tries to hijack the discussion, whining something along the lines that he doesn't like the word "denier" being applied to climate science deniers.

David Appell said...

Thanks much, Sou.

You're right, David in Cal doesn't want to look at the big picture. I can barely stand to look at it myself.

Unknown said...

Here are some big picture things to consider.

1. Study: Cold kills 20 times more people than heat reports USA Today

2. Alarmists have so far done a terrible job of predicting the impact of rising sea levels. In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production. It's now 2015 and there have been hardly any climate refugees. This failed prediction ought to make us a bit modest about our ability to forecast the pace of climate change and its impact.

3. Polar ice melt has not caused sea level to rise, so far (although it may do so in the future). An article linked on this blog pointed out that Coastal West Antarctic has been gaining snow mass. And, of course, the shrinking Arctic and the expanding Antarctic extent of ice over water have no effect on sea level.

Cheers
David in Cal

David Appell said...

"Study: Cold kills 20 times more people than heat reports USA Today"

David: THINK!! Are we really supposed to heat up the entire world because some governments won't take care of their poor and homeless?

Does your claim include the 2,500 who died this summer in India's heat wave?
The 2,000 who died in Pakistan's heat wave?
The 15,000 French who died in their August 2003 heat wave?
The 70-80,000 Europeans who died in that heat wave?

You never answer these kind of followup questions -- you just dart and run.

It's time to start, because I'm not much interested in taking you seriously anymore.

David Appell said...

"3. Polar ice melt has not caused sea level to rise, so far (although it may do so in the future)."

The melting of floating ice does not cause sea level to rise.

Not now, not in the past, not in the future.

This is Physics 101.

David Appell said...

"2. Alarmists have so far done a terrible job of predicting the impact of rising sea levels. In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production. It's now 2015 and there have been hardly any climate refugees. This failed prediction ought to make us a bit modest about our ability to forecast the pace of climate change and its impact."

This isn't relevant to the topic of the post.

In fact, none of your three bullet items are relevant.

Either comment on the topic of the post, or your comments will be removed.

Jim said...

Tamino had a post in June about Gasparrini et al. His conclusion was
"There's no sign at all of any excess mortality due to cold temperatures. As for hot spells, the effect is not only present, it’s quite pronounced."
Killer Heat
Worth reading.

Nick Palmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Palmer said...

David Appell wrote: "Deniers are fond of complaining that the word "denier" unfairly compares them to Holocaust deniers. I've never thought that"

Climate science delusionists often get very hot under the collar if you describe them as deniers. To my knowledge, drug addicts and alcoholics don't winge that one is comparing them to Holocaust deniers when one points out that they are in denial about their problems, but maybe they can think straighter than climate science denialists do?

I wonder what the total accumulated "body count" from Holocaust denial, from the past and today, actually is? How much is it likely to be added to in future? I also wonder what the total body count from climate science denialism might turn out to be, should too many of the voting general public get their minds too twisted by it so we never get sufficient early political motivation to avoid the bad consquences.

I suspect that the potential that climate science denialism holds for generating humongous body counts outranks that from Holocaust denialism by orders of magnitude so isn't it arguable that climate science denialists who think they are being compared to Holocaust deniers should actually realise that, if it was true, that they should consider that they are being treated with kid gloves?

Unknown said...

David, you snarkily corrected me: The melting of floating ice does not cause sea level to rise. This is Physics 101.

You are correct. However, I didn't make that claim. I wrote:

Polar ice melt has not caused sea level to rise, so far (although it may do so in the future).

Melting of Antarctic ice over land would indeed cause sea level to rise. I am concerned about this possibility. No doubt, you are too.

Cheers
David in Cal

dave said...

David in Cal is concerned that "Melting of Antarctic ice over land would indeed cause sea level to rise", as it will in the long term, but the more immediate threat is melting of the Antarctic ice shelves and speeding of glaciers feeding these shelves.

Such snarky equivocation by David in Cal trying to defend his denial.

Unknown said...

Which is the more urgent problem: Climate change or Islamic terrorism? The people David quoted say that the latter is more urgent. For this, they were tarred as "deniers". The trouble with that word is that it ends intelligent debate. The discussion descends to childish name-calling.

I think these people have a valid argument. Climate change might do tremendous harm in the future. However, the satellite measurements show that since 1979, temperatures have risen at a rate less than 1.5 deg C per century. And, this small amount of warming along with increased CO2 may have done more good than harm. They helped increase the world's food supply. They helped green the planet by increasing the world's forested areas. This is not to deny that climate change might do great harm at some point in the future.

Furthermore, under current technology we have no way to stop the increase in atmospheric CO2. Conservation, wind and solar are great, but they won't be enough to prevent the continued rise of atmospheric CO2. Developing countries such as China and India are going to burn greater amounts of fossil fuels, because these are the cheapest form of energy.

OTOH, by one count, Islamic terrorists have carried out over 27,000 deadly terror attacks since 9/11. And, these attacks could become worse due to the current mass migration.

Of course there are good arguments that climate change is a more urgent problem than Islamic terrorism. My point is that people ought to look at all the facts and sensibly set priorities. Calling someone a "climate denier" or an "Islamic terrorism denier" doesn't help.

Cheers
David in Cal

David Appell said...

"However, the satellite measurements show that since 1979, temperatures have risen at a rate less than 1.5 deg C per century."

Bull. You cannot linearly extrapolate less than 40 years of data for 100 years into the future.

"And, this small amount of warming along with increased CO2 may have done more good than harm."

Prove it.

"They helped increase the world's food supply."

False.

“For wheat, maize and barley, there is a clearly negative response of global yields to increased temperatures. Based on these sensitivities and observed climate trends, we estimate that warming since 1981 has resulted in annual combined losses of these three crops representing roughly 40 Mt or $5 billion per year, as of 2002.”
-- “Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming," David B Lobell and Christopher B Field 2007 Environ. Res. Lett. 2 014002 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/1/014002
http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/2/1/014002

"We also find that the overall effect of warming on yields is negative, even after accounting for the benefits of reduced exposure to freezing temperatures."
-- "Effect of warming temperatures on US wheat yields," Jesse Tack et al, PNAS 4/20/15
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/05/06/1415181112


General Mills CEO Ken Powell told the Associated Press:
We think that human-caused greenhouse gas causes climate change and climate volatility and that’s going to stress the agricultural supply chain, which is very important to us.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-general-mills-greenhouse-gas-cuts-20150830-story.html


David Appell said...

David: You call 1.4 C/century a "small amount of warming."

Do you know the average rate of warming from the last glacial part of the ice age, 25,000 year ago, to the Holocene?

About 0.05 C/century.

So you're talking about warming that is 30 times faster.

Proof: From Shakun et al Nature 2012 Figure 2a:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7392/full/nature10915.html

global temperature anomaly in year -18,000 is -3.4 C
global temperature anomaly in year -11,000 is +0.0 C

so the average temperature change is 3.4 C in 7000 years, or ~ 0.05 C/century, compared to GISTEMP's 30-year trend of 0.16 C/decade


Unknown said...

There are several reasons to believe that global warming and CO2 growth have increased world food supply so far. (although that's not to say what the impact of excessive future warming might be.)

1. Longer growing season
2. More land in Canada, Russia, Northern US, and Scandanavia available for agriculature
3. CO2 is often added to greenhouses, because it's great for plant life. Higher levels of CO2 allow plants to grow with less water.
4. Global warming leads to greater evaporation of the oceans and more rain
5. In fact, food supply has grwon sharply since the 1970's (E.g., see figure 3 at http://www.pnas.org/content/96/11/5929.full )

Cheers
David in Cal

David Appell said...

David in Cal wrote:
"There are several reasons to believe that global warming and CO2 growth have increased world food supply so far."

You didn't provide evidence in support of this claim.

Do you have any evidence?

Chris_Winter said...

David in Cal: 1. Longer growing season.

This has brought higher crop yields in some cases. It has also brought more crop pests, and some crop yields have fallen because bees and other pollinators are not around at the right time. In general, the growing season isn't long enough because it won't allow two crops per season. ("Winter wheat" has been a thing for some time, but I haven't heard of "winter corn.")

2. More land in Canada, Russia, Northern US, and Scandanavia (sic) available for agriculature (sic).

Much of the land in Canada has been scraped clean of good soil during the last ice age. I presume the same is true of Siberia. Also, if it becomes possible to grow corn in Canada, it probably becomes impossible to grow it in Kansas. Shifting agriculture to follow the northward trend of conditions is likely to be hugely expensive. And then there are the likely shifts in rainfall patterns to consider.

3. CO2 is often added to greenhouses, because it's great for plant life. Higher levels of CO2 allow plants to grow with less water.

True (for some plants.) But water is still needed — as are other nutrients. If they are not available in proportion to CO2, yields will not improve.

4. Global warming leads to greater evaporation of the oceans and more rain.

I mentioned that rainfall patterns are likely to shift. That's a problem. Also, the trends seems to be toward longer droughts interleaved with gully-washer downpours. Not conducive to growing crops.

5. In fact, food supply has grwon (sic) sharply since the 1970's (E.g., see figure 3 at http://www.pnas.org/content/96/11/5929.full )

Figure 3 shows yield per hectare of cereal grains, which has indeed tripled. However, Figures 1 and 2 show net cereal production falling since about 1985, except in Asia. Cereal grains are good, but green leafy vegetables are also important. And rice, the principal grain of Asia, may fail to germinate at the temperatures reached later this century.

The bottom line is that it's unclear whether agriculture in general would improve as the world warms.