Good COP, Bad COP

I’ve been commenting at about seven different articles at
https://theconversation.com/uk/topics/paris-2015-climate-summit
sometimes on several at once, which is great fun. At this one there was quite an interesting discussion with the author and the Conversation’s environment editor, following a suggestion that comments from deniers like me should be banned. The author and editor agreed regretfully that that would not be possible, with the editor advancing the interesting observation that my presence didn’t matter, since no-one reads the comments anyway. So much for the Conversation.

But my favourite is this one, by a professor of journalism at Cardiff University, who twice quotes Dana Nuccitelli, referring to him as “she”. So much for checking your sources. I pointed out the error in the very first comment. It’s been removed, but the article has been corrected, without acknowledgement.

The article is featured at the top of the Conversation’s home page under the heading “Columnists”, with the subheading “False balance has long been a recognised feature of the climate debate”. Here’s the comment thread, as it stands at the moment.

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Geoff Chambers: 

False balance can be exemplified not only by who you interview, but also how you describe them. Lord Lawson is not only a renowned climate sceptic but also an economist who understands that it’s pointless spending trillions to bring temperatures down by a hypothetical few tenths of a degree when you could spend the same trillions eliminating poverty worldwide. Sir Brian Hoskins is not only an eminent climatologist, but also a Christian who believes that global warming is a sign of Divine displeasure.

Geoff Harris 


In reply to Geoff Chambers: Lawson has a first-class honours degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Does that make him an economist?
I’m interested in spending a trillion dollars towards eliminating poverty worldwide. Whose trillion dollars would you spend and what would you spend it on?

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Mike Swinbourne 


In reply to Geoff Chambers: “…. Lord Lawson is not only a renowned climate sceptic….”
Lawson is not a sceptic, he is a denier.
“….Sir Brian Hoskins is not only an eminent climatologist, but also a Christian who believes that global warming is a sign of Divine displeasure….”
 Then he is an idiot and not to be taken seriously.

Geoff Chambers: You say: “Greenpeace … points to the historic China-US climate agreement of 2014 which indicated a move away from fossil fuels and the commitment of China and India to renewable energy.”
 Your source is a year old, but what’s a year when you’re dealing with (what Greenpeace says is) “the most important day so far this century in climate and energy politics”? (the day was November 12th 2014 by the way.)

The key sentence in the Greenpeace source you cite (the second Greenpeace source, not the first one) was this:
“And, around the year 2030, China’s emissions have peaked and be on the way down.” 
(Well, that’s what Greenpeace considers to be a sentence.) What it means is that the Chinese have agreed to go on increasing their CO2 emissions as much as they like until 2030, when they won’t increase them anymore.
And your first Greenpeace source says that India wants to double coal production by 2020.

As you say, False balance has long been a recognised feature of the climate debate. Which is why it’s so important to quote Greenpeace, and Greenpeace again, on the “move away from fossil fuels and the commitment of China and India to renewable energy.”

David Jordan 


In reply to Geoff Chambers: Thanks, Geoff, for providing some more of that false balance the article describes.
Now will you provide the scientific case undermining the assertion that anthropogenic global warming is a serious risk demanding serious action? Not wanting something to be true doesn’t actually stop it being true. Arguing with gasses is particularly pointless.
So we need you to give us the case, the physical and chemical basis for doubts you are keen to promote – can you give us an actual scientific case which describes why quickly adding a lot of CO2 to the atmosphere won’t cause the planet to warm at a dangerously rapid rate? That such change cannot now be detected, as we would expect? That past evidence for such changes doesn’t confirm the risk?
When our kids ask “what did you do when we already knew we must act?” the answer “I blew lots of smoke at the people trying to get stuff done” won’t cut much ice.

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Geoff Chambers 


In reply to David Jordan: I’m not arguing with gasses, I’m arguing with you, or trying to, in adverse conditions.

David Jordan 


In reply to Geoff Chambers: Once again you claim to be making an argument then fail to do so. Please take your time. I’m happy to wait for your conditions to be less adverse. But please answer the question I posed above.
Thanks.

Geoff Chambers In reply to David Jordan: I did, but my answer has disappeared.

Geoff Chambers: You say: 
“Koch brothers who have been accused of giving close to US$70m to climate change denial front groups.”
 So they have, by Greenpeace. But the source you link to (Greenpeace), which mentions a figure of $79 million in total donations, doesn’t say how much is donated to “climate change denial front groups” but simply links to two other reports (by Greenpeace) which turn out to be simple invitations to donate funds (to Greenpeace).
But I expect you’ve checked your sources and can give more details.
How much did you say Greenpeace spends every year on funding climate change activist front groups?

Geoff Harris 


In reply to Geoff Chambers: So Geoff, how much does Greenpeace spend every year funding climate change “activist front groups”? Can you identify any such groups that receive Greenpeace funding?

Geoff Chambers 


In reply to Geoff Harris: Yes. Dozens of them. See 
https://cliscep.com/2015/11/18/can-of-worms-part-1/
and
 https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/
 especially the sections category/phantom-bodies-zombie-blogs/ and category/weirdos/   .. but what’s more interesting is the funding Greenpeace receives from you the taxpayer via the UN and the EU. They’re a very high power organisation, which is why their vice-president had to commute into work in Rotterdam from his Luxembourg tax haven by plane.

Geoff Harris 


In reply to Geoff Chambers: Are those “front groups”? There are certainly many of them, as you say, but to be described as front groups I’d have to be surprised to find they were funded by Greenpeace. But the ones I looked at don’t seem to proclaim values different from those of Greenpeace: there is no apparent conflict of interest. On the other hand if they are funded by wind energy groups I would indeed consider them front groups, just as I would if it turned out that skeptic organizations were funded by the Kochs or Exxon etc.

Geoff Chambers 


In reply to Geoff Harris: Of course they’re front groups, designed to give an impression of green activism that doesn’t exist. Take a look at the UK Youth Climate Change Coalition, or, better, look at my articles about it at
 https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/blue-screen-of-death-and-the-woodcraft-folk/

and

https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/ukycc-tracking-down-the-poznan-ten/

The UKYCC is financed by a mass of foundations named after dead American billionaires, with money seeping in from the EU and all sorts of weird places via a complex network of funds of funds, with WWF and Greenpeace at the centre of the web. The last time I looked there was a Spanish local authority in there! Taxpayers in Spain, where youth unemployment is 50%, are financing joyrides to COP21 for British students who openly admit on their highly professional blog that they know nothing about climate change – they just know they’re against it.
If there was such a thing as an investigative journalist in Britain this scandalous manipulation of public opinion for political ends would be front page news. But there are very few. David Rose of the Mail and Christopher Booker of the Sunday Telegraph have had a look, but it must be difficult getting such a counter-intuitive story past the editors.

Geoff Chambers: 

This article has been revised to correct the sex of Dana Nuccitelli thanks to a comment by me which has been removed by the moderator. I expect Mr Jewell, who teaches journalism at Cardiff University, to conform to normal journalistic practise and add a note to the article thanking me.

Geoff Chambers: 

Mr Jewell links to a Greenpeace article which refers to China’s intention to increased its use of fossil fuels massively until 2030, and states that India wants to double coal production by 2020.
 Mr Jewell interprets this as “a move away from fossil fuels.”

Geoff Chambers: The links at “97% agreement on human caused global warming in the scientific community” and at “..Dana Nuccitelli hit the nail on the head: the 3% of climate contrarians were given a disproportionate amount of media coverage” are to the same article by Dana Nuccitelli in the Guardian. Nuccitelli works full-time at a company with interests in oil exploration and is a frequent contributor to the Guardian.

The Nuccitelli article nowhere justifies the 97%-3% figures, but provides two links, one to an article at the Institute of Physics which is currently unavailable, and one to the SkepticalScience blog which Nuccitelli runs with John Cook, a cartoonist and frequent writer at the Conversation.

The link at “a demonstration outside Broadcasting House” is to an article by ex-university lecturer Alice Bell, also in the Guardian. Alice writes also at OpenDemocracy.
Mr Jewell’s other British sources are: the Guardian’s environment editor John Vidal, Adam Ramsay of Open Democracy, and Greenpeace’s site “Energy Desk.”

“Energy Desk” was launched at a public meeting organised by the Guardian with John Vidal in attendance and Alice Bell as one of the guest speakers. You can read a transcript of the proceedings at
https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/home/20121002_bf

Mr Jewell’s sources are a tightly knit group of interlinked individuals and media outlets.

[Declaration of Interest: Three of the above named people have lied about me publicly.]

David Jordan 


In reply to Geoff Chambers: You play the man very well Geoff. Now play the ball.

Geoff Chambers 


In reply to David Jordan: Balls David, balls.

28 thoughts on “Good COP, Bad COP

  1. That article by Jewell really is a steaming pile of drivel from start to finish. Almost all the myths, falsehoods and misrepresentations of the climate activists pretending to be serious academics rolled into one:

    The endless citing of Greenpeace.
    The bogus claim about China’s “move away from fossil fuels”.
    The false claim of “97% agreement on human caused global warming in the scientific community”.
    The false claim that public opinion is directed by Exxon and Koch.
    Whining that Nigel Lawson was allowed to speak for 2 minutes on Today in Feb 2014.

    I have put a couple of comments at the Conversation, but given their tendency to delete comments, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

    Dennis – “COPs and Robbers” is very good. I’m tempted to borrow that for a blog post title.

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  2. Well, ‘Dana’ does sound like a girls name, so I wouldn’t hold it against the author for not knowing she is a he. You might have got some thanks if you hadn’t informed TC by accusing the author of being ignorant and incompetent (your first comment) or by bombing the comments with one critique after another. Maybe your intention in this is to get moderated so that you can post an example of wicked warmists ‘censoring’ your words of wisdom. Or maybe you are just fooling around.

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  3. Yes, Dana does sound like a girl’s name, and Nuccitelli sounds Italian, and Italians have different first names from Anglo-Saxons, so any tyro journalist would click on his name to find out who he/she was and see his photo.

    Jewell isn’t a journalist, he’s a professor of journalism. That’s either screamingly funny, or tragic, depending on how you’re feeling. I thought it was funny when I read it, and wanted to get my comment up fast. By the time I’d got to the end of my first sentence, I was angry, and so I finished it sarcastically. Here’s my moderated comment:

    “But if it weren’t for us “marginal” climate deniers and our unrepresentative presence in the media, who would correct your errors? For a start, Dana Nuccitelli is a he not a she. There’s a photo of him at his Guardian articles which you try to link to, but fail. Didn’t they teach you at journalism school to check your links before publishing? (Oh, you teach at a school of journalism. Sorry.)”

    Not very rude, is it? But Jewell is one of their featured columnists, and his article will be at the top of their page for a while. All their blahblah about bringing academic rigour to journalism is shown to be nonsense.

    And isn’t it astonishing that someone writing about media coverage of climate scepticism wouldn’t know who Nuccitelli is? He’s only the top expert on climate scepticism at the most fervent climate activist newspaper on the planet.

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  4. There are mounting reasons why I’m increasingly embarrassed by my capital’s university: the silly attempt to petition against the appearance of Germaine Greer at a talk on feminist history; the employment of the weirdly bad at communicating climate-communication psychologist Adam Corner and now this mediocrity – a professor of journalism who doesn’t know the sex of a very prominent journalist in the field he’s writing about. Still, Cardiff hasn’t got quite as bad as Bristol. Where I went to university. …Oh shit.

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  5. Geoff, you’ll have to forgive my ignorance, but I, unlike you, don’t know how The Conversation (or the Guardian or other online news organizations) works. What is the process? Does the author write the article directly in an HTML editor, or does he write in a text editor and add the tags manually, as we would on a blog comment, or does he provide his article as a Word file to a site editor who creates the HTML with the links etc. There’s lots of ways it might be done, but I’m sure you can tell me, as you know for sure that it was the professor’s fault that the link was broken.

    As for the author not knowing Dana is a man, why should he? Does everyone have to check the photos of journalists according to you? I don’t suppose Dana cares or he’d have changed his name. Why do you care?

    In both cases, you seem unnecessarily sanctimonious.

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  6. @GH which bad link are we talking about ?
    #1 “even with 97% agreement on human caused global warming in the scientific community”, which is a bad link since the final “e” is missing off the URL
    or #2 The link within Miss Dana’s article itself, which is a dead link.
    – Dead links are OK in a blog post, but I would expect a commercial publication to use proper QC that automatically detects bad links.

    @Geoff said “Not very rude”. No mate it was rude, they are like children and will use any excuse to disconnect you, so you have to behave like the adult. If you want people to change you can’t go around belittling them.

    After posting a blog 5 minute minor adjustments are OK , but in general post publication stealth corrections are not OK. I guess you had him riled and he was afraid he’d done thing so stupid as so he wasn’t going to admit he’d mistaken Dana for a woman. It really is ALMOST unbelievable some UK person writing on climate would be unaware Dana is a man, but his name and Jewell’s do not both come up on any webpages prior to 1 month ago. Nor has Jewell ever tweeted anything about Climate prior to Dec 1st. I’ve got him down as a poor brainwashed ‘child’.

    That multiple “Comment removed by moderator.” thing is hysterical. I guess they are using every excuse to censor you. They are just not used to being challenged and they can’t handle it.
    – You know it’s not as bad as places like Skeptical Science where due to stealth deletion whole chunks of the pages are missing, or even as bad as the Guardian is sometimes. At least they do acknowledge their censoring.

    Is anyone engaging with that page ? ..It was linked to 25 times by about 15 individuals on Twitter, but there was NO discussion from any of them links…It’s just confirmation bias for them.

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  7. Ah some strange logic at the end of that article :
    The Exxon Exec has made PREDICTION that even in 40 years time 80% of energy will come from fossil fuels.
    (which is a DEAD LINK cos Jewell has put an extra “space” inside the quotation marks at the end of the URL
    but then the page is behind a paywall ah I’ve found a way :This link let me in )

    Jewell ends : “He’ll need the help of the media for that”… (basically) ‘we need to stop him’

    No it’s just his prediction, we can’t go around saying that he intends to bribe the worlds media just make his predicition come true.

    Some veggie might predict “in 40 years time 80% of people will be vegetarian”
    Is that the same as saying he’s going to bribe the world’s media ?

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  8. Stew
    You’re right I was rude, which is bad tactics, since, contrary to Geoff Harris’s suggestion, I don’t want to get banned from the Conversation. Yes the faulty link was a trivial point. There’s a big advantage in getting your comment in fast on threads like this, and I was slapdash. How often have I prepared a well-researched well-argued comment, only to see it arrive too late, lost in a barrage of fluff?

    The difference between the Conversation and the Guardian or SkepticalScience is that they’re financed (in the UK and France) by universities and government bodies. Somewhere in thirty odd British universities there are committees made up of professors who vote money to pay salaries to these people (the editors, I mean, not the contributors, for whom it’s vanity publishing, like our own blog). One of the environment editors (there are at least two) countered a demand from a reader that I be banned by saying it doesn’t matter if my tiresome comments appear, because no one reads the comments thread. An editor of the Conversation who insults his own active readers. Is that what the universities are paying him for?

    On Jewell’s ignorance – it’ so general that we shouldn’t be surprised. I have friends – Guardian-reading intellectuals with responsible jobs, three of them with science PhDs, all convinced believers in CAGW – and I’m sure none of them know who Dana is, or when CO2 emissions started (industrial revolution wasn’t it? 1760?) or how global temperatures are measured. Rather than criticise their ignorance (and that of Jewell) I’d do better to examine our own ignorance of the reasons for this state of affairs. A cabal of power hungry scientists? A cabal of power hungry UN bureaucrats? Follow the money? The madness of crowds? Displacement activity? Intellectual mediocrity? (a favourite of Ben Pile’s). The best we can do for the moment is keep digging away.

    May I recommend https://stewgreen.wordpress.com/ ? Stew is probably the most knowledgable digger in – well, I don’t know where he is, possibly Kuala Lumpur – anyway, he’s the William Burroughs of climate scepticism.

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  9. Geoff Harris
    I’ve no idea how they do things, except that they have a team of paid professionals to do them (paid by taxpayers – see my comment to StewGreen above). You’ve got to admit though it’s pretty funny when a professor of journalism shows himself up in that way.
    It’s the kind of pompous idiocy that Private Eye has been puncturing for fifty years. But Private Eye will never puncture anything green. No-one ever makes fun of environmentalists or climate scientists or politicians who promote renewable energy while sitting on the board of renewable energy companies, just as fifty years ago no-one made fun of prime ministers or archbishops. Isn’t that strange?
    If you don’t know who Dana Nuccitelli is then you obviously are not a keen observer of the climate sceptic scene, which is all to your credit.
    There is a bunch of extremely odd people (not climate scientists) who make it their business to counter any criticism of the true warmist faith. Nuccitelli is one of the brighter and more active ones. If you google 97% you get to Nuccitelli, because that’s his nom de guerre at the Guardian. I expect that’s what Jewell did: (“COP21 Paris? I think I’ll write an article about it. Let’s see, what do I know? 97% of scientists agree.. Exxon finances deniers.. let’s stick that into Google…”)

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  10. Geoff, did Jewell “show himself up”? Only if he did the markup himself (I hope that is unlikely), which you just said you don’t know. I take your point about wanting to get in the first comment to have more impact. I read your comment and thought “sanctimonious jerk” (or perhaps something blunter). If anyone showed themselves up, I’d say it was you – lucky for you it was removed.

    I went over to Stew’s site but didn’t get more than a few paragraphs into it. The style is unconventional, being polite. Perhaps he could take some lessons in writing from the professor.

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  11. @GH That’s not my actual site, I did stick some odd notes so that’s what you saw.
    My site is http://www.stewgreen.com
    .. Although I rarely get time to make new postings.
    I tend to spend time dissecting stuff for others blog comments and that takes long enough never mind fully writing it up in expanded form.

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  12. Geoff Chambers, you don’t have to be very cynical to think that Jewell also quickly found The Guardian when he (possibly) performed that search.

    Frankly, I don’t think it rude of you to be less than complimentary when a Professor of Journalism demonstrates manifest incompetence in his supposed area of expertise.

    I have to admire you, because I do not have the temperament to endure the censorship you do when frequenting places like The Conversation.

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  13. Hi Geoff

    Just for fun..

    Alice is now earning 40k a year at the infamous 10:10 activist group

    And most recently took part in an anti BP protest at the Tate. Where she and others had themselves tattooed with the amount of co2 in the atmosphere in the year of their birth. In ppm

    Twitter is worth following for gems. She tweeted the tattoo photo. Like that !

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  14. Geoff you mentioned Jewell’s post is actually a rehash of an old one, yet Google shows me nothing.
    Where is it ?

    PS I see a John Jewel is mentioned in the Climategate emails in 2004
    \\John Jewell’s letter (January 27), which criticises the Kyoto Treaty on
    science and cost, is barely worth reply.//

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  15. Ian
    Well, Marcus has certainly broken the taste barrier with that one. Just as well he didn’t reply to our invitation to be one of the gang. Did I mention that Alice once accused me of being sexist and racist?
    It was at “Left Foot Forward”. To give her credit, she wanted to allow my critical comments, but her boss, Dave (call me David) Spart overruled her. (Well, he is the boss, and a man.)
    Barry
    How do you find out these things? I went to the 10:10 site. They have an “About Us” corner, but it doesn’t work. They’re a charity so I can surely find out somewhere who holds the purse strings, but not their salary, I think.

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  16. Geoff, Barry always seems to have the inside info on organisations like 10:10. I suspect he may be a fully paid-up member.

    On the subject of Alice, in the context of this post I recall that to her credit she wrote a blog post “We need to talk about the Conversation”, where she drew attention to the facts that many articles were solicited rather than offered, and that articles were “sexed up” by the editors – ie the editors put words into the mouths of the academics.

    Finally, on the subject of Marcus, I wonder if we could persuade him to do a guest post here at cliscep?

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  17. raining = raising.. !
    but on reflection raining money onto unaccountable NGO, by dead billionaire foundations or the usual greenwashing by industry,trusts,etc, etc is an accurate description.

    http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/nov/28/climate-change-activists-tattoos-tate-britain-bp-protest
    Alice Bell, a spokesperson for Liberate Tate, the group that is leading the protest, said: “This makes a statement about the stain that oil has across society, on Tate, on the negotiations and across our culture, society and economics more broadly. The black mark on our skin reflects the taint of BP on Tate.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/i-tattooed-myself-at-tate-britain-yesterday-because-we-cant-ignore-the-gallerys-controversial-a6753601.html
    “We gave small parts of our bodies yesterday in the service of an awakening conscience: that we must no longer afford BP the right to tattoo our cultural institutions with corporate marks, and to use art and culture to cleanse its crimes from the public consciousness”

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  18. Meanwhile, over at the US (Pilot) “Conversation” … Ireland’s very own good ol’ Mrs. (Mary) Robinson (one of Ban Ki-Moon’s faves who did *such* a good job when she Chaired the new, improved UN Human Rights Commission) recently declared that:

    The value of a human rights framing for the new climate agreement has been recognised by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, initially a group of 20 countries on the front lines of climate change – a number that is likely to expand to 43 by the end of the climate talks. I was very happy to be a part of the third high-level meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum where the member states declared that they will aim to achieve full decarbonisation of their economies and run their countries on 100% renewable energy by 2050. This is the type of leadership we need from all nations – this gives me hope.

    As for this “Climate Vulnerable Forum” … It seems to be yet another of those NGOs which magically appeared on the scene sometime very shortly prior to the failed Copenhagen shindig of 2009, but which (for all intents and purposes) in the intervening years has kept remarkably quiet – well, at least until now!

    This oh-so-erudite and “scientific” group, has pronounced (albeit via Press Release … and another page somewhere on the CVF site which my mouse cannot seem to readily retrieve) that inter alia:

    Emission cuts harming economic growth is a myth. A commitment to reduce emissions is most likely a commitment to strengthen economic growth. This has been Costa Rica’s experience. Keeping warming to a minimum – to below 1.5 degrees – won’t simply deliver safety and prosperity, it will also deliver justice,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica Manuel Gonzalez. [my bold -hro]

    All together now … “Well, here’s to you, Mrs Robinson / Ki-moon holds a special place / For those who say … hey, hey, hey …”

    Liked by 1 person

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