I do hope Andy Skuce is up to date with his tetanus shots. Let’s just say the former scientist (now reduced to warming seats as a ninth-tier opinionologist) stepped on a bit of a rake this week. Like all physical comedy, slapstick is a hit-and-miss genre. But in this case the thwack of wood vs nasal cartilage was definitely amusing, at least to me. I can only think of eight maxillofaces more deserving of a bit o’ the ol’ Sideshow Bob action.
Anyway, here’s the line that made my day:
Nobody sane wants man-made climate change to be true.
Oh, Andy. Andy Andy Andy.
That old meme? Really?
Technically, Skuce made this beginner’s blunder months ago. But since no one voluntarily reads his blog, it was pure dumb luck that I noticed it at all. (If a fake scientist steps on a gardening implement in a forest and nobody is there to hear him swear, does it make a blah blah blah… a koan for the ages.*)
And it’s not as if I haven’t tried to warn these people. Like most comical tragedies in history, this could all have been avoided by reading Climate Nuremberg. (Seriously, Andy, how lazy are you?)
On the near-certainty that this is new to you, reader, allow me to proudly—well, not so much proudly as shamelessly—cannibalize for your nourishment one of Nuremberg’s early-period classics: ‘The Fear is Palpable.’
I’ve always said the best reason to accept the reality of dangerous climate change is that nobody in the science community wants it to be real. Scientists would like nothing better than to find out that whole lifetimes of research have been wasted on a false alarm.
Why? Because climate scientists are human—all too human, you might say if you’ve read the illegally-stolen CRU emails! LOL 🙂
And no human in their right mind would actually wish for the grim future we’re locking in for ourselves and our children by continuing to chunder pollution dioxide into Mother Atmosphere, would they?
What climate deniers have never managed to explain is this:
If the Earth’s climate is just a “hoax,” why do the world’s top scientists keep finding evidence they’d rather not find? Why does it keep piling up against their will?
Let’s go back to 1996—to a time when “climate science” involved a certain degree of speculation, and the future state of the planet’s fluid envelope wasn’t known with anything like the precision and accuracy we now take for granted in climate forecasts.
Here Fred Pearce describes Some Scientists at work:
Tim Barnett, then of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of the University of California, San Diego, joined Jones to form a small group within the IPCC to mine this data for clues about the temperature, ready to report in the next assessment due in 2001.
“What worries us is that the current patterns of temperature change might prove distinctive, quite different from the patterns of natural variability in the past,” Barnett told me in 1996. Even then they were afraid they might find a hockey stick.
As global warming increases geometrically, so too does the jackpot of fame and glory for any scientist who can prove all modern science wrong. To quote Professor Phil Jones (from an illegally-stolen private email he wrote in 2005):
The scientific community would shower me with gratitude if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has, but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.
As you know, I’m not political. If anything, I would like to see climate change stop, so the science could be proved wrong, because of its consequences. This isn’t being political, it is being selfish.
But problems don’t go away just because we’d like them to. To quote Professor Jones again, four years later:
Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we breathe a sigh of relief.
Fake skeptics are notoriously prone to wishful thinking. One such “skeptic,” Professor Richard Muller, at least has the self-awareness to acknowledge this:
I would love to believe that the results of Mann et al. are wrong, and that the last few years haven’t been the warmest in a millennium.
Love to believe? My own words make me shudder.
It’s not just within the scientific world that “skeptics” are afraid of the truth, of course.
Climate writer Paul Caruso, an admitted denier, admits:
I genuinely would hate to be persuaded again that CO2 is causing, or even could cause, us a problem.
To be honest I’m not too worried, because I have searched for years for the evidence that would convince me that man-made CO2-induced global warming is happening.
By now, the astute reader may have noticed a subtle flaw in my argument:
It’s bullcrap. For starters, those quotes are all fake.
Here’s what Pearce actually wrote:
Tim Barnett, then of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of the University of California, San Diego, joined Jones to form a small group within the IPCC to mine this data for signs of global warming, ready to report in the next assessment due in 2001.
“What we hope is that the current patterns of temperature change prove distinctive, quite different from the patterns of natural variability in the past,” Barnett told me in 1996. Even then they were looking for a hockey stick.
Here’s what Jones actually wrote:
This quote is from an Australian at [the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre] (not Neville Nicholls). It began from the attached article. What an idiot. The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK, it has, but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.
As you know, I’m not political. If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences. This isn’t being political, it is being selfish.
And here’s what he actually wrote in May 2009:
‘Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.‘ …
Here’s what Muller actually wrote:
It was unfortunate that many scientists endorsed the hockey stick before it could be subjected to the tedious review of time. Ironically, it appears that these scientists skipped the vetting precisely because the results were so important.
Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate. I would love to believe that the results of Mann et al. are correct, and that the last few years have been the warmest in a millennium.
Love to believe? My own words make me shudder. They trigger my scientist’s instinct for caution. When a conclusion is attractive, I am tempted to lower my standards, to do shoddy work. But that is not the way to truth. When the conclusions are attractive, we must be extra cautious.
Here’s what Caruso actually wrote:
I genuinely would like to be persuaded again that CO2 is causing, or even could cause, us a problem.
To be honest I don’t really hold out much hope because I have searched for years for the evidence that would convince me that man-made CO2-induced global warming is happening.
The yearning for a climate crisis is undeniable (so don’t even deny it—please; have some dignity).
When believalists tell you they’d love to find out that the infidels are right, they’re just being climate-honest.
I’m not suggesting, of course, that The Scientists™ don’t fear for the future. Of course they do. Their fear is palpable.
And this is what they’re afraid of:
What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably …
Meanwhile, two years later, last November, a hapless Andy Skuce declares that ‘nobody sane wants man-made climate change to be true.’
After regaining my composure and wiping the incredulity from my monitor, I dropped Andy a friendly clue-bomb in the comments thread. I quoted Phil Jones. I quoted Richard Muller. I quoted Paul Caruso. I quoted Tim Barnett. Lastly, this Parthian one-liner was the sum total of my own words on the subject (and I won’t pretend it was imaginative):
A lot of insane people in climate science, by your reckoning, Andy!
Having just sodomized a component of Andy’s belief system with a chainsaw—if I may say so myself—I now left him with only two reasonable choices. Reader, just for laughs, would you care to guess whether he opted to:
1. concede that he was wrong, or
2. argue that my argument was wrong?
Take your time.
Take all the time you need.
Hehehe. Trick question, obviously. Sorry about that!
If you’ve ever tried to correct a believalist—climate or otherwise—you’ll have spotted my false dichotomy. The above MCQ makes the tacit assumption that our interlocutor is more-or-less psychologically normal, whereas we all know cult members are nothing of the sort, don’t we? When a person Believes, Truly Believes, they suddenly have rhetorical options that aren’t available to the general public.
And so it was that Andy Skuce chose what the sages call The Third Way:
3. whine and flee
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d be a little embarrassed to put my name to this combination of rudeness, laziness and cowardice:
*How many other gems lie undiscovered in the dross of Andy’s blog? We’ll probably never know. Scratch that: we’ll definitely never know, because Critical Angle is so boring even the title makes you want to cut yourself.