Cook and Oreskes are Right

Pearce, Grundmann, Hulme et al have replied (14 Nov 2017) to replies by Cook (28 Sep 2017) and Oreskes (28 Sep 2017) to a previous article by Pearce, Grundmann, Hulme et al (23 Jul 2017)It’s been discussed at WattsUpWithThat, but as usual there, any sensible comments get lost in the hubbub. That’s why here at cliscep we only publish once every few days. It’s not that we’re lazy, but we like to give you time to digest and reflect.

The central point of Pearce et al’s paper is that deliberating and mobilizing policy responses to climate change requires thinking beyond public belief in a scientific consensus.”

And Cook in his reply effectively agrees, stating that: Establishing expert consensus on human-caused global warming is a stepping stone leading to discussion of mitigation and adaptation policies.” Oreskes in her reply points out that Pearce et al agree with her paper which they cite. Finally, Pearce et al point out that both Cook and Oreskes agree with their central point. “However,” they continue, they both continue to defend consensus messaging, either because of ‘the dangers of neglecting to communicate the scientific consensusor because ‘”no consensus” … remains … a contrarian talking point‘.”

Which explains why Pearce, Grundmann Hulme et al think it so important to counter the criticisms of Cook and Oreskes by providing a detailed reply pointing out that they agree with everything they say, but will defend to the death the advisability of them shutting up about it. Because their research into the consensus is bollocks, and Pearce et al (and particularly Hulme) are scared that one day it will become evident to everyone that it’s bollocks, and Oreskes, Cook et al are risking ruining the party.

I’m with Oreskes and Cook on this. Of course persuading people that all the experts agree is an excellent propaganda ploy (or “gateway belief” to use the term preferred by experts in propaganda ploys.) First you get the sensible rational people who believe the experts to line up behind the science and spread the consensus message throughout the media, which naturally encourages the suspicious, the ignorant and the grumpy who don’t trust experts to line up against. Then the media can conduct a marvellous multi-decadal evidence-free bash between the clever and the stupid, and the scientists’ and the politicians’ hands are clean.

Pearce et al propose a number of specious arguments to try and shut them up, for example casting doubt on their scientific credentials because they cite market research data, when they only cite it when it’s already been canonised by being cited in a peer reviewed paper (or a book by Chris Mooney, which is even better.)

But Pearce et al’s real objection to Oreskes and Cook is revealed in this paragraph:

Cook interprets our argument as playing into the hands of climate disinformers. Far from it. It is the insistent demand that publics will only engage in relevant policy debates once they have adopted a “gateway belief” that is playing into the hands of those who wish to slow-down climate policy design and implementation.

Because that’s what it’s all about. Not playing into the hands of people who disagree with you by using an argument that they can knock down. Nowhere do Pearce et al point out that Cook, Oreskes and all the others have measured nothing, and established nothing about the beliefs of scientists. Their whole point is that the consensus is not persuasive, when the actions of most of the world’s politicians and “respectable” press, plus the opinion polls which they cite themselves, suggests that “The Science says…” –  like “O’Grady says…” or “Simon says…”is a gateway a great way of making people do what they’re told. At least the people who count.

Oreskes, Cook et al have established, as clearly as anything is ever established in the social sciences, that lying propaganda works. You can see why honest social scientists and thoughtful climate scientists might want to shoot that idea down. But they need to do it honestly.

33 thoughts on “Cook and Oreskes are Right

  1. Oreskes and Cook have nothing to fear. If AGW turned out to be 100% wrong, they’d just weep about how they were misled. The missing heat must be beginning to worry. They had a breather after the El Nino but what if the pause resumes?

    But yes, Oreskes style of fear mongering and name calling works. Politians and scientists are afraid of shouty greens.

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  2. Look, we’ve found a way to bi-pass their knock-down arguments, get it –
    nuthin’ to do with madness of the crowd and nuthin’ to do with evidence,
    – it’s a win-win.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barry: “I’m just waiting for the usual suspect to start calling Prof Mike Hulme a ‘climate denier’” You’re setting the bar too low. Obama’s been called a climate denier. James Hansen has been called a climate denier.

    Kinda takes some of the sting out of it.

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  4. “Oreskes, Cook et al have established, as clearly as anything is ever established in the social sciences, that lying propaganda works. ” Surely this principle was established way back in Eden by the snake and has been repeatedly verified through the ages?

    “You can see why honest social scientists and thoughtful climate scientists might want to shoot that idea down.” Since the principle is well established and has repeatedly resisted falsification those that would wish to shoot it down are hardly “honest” or “thoughtful”: in fact quite the opposite.

    “But they need to do it honestly.” I am now so logically confused that I don’t know what this means. I feel I’m drifting into 1984.

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  5. Alan Kendall
    Sorry if I wasn’t very clear. I read the articles in reverse order, which is of course the order in which social science is done these days, starting with the effect you want the article to have, and then finding some ”science” to support it.

    Anyone who glances at Oreskes, Cook 2013, Doran etc. can see that it’s very poor stuff. Anyone who claims that it all adds up to proving something, as does Cook 2016, is off the rails, because the papers all examine different things in different ways. Anyone who adds the words “dangerous,” “catastrophic” or “deleterious consequences” (those are Lewandwowsky’s latest weasel words at OUP) is inventing stuff out of thin air. So 97% of the journalists and politicians who quote the 97% are either lying or haven’t looked at the evidence.

    Pearce et al don’t do any of that, which is why they count as honest and thoughtful. But nor do they make the least critical comment about the studies themselves. Their point is not about the content of the studies, but about the question of how effective is the conclusion drawn from them. And the fact that almost all the experts and policymakers draw the false conclusion that there’s a consensus around the question of dangerous man-made global warming is never mentioned by the scientists or policymakers. Though Pearce et al (to ther credit) do mention it in their introduction when they say:

    (Cook et al., 2013) has gained particular prominence with the claim that 97.1% of those papers expressing a position on anthropogenic global warming either explicitly state or imply that humans cause warming. The claim has had significant media impact, inspired a popular television comedy programme, been adjudged Environmental Research Letters’ best article for 2013, and even been tweeted by President Obama (albeit embellishing C13’s original claim with the word “dangerous”).

    But in the same paragraph they say:

    … the basis for policy action cannot be done simply with appeals to fact. Where these facts are complex and negotiated, as in the case of climate change, experts and policymakers need to acknowledge and engage more actively with public “matters of concern.”

    To which Cook and Oreskes reply perfectly reasonably: “Why can’t it be done that way, if it works?” And getting your claim retweeted by the President is about as good a proof that it works as you can imagine.

    [Of course, it could be argued that, in accepting the 97% claim as a fact, Pearce et al are not being honest and thoughtful at all, but are complicit in a cynical propaganda campaign which has been highly successful in censoring public debate. But that’s not the point I’m making here.]

    Since Cook and Oreskes have all the evidence on their side for the success of their approach, the Pearce et al paper comes down to the plea that the facts in the case of climate change are complex and negotiated, and therefore experts and policymakers need to acknowledge and engage more actively with public “matters of concern.”

    They don’t say so, but one of the “public matters of concern” which might explode at any moment is the awareness that the rising electricity prices, ruined landscapes, banning of efficient petrol engines, etc. are all policies deemed inevitable based on the work of scientists of the quality of Mann, Gleick, Jacobson, Lewandowsky etc. And a historian called Oreskes and a cartoonist called Cook. And Pearce, Grundmann, Hulme et al are engaging with these public matters of concern as actively as they can, within the limits of the rules of scientific debate and the libel laws. Luckily, we’re not limited by such rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Geoff may indeed be highlighting a key issue here. As I understand it (and I may not) this is not so much about the validity of consensus studies, or whether or not there is a strong consensus, but is more about the narrative that is – supposedly – being presented to the public. My own view is that people should feel free to promote their own narrative, if they feel that there are important issues that are not being presented. I’m not entirely sure why that requires publishing papers criticising/undermining an alternative narrative, especially as that alternative narrative does not somehow preclude introducing new narratives, but some seem to think that it does.

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  7. ATTP. You say that with all the arrogance of someone whose narrative has been examined and found worthy of generating further narratives ad nauseam. Alternative narratives be damned. Those at the cutting edge of efforts to wind down ineffectual and counterproductive narratives are hamstrung by agents provocateur like yourself who have no conception of the chaos you cause by your false sense of understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ATTP
    You’re right, the subject of the Pearce et al article is the efficacity of different narratives, and not their truth. It’s perfectly natural that the first thing people tend do when faced with a complex and controversial topic like climate change is to break it down into binary questions and measure the strength of the opposing “sides,” which is more or less what Doran and Zimmerman did. That their analysis, whittling the sample down from 3,000 to 78, allowed people to chant the magic 97%, isn’t entirely their fault, and I believe that Zimmerman did apologise somewhere (does anyone have a reference?) What Oreskes and Conway and Anderegg did is not so clear. (And Oreskes and Conway don’t even seem to be able to agree as to why and when they did it, but that’s another story.) What Cook did and why is transparently clear, thanks to leaked emails.

    I agree entirely with your view that “people should feel free to promote their own narrative, if they feel that there are important issues that are not being presented.” But the fact that Cook is a bungling liar who couldn’t be trusted to give the right change in a sweetshop is not easily expressed in the context of a scientific paper.

    Behind this particular quarrel is the more serious problem of the disastrous effect of current “meta-science” (the organisation and financing of science, the factors influencing the careers of scientists, the rules of peer reviewed literature etc.) on the social sciences. If Pearce et al and Cook/Oreskes were ad agencies pitching for a contract, they’d be swapping fact-based arguments, like the market research data to which Pearce et al refer so snottily (“It is odd that scholars accept corporate research as proof of a claim about the relation between knowledge and decision-making.”) All Pearce Cook Oreskes and co can swap are references to papers, like mediaeval theologians citing chapter and verse from the Bible. It’s not science, and it’s not interesting. Which is presumably why you’re here, discussing ideas with us.

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  9. Margaret has not ‘apologised’ nor does she believe less in climate change, nor that scientist believe less of it, just that she was more open to debate, than she went into it initially.

    Rob from skeptical science emailed Zimmermann, and missed my point spectacularly, I have (and others) quoted her comment as having more of an open mind to the climate debate following her survey.. not whether she believes, or the scientists in the reality of climate change or not..
    My WUWT article was not about whether climate change was real or not, but how the 97% was (doran and Anderegg) was misrepresented beyond what the surveys actually looked at.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/

    her comment is NOT in my article, but I did note it in the comments.

    “This entire process has been an exercise in re-educating myself about the climate debate and, in the process, I can honestly say that I have heard very convincing arguments from all the different sides, and I think I’m actually more neutral on the issue now than I was before I started this project. There is so much gray area when you begin to mix science and politics, environmental issues and social issues, calculated rational thinking with emotions, etc.” M Zimmermann.

    M Zimmermann in response to Rob Honeycutt.
    https://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/79912125

    Hi Rob,
    Peter forwarded me your email. I had to dig around for it – that quote comes from the lengthy appendix section of my full published thesis. It is part an email exchange that I had with one of the participants (all names were dissociated, so I have no idea who it was).
    The context of the email was discussing how difficult it can be to come up with questions that are neutral and are consistently interpreted the same way by respondents. The entire project was certainly an exercise in re-educating myself about the way people arrive at their opinions on climate debate and the way they interpret questions. I did hear passionate stories from people on both sides and convincing arguments about how questions should or should not have been interpreted (though even those seemed strongly couched in personal opinions on the climate debate in general). I should point out that the issue on which I said was more neutral was the climate debate – not the reality of climate change. The specific thing that I came away feeling more neutral on was my certainty of what the correct path forward in the debate or in action might be. The survey comments and the emails I received highlighted the staggering diversity in the ways people informed their own opinions and what they thought the correct directions might be in the climate debate. In 2008, when markets were tumbling and there was immediate and intense instability in so many lives, I could understand the sentiment that directing resources to climate solutions might not feel as pressing as addressing unemployment. But again, that was in an email exchange, not a conclusion of my thesis.
    For comparison to that quote that is flying around, the last paragraph of the full thesis starts with this: “It seems that the debate, whatever it’s origins, on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who are most able to understand the nuances and the scientific basis of the issue.”
    Ultimately, my response would be that my thesis research did NOT make me less confident about the seriousness of global warming. Pulling out that quote and assigning some specific attitude toward it is taking it way out of context with the entirety of the thesis. Actual data-driven evidence was clear in 2008 and has only become more clear in the last six years that average global temperatures are increasing and climate change is present. I remain very convinced that these are serious issues which should be addressed on a much wider scope than they are currently. I also remain very convinced that the correct way to do that is one of the great questions of our time.
    I would be happy to answer any other questions you have.
    Maggie

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  10. I’m interested in instances in the media, where politicians, environmentalists, the media itself go beyond even what these type of papers do say…

    An example – The Guardian reporting on the Anderegg survey..

    “Do you trust the vast majority of climate scientists who claim that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are causing a clear and present climatic danger?” – Leo Hickman (Guardian)

    so where did the ‘causing CLEAR and PRESENT Danger’ come from, not the survey..
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jun/21/trust-climate-scientists

    If anybody has any similar examples, please add them to the comments.

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  11. BARRY WOODS:
    Many thanks for the information. Here’s a starter from
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/page/4/?s=consensus&submit under the heading “Don’t make a choice that your children will regret”:

    In case you have any doubts about the science: in the scientific community there is a long-standing consensus that humans are causing dangerous global warming, reflected in the clear statements of many scientific academies and societies.

    “Long-standing consensus” links to Cook 2016, and “statements of many scientific academies” links to NASA, which doesn’t use the word “dangerous” in its page on consensus, but references Cook, Oreskes, Doran, and Anderegg.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. An interesting article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia (h/t your previous post) seems relevant here.

    ‘Ethics for Climate Change Communicators’ by Michael Lamb
    http://climatescience.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228620-e-564?rskey=4yLrVR&result=105

    From a (long) paragraph in the Introduction:
    “Yet, as climate change communication is currently practised, most scholars and communicators focus exclusively on effective strategies to persuade audiences and neglect the ethical implications of when and how such strategies should be used […] Some acts of communication may be morally wrong even if they have good consequences.”

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  13. Ruth,
    Thanks, that’s an interesting article. I have often wondered about what people mean when they claim that some communication strategy is effective, or ineffective. What are they measuring this against, and what do they assume about the goal of that strategy? Who gets to decide what the goal of some communication strategy should be and, hence, whether or not a particular strategy is effective?

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  14. RUTH DIXON
    Thanks for the reference. It certainly looks relevant, but so probably are many of the 112 other articles on climate communication in this publication. We’ve got our work cut out.

    At first glance it seems to suffer from the same weakness as the Catriona McKinnon article http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/misp.12056/full
    of assuming that the communication being discussed is correct and its critics are wrong. This allows McKinnon to dismiss the argument for freedom of expression for sceptics in a couple of paragraphs, while Michael Lamb is more profuse. I’m still at the beginning, but already there is this:

    “…scholars rightly argue that framing is inevitable… Part of what motivates their emphasis on framing is an attempt to counteract the deceptive framing that climate change skeptics sometimes use to oppose mitigation or adaptation policies. (Reference to McCright “Dealing with climate change contrarians”)

    In recommending alternative frames, however, many environmental advocates do not attend adequately to the ethics of employing particular frames. Some simply suppose that the inevitability of some kind of framing justifies the moral permissibility of all kinds of framing, while others assume that whichever communication is most effective is the most ethical. The latter position arises not because its defenders necessarily lack an ethical framework, but because they identify consequences as the primary standard of moral evaluation. Since the consequences of climate change are potentially disastrous, they implicitly justify any use of framing as a legitimate way to avert catastrophe.”

    The problem with the last sentence is identical to the problem with the precautionary principle. The justification is reversible. Any proposed policy for dealing with climate change may equally be potentially disastrous. The question is an empirical one, outside the remit of philosophers. Therefore the justification for a “framework” chosen by one side (e.g. the Gleickian one of quoting from stolen and forged documents) is just as valid for the other.
    Is Lamb conscious of this objection? I’ll keep reading and report back.

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  15. ..AND THEN THERE’S PHYSICS (22 Nov 17 at 9:10 am )

    I have often wondered about what people mean when they claim that some communication strategy is effective, or ineffective. What are they measuring this against, and what do they assume about the goal of that strategy?

    All of the communication I’ve seen, and all of the discussion in the media,and among the specialists at Climate Outreach etc. assumes that the goal is persuading the general public of the truth of the mainstream consensus view, and that the measurement is by public opinion polls. If you know of any other interpretations, please let us know.

    The question of effective climate communication is currently being discussed at https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/climate-communicators-in-edinburgh/

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  16. Geoff,

    All of the communication I’ve seen, and all of the discussion in the media,and among the specialists at Climate Outreach etc. assumes that the goal is persuading the general public of the truth of the mainstream consensus view, and that the measurement is by public opinion polls.

    If anything, I think Climate Outreach is trying to avoid the latter and – as they say – our mission is to engage people with climate change from their perspective – not ours. I don’t think that the goal is to specifically convince people of the truth of the mainstream consensus view; in many cases it is to encourage some kind of change even if people don’t accept the mainstream consensus view.

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  17. Climate Outreach…. – speak with forked tongue..

    George Marshall – CREATED the deniers Halls of Shame – Rising Tide, tetc. He was also the first to smear scientists like Lindzen as having been in the pay of fossil fuel companies. he is a career activist, ex Greenpeace director. “deniers” are his opponents. he has just realised you can’t demonise ALL conservatives, after 20 years communicating and getting nowhere.

    if George is your goto on science communication, you might have well have Dracula in charge of your blood bank..

    George speaking at a Campaign Against climate Change event;

    Marshall (ex Greenpeace) and Ben Webster (Greenpeace) at CaCC “Skeptics Backlash meeting:
    (from transcripts thanks to JoAbbess.com)

    Webster:
    “We have to make “brand sceptic” toxic.
    We need a new, compelling narrative, and pull together a community of activists determined to hold journalists to account.
    We have to launch a campaign so these people are scared of us.”

    Marshall:
    Look at the word “sceptic”. It’s a very carefully chosen word.
    I rather use “denier” – and I’m delighted to say it works.
    But they’re [Climate Change sceptics] doing a better job than us at the moment [on communications].”
    (via jo abbess.com)

    also Research director – Dr Adam Corner..

    “I’m a researcher, not a campaigner” he tells Tory MPs in a debate..
    (they took him at face value”


    http://talkingclimate.org/a-greener-shade-of-blue-communicating-climate-change-on-the-right/

    Dr Adam Corner, Green Party parliamentary candidate was waving Act Now, banners at Copenhagen, (Green party literature)
    http://t.co/Hdqz9Wbn
    source Green Party News (pg5)
    http://t.co/ezqsBusb

    Adam painted blue, campaigning 2 weeks before Copenhagen (House of Commons, carrying Stop Climate Chaos Banner, Stop Dirty Coal)
    The Wave. London
    The Wave. London

    Lying activist or just delusional?

    Climate Outreach.. sci comms (activists in charge of sci communication) good grief.

    [PM: Barry, that one went into the spam folder at first – too many links I think!]

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  18. this is just mad..

    “However, the fact that deniers misrepresent climate science is not sufficient to justify intolerance of climate denial in the form of legal prohibition, and the fact that deniers’ misrepresentations are deliberate makes no difference to this conclusion. ”
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/misp.12056/full

    no references of course, throughout the paper some strong assertions, but references are very light.
    part of a million pound research grant,

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  19. And now the word’s in the center ring of the global warming fight: “climate denial.”

    “Climate change has always been a kind of a framing war,” said George Marshall, founder of the Climate Outreach Information Network in Great Britain and the author of the book “Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change.” “If you can get out there and you can get your language inserted into the discourse, it’s your ideas that dominate.”

    Marshall and co-author Mark Lynas published the first reference to “climate denier” in the English-language press in a 2003 op-ed they wrote for the left-leaning magazine The New Statesman.

    They wanted those words to sting.

    They did — and still do. Consider that the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) threatened to sue left-leaning Common Cause and the League of Conservation Voters last month, charging that they had falsely branded ALEC as promoting “climate denial” (E&ENews PM, April 6).

    Environmentalists, meanwhile, label opponents as “deniers” when they disavow not only the link between warming and human emissions but the urgency of the issue or the policies designed to address it.

    An offshoot of the Obama presidential campaign, Organizing for America (OFA), ran a “Climate Change Fantasy Tournament” alongside the NCAA’s March Madness brackets, asking supporters to “vote for the worst denier in America.” Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) won for tossing a snowball on the Senate floor (E&E Daily, Feb. 27).

    “Deniers” also figured in recent League of Conservation Voters’ pleas for funding and in Climate Action Campaign messaging about House legislation to allow states to opt out of U.S. EPA’s carbon rule for power plants. The campaign wrote recently that the bill now working its way through the lower chamber is “part of a broader effort by climate deniers to eviscerate the President’s Clean Power Plan.”

    But while environmentalists say they are making inroads with a public that is increasingly aware of climate change and impatient with those who continue to dispute it, they’re a long way from what Marshall says is the endgame.

    “In the end, if you win the frame war, your opponents back off and they start using your language,” he said. “And then you’ve won.”

    https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060018646

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  20. 14 years ago Lynas and Marshall coined the phrase ‘climate change denier” and listed a who is who of climate change deniers..All of whom made it into the Rising Tide climate deniers Hall of Shame (Marshall founded Rising Tide)

    One of these was Prof Stott, and his “sins” are listed as being a climate change denier and Pro GM, and Pro nuclear…

    “Philip Stott is Britain’s leading climate-change denier and has built a career on criticising environmentalists. Professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London, he has no climate-science qualifications. A skilled communicator who has written for the Times and New Scientist, he describes global warming as a “lie”. On an advisory board of the Scientific Alliance, an anti-environmentalist campaign group that denies climate change; opposes organic agriculture and promotes genetically modified foods and nuclear power.”

    https://www.newstatesman.com/node/191306

    And 14 years later. Mark Lynas is Pro-GM and Pro nuclear…

    only one left to go Mark…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. BARRY WOODS
    You can add that Lynas & Marshall article to your list of sources of “catastrophe creep.” Though they don’t mention the 97% they do say: “Every scientific institution and national government in the world now endorses the conclusions of the IPCC that global warming is a major threat to the planet’s future.”

    Otherwise the article repeats the same litany we’ve heard a million times:

    Despite plentiful proposals for windfarms, solar panels and hydrogen cells – enough to fill many glossy brochures – the grim reality is that the use of fossil fuels increases relentlessly… large areas of agriculturally productive land will be destroyed; entire countries will disappear through rapid sea-level rise; and entire regions in the arid subtropics will become uninhabitable… if we do not take immediate action to slash greenhouse gas emissions, we will in effect condemn our children to a permanently impoverished and more threatening world dominated by extreme weather and ecological collapse.

    If that sounds boringly familiar it’s because the article dates from 2003. There’s a couple of laughs in it though.

    Sir John Houghton, an eminent climate scientist, expressed it thus in the Guardian recently: “I have no hesitation in describing climate change as a ‘weapon of mass destruction’.”

    Spot on, Sir John, it’s exactly like a weapon of mass destruction. And there’s this about one of their six most dangerous climate deniers:

    Julian Morris, director of the International Policy Network.. The policy network’s “partners” around the world include… the Cambridge-based European Science and Environment Forum, an anti-environmentalist group originally set up for the Julian Morris tobacco company by a PR firm. Philip Morris often accuses environmentalists of inventing the global warming “myth” in order to generate cash.

    I often accuse Arthur Marshall of inventing the myth of being an expert on climate denialism. (Not to be confused with George Marshall, who used to review Girls’ Christmas Annuals for the Statesman, until the feminists banned him.)

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  22. Barry Woods: ’14 years ago Lynas and Marshall coined the phrase “climate change denier”…’

    Did they? When is a coinage a coinage? Others had already used similar constructions. For example…

    August 2001, John Vidal, The Grauniad: ‘Exxon/Esso, the company thought by some to have eaten George Bush’s brain, is more than just an oil giant and denier of global warming.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2001/aug/08/environment

    May 1999, Geneva Overholser, Dallas Morning News: ‘Among the messengers were several global-warming deniers.’

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/1999/may/27/readers_roar_about_suvs/

    1991, Anita Gordon and David Suzuki: ‘What emerged was a picture of a White House trying desperately to minimize all the warnings about the greenhouse effect. It was the official opening volley of the greenhouse denial syndrome.’

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=bh2v5VvSg6cC

    Jeremy Leggett is also in there somewhere.

    But you are probably right that Marshall is some sort of expert on denierism and how to frame it.

    https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=CRISIS-FORUM;ed88c3cf.1102

    (They’re hard to pin down, these waffling communications experts. Blither blather blither blather and on and on and on.)

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  23. shall we say actively promoted it… the EE news article is quite fun, George has commented on it and is perhaps a little embarrassed by it.. as in his latest book he talks about polarisation and how this is not helping tackle climate change. not once telling his readers, that he was an instrumental part in creating that polarisation..!

    That said. Marshall’s – Deniers Hall of Shame, – Rising Tide – was live on the internet in 2001. (including Lindzen, Stott, etc)

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  24. the phrase ‘climate change denier” was in little use before 2001… most of the 90s was talk about denial, green house denial, etc. George and other environmentalists were writing about people/politicians being in denial that Kyoto would solve the climate change problem. (ie too weak) but the context was different, it was in denial of, as in psychology term in denial of drink, weight problem… vs climate change denier – a evil mad/bad/sad, as a holocaust denier or creationist or conspiracy theorists.

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  25. All the “climate communicators” have done is make it acceptable for the “enlightened” to dehumanize those they disagree with. Calling skeptics the climate equivalent of “n!@@*r” makes the climate concerned feel as good about themselves as any racist redneck did when demonstrating their pathetic ignorance and prejudice about people of color.

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  26. Barry and Vinny, you are King Solomon’s Mines of Information. Lots of people argue that the Cooks and Lewandowskys and Marshalls are irrelevant clowns on the fringes of the debate and should be ignored. But they’re the ones who have defined the vocabulary and therefore set the rules for who can debate and about what. Lomborg used to write regular articles in the Guardian; Lindzen was referred to as an alternative voice. No doubt it was sheer censorship on the part of those who couldn’t counter theeir argument that got them excluded, but Cook, Marshall etc. provide the covering justification. Somewhere (in the McKinnon article?) I came across a paper devoted to the American TV sketch mocking the idea of a balanced discussion on climate. A stupid TV sketch is now in the peer-reviewed literature and can be cited with authority as part of the Science. Pearce, Grundmann, Hulme & co know that this is insane. But what can they do except try and out-cite Cook and Oreskes?

    I don’t know the answer, but I’m convinced it’s the right question. I shouldn’t have been so dismissive of Pearce et al in the article above, since they’re just about the only defence we’ve got against Cook, Oreskes & co.

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