It’s time, I thought, to write the definitive text on Climate Scepticism. So I started my research by googling “climate scepticism,” and my first hit was the Wikipaedia article on “Climate Change Denial.” (There is no Wiki article on climate scepticism.)
And the only Wiki article we have about us is prefaced with this note:
This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in German.
Whatever. This present post is about that one-sentence warning notice, and about the German article “Leugnung der menschengemachten globalen Erwärmung” we’re being warned about.
(Discussion of the English Wiki article, of the 3.4 million mentions of climate scepticism, 9.4 million mentions of climate skepticism, and 40.8 million mentions of climate denial recorded by Google will have to wait for a further article.)
The German article is very thorough, and is supported by 218 citations. Authors most frequently cited, with number of citations, were as follows:
Riley Dunlap 33
Aaron McCright 30
John Cook 21
Naomi Oreskes 16
Michael Brüggemann 12
Michael Mann 11
Spencer Weart 6
Stephan Lewandowsky 6
Karin Edvardsson Björnberg 5
Stefan Rahmstorf 4
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber 3
(I’ve left out Cook’s occasional sidekick Hayden Washington, and Oreskes’ collaborator Conway, since they never have anything to say for themselves.) That’s 5 Americans, two Australians, one Swede and just three Germans in the top 11.
Chart topper Riley Dunlap is Professor of Sociology at Oklahoma State University, where Stephan Lewandowsky was once an Assistant Professor. Aaron McCright is his faithful Tonto, Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. Cook, Oreskes, Mann and Weart need no introdfuctriloon from us. [What’s then matter with my keyboard tonight? Or could it be that home delivery of 20 litres of organic wine?]
Germany’s top cited expert is Prof. Dr. Michael Brüggemann,who is professor of Communication Studies, Climate and Science Communication at the University of Hamburg. He is cited eleven times for “Die Medien und die Klimalüge. Falsche Skepsis und echte Leugnung” (The media and the climate lie. False skepticism and real denial) which is a chapter in a book, but whose content is reproduced in this lecture (in German) and once for “Beyond false balance: How interpretive journalism shapes media coverage of climate change.”which you can buy for 55 dollars or rent for 24 hours for 9 dollars 50 cents. (Does anyone else find the idea of renting science a bit odd?)
And Germany’s two top climate scientists get beaten into tenth and eleventh positions by a Swede, Ms Björnberg, who received her philosophy degree 12 years ago, and who is “presently involved in a number of research projects focusing on ethical and regulatory aspects of genetically modified crop introductions, ethical aspects of biodiversity offsetting, and delay mechanisms in environmental policy and regulation, whileco-editing a comprehensive anthology covering the major topics in traffic safety research and related policy areas, and vice-directing Third-Cycle Studies at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment.”
What she don’t know about climate science denial ain’t worth publishing in the Journal of Cleaner Production, which is where you’ll find her article: “Climate and environmental science denial: A review of the scientific literature published in 1990–2015.” in which she cites Dunlap 38 times, McCright 28 times, Oreskes 7 times, Lewandowsky 8 times, and even a certain Paul Matthews 3 times, whose article “Why Are People Skeptical about Climate Change? Some Insights from Blog Comments” I can’t quote, since it will cost you 39 dollars just to ogle for 24 hours.
So why does Wiki think that the English-language version of the article is being cribbed from the German, and not the other way round? After all, if the German article cites mainly English-language sources, wouldn’t that be the default deduction?
That the Germans are not simply copying from English-speaking experts can be demonstrated by numerous examples. For instance, the German site states (para 3):
“Aus einer Vielzahl von wissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen geht hervor, dass der Klimaschutz häufig aus politischen und ideologischen Motiven bekämpft wird.” (“A large number of scientific studies have shown that climate mitigation policies are often opposed for political and ideological reasons.”)
“There is a wide range of evidence that much of the opposition to climate mitigation is politically organised or ideologically motivated, or both.”
citing Dunlap & McCright, 2010,2011; Dunlap, 2013; Dunlap & Jacques, 2013; McCright & Dunlap, 2000, 2003, 2010, 2011; Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Signac, 2013; Lewandowsky, Signac, & Oberauer, 2013,and Orestes & Conway, 2010.
Nothing the least like this occurs on the English-language site. Whoever on the German site is citing an article by Lewandowsky citing Dunlap & McCright, Dunlap, Dunlap & Jacques, McCright & Dunlap, Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, Lewandowsky, Gignac, & Oberauer, and Orestes & Conway, isn’t active on the English-language site, where the Lewandowsky article in question isn’t even cited.
Which just goes to show that the anonymous author of the German language site who has a penchant for citations from two rather obscure American sociology professors isn’t copying the English language site.
True, the English-language Wiki article mentions Dunlap 21 times, McCright 9 times, Oreskes 8 times, Mann 8 times, and even Lewandowsky 6 times. But that particular citation isn’t there. No. Whoever is stuffing the German Wiki site full of references to Dunlap, Cook, Oreskes, Mann and Lewandowsky obviously has a soft spot for these individuals, and speaks perfect German. And whoever is translating information from that site back on to the English-language site obviously speaks perfect English. Who on earth could that be?
You can leave comments on the English site here and on the German Wiki site here. Oh, sorry, no you can’t. The site’s closed for some reason. But you can see what’s been happening to the site here and how it’s been altered 37 times this year alone.
I’m trying to think of another circumstance in which an article about a certain belief would have 218 citations (in the German version) or 282 (in the English version) about that belief, without once citing the work of a single person who held the belief in question. The English site has photos of Bolsonaro and John Bolton, and the German site has photos of Inhofe, Singer and Monckton and a portrait of Galileo, and mentions Lindzen, Christy etc. But they don’t link to any of their numerous publications. I mean, can you imagine an article about Judaism that didn’t once cite a single Jew?
Ridiculous. It could never happen.