It Ain’t ‘Arf ‘Ot, N’est-Ce Pas?

John Cook has an article at SkepticalScience about his support for the Facebook Climate Fact Checking project. Cook has teamed up with Sander van der Linden of Cambridge University and Tony Leiserowitz to help Facebook debunk climate misinformation. (The boy has come a long way since the heady days of 2010 when he expressed his excitement in a series of emails to his fellow SkepticalScience plotters about having met a real professor at the University of Western Australia, only to be met by a painful embarrassed silence from his colleagues.)

Cook reproduces the Facebook Climate Science Info front page, which has some useful climate facts for countering denialism, for example:

Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere harms earth’s plant life.

Yessir, those professors at Yale, Cambridge and George Mason certainly know the meaning of the expression “too much.”


Overall, polar bear populations are declining because of global warming.

(OK, maybe their numbers are increasing in the Arctic, but on most continents numbers are dangerously low.)

Inyerfacebook being what it is, as soon as I click on their site, it translates itself into French and adds a graph of temperature rise for my region – Languedoc Roussillon, which is the southernmost bit of France – from which I learn that average temperatures here have risen by an astonishing 5.5°C since 1950. Given that a rise in global temperatures of 0.6°C from the date of the Paris agreement in 2016 would, according to the IPCC, tip us over the 1.5°C rise from the “natural” pre-industrial level, causing global catastrophe, I looked around to see if there was any evidence that our region, with a rise of nine times that, has suffered any untoward consequences.

In seventy years the population of the region has practically doubled, from 1.45 million in 1954 to 2.84 million in 2019. Climate refugees there are in abundance, mainly English and Dutch, who have built their second homes here. Tourism is the main industry, followed by wine-making and agriculture.

And there’s a successful African safari park – but no polar bears.


  1. It is now clear that those …certain photos…of Cook and gang were aspirational.
    It is also clear that Cook is an enthusiastic supporter of the new post fact age being imposed on thecworld.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Geoff C, perhaps Professor Cook* gave Professor Facebook two temperature readings from a single site in Roussillon, one from winter 1950 and another from summer 2020?

    Here are some more or less official ponderings on temperature trends in Roussillon:

    Click to access changement-climatique-20e-siecle-languedoc-roussillon.pdf

    The latter’s Fig 4 has a nicely alarming upward temperature slope from 1985 onwards, but it’s an oldish paper (2011) and I doubt that an update would try to be as scary.

    But even if it did, the scarily upwards straight line still wouldn’t take today’s Roussillon anywhere near 5.5C above 1950 temperatures.

    I think someone needs to contact Facebook’s Climate Science Information Centre and ask to speak to one of its many leading misinformation researchers.

    *This is prolly my favourite SkS debunk. It’s from when SkS’s debunkings were overtly binary, having only two steps.

    1) The skeptic’s myth:

    Mt. Kilimanjaro’s ice loss is due to land use

    2) Why science says this is a myth:

    The fact that the loss of ice on Mount Kilimanjaro cannot be used as proof of global warming does not mean that the Earth is not warming

    But it looks like Prof Cook is now pushing for a four-step solution:

    1) Fact

    2) Warn About The Myth

    3) Explain Fallacy

    4) Fact

    Here’s a CliScep Challenge:

    Repackage the old 2-step SkS Kilimanjaro debunking as a 4-step Facebook-approved debunking.


    Er, contact me tomorrow. I might be sober.

    Liked by 2 people

    The article you link to is well worth reading, though it hardly counts as a split in the movement. The author is a German Filipino who is fed up with being the token third world climate victim in the Green movement, on hand to recount the sufferings of her family from hurricanes, but not given any positions of responsibility. This discrimination may be evident in Berlin, where the number of people of colour who have been there long enough to be assimilated is much less than in the UK, USA or France, but it is certainly not true of the Green movement internationally. You only have to scroll down the “Who We Are” page on any Green website to see what an inclusive world the Greens inhabit, at least in their dreams.

    The message I took from her story is that a typhoon hitting the Philippines will kill thousands, while the same typhoon hitting Singapore will kill hardly anyone. It’s not the message that this disappointed activist is spreading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. On the same site, Geoff, there is an article about 2 idealists who have been raising eco-goats in Texas for 15 years and they have conclusive evidence of climate change in that state – but boy do they whinge about how cold it is.


  5. You just cannot help thinking that a rudimentary course in logic could transform these people’s lives. Instead of shaking in terror at the thought of fossil fuels, they could just accept the advantages. Instead they let themselves be ruled by non sequitur.

    “Agriculture and deforestation for land use are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and farming livestock, in particular, is a significant producer of methane, a gas that’s very good at trapping heat in our already hot atmosphere. Houston’s increasingly mercurial environment is incontrovertible evidence of the impact of manmade climate change. The city limps between environmental crises. In just the 14 years the Segers have been farming, they’ve been hit with wildfires, multi-day freezes, and, of course, hurricanes and floods, during which the Segers dig trenches around their land”

    “There’s almost no place in the country where environmental precarity is on as clear display as it is in Houston. The only word to describe the increasing hurricanes, floods, and now snowfalls, at this point, is “unprecedented.”
    They have been living there for 13 years. They should know. Perhaps you hadn’t spared any thoughts about the links between farming and white suprematism. Let them open your eyes.

    “Farming is harmful to the environment (Houston provides relentless reminders) and remains deeply segregated, with white farmers owning more land and acquiring significantly more wealth. Recent stories highlight a growing issue with white supremacy at farmer’s markets, after a couple who operate a popular farm in Indiana were discovered to have ties to an organization that promotes white nationalism. ”

    Farming is harmful but they are on a mission to make it less harmful. They even gave up their jobs to raise goats in an arid semi desert. If only it were not for those pesky Trump supporters

    ” And, as Lisa lamented with a groan, the “Bullhorn Lady” at the Capitol insurrection—a crowd filled with white supremacist Trump supporters—is a farmer who sells goat cheese at her local market.”

    Life sucks! All that happens is that white climate deniers take the piss out of you online.

    By the way, Geoff, I am surprised that you didn’t comment on this passage in that article about how white people exclude other people from making climate history
    “My aunt, like many women in the Philippines—a country made up of 7,000 islands—can’t swim.”

    I’m sure it’s a relevant fact but would being able to swim give you much help in surviving a hurricane? Could our present state of climate urgency be sorted by such a simple measure?


    I didn’t comment on the rest of the article because the whole subject of race and climate is deeply embarrassing. Moralising do-gooders of the Guardian-reading type used to divide their compassion between the environment and the third world. Blair promised to make poverty history, then found out that the Chinese were doing it very nicely thank you, so changed tack and started banning light bulbs. The Guardian used to have a regular report from a Ugandan village at the bottom of their environment page, but nobody read it so they dropped it and merged the two subjects by claiming that Africans would suffer most from climate change due to lack of air conditioning windmills on the roofs of their mud huts. I once transcribed a report of some West country eco-therapists who paid for an elderly Bangladeshi widow to fly to Bath to recount her story. It was a complicated one, about how rising sea levels had turned her land salty, and she’d had to sell it to a rich landowner for sheep grazing. Just in passing, it was mentioned that her husband had been eaten by a tiger. Since that was the fault of biodiversity rather than global heating, the subject was passed over without comment.

    Since climate and ethnicity are the two sacred subjects of the age, I’d better stop there, or we’ll get banned from WordPress.


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