Skepticism, Not Denialism

Climate change skepticism, or denialism? An excellent video that highlights the lack of reliable sources behind claims made by those who deny the reality of anthropogenic global warming.

Thanks to fellow skeptic Jason Ball for the link.

31 thoughts on “Skepticism, Not Denialism

  1. Phil Jones in a BBC interview.

    B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    Your video suggests that Carter is wrong to claim the world has been cooling since 1998.

    Phil Jones suggests that Carter is right and your vid propaganda is bullshit on the very first claim.

    Will you apologize to Carter for propagating that false claim?

  2. JC, you commit the same sort of error highlighted in the video I posted. Jones does not suggest that Carter is right.

    The key term in the question and in Jones’ statement is statistical significance, a term that is frequently misunderstood by people who aren’t statisticians. A statistical result that is not significant (below the 95% level) does not necessarily mean it is unimportant. In answering the question asked, Jones is simply saying that from the small sample size (1995-2009), the observed warming trend is below the 95% significance level.

  3. Even the East Anglia email trail agreed there had been no warming recently. I think it was described as a “travesty”.

    But I acknowledge the issue is far from settled either way – both warming in general and any anthropogenic contribution. That is a scientific question.

    The broader issue is what should be an appropriate policy response given the uncertainty? And if anything, when?

    I’m in the Bjorn Lomborg camp – even if it’s happening, there are far bigger things to worry about. And governments inevitably make things worse rather than better anyway, so market-based adaptation is the most appropriate response.

  4. BeN

    I’m not making any mistake. Your video suggests Cater was wrong to say there was no warming but in fact there had been cooling since 1998.

    Jones uses a lower base, 1995 was not as warm as 1998 and therefore agrees with Carter.

    The suggestion the in vid was that Carter was wrong, but Cater now has Jones on his side.

    I don’t know why or how this confuses you.

  5. I don’t think it’s relevant. The IPCC’s own reports say that open markets and free trade will boost the the average living standard around the world and make cleanup of even the worst case scenarios a far cheaper option than mitigation at this point in time <_<

  6. Michael — no disrespect to you, but what are you talking about? The ALS regularly posts articles, videos & comments about the AGW debate. If you want to post something different, you have always been welcome to join the blogging team.

    I agreed with most of the article, except on one point about recent temperature trends…

    There has been no statistically significant trend either up or down. People who say there has been recent warming (eg Ben & the video) are wrong. People who say there has been recent cooling (eg JC & Carter) are wrong.

    You don’t need to find a peer-reviewed source for this. Look at the data yourself. Don’t cherry pick a starting (ie don’t pick 1998) point and plot a moving average or ask excell for a line of best fit… and you’ll find that since 2002 there hasn’t been much movement in either direction. And if that doesn’t convince you, then as JC pointed out, even high profile warmist Phil Jones has said there’s no obvious recent trend.

    The video maker seems to stress his natural skepticism, but has amazingly not noticed the lack of warming since 2002. It’s impossible to miss unless you want to miss it. I’m not saying it means anything important and it’s perfectly explainable due to the solar minimum… but to deny the bleeding obvious is to invite the accusation of bias.

  7. John:

    I’m not really in Carter’s camp. I was trying to make the point that you made although I didn’t explain it well enough it seems:

    even high profile warmist Phil Jones has said there’s no obvious recent trend.

  8. Yes, scepticism rather than denialism, but…

    … those who deny the reality of anthropogenic global warming.

    Doesn’t really sound like scepticism either.

  9. The main message I took from the video is that you should trust the IPCC about as much as you would trust a blog. Not exactly an IPCC endorsement.

    I’m not that sceptical about the central claim of the AGW theory. I am sceptical about the associated hysteria.

  10. A statistical result that is not significant (below the 95% level) does not necessarily mean it is unimportant.

    This implies that the observed result is no different from the null hypothesis. I would expect that the Null is that the temperature change = 0. As I often say, ‘zero is not nothing’. Zero can be an interesting and important result, but not if you’re trying to claim that the world is heating up.

  11. Even the East Anglia email trail agreed there had been no warming recently. I think it was described as a ‘travesty’.

    Please provide a source for this statement.

    Jones uses a lower base, 1995 was not as warm as 1998 and therefore agrees with Carter

    You are right. I am confused. I seriously have no idea what you are saying here!

    …even high profile warmist Phil Jones has said there’s no obvious recent trend.

    Please provide a source, showing where Jones states that there is ‘no obvious recent [warming] trend’.

    The video maker seems to stress his natural skepticism, but has amazingly not noticed the lack of warming since 2002.

    A few years ago, there had been no clear warming trend since 2002. I am not sure if this is still the case. Many factors influence yearly temperature, including the strong El Niño event that caused unusually high temperatures during 1998. As with any long term trend such as climate, if you take a small enough sample the result will be less clear.

  12. This implies that the observed result is no different from the null hypothesis.

    No, it does not. As I explained above, such a conclusion can only be reached if one does not understand the use of the term ‘statistical significance’.

  13. Ben:

    You’re asking us for sources and proof. Google it! You obviously think We/I are lying so I suggest you do the hard yakka yourself.

  14. I’m in the “climate change is crap” camp, but by that, I don’t mean that warming isn’t necessarily happening – just that I’m not convinced it’s much of a problem… certainly not worth the trillions that have been wasted on it world-wide.

    The whole “denialist” tag isn’t really helpful to the debate. Of course, we’re told that there is no debate, because it’s all settled… a claim any self-respecting skeptic would recognise as invalid.

    Yes – there’s nutters, cherry-pickers, conspiracy theorists and extremists – but they’re on both sides.

    As I’ve said before, if you take an average group of greenies, you will find a majority of them to be anti-nuclear and anti-GM foods. You will find a large portion of them support “alternative medicine” and will even find a number of anti-vaxxers. And yet, these very same people will deride climate change skeptics – even scientific professionals such as Carter – as unscientific.

  15. Please provide a source for this statement

    email here

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
    travesty that we can’t.

  16. Hypothesis: Atmospheric CO2 conc increase = average global temp increase causing adverse climate events.

    Observation: CO2 increased at a faster rate than ever before over the last 15 years. However there was “statistically insignificant change in average global temp”. Even the biased Jones who has been discredited for dodgy science admits this. (I think some research actually indicates drop in temp. In addition there are many complications to temp readings eg/ instances of thermometers placed in stupid locations like near exhaust fans or the argument over stratosphere vs troposhpere). No increase in catastrophic weather events, polar bears are still around, sea levels of no real concern, growth of glaciers at certain locations etc etc.

    Conclusion: Computer modelling suspect.
    Conclusion: Is the sky really about to fall on our heads?

  17. Wrong, Tim!
    Conclusion- evil capitalists must have put the weather guages next to refrigeration plants! Nothing else makes sense!
    Therefore, the sky is going to evaporate, leaving us nothing to breathe- except for bottled air supplied by capitalist scuba equipment suppliers! You have to ask the right questions, and then you can be sure that the answers are right!

  18. Ben — http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

    B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    C – Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

    No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.

    =============

    Quite clearly, there is no upward trend since 2002. This really isn’t in doubt. Look at the numbers yourself and ask yourself “would an honest person describe the changes since 2002 as an upward trend”?

    I’ll repeat… I’m not saying there is a big significance to this. Climate variations are complex and this could very well be a short pause within a broader warming phase. Indeed, this is my (loosely held) belief. But that doesn’t mean people should simply lie about it.

  19. …I don’t mean that warming isn’t necessarily happening – just that I’m not convinced it’s much of a problem… certainly not worth the trillions that have been wasted on it world-wide.

    I suspect we are not that far apart in out thinking then.

  20. I can’t stand all the global warming deniers. whether it is happening or not is irrelavant, what does matter is that government taxes / intervention CAN NOT help it, only make things worse, the same way they make EVERYTHING worse.

    it’s like you’re afraid that global warming will shatter your perfect libertarian argument! Murrary Rothbard wouldn’t be afraid of global warming, he’d be blaming government for its very existence!

    Governments are the biggest polluters in the world BY FAR. if we had let the market work to find the best providers/sources of energy (nuclear is just one) we’d be polluting a whole lot less, if all property was private there wouldn’t be a MASSIVE government subsidy for everyone driving around on toll free roads polluting up the earth in their cars. if government planners didn’t create so much capital misalocation with concerntrated cities people wouldn’t have to drive 3 hours to work and back on heavly congested road. Frederic bastiat wrote in ‘that which is seen and that which is not seen’ what is not seen by all the government meddling and destruction of wealth is the technologoy that hasn’t come into existence, that otherwise would have if people were free.

    its hard to imagine what the world would be like if we had pursued genuine free markets for the last 200 years instead of this wastelful and destructive social/welfare state. private energy companies competing without liscening laws and government granted monopolies would have released a wealth of innovation and capital investment, instead we were stuck with a government monopoly of energy… and we all know how innovative governments are.

    the fact is all the science is pointing towards global warming, we libertarians shouldn’t be denying it, we should be blaming the government for creating yet ANOTHER problem for us. we need to spread the message of free markets, get people to understand the power is with the people and not with government coercion… we should only be denying anyone who suggests we need a gun pointed to our head by the benevolent government to stop us from polluting, that our only saviour is the all knowing all powerful state. END RANT.

  21. “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
    travesty that we can’t….”

    Yes we can account for the lack of warming. Their model is wrong. It was a wrong, stupid, simplistic, flat earth (literally) moronic model of climate. Its not even a model of air temperature. Does everyone know that? The model is actually a model of black body SURFACE TEMPERATURE.

    People you have to know whats going on here. Its a silly paradigm. Like most silly paradigms it has some relation to reality but not a great deal.

    And how is it a travesty Sinclair. At every single stage, they have failed to put up a specific hypothesis and have it verified. They are not practicing science. How is it a travesty when reality defeats unscience?

  22. “the fact is all the science is pointing towards global warming”

    There is NO scientific evidence pointing to this racket David. So you’ve just got to stop being stupid about it. If you have some scientific evidence then:

    1. Specify your hypothesis in narrow terms.

    2. Lets have that evidence.

  23. Monckton.. “Yes the temperture is rising, but the rate is not significant enough to prove that mans contribution is causing it or to justify massive government intervention into everything.

    Media.. Global warming skeptic Lord Monckton…

    Government. We need to face up to the greatest moral challenge of our time, Man made global warming.

    Skepticism I feel has more to do with the B/S that we adopt all these draconian restrictions on our lifestyle rather than any skepticism about the weather.
    The government creating new toys for the “free market” to play with will only end in disaster. ie: Subprime Crisis.
    As will a massive diversion of taxes to subsidise things that have no benefit, ie: Wind Farms.

  24. I am with furious agreement with Dave C on this one. Michael Sutcliffe’s initial comment though he may not have intended it gives the impression that accepting or not accepting the mainstream science on AGW is now subject to a political test among libertarians. The idea that science is a province of politics belongs among the Stalinists (see Lysenko) and the postmodernist left.

    I am also in agreement that if there weren’t so many restrictions on nuclear energy in so many countries carbon emissions might not be the big issue they are today.

  25. Re: Comments 25, 26 and 27. I think many people feel the same way and have been attempting to draw attention to the bigger issue (ie: socialism) for some time, I know I have.

    Supporters of free markets should recognise that the IPCC and the environmentalist movement generally, are really about expanding political power. In a sense the science is actually irrelevent.

    Effective technological progress and innovation are best achieved in a capitalist system.

  26. What is the libertarian response to a natural disaster?

    Do you think that a government should try and prevent a volcano from erupting or a tsunami from occuring (assuming it was possible)?

    What about after the fact? Do we, as people, have any duty (that is enforceable by government) to care for others that chance has mistreated?

    I think a softer libertarian could make the “responsive” argument, but would be harder pressed to justify the “proactive” argument.

    As libertarians, as many others have said, we shouldn’t be trying to fight against science. We should be trying to fight government.

    We wouldn’t support preventative measures against natural disasters so even if global warming is just as severe as the alarmists make out why would be support preventative measures there?

    A libertarian understanding of crime rests on individual responsibility rather than collective responsibility. So even if one views global warming outcomes as externalities people should only be held liable if they individually can be proven to have made a substantial contribution.

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