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Unqualified Opinion (1) : Dan Gardner

There are several journalists out there who simply can’t cope with the real risks posed by dangerous Climate Change.

Following a rather reasonable, rational article by Louise Grey, Tom Chivers gave the “loaded dice” metaphor to straighten her up on language :-

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/7937269/Pakistan-floods-Climate-change-experts-say-global-warming-could-be-the-cause.html

“Pakistan floods: Climate change experts say global warming could be the cause : The world weather crisis that is causing floods in Pakistan, wildfires in Russia and landslides in China is evidence that global warming predictions are correct, according to climate change experts. : By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent : Published: 10 Aug 2010 : Almost 14 million people have been affected by the torrential rains in Pakistan, making it a more serious humanitarian disaster than the South Asian tsunami and recent earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti combined. The disaster was driven by a ‘supercharged jet stream’ that has also caused floods in China and a prolonged heatwave in Russia. It comes after flash floods in France and Eastern Europe killed more than 30 people over the summer. Experts from the United Nations (UN) and universities around the world said the recent “extreme weather events” prove global warming is already happening. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-president of the body set up by the UN to monitor global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the ‘dramatic’ weather patterns are consistent with changes in the climate caused by mankind. “These are events which reproduce and intensify in a climate disturbed by greenhouse gas pollution,” he said. “Extreme events are one of the ways in which climatic changes become dramatically visible.”…”

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Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

Jaw-droppingly, the BBC have apologised for the contents of a Today Programme. Not the one that caused poor, deceased Dr David Kelly so much embarrassment, God rest his soul. No, the one that featured the breaking of the “Climategate” e-mail scandal :-

https://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/bbc_apologizes_to_university_o.php

The BBC picked the wrong scandal story to run with, it appears.

The real scandal of Climategate is how the scientists’ e-mails were “liberated” from the University of East Anglia, and then annotated to give heavily biased interpretation, then released to the general public via the Internet, and how the Media were taken in.

Certain people at the BBC chose to go with the fake scandal, it seems – the narrative fabricated and dictated to them by Climate Change deniers.

Anyway, now the BBC have made an apology, of sorts. Better late than never, but all the same, it would have been better earlier rather than later.

Thankfully, despite the late apologies, this particular alleged witch-hunt didn’t end with a suspected suicide. Although it did include reports that Professor Phil Jones had, in fact, contemplated suicide; the reporting of which just added to his completely groundless public humiliation at the hands of the Press. Which they should apologise for, in my humble opinion. Just as good (old) George Monbiot had the good grace to offer some regret for :-

https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jul/07/russell-inquiry-i-was-wrong

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7180154/Climategate-Professor-Phil-Jones-considered-suicide-over-email-scandal.html
https://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017922.ece

https://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/johnhumphrys

“BBC apologises to University of East Anglia for “incorrect” remark”

“The BBC has apologised for an “incorrect” remark made by John Humphrys that UEA researchers had “distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be”.”

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James Delingpole : Yours, Unfactually

Seemingly without knowing anything significant about energy, or the systems used to produce it, James Delingpole makes several key blunders, in my view, in his latest rant :-

https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100048905/we-need-to-talk-about-wind-farms/

“We need to talk about wind farms…” : By James Delingpole : July 28th, 2010

I know the cure for his error-riddled beliefs ! Send some real live energy engineers to his office to talk to him about their industry.

I’m sure the thought of several serious and strangely bearded, slightly obsessive individuals coming to actually talk to him about wind power might be a cue for him to actually start doing some research.

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Fiona Harvey : Whoops, Cat !

Now, I’ve met Fiona Harvey, and she gives the general impression of being a reasonable woman, with her own mind, smart, knowledgeable and pragmatic.

What she writes about is Environment in general, but she takes in Policy, Politics, Economics and Science, and her output is normally balanced, accurate, and free from interference from propaganda and propagandists. Well-rounded, I’d say. Informative and straight.

So how come she’s writing a Financial Times article with quotations from extreme Climate Change sceptics and deniers ?

I suspect a heavy editorial hand :-

https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6d1fd25c-9a69-11df-87fd-00144feab49a,dwp_uuid=728a07a0-53bc-11db-8a2a-0000779e2340.html

“Research says climate change undeniable : By Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, Published: July 28 2010”

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Judith Curry : Lost to the Dark Side ?

This is my second appeal to Dr Judith Curry to come in from the cold, wrap up warm and sit by the fire of rational sanity with her professional colleagues.

While the “Curry Unfavour” saga continues, I have continued reading some history on anti-science propaganda, “Merchants of Doubt”, courtesy of Naomi Oreskes and her pardner-in-grime Erik M. Conway.

It is a lesson in how easily we can forget things, how meddling sceptics, deniers, delayers and obstructers down the decades have influenced the course of public communications on science, and prevented sound policy.

All the same arguments that were used against the science and scientists back in the 1980s, about the research on nuclear winter, acid rain and ozone depletion have been resurrected in the attacks on Climate Change.

Sadly, some of those involved in attacking the process of scientific progress were themselves scientists, some having been instrumental in fighting regulation on smoking by downplaying and warping the conclusions of the medical evidence.

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Judith Curry : Credibility Seppuku ?

Dr Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, should read up a little on the history of anti-science, its methods, its proponents and its arguments, before throwing in her lot with the anti-science people of today : Steve McIntyre and his buddies.

To demonstrate that anti-science arguments are nothing new, she should try to work out what science the following excerpt is about, and when the events it describes took place :-

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Tim Holmes : Wrong on Balance

PLEASE IGNORE ANY ADVERTISEMENT THAT MAY PLAY AT THE START OF THIS VIDEO. Video Credit : The Guardian

At risk of tumbling after The Guardian newspaper journalists into a deep dark rabbit hole of possible intellectual compromise falls young Tim Holmes, who attended the Guardian’s “some parts of the debate have been edited out for legal reasons” Climategate event on 14th July 2010 :-

https://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2010/jul/15/climategate-guardian-debate

What on Earth were The Guardian thinking, inviting Steve McIntyre and Doug Keenan to share a platform with Professors Trevor Davies and Bob Waston at a public meeting ?

Don’t The Guardian know that the general public have had their views so seriously warped by the Climate Change sceptic-deniers that no serious, open discussion/debate would be possible ? All you seem to get from sceptic-deniers is hot-and-cold insults, sniping and over-detailed analysis of minuscule slithers of Science. Their position is rock-solid anti-Science, from my analysis. There is nothing to be gained from talking to them in my opinion.

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Note to Steve McIntyre

Dear Steve,

Following Dr Judith Curry’s appeal on ClimateProgress regarding the recent RealClimate post from Tamino, that Joe Romm, and all of us, should be reading your work, I decided to take a brief look at your output on ClimateAudit in order to see what all the fuss from Judith Curry was about :-

https://climateprogress.org/2010/07/25/hockey-stick-real-climate-montford-judith-curry-tamino-gavin-schmid/

“19. Judith Curry says: July 25, 2010 at 9:19 pm : …So if any of you have actually read as much as I have on this topic including Montford’s [Bishop Hill] book and the climateaudit threads particularly McIntyre’s most recent post, well then we might have something to talk about. Otherwise, we can just sit back and all be entertained by tribalistic wardances.”

https://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/the-montford-delusion/

“107. Judith Curry says: 23 July 2010 at 12:44 PM : Once more people have read the [Montford, Bishop Hill] book, and if Montford and McIntyre were welcomed to participate in the discussion, then I would be interested in participating in a more detailed discussion on this.”

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Phil Jones : Back At Work

Glad to see Professor Phil Jones is back at work and enrolling students for the autumn on the Climate Change MSc postgraduate degree programme at the University of East Anglia (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) :-

https://www.uea.ac.uk/env/courses/msc-climate-change

This course would probably be useful for a number of mainstream media journalists to follow. Even if they don’t have an appropriate background in Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Environmental studies or similar, it could be of benefit to ameliorate their world view.

They could learn something from the lectures and coursework – that the Science of Climate Change is a serious and rigorous endeavour – unlike the apparently lax behaviour of their own profession over the last year or so.

Investigative journalism without the “investigation” part appears to be a mishmash of unverifiable facts and unfounded opinions. You need to know who is credible at the very least, and you can’t get that from following the vindictive views of public contrarians.

If you want to understand Climate Change, you need to study the Science, not just read denier-sceptic web logs or talk to Steve McIntyre, Benny Peiser, Marc Morano, Anthony Watts, Doug Keenan, Nigel Lawson or Christopher Monckton, and think that you have thereby become sufficiently informed.

“Climategate”-style attacks on Climate Change Scientists by negatively-motivated commentators are completely unacceptable. Media workers need to learn to identify those whose opinions they cannot trust.

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Christopher Monckton : Limerick Competition

Here is my entry for the Christopher Monckton limerick competition, which was sadly received too late to enter, since voting is now open :-

“There once was a fella called Monckton,
Who claimed he’d been litigiously dumped on;
Twas patent absurd,
But steam could be heard
Escaping clenched teeth as Abr’am debunked him.”

If you want to show your support for John Abraham in his rebuttal of Christopher Monckton’s non-science, please comment here :-

https://hot-topic.co.nz/support-john-abraham/

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James Delingpole Has Kittens

Poor, dear James Delingpole has been passing kitten-sized anxieties and angry thoughts again; fear and accusations all completely unfounded :-

https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100046150/how-come-we-now-have-to-go-to-the-chinese-for-the-truth-about-global-warming/

A number of indignant inaccuracies and strident claims I will pass over, but here are a few I think I shall contest. Just to show that I do bother to read his work (even if I smirk about it most of the time).

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The Merchantess of Doubt

My summer reading includes a number of easy-read popular science volumes, including a thoughful, factful and scholarly work called “Merchants of Doubt” co-written by Naomi Oreskes, famous for her study of the contrast between Climate Change Science and the Media representation of it, startling figures that appear in Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” :-

https://pandeliterary.com/authors/naomi-oreskes/

https://marketplace.publicradio.org/features/moving-by-degrees/bios/oreskes.html

One passage, early in the book, has highlighted for me that the mainstream Media have completely forgotten the lessons of yesteryear.

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Christopher Booker : Insane Threats ?

Christopher Booker, opinion-former, and seemingly bad-tempered seeming curmudgeon at the Daily Telegraph newspaper, has issued what looks like a threat to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in his weekly highly unsubstantiated rail against Climate Change science :-

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7870359/Climategate-Amazongate-when-will-the-truth-be-told.html

“‘Climategate’, ‘Amazongate’ – when will the truth be told? : By Christopher Booker, 03 Jul 2010 : …Meanwhile, there has been a further twist to that other IPCC scandal, “Amazongate”, on which I reported last week. This centred on the claim in its 2007 report – attributed only to a paper from green activists at the WWF – that a slight reduction in rainfall caused by climate change could kill up to 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest. After exhaustive analysis by my colleague Dr Richard North of every document cited by the WWF to back its claim, it seems clearer than ever that there is no good evidence. I have given the WWF one more chance to come up with that evidence, and will reveal its response next week. If it is unable to do so, the IPCC will again be convicted of having made a wildly alarmist claim it cannot justify. Yet this is the body on whose allegedly unimpeachable scientific authority our Government and others propose to land us with the biggest bill in history.”

Eurgh. I’m quaking in my boots. What a terrible threat. Who will fear this peerless man ?

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Michael Mann : “Careless, Inappropriate”

The strongest ever professional criticism so far levelled at Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University, has emerged this week.

A formal investigation into his research conduct found that his treatment of other scientists’ unpublished work was “careless and inappropriate” :-

https://openparachute.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/final_investigation_report.pdf

“The Investigatory Committee considers Dr. Mann’s actions in sharing unpublished manuscripts with third parties, without first having received express consent from the authors of such manuscripts, to be careless and inappropriate. While sharing an unpublished manuscript on the basis of the author’s implied consent may be an acceptable practice in the judgment of some individuals, the Investigatory Committee believes the best practice in this regard is to obtain express consent from the author before sharing an unpublished manuscript with third parties.”

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Scientists Advised To Avoid Media

Following the BBC Panorama “investigation” into Climategate, broadcast yesterday evening, scientists are being advised not to be interviewed alongside Climate Change sceptics and deniers.

“It was extremely ill-advised for Bob Watson to agree to appear in the same programme as Bjorn Lomborg” was one opinion voiced, “it creates the illusion that Bjorn Lomborg might be right. Whereas, of course, he is not.”

Bob Watson was effectively tricked. He was asked to give an authoritative opinion, which was then presented side by side with the views of the discredited Bjorn Lomborg and John Christy.

As for Bob Ward, he should never, ever have agreed to appear alongside Bjorn Lomborg. He should have realised he could not get his message across properly.

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BBC Panorama on Climategate

The BBC risk ending up with yet more egg on its face after broadcasting a Panorama “investigation” with more errors than you can shake a pepper grinder at at :-

https://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/default.stm

But it’s worse than merely embarrassing.

Entitled “How ‘climate-gate’ turned nasty”, it was a genuinely nasty piece of work in my view, showing images out of place, endorsing the work of non-experts, overlaying poor and inaccurate narration and editing interview comments inappropriately.

I feel that some of the mistakes made by the reporter, Tom Heap, were laughable.

I will mention just one thing here, out of all those that riled me. Several times during the programme, the “reporter” mentioned that Renewable Energy was expensive. At one point the film showed an offshore wind turbine and said that the electricity produced by wind power was three times more expensive than conventional sources.

He did not mention that the price of onshore wind power is comparable in price to fossil fuel generation but blocked by recalcitrant Planning authorities.

He didn’t mention that it is to be expected that Wind Power will be somewhat expensive at present – the investment phase in the new infrastructure is still ongoing.

He neglected to mention the high levels of return on investment, and solid asset base with continuing value, that a fully operational Wind Power network would provide, as outlined by the Offshore Valuation study :-

https://www.offshorevaluation.org

And he also neglected to mention that ongoing research and developing into Wind Power is dragging the prices down.

From this, I take it that the BBC can clearly not be trusted to provide accurate and complete information on the development of Renewable Energy.

As for the Science, I’ll probably get round to digging into this mess at some point, but one thing needs to be emphasised here : the views of John Christy and Bjoern Lomborg (a non-scientist) are at the very end of the spectrum.

Bjorn Lomborg’s work has been discredited, and he cannot be trusted in my view :-

https://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/06/the_lomborg_deception_1.php

John Christy has had to retract some of his scientific claims :-

https://climateprogress.org/2008/05/22/should-you-believe-anything-john-christy-or-roy-spencer-say/

They are in no way representative of the main caucus of Climate Change Science, and I feel it is extremely poor of the BBC to allow its viewers to be propagandised into believing that there is a serious debate about how significant and serious Climate Change is.

There isn’t. The governments of the world have invested public money in trying to find out the problems that could arise from Global Warming and the Climate Change it can cause, and the results are that we are at serious risk.

I think it is immoral and unethical to leave Panorama viewers with the idea that Climate Change might not be happening, or might not constitute a major threat to their way of life and the lives of those they care about.

In summary, I think the BBC cannot be trusted to relay Climate Change Science to us.

This bumbling attempt to cover all bases as if they were all relevant is going to confuse the public even more than they are already. The BBC is therefore complicit in mass deception, according to my analysis.

Oh, and Tom Heap, people breathing out Carbon Dioxide doesn’t add to the sum total of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere – it merely recycles it. On the other hand, digging up Fossil Fuels from the ground and burning them, they do increase the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the air. How little you know about the basic science. You are in my humble opinion entirely unqualified to broadcast on Climate Change.

Once again, the Media have failed to communicate the facts.

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Roger Harrabin : One Degree Is Not Enough

I’ve been letting my peers know of my displeasure regarding the article in New Scientist by the BBC journalist Roger Harrabin :-

=x=x=x=x=x=

Hi Guys,

Just thought I’d run the flag up for the fact that an allegedly sceptical journalist, Roger Harrabin, has written a poor opinion piece in the popular science magazine New Scientist.

Annoyed ? We could perhaps be :-

https://www.joabbess.com/2010/06/25/roger-harrabin-two-degrees-short-of-accuracy/

jo.

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Letter to New Scientist

Here is my letter to New Scientist magazine, complaining about Roger Harrabin’s opinion piece, debunked here :-

https://www.joabbess.com/2010/06/25/roger-harrabin-two-degrees-short-of-accuracy/


Dear New Scientist,

Thank you for the refreshingly challenging opinion article about Climate Change scepticism authored by Roger Harrabin (“Take the political heat out of climate scepticism”, 18th June 2010, Issue 2764).

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627645.300-take-the-political-heat-out-of-climate-scepticism.html

Your publication of this piece demands me complain about Roger Harrabin’s tactics of attempting to undermine Climate Change science by his careful insertion of fudged arguments into his writing.

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Roger Harrabin : Two Degrees Short Of Accuracy

A journalist with a history of Climate Change scepticism writes an opinion piece for a poplular science magazine. The result ? The propagation of error.

Now, I have spoken to Richard Black at the BBC and offered to try to be more conciliatory towards Roger Harrabin in future, but I can’t let this one pass me by.

Here he is, writing in New Scientist, about his trip to the Heartland Climate Change sceptics conference :-

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627645.300-take-the-political-heat-out-of-climate-scepticism.html

There are some statements of unquantifiable waffliness, and some dubious conclusions, but the one sentence that stood out for me as pernicious enough to comment on was this one :-

“Most [sceptics] agree with the scientific consensus that basic physics means [Carbon Dioxide] CO2 will warm the planet by about 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels.”

It is to be welcomed that Climate Change sceptics are finally beginning to accept that the world is warming, and that mankind’s activities are the majority factor.

What I don’t like is Roger Harrabin’s assertion that the “consensus” on Global Warming is that the planet will warm by “about 1 degree”.

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Threatening Correspondence ?

I thought I’d seen enough Climate Change denial-sceptic tactics to be able to spot a payload, but no. I’ve just been sucked into the maelstrom again, by taking the time and trouble to reply to somebody that wrote a couple of e-mails – someone who appeared to be asking genuine questions – only to find that as the exchanges continued, my correspondent became increasingly agitated, incoherent and threatening.

Was it something I said ? I don’t think so. I was trying to be as helpful and polite as possible. I think the person had an agenda. So, not evil, but wrong, and sad, and quite possibly a little brainwashed.

Fortunately, we are separated by a large expanse of salt water, and differing legal systems, so I don’t regard the threats as holding any substance. And anyway, I’ve done nothing wrong, just tried to paraphrase and summarise where we are with the Science.

I checked out Ms Catherine French, using that fine search engine that is Google, and discovered her pattern of attack – rather like that of a mosquito – whining, buzzing, irritating and painful.

A lot of the things she wrote to me she has written to other people in the past, just adding the latest Climate Change denier-sceptic arguments in as they get invented/fabricated.

Baiting Climate Change web loggers is fine sport for some, but I can’t see the funny side of it. It wastes time and personal energy and it doesn’t move the public discourse forward.

Just remember this, Catherine French – you’re wrong. Wrong about the science and wrong about your tactics. Personal abuse, emotive language, false accusations and threats are not the way to conduct rational debate.

Climate Change “scepticism” is being washed away, and so you’d better be prepared to have your vision and perspective altered. You can have all the opinions you want, but you’re not entitled to contradict the facts. You are not believable, and your position is losing ground by the second.

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The Debate Is Most Definitely Over

There were some in two minds, some vehemently on one side of the argument or the other, but now, the debate is finally over : on the question of whether they have been reporting Climate Change science accurately, the mainstream media have shown themselves to be incapable :-

https://climateprogress.org/2010/06/21/pnas-study-climate-science-media-balance-deniers/

https://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/study-scientific-consensus-climate-change-411.html

As of this second, the report from the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences is not yet available to the public. But it will be, it will be…

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The Guardian : Trumped by a Stuffed Toucan

[ Left to Right : Dr David Adam (The Guardian), Ben Stewart (Greenpeace), Tooki the Toucan operated by George Marshall (ClimateDenial.org) and Marina from Campaign against Climate Change]

On Wednesday evening, at the “Sceptic Backlash” public event, hosted by the Campaign against Climate Change, communications researcher George Marshall introduced the meeting to an unusual commentator on Climate Change…

https://www.campaigncc.org/scepticsmeeting

https://www.joabbess.com/2010/04/15/ben-stewart-greenpeace-stalking/

https://www.joabbess.com/2010/04/15/david-adam-liberal-pacifier/

Here is a transcript of what George Marshall said (as I have it) :-


– I do a lot of work around Climate Change communications and information.

– Climate Change is a large and technical issue. No one has the time to get totally on top of it. Even within the Science the specialists only look at their specialist areas.

– The average Media “punter” (somebody looking for information) is looking for a shortcut – their “ask” is “just tell me what’s going on”.

– Most people ask “Dave” down the pub (public house, bar). Friends and acquaintances in bars are the most important people in your social network, no doubt.

– And Dave says he saw this thing on telly (television)…

– The average person is just looking for a source of information that has some kind of authority…

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The Great Sceptic Backlash

If you’re looking for a dose of sheer entertainment, then hop on down this Wednesday to Bloomsbury in London, for a public meeting about the dreaded, sharptoothed, hairy, boogle-eyed, Ye Olde Skeptik Backlash :-

https://www.campaigncc.org/scepticsmeeting

There you should find Dr David Adam, esteemed and seriously reputable journalist from The Guardian newspaper, and an itchy-and-scratchy, rabble-rousing Ben Stewart from Greenpeace and George Marshall (no, not that George Marshall) of pork-pie-eating, Trilby-wearing-whilst-cycling and Climate anti-denial fame :-

https://climatedenial.org/

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A Short History of Denial

Why do people deny the facts coming from Scientists on Global Warming ?

“Well-financed conservative think-tanks”
“Unduly weighted outlier views”
“Scientific illiteracy”
“Our message hasn’t gotten through to the American people”
“Organised and systematic campaign”

https://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/science_show_on_climate_change.php

https://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2010/04/ssw_20100403_1205.mp3

Mentioned by Naomi Oreskes in the audio presentation :-

https://www.aaas.org/news/press_room/climate_change/

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James Delingpole : Cruel Jester

Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters (and those who are hermaphrodite, or in other ways gender-alternative) when you face trials and tribulations of many kinds, from those who have not recognised in you the Light, the Truth and the Way.

James Delingpole is doing his very best-worst to be annoying, or even insulting, I’m not sure, by levelling some personally negative comments towards me. But I have responded in friendliness and lovingkindness, although I might get moderated off the comments page, so I’ve included my words here :-

https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100032622/inside-the-seething-green-roach-pit-where-they-eat-their-own