George Monbiot : Bunkum Masquerading As Insight ?

[ CORRECTION FROM JOABBESS.COM : David Adam has had his name struck from the list of journalists at The Guardian who have given the impression of blaming the quality and speed of UEA media relations for the Climategate pseudo-scandal. ]

I was in telephone conversation with somebody in the Climate Change policy arena in the last two weeks (names will remain unnamed for obvious reasons), and they complained to me about George Monbiot’s position on Climategate.

I could sense incandescent rage, even at the other end of the phone line, as the person expressed extreme displeasure with George Monbiot, and asserted that he was a “nasty little man”.

I don’t agree with that summary. For a start, George Monbiot is probably taller than the average Briton, so the epithet is literally inaccurate. I don’t even agree that George Monbiot is “little” in terms of influential, public figures, either. I think George Monbiot is very smart, usually highly accurate and incisive, assiduous in his research.

His pieces are factually rich, and he is often on the money. But on this particular train of events I believe he is most assuredly wrong, even after backtracking from his original position.

Continue reading George Monbiot : Bunkum Masquerading As Insight ?

Climategate Review : Delaying Tactics

The Climate Change Science hasn’t changed, the scientists haven’t changed, and the Earth System hasn’t suddenly become healthier, so why did we need a review into e-mail traffic between researchers ? What was it all for ? Answer : to delay progress. Clue : follow the old revolutionaries, still trying to create a fuss.

The Independent Climate Change E-mail Review :-

http://www.cce-review.org/

“Sir Muir and the Review team held a press briefing at the Science Media Centre in London on 11 February 2010…”

Transcript of Sir Muir Rrussell’s opening remarks on 7 July 2010 :-

http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/MR%20Launch%20intro.pdf

“Good morning – good to see you all here again. A lot has happened since February! I hope you have enjoyed reading the fruits of our labours. Thanks first to Fiona Fox [Director of the Science Media Centre] and her team for hosting us this morning…”

Just who is Fiona Fox ? And what is the Science Media Centre ?

http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/about/staff.htm

“Fiona Fox : Director : Fiona has a degree in Journalism and 15 years experience in media relations. She held the position of Senior Press Officer for the Equal Opportunities Commission for six years, followed by two years running the media operation at the National Council for One Parent Families. A total change of environment followed as Fiona became Head of Media at CAFOD, one of the UK’s leading aid agencies. She founded the Jubilee 2000 press group, which helped to force serious Third World issues onto the media and political agendas. Fiona is an experienced public speaker and a trained journalist, who has written extensively for newspapers and publications, authored several policy papers and contributed to books on humanitarian aid.”

What’s not to like ?

Continue reading Climategate Review : Delaying Tactics

Fred Pearce : Scorned Again

I’m sorry to say that my general opinion of Fred Pearce’s work has taken a sharp tumble. I found his latest New Scientist piece disappointing, and for me he has continued to be uninspiring today in The Observer newspaper, Sunday sister to The Guardian :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/04/climatechange-hacked-emails-muir-russell

“Climategate was ‘a game-changer’ in science reporting, say climatologists : After the hacked emails scandal scientists became ‘more upfront, open and explicit about their uncertainties’ : Fred Pearce : Sunday 4 July 2010”

His style is robustly “journalistic” and suffers from a basket of semantic fuzziness, but I’m just going to highlight a few phrases and words here.

Continue reading Fred Pearce : Scorned Again

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” :-

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

http://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.

Continue reading The Merchantess of Doubt

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 :-

http://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 ?

Continue reading Christopher Booker : Insane Threats ?

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” :-

http://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.”

Continue reading Michael Mann : “Careless, Inappropriate”

Retraction City

I’m still waiting for some notable reporters, web loggers and commentators to retract, to take it all back on Climategate, which was a “pseudo-scandal”, according to Chris Mooney, in reviewing “The Climate Files”, a book on the stolen University of East Anglia e-mails, written by Fred Pearce :-

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727671.300-the-climate-scandal-that-never-was.html

Continue reading Retraction City

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.

Continue reading Scientists Advised To Avoid Media

Climate Union : Sharing Principles

Image Credit : Gilbert & George, “Nettle Dance”, White Cube

I’m in the Climate Union. Are You ?

Soon we could all be, if the expansionist plans of a group of social campaigners come to fruition.

Taking in the unions, faith communities and the usual rag-tag bunch of issues activists, the Climate Union aims to establish itself as a political force for Low Carbon.

First of all, however, it has to tackle the uneasy and prickly problem of the exact name of the movement, and the principles under which it will operate.

The flag has been flown : a set of principles has been circulated for discussion amongst the “Climate Forum”. I cannot show you the finalised document yet, but I can offer you my comments (see below).

If you want to comment on the development of this emerging entity, please contact : Peter Robinson, Campaign against Climate Change, mobile/cell telephone in the UK : 07876595993.


Comments on the Climate Forum Principles
Jo Abbess
28 June 2010

I am aware that my comments are going to be a little challenging. I made similar comments during the review of the ClimateSafety briefing, which were highly criticised.

I expect you to be negative in response to what I say, but I think it is necessary to make sure the Climate Forum does not become watered-down, sectorally imprisoned and politically neutered, like so many other campaigns.

Continue reading Climate Union : Sharing Principles

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 :-

http://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”.

Continue reading Roger Harrabin : Two Degrees Short Of Accuracy

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.
Continue reading Threatening Correspondence ?

The Daily Telegraph : Do Not Resuscitate

Do not resuscitate the Climate Change denier-sceptic body of non-science – do not even attempt to. That is the message from a major study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in the United States of America :-

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract

The report heavily critiques the role of the mainstream media in keeping the undead, zombie Climate Change denier-sceptic arguments alive and in the public realm :-

“Despite media tendencies to present both sides in ACC [Anthropogenic Climate Change] debates, which can contribute to continued public misunderstanding regarding ACC, not all climate researchers are equal in scientific credibility and expertise in the climate system. This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change…”

Continue reading The Daily Telegraph : Do Not Resuscitate

Amazongate : Jonathan Leake Retracts

Another chapter in the ongoing saga of the exhausting struggle to educate the mainstream media journalists to check their Climate Change stories thoroughly before publishing.

You may have heard of “Amazongate” – the Amazon would seem to be capable of withstanding more frequent drought caused by Global Warming – according to one interpretation of an isolated piece of research.

However, if you believed that take on things, you’d be very much mistaken in doing so. And the person you’re most likely to be able to have believed on this story would be Jonathan Leake, writing in The Sunday Times.

An article that he wrote, published on 31 January 2010 has been retracted after a submission to the Press Complaints Commission by Dr Simon Lewis. The link to the original article has been removed from the Times Online website :-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7009705.ece
“UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim”

Searching for this article title using Google produces thousands of pages that refer to the original publication :-

http://www.google.co.uk/search

The retraction is apparently published here, but I have no access to it, because it requires subscription, which I will not register for, so I do not know what it says :-

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/article196428.ece

Continue reading Amazongate : Jonathan Leake Retracts

Sceptic Backlash : Questions Answered

Last Wednesday’s “Sceptic Backlash” meeting ended with a lively Question and Answer session. Here it is as I recorded it :-

http://www.campaigncc.org/scepticsmeeting


Q. (from Christian Hunt, a plant in the audience from Greenpeace)

– You say it’s just the journalists who are the sceptics. What happens if another Government comes in and scepticism gets political footholds ? [ reference to Conservative Party Climate Change sceptics ]

A. (Phil Thornhill, Campaign against Climate Change)

– People shy away from the problem if they can’t find solutions. We propose a million Climate jobs – there are lots of ways of dealing with the crisis. That’s the kind of thing we should be emphasising.

Q. Andrew Neill interviewed Caroline Lucas and asked her about the Phil Jones interview with the BBC where he said there had been no “statistically significant” warming in the last 15 years. Has there been no statistically significant warming or not ? Why wouldn’t Caroline Lucas, head of the Green Party, say “you’re wrong” ?

A. (Phil)

– I wrote her a rather long e-mail. You can’t really debate Science in the popular Media. Most people don’t understand.

– The tip for answering this kind of question is – in 15 years, it’s hard to spot a trend against the background noise. It’s a difficult thing to explain.

– It’ a clear case of how once you start debating the Science it gets twisted. She should have said “this is a typical case of the misrepresentation of Science”.

A. (Ben Stewart, Greenpeace Media)

– She was fine to say “I’ll take a pass on that”.

Continue reading Sceptic Backlash : Questions Answered

Our Great Leader, Phil

[ Left to Right : Phil Thornhill (Campaign against Climate Change), Dr David Adam (The Guardian) ]

I bet you all thought I was going to talk about Professor Phil Jones, who has been completely and utterly exonerated this week :-

http://www.desmogblog.com/second-expert-panel-shows-climategate-was-sham

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/phil_jones_vindicated_some_mor.php

But, no. I’m going to report on what Phil Thornhill said on Wednesday at the “Sceptic Backlash” meeting.

Continue reading Our Great Leader, Phil

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…

http://www.campaigncc.org/scepticsmeeting

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

http://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…

Continue reading The Guardian : Trumped by a Stuffed Toucan

You Know It Is

[ Music Credit : Massive Attack; Album : “100th Window”; Track : 1 “Future Proof”. Listen in : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atbPFkhTzh0 ]

Everybody has a Climate Change story. I remember hearing a colleague explain how she nearly died when driving a rental car in the United States and the vehicle got swept along the road by unusually high flood waters. I remember a contact talking about branches dropping from drought-stricken trees in Central France during the freak Summer heatwave of 2003. I have relatives in Atlanta, Georgia, who talk about the water supply problem and disappearing rivers…

It’s time to tell people who are sceptical that you know Climate Change is happening, right now…

David Adam : Liberal Pacifier

Dr David Adam, Environmental correspondent at The Guardian newspaper, the “home” of the political Left and Liberal in the United Kingdom, was disappointingly pacifying at the “Sceptic Backlash” event in London yesterday evening.

“Please don’t over-estimate the damage being done by Climategate”, he urged the audience, comparing the sceptic bug-bear to the Bush-and-Cheney narrative about dangerous terrorism which used to get people so worked up, (riled enough, remember ?, to sacrifice their youth and their entire Economy to the new American project of killing innocent women, children and men in the Middle East. Such a good decade for Big Business !)

I read that David Adam used to write about scientific research in Nature magazine before he became Science, and then Environment correspondent at The Guardian.

Funnily enough, I seem to recall meeting somebody who could well have been David Adam in First Class on the Eurostar train service from London to Brussels some time in the late 1990’s. If it was David Adam, his declared profession had nothing to do with journalism, or even chemical engineering (which David Adam studied). I can’t be sure. I don’t always remember faces from more than ten years ago, especially people I have only met once, but his expressions and mannerisms when I saw him yesterday triggered the same reactions in my mind. How strange…but anyway…

I was incensed. Outraged. Deflated, by David Adam’s liberal dismissiveness of the power of Climate Change scepticism, to divide a nation, to cause countless arguments – classic divide-and-rule tactics.

Continue reading David Adam : Liberal Pacifier

Ben Stewart : Greenpeace Stalking

[ CORRECTION FROM JOABBESS.COM IN BOLD ]

Mr Ben Stewart, Head of Media at Greenpeace UK, may have no hair, but he does have a considerable number of brain cells, and he says that journalists who are Climate Sceptics need to be afraid, very afraid.

Last night at the “Sceptic Backlash” event hosted by the “Campaign against Climate Change” (what a mouthful, Phil Thornhill ! Get the name or your organisation changed ! Immediately !), Ben Stewart said, “we need to pull together a community of activists to hold journalists to account. We have to launch a campaign so these people are scared of us.”

Well, you could call this bravado, or you could call it a statement of intent. I think I’d probably plump for the latter.

So here’s a message to all those Climate Change sceptical journalists and sundry denier-obstructer bloggists out there : brace yourselves. Climate Change is coming !

Continue reading Ben Stewart : Greenpeace Stalking

Media Gets Obama Bypass

It seems like Team Obama will be bypassing the mainstream Media in their Climate Change communications :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/12/us-document-strategy-climate-talks

“…A document accidentally left on a European hotel computer and passed to the Guardian reveals the US government’s increasingly controversial strategy in the global UN climate talks…Top of the list of objectives is to: “Reinforce the perception that the US is constructively engaged in UN negotiations in an effort to produce a global regime to combat climate change.” It also talks of “managing expectations” of the outcome of the Cancun meeting and bypassing traditional media outlets…”

There you have it. I’m not surprised, given the appalling behaviour of some of the Gentlepersons of the Press in recent months… Continue reading Media Gets Obama Bypass

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 :-

http://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 :-

http://climatedenial.org/

Continue reading The Great Sceptic Backlash

George Monbiot : Wrong Call

There was a long time during my life when I refused to read British newspapers. They irritated me. The stories hinged on the opinions of a few unresearched writers; facts were dubious; the ideological cultures distinguishing the publications were artificial; and the constructed narratives offended me.

I distinctly recall the day I decided I needed to read the newspapers again. It was a chance glance at the Guardian Weekly, on the shelf in an international bookshop in Brussels. In there, I read a piece by George Monbiot, and my reaction was, in paraphrase, “how can he be allowed to write such a thing for publication ?” I was impressed, both at his audacity and his plainspeaking, and the facts to back up his position looked credible.

In overview, it was a good thing that I started to read the newspapers again, even though I have had to wade through interminable barrelloads of rotten opinions and poor research in following the public story of Climate Change and Energy Revival. I have traced the emergence of some almost acceptable Science and Environment writing in the Press, but there has been a remarkable turnaround just recently.

Continue reading George Monbiot : Wrong Call

James Delingpole : Editing Out The Truth

It appears that James Delingpole seeks to edit out the facts that don’t fit with his perrrculiarly sensationalist narrative.

I thought to engage in a little frank discussion, contributing the benefit of my wisdom at this post :-

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

But I was thwarted.

What happened ?

Continue reading James Delingpole : Editing Out The Truth

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”

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

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

Mentioned by Naomi Oreskes in the audio presentation :-

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

Warming Denial : Backwoods Revival

Lies and half-baked misstatements float around like flotsam and jetsam on a slopping and washing freight canal, refusing to sink, but with no legs to stand on…count the errors in this Redress of Grievance, below, and you will see how the combined effect of poor Media and anti-Science wreckers have led to a remarkably bad understanding of the facts :-

http://www.woodlandrecord.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=91&twindow=Default&mad=No&sdetail=1279

“Opinion: Representatives receive Redress of Grievance request regarding global warming : Letter to the editor 22.MAR.10 : Subject: Citizen Redress of Grievance regarding human-caused climate change claim and subsequent legislation and regulations”

“Dear Governor Schwarzenegger, Rep. Wally Herger, Rep. Dan Lungren, Senator Aanestad, Senator Feinstein, Assemblyman Nielsen and County Supervisors:”

“As citizens of Yolo County and Colusa County, the State of California, and United States of America, we feel it is our duty to submit to you a request for a Redress of Grievance as guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, regarding the fraudulent hypothesis that global warming/climate change is human-caused. Of serious concern are the resultant outcomes of such untruths that have or will impact legislation, regulations, and taxes/fees in such a manner that will violate our personal and collective freedoms, confiscate our property and financial resources, and impact generations to come.”

Continue reading Warming Denial : Backwoods Revival