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Monbiot is having a bad day


Húrin

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Monbiot.com The Unpersuadables

In this article Monbiot goes on an uncharacteristically unfocused ramble in complaint about the apparently growing trend of AGW denial in Anglophone societies.

There is one question that no one who denies manmade climate change wants to answer: what would it take to persuade you? In most cases the answer seems to be nothing. No level of evidence can shake the growing belief that climate science is a giant conspiracy codded up by boffins and governments to tax and control us. The new study by the Met Office, which paints an even grimmer picture than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(1), will do nothing to change this view.

The attack on climate scientists is now widening to an all-out war on science. Writing recently for the Telegraph, the columnist Gerald Warner dismissed scientists as “white-coated prima donnas and narcissists … pointy-heads in lab coats [who] have reassumed the role of mad cranks … The public is no longer in awe of scientists. Like squabbling evangelical churches in the 19th century, they can form as many schismatic sects as they like, nobody is listening to them any more.”

...

Perhaps we have to accept that there is no simple solution to public disbelief in science. The battle over climate change suggests that the more clearly you spell the problem out, the more you turn people away. If they don’t want to know, nothing and no one will reach them. There goes my life’s work.
Does he not realise that most of the public do not know very much about "climategate" controversy, or about climate change and policy in general? I suggest that the principal reason for this trend is the heavy snowfalls in Europe and America this winter.

If we were to have a scorching summer, the polls would go the other way and Monbiot would be thinking that his strategies are working.

The real battle in climate politics is not between AGW proponents and sceptics. It's between those who prescribe profitable but unworkable "solutions" to the problem and those who promote solutions that are in the interests of the majority of the world, not a wealthy western minority. Monbiot knows all about these and he should understand this.
 


kerdasi amaq

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Rigging the data to fit pre-determined conclusions: is NOT science!

what would it take to persuade you? In most cases the answer seems to be nothing.
Nothing, yes, nothing; that's because if I thought you were right: I would support you, Moonbat.

I've been reading both sides in this controversy. The nays have it; as it is obvious that AGW is a crude attempt to stampede an ignorant public into taking actions which are to their disadvantage, based on, what can only be regarded as bogus, false science.
 

ibis

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Somehow it doesn't surprise me that virtually the only piece of Monbiot writing I've thought anything of turns out to be the one Húrin doesn't like!
 

jmcc

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Somehow it doesn't surprise me that virtually the only piece of Monbiot writing I've thought anything of turns out to be the one Húrin doesn't like!
But your approach to AGW seems to have always been based on science, Ibis,
Húrin's has, from what I have seen, been that of the classic political activist's approach. With science, there is always the possibility for change and then for reevaluation. However with the 'true believer' approach used by Húrin and others, it is like finding out that some idol has feet of clay or in this case, secretly uses incandescent lightbulbs. :)

Regards...jmcc
 

ibis

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But your approach to AGW seems to have always been based on science, Ibis,
Húrin's has, from what I have seen, been that of the classic political activist's approach. With science, there is always the possibility for change and then for reevaluation. However with the 'true believer' approach used by Húrin and others, it is like finding out that some idol has feet of clay or in this case, secretly uses incandescent lightbulbs. :)

Regards...jmcc
I hope nobody will be concerned by discovering that I secretly use incandescent lightbulbs. Well, not secretly, as such.
 

Húrin

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Somehow it doesn't surprise me that virtually the only piece of Monbiot writing I've thought anything of turns out to be the one Húrin doesn't like!
It's not that there is nothing to the article. It just doesn't seem as well-sourced, focused, important or incisive as most of his work.

I also thought it would be a good platform to point out that the public agreement with the AGW theory literally changes with the weather. The 'Climategate' hype is secondary.
 

ibis

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It's not that there is nothing to the article. It just doesn't seem as well-sourced, focused, important or incisive as most of his work.
Well, it's something of a musing sort of article.

I also thought it would be a good platform to point out that the public agreement with the AGW theory literally changes with the weather. The 'Climategate' hype is secondary.
That remains regrettably the case, but it's hardly surprising, given the shallowness of public understanding of the science, or even knowledge about the science. Someone who has no idea that there's literally thousands of studies that form the corpus of the science, and that of the perhaps tens of thousands of scientists who have worked on it over the last generation or so, 99.99% of them see the science as sound and definitive, that there has been consensus agreement on the basic outline of what's happening for nearly thirty years, and a theoretical basis stretching back over a century, will no doubt find a cold snap - or a carefully abstracted quote from an email - just as compelling as anything else.

After all, it would certainly be much nicer if there wasn't a problem. One less thing to worry about.
 

seabhcan

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That remains regrettably the case, but it's hardly surprising, given the shallowness of public understanding of the science, or even knowledge about the science. Someone who has no idea that there's literally thousands of studies that form the corpus of the science, and that of the perhaps tens of thousands of scientists who have worked on it over the last generation or so, 99.99% of them see the science as sound and definitive, that there has been consensus agreement on the basic outline of what's happening for nearly thirty years, and a theoretical basis stretching back over a century, will no doubt find a cold snap - or a carefully abstracted quote from an email - just as compelling as anything else.

After all, it would certainly be much nicer if there wasn't a problem. One less thing to worry about.
I am a scientist. I've worked in university and private sector research for years. I know first hand, that it is quite possible for 'thousands of scientists' to get something wrong.

The truth is that there are indeed thousands of scientists working on climate change. I'm good friends with a few of them. They work with plants and ecosystems, etc. But hardly any scientists at all work to study the connection between and increase of 150ppm CO2 and warming. Its taken as an assumption.

My fear is that even if warming is manmade, there is a reasonable probability that it is not the tiny concentration of CO2 that is to blame, but some other chemical.
 

fiannafailure

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I hope nobody will be concerned by discovering that I secretly use incandescent lightbulbs. Well, not secretly, as such.
Shame on you ibis, shame. I hope at least that they are of the improved efficiency type of incandescent, which can be actually more efficient than CFL's.
 

Húrin

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I am a scientist. I've worked in university and private sector research for years. I know first hand, that it is quite possible for 'thousands of scientists' to get something wrong.

The truth is that there are indeed thousands of scientists working on climate change. I'm good friends with a few of them. They work with plants and ecosystems, etc. But hardly any scientists at all work to study the connection between and increase of 150ppm CO2 and warming. Its taken as an assumption.

My fear is that even if warming is manmade, there is a reasonable probability that it is not the tiny concentration of CO2 that is to blame, but some other chemical.
If the assumption of AGW was incorrect, then the results of the experiments performed by the "thousands of scientists working on climate change" would confound the predictions of the theory and AGW could be discarded as inadequate.

However, more observations to date have been in line with the predictions of AGW than with any other global warming theory. So it still stands.
 

Gnome Chomsky

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I know first hand, that it is quite possible for 'thousands of scientists' to get something wrong.
Go on then, name 5 instances.



Edit: The consensus view being overturned should ideally be as long standing as AGW, a radical transformation (I wouldn't consider Einstein to have seriously transformed Newton's work, which is why we still learn classical mechanics in university and apply them frequently in the real world), and occurring as recently as possible - given that the practice of science is different now than it was in the 19th centuary.
 
Last edited:

Húrin

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Go on then, name 5 instances.
I advise qualifying this request with the requirement that the "thousands of scientists" should have known that they were wrong by evidence available at the time they were promoting wrong theories.

Obviously scientists in the 19th century who didn't have the evidence to suggest the big bang theory of cosmology should not be counted as "wrong" if their beliefs accorded with the best evidence available at the time.
 

Gnome Chomsky

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I advise qualifying this request with the requirement that the "thousands of scientists" should have known that they were wrong by evidence available at the time they were promoting wrong theories.
I'm afraid that would not be engaging with my opponent's point, because he never said that global warming scientists should know they're wrong by the evidence available. Obviously a scientists like him would know that the evidence for global warming caused by human GHG emissions is currently very strong.

I will edit in my own condition though.
 

Tombo

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Go on then, name 5 instances.



Edit: The consensus view being overturned should ideally be as long standing as AGW, a radical transformation (I wouldn't consider Einstein to have seriously transformed Newton's work, which is why we still learn classical mechanics in university and apply them frequently in the real world), and occurring as recently as possible - given that the practice of science is different now than it was in the 19th centuary.
Techtonic geology (this is the classic one - overturned by a scorned "amateur")
Newtonian mechanics
Bacterial theories of ulcers
Wave theories of light
Blended theories of heredity

Here is one for you. Name one scientific "consensus" that is so intertwined by political beliefs and motivations (and resultant funding) as the hypothesis Dangerous Anthropogenic Climate Change.
 

seabhcan

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If the assumption of AGW was incorrect, then the results of the experiments performed by the "thousands of scientists working on climate change" would confound the predictions of the theory and AGW could be discarded as inadequate.
Firstly, there is no reason why a friend of mine who studies plants in Siberia would necessarily encounter evidence that AGW was incorrect. She is funded under 'climate change' funding, so she is counted amoung the thousands of climate change scientists (but, for the record, she doesn't accept the AGW theory, but does happily accept the funding, thanks very much. You'll find this attitude is common)

Second, there are mountains of evidence that the AGW theory is bunkum. For one, the earth has been provably warmer in the past. A 2004 review of 140 climate history studies found that 116 confirmed the earth was warmer around the year 1000. Only 7 showed the earth was warmest in the 20th century. There is actually little or no evidence to show the causal connection between the slight increase in CO2 and warming, and even the IPCC accepts that water vapour accounts for 95% or more of the green house effect.
 

ibis

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Firstly, there is no reason why a friend of mine who studies plants in Siberia would necessarily encounter evidence that AGW was incorrect. She is funded under 'climate change' funding, so she is counted amoung the thousands of climate change scientists (but, for the record, she doesn't accept the AGW theory, but does happily accept the funding, thanks very much. You'll find this attitude is common)
Interesting point, but rather contradicts certain people's beloved conspiracy theories.

Second, there are mountains of evidence that the AGW theory is bunkum. For one, the earth has been provably warmer in the past. A 2004 review of 140 climate history studies found that 116 confirmed the earth was warmer around the year 1000. Only 7 showed the earth was warmest in the 20th century.
That would be what's technically called "utterly irrelevant". The question is not "has the Earth ever been warmer" but "are we warming the Earth right now".

If you were drinking something that was poisoning you, why on earth would "I've been much sicker in the past, although for entirely different reasons" be a reason not to stop poisoning yourself? Should we accept Sellafield putting radioactive material in the sea on the basis that there have been worse cases in the past?

However, feel free to point to the study!

There is actually little or no evidence to show the causal connection between the slight increase in CO2 and warming, and even the IPCC accepts that water vapour accounts for 95% or more of the green house effect.
An increase of 30-50% over pre-industrial levels is hardly a "slight increase", and the basic physics of the effects of CO2 has been established for well over a century.

Everyone involved in climate science knows that water vapour is the main greenhouse gas - there's no point in trotting that out like it's some kind of previously unsuspected flaw. By itself, doubling CO2 concentrations would only lead to a 1 degree rise - the problem is that that 1 degree rise warms the oceans and the air, which means more water vapour, which means more warming. And water vapour, as I'm sure you don't need to be told, is the primary greenhouse gas.

This is the very basics of the science, FFS.
 

feargach

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Nothing, yes, nothing; that's because if I thought you were right: I would support you, Moonbat.
Imagine if global temperatures shot up.

Imagine if, in response, we instantly cut all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

Imagine if, immediately after these cuts, temperatures dropped back to what they were before.

What you say is that even with that mountain of irrefutable proof, you would carry on in your denial of what would then be obvious fact.

Aren't you basically saying you are simply not capable of rational thought, when you say that literally all kinds of potential evidence will be powerless to persuade you?

That's why people who believe in AGW tend to be the rational ones. Our belief in AGW is not a faith. It is totally dependent on the evidence. If the evidence for the theory goes away, then we will dump belief in AGW.

If global temperature (the average temperature across the whole planet, not small parts of it) drops by 1 degree and stays down for 10 years, without any major changes in actual manmade greenhouse emissions then I will drop any beliefs in AGW, and I will entirely accept that my former beliefs were mistaken.

This is true for all the posters on politics.ie who believe in AGW.
 

southwestkerry

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God all this green planet stuff is doing my nut.... cant we just... ooo you know move on a bit and enjoy life before we expire.
 

feargach

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God all this green planet stuff is doing my nut.... cant we just... ooo you know move on a bit and enjoy life before we expire.
Why do you click on environment threads if they do your nut?

Gay porn does nothing me, so I never click on gay porn links. I have found not clicking on links to items that make me uncomfortable to be an excellent policy, you should try it.
 

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