A Qualitative Assessment of the Climate Blogosphere, January 2015

I revived this weblog and its companion, 3000 Quads, at the beginning of this year. I’ve been posting almost daily on each blog since. As part of a blogger’s duties is surveillance of what is happening on blogs covering the same subject, I have been visiting a variety of climate-related weblogs. I’d like to offer my assessment.

I hope this post ends up being more than strict advice to bloggers about updating the links on their page…

Each of my weblogs has a blogroll of potentially interesting websites for those seeking information and opinion about climate (for this blog) and energy consumption (for 3000 Quads). The blogrolls are more than a couple of years old–and it shows.

About one third of my links go to sites that have either slowed their publishing of new content dramatically or have stopped altogether. I looked at Real Climate and Bishop Hill, blogs on opposite sides of the climate fence and found that they also have a lot of dead links, about 27% for each of them. But as with my two blogs, these aren’t one-year totals. Some of the dead links died as far back as 2012, so it isn’t as if everybody turned the television off in 2014.

Blogging is for most a hobby. Only a handful are supported financially. And when a topic loses steam, it would be natural for blogging to decrease. Is that happening with climate change?

Blogging is also something done by very human beings–their status may change, they may get ill, die or develop differing interests. It would be difficult to attribute changes without exhaustive study. (I think the best way to gauge changes in the level of interest would be to count comments and compare with other subjects, and I’m not ready or willing to do that myself.)

For 3000 Quads, I note that the following weblogs have ceased publishing, are on hiatus or have changed status dramatically (being co-opted into larger publishing ventures, etc.)

  • The Oil Drum (stopped)
  • Roger Pielke Jr. (transferred to The Climate Fix)
  • Richard Tol’s Key Economic Sectors and Services (a blog with only one post)
  • Matthew Yglesias Moneybox (discontinued)
  • Collide-a-Scape (folded into Discovery website with tragic consequences for the old comment threads)
  • Roger Pielke Sr.’s Climate Science (inactive since 2012)
  • Climate Progress (folded into Think Progress, now mostly maintained by interns)
  • Bit Tooth Energy (changed focus to a specific technology)
  • Bart Verheggen’s ‘My View On Climate Change’ (dramatic slowdown in posting)
  • All Models Are Wrong (transferred to PLOS)

That’s 10 out of 33 blogs on the 3000 Quads blogroll, a fairly high attrition rate.

Here at The Lukewarmer’s Way, the blogroll has some repetition, of course, but there are other casualties to note:

  • Planet 3.0 (recently declared hiatus)
  • Steven Mosher’s Blog (inactive)
  • Tom Nelson (RSS feed still active but he now posts mostly on Twitter)

In addition, the status of weblogs on other blogrolls has changed as well. From Real Climate:

  • Andrew Dessler (inactive)
  • Climate Matters (inactive)
  • Climate Science Watch (slowdown)
  • Climate Conservative (slowdown)
  • Climatedenial.org (hiatus)
  •  Deltoid (monthly open thread only)
  • Deep Climate (hiatus)
  • Effets de Terre (hiatus)
  • Global Change Forum (hiatus)
  • Grist: Climate and Energy (inactive)
  • Horation Algernon (inactive)
  • Real Climate Economics (inactive)
  • Republicans for Environmental Protection (hiatus)
  • Scitizen (inactive)
  • The Global Warming Debate (inactive)
  • What On Earth (inactive)

That’s 16 websites from their blogroll of 59, or 27%

From Bishop Hill:

  • Harmless Sky (hiatus)
  • SPPI (slowdown)
  • Cameron Rose (hiatus)
  • Tom Nelson
  • Deltoid
  • Richard Tol
  • Deep Climate
  • Overmatter (slowdown)
  • Omniclimate (slowdown)
  • Barry Woods (hiatus)
  • Bernie Lewin (hiatus)
  • Harold Ambler (slowdown)
  • All Models Are Wrong
  • Doug McNeall (hiatus)
  • Numberwatch (slowdown)
  • Oversensitive (hiatus)
  • Simon Donner (slowdown)
  • Green World Trust (inactive)

The Good Bishop has 18 out of 67 links either slowing or stopped again, 27%.

I should note that there really aren’t many new climate weblogs springing up to replace those that are lost–or if there are, they aren’t making it onto the blogrolls of more established sites. Some interesting new blogs aren’t primarily climate focused–such as Jose Duarte’s site which has recently focused on sloppy research by psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky, but more because Lewandowsky is a psychologist than the fact that he’s doing shoddy research about the climate debate.

So what does this all mean? Without traffic reports it’s truly hard to say. Judith Curry reports on her traffic, Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts have hit counters–and overall hits seem to be brisk as ever. I sense a slackening of interest from the consensus side, but that’s just an opinion–nobody talks about traffic on their side of the fence.

The main engines of the consensus blogosphere–Skeptical Science and Real Climate–have not slackened their efforts or their output. Neither have the warhorses of the anti-consensus crew–Watts Up With That, McIntyre’s Climate Audit, Judith Curry and Bishop Hill are still going strong.

All this is in preparation for my awarding Climate Blog of the Year for 2014, followed thereafter by the much-coveted Commenter of the Year. Maybe I’ll have had a chance to think about the implications of this a bit more by then.

3 responses to “A Qualitative Assessment of the Climate Blogosphere, January 2015

  1. My assessment of the climate blog: You and Pielke, Sr. were the only ones I read with any regularity. Pielke brought real information to his blog. You brought a different view point. When you both went off the air, I looked at other blogs. Most were very political, false dichotomy stuff. Judith had some serious posts, but they were wordy and the comments contained too much chaff. Spencer was good. I agree with some stuff at WUWT but they have lost all credibility, so I have given up on it.

    During your hiatus there was the Pattern Recognition in Physics controversy. Scaffatta , Tatterall, and Axel Moehner deserved a lot more attention that they have gotten especially from these self styled skeptics.

    Tallbloke would be better off with 2 blogs, one science and one politics. I’d still read one.

  2. This article states:

    The main engines of the consensus blogosphere–Skeptical Science and Real Climate…

    You have it backward. The true ‘consensus’ [for whatever that is worth in science] is heavily on the side of skeptical scientists.

    For just one example, the OISM Petition contains the searchable names of more than 31,000 scientists who have co-signed a statement saying that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere.

    NO alarmist blog would admit that. But in fact, there are simply no credible alarmist blogs. The planet is proving that their claims are preposterous. Despite more than thirty years of wild-eyed Chicken Little predictions, the sky isn’t falling. It wasn’t even a tiny acorn — there is NO identifiable ‘human fingerprint’ in global warming [which has anyway been stopped for many years now]. Every last alarming prediction has failed; no exceptions. Thus, they are no longer credible.

    Even worse for the alarmist crowd: the general public is turning on their narrative. A few years ago you could find plenty of comments in the mainstream media, which were concerned about man-made global warming.

    No more! Now, more than 90% of all public comments ridicule the climate alarmists’ narrative. Once the alarmists lost the public, everything began going downhill for them.

    It will only get worse. The bloom is off the rose; the public has lost interest. The endless scares of the climate alarmist contingent have been falsified by the only Authority that matters: Planet Earth.

    The CAGW crowd is toast. Anyone with eyes can see it.

  3. RealClimate has definitely lowered its output.

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