New Voices


Even before Climategate, defenders of the Climate Consensus cast around frantically looking for a narrative that would advance their cause in the eyes of the world. It intensified after the scandal.

They used polar bears, glaciers, the threat of malaria, the No Pressure video, the Amazon rain forest, the threat of agricultural decline in Africa and more. They blamed famine in Egypt on climate change. They blamed drought in Russia (and in Texas) on climate change. They blamed Sandy on climate change. They told skeptics ‘We know where you live.’

The death of Stephen Schneider and the semi-retirement of James Hansen left a blank space where science used to speak. And make no mistake about it, whether you agreed with those two or not, they were scientists and they were sorely missed.

Several people tried to claim the stage–and more importantly, the microphone–to hammer home the message. But each was brought down, pretty much due to flaws in their makeup as well as their message.

Al Gore got busted with a massage parlor lady. Peter Gleick got busted for theft and forgery. Joe Romm got more or less muzzled by the Center for American Progress due to increasing hysteria. Lewandowsky was exposed as a charlatan. Anderegg, Prall et al tried to game the system and John Cook tried to cook the books.

The needle of public opinion didn’t move. Yes, they do believe that global warming is real. No, they’re not very concerned about it. Every poll for a decade has reinforced those two findings.

Finally, however, there are new voices emerging, both in science and in the media. Brand new people like Tamsin Edwards. People who have been around but are finally acting with what suspiciously looks like wisdom, such as Richard Betts. On the opposing side, folks like Jose Duarte are examining the flaws in published papers, looking a bit like a young Mac in the making.

I have repeatedly written that the climate war is a 30-year war. We have come pretty close to the halfway point. It’s really heartening to see the next cohort of scientists and communicators have learned from both successes and failures.

It gives me hope that the next round will look more like a discussion than a food fight.

15 responses to “New Voices

  1. The death of Stephen Schneider and the semi-retirement of James Hansen left a blank space where science used to speak. And make no mistake about it, whether you agreed with those two or not, they were scientists and they were sorely missed.

    Sorry, Tom, but methinks that in your assessments above, your perceptions might just be somewhat tainted by your own (wishful?!) green-thinking.

    Let’s face facts, eh?! Ever since he morphed from his “ice age” cometh to his ‘we’re all gonna fry’ self-serving (and lying – cf his appalling fact-free depiction of McKitrick’s work and words) advocacy – not to mention Gleick’s post-Schneider-mortem idolatrous mentions … IMHO, the very best one could say is that Schneider knew how to play, ply ‘n promote the IPCC/UNEP game.

    IMHO, Schneider had a little more class (and probably far more unarticulated knowledge) than Canada’s CBC darlings of “expert” choice, i.e Suzuki (the fruit fly “expert”) and Weaver (the BC west-coast whiney wimp, whose computer-generated outputs he has deemed to be “experiments”).

    As for Hansen … IMHO, his very early in the game US Congress shenanigans of the heat-generating kind – not to mention his later demonstrations of the (un)civil disobedience kind – give me very little confidence in the veracity and/or validity of his pronouncements of doom and gloom.

    I was also rather surprised to see your commendation of Richard Betts – particularly considering that whenever his (IMHO, far more often typically than not) spotty contributions to discussions at BH and CA have been somewhat niggly, whiney and/or far removed from the actual topic under discussion.

    YMMV, as it apparently does! But, well … that’s the view from here, so to speak;-)

    • Hi Hilary

      Well as far as Betts goes, maybe the bar has just been set low because of the rudeness of others.

      But for Schneider, well, I interviewed him and he seemed like the real deal. It took balls to come out with that nuclear autumn thing and also to say he was wrong about the cooling.

      • Well as far as Betts goes, maybe the bar has just been set low because of the rudeness of others.

        I had this comment in the back of my mind Tom as I delved back into Twitter earlier to reconstruct part of the discussions with Richard Betts and Mark Maslin after Mark’s use of the D-word on the first day of the month.

        I was reminded that Maurizio Morabito had made some disparaging comments about and Richard on 4th February – just before Mark had his surprise change of heart and just four days before Richard made what I thought was his superb contribution to the same debate. I respect Maurizio (and Hilary for that matter) but sometimes it’s salutary to look back at one’s writing-off of people and give pause.

        Maslin and Betts are blind on the topic … RB isn’t sincere on this. He’s cozy with nasty individuals for a reason. … [I] am not the one expecting “denier!” utterers to have an open mind

        I thought this response from Mark chimed in particularly well with yours Tom:

        Let me point out that @richardabetts is the best of us and tries to engage despite your insults – the rest dismiss you.

        Low bar maybe – but both guys came through in my terms that week. Maurizio was having none of it though:

        [RB] doesn’t [use the D-word] because he’s been tasked for outreach. He’s got no problem to consort with people who do.

        You can read my response to that. MM and I parted on friendly terms. But I don’t think such pejorative judgments, in the presence of the people we’re criticising, always help to get the results we need. This seemed a useful microcosm of an example.

    • Schneider and Hansen were little different from voodoo doctors.. or wannabe Wizards of Oz. If they spoke for the science, then there never was any.

      • Aww, hunter, don’t you think that’s a little harsh? I get mad when people deride Freeman Dyson or Judith Curry. Schneider and Hansen are honest to god scientists, not like Romm or Eli Rabett.

      • Tom,
        Possibly a bit harsh in the case of Hansen. Schneider? No. Schneider and Ehrlich are/were turtles all the way down.

  2. Instead of thinking who is denier and who is not, one should try to make statements which narrow the gap between ‘CO2 can’t backradiate’ and ‘Greenland is gonna collapse any time now’.

    One madman can state things faster than ten wise men can refute. So both sides should ignore the wild way there people on the other side, but instead try to shoot down madness on their own playground.

    For example, Tamino and Watts both allow aggressive speech and usually always behave nicely among their own – independent of how far-fetched or plain wrong stuff their team produces.

    The climate war can only end if some people start giving up. Admitting that my prediction was wrong, admitting that it is been warming, admitting that models haven’t been dead right, admitting that we don’t know much what comes, admitting that our carbon policy has been useless and destructive. Admitting the things one is shamed on.

    Anthony Watts e.g. admits there’s been some warming and that CO2 causes some of it. That’s a good start. When would the other side admit that there’s been a huge scare project with way-out-there predictions? When would Mann tell his original Hockey stick was somewhat weakly grounded?

    • It would be a very good thing if the best arguments from each side were focused on. There are crazies on both sides. I’d love to ignore them and talk about what the best arguments are.

    • Hugh,
      Think of the early Catholic Church vs. pagans. Skeptics are the pagans in this analogy. If pagans came out and said but we are “moral, have morals, and avoid evil just as you demand” the Catholics would say “but you are not Christian so you go to hell”. Yes there are bad arguments from the non-consensus side. Sky Dragons, UN agendas, etc. so what? Even your example of Watts is framed as if the climate obsessed are basically correct.
      The climate obsessed and their kooks and hypesters are not ever going to back down. It is lucrative. They can be self serving without compunction. They have the political power. They get away with lying and bigotry. Why should they moderate? I think it really started with no one effectively standing up to Ehrlich and his faux science. But the corruption that allowed Ehrlich to even be tolerated had to precede his Population fear mongering.

  3. Hunter- your example would be more realistic if it were true. Pagans killed early Christians in droves because they wouldn’t recant their belief.

    In the current milieu global warming believers are calling for any unbelieving skeptics to be killed.

    • logicalchemist,
      I was referring to the post-Constantine period. However your point is true: Pagan fanatics were just as capable as Catholic fanatics in the early Catholic era to be difficult. I was referring to the early catholic era because the Catholics tended to be far less bloody. I am hoping your point is not played out fully by our climate fanatics.

  4. “Al Gore got busted with a massage parlor lady.” Is a lie. Tom has known for sometime that this is not true, yet he fails to correct the lie. ““To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact” Are apparently just a bunch of meaningless words to make Tom feel good about himself – cuz they don’t much reflect reality around here.

  5. Ah, hunter shows his true stripes. He now endorses the libel on Gore. Tribal affiliation trumps truth, eh hunter?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s