As far as I can tell, Stefan Lewandowski is the author of one true statement in his less than illustrious career as propagandist for the false Konsensus. It is this: “The media failed to accurately report facts prior to the Iraq War; climate reporting is failing in similar fashion. The lethal fallout from misinformation a decade ago,” wrote Lewandowsky, “primarily affected the people of Iraq.” But “the fallout from misinformation about climate change is likely to affect us all.” I think that is something both extremes of the climate spectrum would agree on, although I doubt if they’d come up with the same examples.
In his latest charade, the charlatan worked with (of all people) Naomi Oreskes to alert us all that extremist language is ‘seeping’ into the debate. Funnily enough he didn’t talk about the term ‘denier’ in his work. That term managed to ‘seep’ into the diatribes of the Konsensus after James DeHoggan let slip the words of war in 2005. But because it was directed at their opponents, Lewnadowsky and Oreskes seem to think it isn’t worth mentioning.
No, their targets are words like ‘hiatus’, one of several terms used to describe the plateau (oooh–is that next?) in global average temperatures reached in 1998. Since then, temperature rises have been slight–on the order of 0.05C in total, far below the rapid rate experienced between 1976 and 1998.
Google nGram shows the occurrence of words found in Google books. I’m sure Lewandowsky and Oreskes will be pleased to discover that, unlike the temperatures that have plateaued, the usage of the word ‘hiatus’ has actually declined since 1998.
According to Tech Times, “The imbalance in discussing warming trends reflects what the researchers refer to as “seepage” of contrarian claims into scientific work. Lewandowsky said it’s reasonable to say that deniers create enough pressure to get climate scientists to re-assess their studies, as if second-guessing their works.
To explain how deniers are able to influence climate scientists, researchers pointed to three psychological mechanisms: stereotype threat, pluralistic ignorance and the third-person effect.
Stereotype threat refers to behavioral and emotional responses when an individual is reminded of a stereotype against the group they belong to. So when climate scientists are dubbed as alarmists, they respond by downplaying threats to distance themselves from the stereotype.
Though its effects are in evidence, climate change remains a debatable topic. Now, researchers have found that deniers can have an impact on climate scientists — influencing the way they present their work.
In a recent study, Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues showed how language used by deniers has seeped into discussions among scientists regarding the alleged pause in global warming — which has them unwittingly reinforce a misleading message.
The idea of a hiatus in global warming has been promoted in many avenues available to deniers for years, even finding its way into scientific works. That includes the latest assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The researchers focused on this event to show how misleading the talk of a hiatus is.”
I guess they didn’t focus on James Hansen, former director of NASA’s GISS, who said in 2013 that “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.” Of course, ‘flat’ is not the same as ‘hiatus’…
Tech Times continues, “The imbalance in discussing warming trends reflects what the researchers refer to as “seepage” of contrarian claims into scientific work. Lewandowsky said it’s reasonable to say that deniers create enough pressure to get climate scientists to re-assess their studies, as if second-guessing their works.”
Because we know that people like James Hansen, who once said “chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to [should] be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature” is probably easily cowed by those dastardly deniers and started using the word ‘flat’ because he was scared…
Tech times continues, “To explain how deniers are able to influence climate scientists, researchers pointed to three psychological mechanisms: stereotype threat, pluralistic ignorance and the third-person effect.
Stereotype threat refers to behavioral and emotional responses when an individual is reminded of a stereotype against the group they belong to. So when climate scientists are dubbed as alarmists, they respond by downplaying threats to distance themselves from the stereotype.”
Like this statement: ““Our research shows that while there may be short-term fluctuations in global average temperatures, long-term warming of the planet is an inevitable consequence of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations,” says Matthew England, chief investigator at the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales. “This much-hyped global warming slowdown is just a distraction from the matter in hand.” He sure sounds like he’s downplaying global warming, doesn’t he?
“Pluralistic ignorance is the phenomenon that arises when minority opinion is given too much attention in public discourse, which makes it seem like it represents more people. This makes those in the actual majority assume their opinion represents the minority — inhibiting them from speaking out.”
Funnily enough, Oreskes and Lewandowsky are responsible for inflating the consensus, from a very real and respectable 66% to an imaginary if not hallucinatory 97%. So if the word ‘hiatus’ can awaken scientists from the fever dream spun out of nonsense by Oreskes and Lewandowsky, it is a powerful word indeed–and perhaps one we should use more.
As for the third-person effect, it highlights how persuasive communication can win over the truth. This hints that the scientific community is at risk of being susceptible to arguments made by deniers — even though climate scientists know them to be false.”
I typed ‘hiatus global warming’ into Google News and got a paltry 3,800 results. By comparison, the Greek word ‘sinensis’ returned 10,400′ results. Only one of the top 50 results fr ‘hiatus’ was on a skeptic communication, a piece by Forbes.
The idea that skeptics of the Konsensus are all that persuasive beggars the imagination. I find it difficult to imagine too many scientists spending much time on skeptic or even lukewarmer blogs being exposed to our smooth talking and persuasive good looks. Tamsin Edwards followed up her excellent article in the Guardian about Lukewarmers by paying blog visits, not to Judith Curry, Steve McIntyre or even here, but to And Then There’s Physics, where she kowtowed to the majority opinion and emphasized that she did not agree with lukewarmers.
What is seeping into the climate conversation is increasingly absurd tap-dancing from people like Lewandowsky and Oreskes, John Cook, Jim Prall and others and the effect of their efforts is to devalue science.
In short, Lewandowsky and Oreskes are just up to their old tricks. They are making up reasons why their chosen tactics for conducting climate discussions–refusing to debate, calling their opponents deniers, inventing a 97% consensus that falls apart at the slightest examination–are failing in the court of public opinion.
Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group. Perhaps some more rebranding is in order.