Climate Communication Undermined by Inflammatory Language

By Keith Kloor | February 4, 2015 11:51 am

A recent article in Slate carried this headline:

If You Don’t accept Climate Change is Real, You’re Not a Sceptic. You’re a Denier.

I’ll return to its claim in a minute. The piece, by Arizona State University professor Lawrence Krauss, ruefully notes that the term “climate skeptic” is frequently used in the media as a shorthand label to identify someone who denies the reality of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. He writes:

Skepticism is all about critical examination, evidence-based scientific inquiry, and the use of reason in examining controversial claims. Those who flatly deny the results of climate science do not partake in any of the above. They base their conclusions on a priori convictions. Theirs is an ideological conviction—the opposite of skepticism.

This certainly is true to a considerable extent. Anyone who reads the most highly trafficked “climate skeptic” blogs, such as the one run by Anthony Watts, will detect a consistent ideological bias and a skepticism that runs in only one direction–broadly doubtful of mainstream climate science. The criticisms published there are often slanted, marred by conspicuous omissions or a selective use of facts. The overall tone at the site is hostile and conspiratorial. What you mostly see at Watts Up With That is not true skepticism but rather confirmation bias masquerading as skepticism.

Of course, confirmation bias and motivated thinking are part of the human condition–cognitive behaviors that govern us all, to varying degrees. It is thus healthy to periodically question one’s own assumptions that take root in the mind.

Does this happen at “climate skeptic” blogs? Do the hosts there openly reassess governing notions from time to time? Do they apply critical thinking skills to all the research spotlighted on their sites, regardless of a given study’s results? For some sense of this, let’s look at how various “climate skeptic” blogs have dealt with something called “wind turbine syndrome,” an assortment of adverse medical symptoms supposedly triggered by exposure to low frequency noise from rotating wind turbine blades. I thoroughly examined the phenomenon some time ago. As one public health scientist who has studied it noted last year:

There is no reliable or consistent evidence that proximity to wind farms or wind farm noise directly causes health effects.

And there have been numerous reliably-conducted studies and reports affirming this. A cursory Google search would lead you to that information. Nonetheless, Jo Nova, a well known Australian “climate skeptic” blogger recently trumpeted:

New small study: Wind farms show health effects–why wasn’t this done before?

Nova uncritically pivoted off a media story and its breathless claim (“groundbreaking study”). A true skeptic would have drilled down into the methodological rigor of the cited research and would also have mentioned the existence of numerous other studies that has not found any causal link between wind turbine noise and health effects. You won’t find any of that in Nova’s post.

An equally biased and uncritical take on wind turbine syndrome was highlighted in 2013 at the Bishop Hill site, a “climate skeptic” blog run by Andrew Montford. And look, here’s a similarly credulous post over at the Anthony Watts site. Of course, nothing is too far-fetched for Watts, who also published a post by someone claiming that horses in Spain were becoming deformed by wind farm noise.

The common denominator: No skepticism whatsoever, no critical thinking skills exhibited by these “climate skeptics” about a claim that has as much scientific validity as the power lines-cause-cancer scare.

I mention all this to illustrate why I don’t consider these “climate skeptics” to be true skeptics. They don’t think skeptically; they are captive to their ideologically-driven biases and it often shows. So if they are not “climate skeptics,” how do you characterize them and others who don’t think the earth is warming (or at least not at a worrisome rate)?

(This is something I tried to figure out a few years ago, with mixed results.)

Today, there’s a movement afoot to brand these people as “deniers.” This language police campaign is unbecoming. It’s also problematic, for reasons science journalist faye Flam explains in this smart post at Forbes:

What if we don’t have evidence as to whether a person is in denial? A much more appropriate word would be “wrong” because we don’t generally have access to the internal mental states of people who are saying wrong things. Denial implies people are aware of something but can’t face it. Some people may be in denial about global warming, but how do we know they aren’t just unaware? Or perhaps they are influenced by misinformation?

Another really smart and somewhat similar take has just been laid out in a post at The Science of Doom blog. I encourage folks to read the whole thing. It pretty much captures my thinking on this issue. Here’s an excerpt:

I can’t find words to describe how I feel about the apologists for the Nazi regime, and those who deny that the holocaust took place. The evidence for the genocide is overwhelming and everyone can understand it.

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.

By comparison, understanding climate means understanding maths, physics and statistics. This is hard, very hard. It’s time consuming, requires some training (although people can be self-taught), actually requires academic access to be able to follow the thread of an argument through papers over a few decades – and lots and lots of dedication.

The worst you could say is people who don’t accept ‘consensus climate science’ are likely finding basic – or advanced – thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and statistics a little difficult and might have misunderstood, or missed, a step somewhere.

I think that last paragraph with “the worst you could say” is a bit charitable, but honestly, the larger point about “trivializing” is why I avoid using “denier” in the climate context. To me, the provenance of “denier” can be clearly traced back to holocaust denial. That spawned the usage of the term in public discourse. Up until the last decade or so, the term “denier” was commonly associated with holocaust denial.

Now I happen to know and respect Jewish academics, writers, and scientists involved in the climate debate who do use the “denier” term and don’t make that association, so they don’t believe they are trivializing the holocaust or exploiting the original ugliness of the term. I disagree, but I respect these individuals and take them at their word.

All this said, I think the term “denier” is just as misused as “skeptic” when referring to someone who doesn’t accept the consensus that 1) man-made climate change is real and 2) that it poses a risk to humanity if not addressed. “Skeptic” may not be an accurate way to define someone who rejects climate science or doubts the potential severity of climate change. But calling someone a “climate denier”–an emotionally and politically charged term–is as inflammatory as calling a climate scientist a fraud, or climate science fraudulent. These are conversation stoppers.

If your objective is to get more people seriously engaged with the climate change issue, you probably want to avoid  unwittingly antagonizing them with derogatory language. And by them, I mean the lurkers and fence-sitters in the mushy middle who tune in and out of the volatile climate discussion.

ADVERTISEMENT
  • Graham Thompson

    This is quite culturally specific, I think. It sounds as though in the USA climate deniers (or skeptics) are a large constituency, and need to be courted.

    In most of the world, they’re a tiny fringe, and can be ignored.

    Where they’re down to the residue of deadenders who will never change their views, there’s no harm in offending them, but there may potentially be some harm in giving them credibility by taking them seriously.

  • Andy Skuce

    One of the few things I agree with Richard Lindzen about is that “denier” is often more accurate than “skeptic”.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2566659/Are-global-warming-Nazi-People-label-sceptics-deniers-kill-MORE-people-Holocaust-claims-scientist.html

    However, I generally avoid the term when commenting in public, mostly because it provides a distraction that can derail the conversation away from science and policy. I don’t mind at all if someone calls me a “pause denier” (Google it), I am one.

    Frankly, I find the whole connection with Holocaust denial a bit of an outrage. Almost nobody means it that way, certainly I don’t, certainly Lindzen doesn’t. The word has been in use in English for centuries before the Nazi atrocities.

    It’s not the people who use the term “denier” who co-opt and trivialize the Holocaust: it’s the people who complain about it and who want to Godwinize the conversation in order to claim that they are being persecuted. It’s actually rather pathetic.

    • kkloor

      I disagree. I think the term became associated as such in public discourse when various strains of Holocaust denial were being widely covered in media in 1980s and 1990s.

      • Eli Rabett

        C David Irving

      • Buzz Fledderjohn

        How do you come to that conclusion, Keith? My grandfather was a very serious alcoholic and I remember as a kid in the late 1960’s the term being used in relation to his alcoholism. It was a widely accepted term in Alcoholics Anonymous circles.

        • kkloor

          Did people say he was in “denial?” Or a *denier*? Those are two different meanings.

          And even if the former, my contention is that in the public mind, “denier” entered the lexicon with an association to holocaust denial.

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            Are they not just two forms of the same word?

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            From Merriam-Webster…

            deny

            : to say that something is not true

            : to refuse to accept or admit (something)

            : to refuse to give (something) to someone : to prevent someone from having or receiving (something)

            – – – – – –

            I genuinely think this is the same thing as denial and denier. A person who denies something is a “denier.” A person engaged in the act of denying is in “denial.”

          • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

            What if the person doesn’t deny something, but is called a denier anyway?

            I do not deny that the climate changes, but get called a climate change denier anyway.

            Falsely accusing someone by inaccurately labelling them – hmmm – is there a word or phrase for such an action?

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            Richard… Just through the way you’ve stated this I can already see what’s happening.

            When people use the term “climate change” what we mean is this:
            1) That CO2 is a greenhouse gas,
            2) That CO2 is an important greenhouse gas that modulates global temperature over geologic time,
            3) That humans are contributing to a rapid rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations,
            4) That doubling CO2 concentrations will likely drive a ~3C rise in surface temperature,
            5) That the current emissions path we’re on will more than double atmospheric concentrations from pre-industrial times over the coming century,
            6) That such a rise in global temperature would likely cause massive disruption to human society,
            7) That we are still in a position to take action to reduce CO2 emissions and avoid the worst consequences, and…
            8) The window of opportunity to avoid the worst consequences is closing very rapidly.

            This is really really basic stuff, all well accepted in the published scientific literature. There is nothing remotely controversial about these points I’ve laid out. Within a reasonable level of uncertainty, this is accepted scientific fact.

            If you are in alignment with all this, then you’re certainly not a denier. But, based on your comment, I would gather that there are a number of points that you likely do not accept. And that would mean you’re denying science that is accepted by nearly all experts in this field and nearly all the relevant published research.

            What I find is that people who deny these fundamental points do so out of a lack of understanding of the science. They find, like perhaps you have, various blogs and graphs that purport to challenge the established science, but actually do nothing of the sort.

          • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

            I agree with your points 1-3 and 5. I do not agree with your points 4, 6, 7 and 8.

            The data do not support a 3C rise, but only about a 1.5 to 1.8C rise.

            Every year the 3C midpoint (between 1.5 and 4.5) is looking less correct, as study after study shows that the midpoint of a range derived by actual observations keeps dropping (down to 1.6 to 1.8 C rise due to a doubling).

            The trend over the last 10 – 15 years is only about 1/3 of .3C (i.e. about .1C per decade).

            So the data do not support your position, nor have the data ever supported your position. It is only by tripling the observed warming with amplification effects from indirect warming, which is always going to show up in the future (i.e. the curve shots up in the future, never in the present) that we even get to 3C anyway. The amplification effects from indirect warming due to CO2 are not showing up in the data, which is why CS keeps dropping in the scientific literature.

            My solution is wait and see.

            I don’t see the need to wait until 2100, but I would like to wait until we hit 560 ppm for CO2.

            Then we can actually measure TCR and see what the actual observation is for the transient climate response to a doubling of CO2 from 280 ppm to 560 ppm.

            Based on that number we can make our plans.

            In the meantime, a no regrets solution is to go nuclear and double or triple the power we generate from nuclear. Preferably with recycling reactors and regional storage of waste.

            Lets generate 40 or 60% of our power with nuclear.

            The cost to build a new plant will drop significantly if we start building a bunch and the new designs (passive cooling) are much much safer than the older designs.

            To the extent any science is based on the models, they are crap and the science is therefore crap. Garbage in, garbage out. Forget the models and just look at the observations and the trend is much much smaller (and not concerning).

            Sea level has risen 120 meters over the last 20000 years. Only the last 8 inches or so is down to CO2 from human emissions. Why is this? Because we are in an inter-glacier and it gets warmer in an inter-glacier. If there were no humans on the planet as of 20, 000 years ago, it would still have warmed and we can expect another 2 or 3C until we hit the peak of the inter-glacier, and then it will start to cool down.

            Don’t worry and be happy it is warmer – life does better when it is warmer.

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            Yup. Just as I thought.

            You’re being highly selective in what research you want to believe and discard anything that doesn’t support your preferred conclusion.

            This is why people call you a denier. You deny the vast body of research that doesn’t support your position.

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            We can go through your list of responses, though, Richard.

            1) “The data do not support a 3C rise, but only about a 1.5 to 1.8C rise.”

            Wrong. In fact, fantastically wrong. Central estimates continue to be ~3C and the frequency curve drops of rapidly on the low end of CS and not nearly as fast on the high end.

            2) “…study after study shows that the midpoint of a range derived by actual observations keeps dropping…” Wrong again. That’s cherry picking studies that you believe support your position without looking at the full body of evidence. (Spending too much time on denial blogs will cause this mis-interpretation of the science.)

            3) “The trend over the last 10 – 15 years is only about 1/3 of .3C (i.e. about .1C per decade).” You can’t determine CS based on 10-15 years of surface temperature data. Especially when that time frame has been dominated by La Nina and ENSO neutral conditions.

            4) “To the extent any science is based on the models, they are crap and the science is therefore crap.” No. That means you also do not understand climate modeling and are spending your time reading denial blogs instead of reading the research.

            5) “Sea level has risen 120 meters over the last 20000 years….” Yes, coming out of a glaciation and into an interglacial over the course of 20ky is going to do that. It takes time to melt ice. The research shows that changing the radiative forcing of the atmosphere by 8.5w/m2 will likely drive sea levels to another 10-20m over the coming millennia.

          • Tom Fuller

            Oh. You’re religious. Never mind.

          • Tom Fuller

            There is a body of recent research indicating that sensitivity is far lower than 3C and that temperatures may not rise as much as previously thought. The matter is not settled, obviously, but there is certainly data to support Mr. Arrett’s position.

            As for your number 6, not even Nicholas Stern said that–he postulated a 5% hit on GDP globally. That’s about a recession worth of disruption.

            Global climate refugees have yet to appear on stage. Agricultural output set records in 2014, the hottest year with an asterisk we’ve seen. Sea level rise ticks along at 3mm a year, about a foot a century.

            There is data supporting Mr. Arrett.

          • DavidAppell

            It’s the METHODS of denial that are the same (between Holocaust denial and climate change denial), not the ends.

            The goal of climate Change denial has NOTHING to do with the goals of Holocaust denial. I can’t imagine how anyone could assume so.

            It’s up to me to decide what I mean by words, not anyone else.

          • kkloor

            “It’s up to me to decide what I mean by words, not anyone else.”

            Really? So if you wanted to use certain well- known pejorative words that grossly insulted gays, women, religious faiths, and people with a certain skin color, it would be up to you to decide what those words mean? You get to be the sole arbiter of their meaning? You can discount the meaning those words had in larger society?

            I’m sure you can think of a few of those words.

            Regarding “denier” and its association with holocaust denial: David, you’d have to be in denial not to see that.

          • DavidAppell

            I said the opposite — it’s up to you to decide the meaning of the words you use, not me.

          • kkloor

            You lost me.

            The assertion: climate “denier” has an implicit association with holocaust denial. They get bundled together in the mind in such a way that one is just analogous to the other. I can assure you that I’m not only one who finds that association offensive.

            So what are you saying? That this is my problem? Can you clarify?

          • DavidAppell

            I don’t see at all how “climate change denier” gets mixed with “Holocaust denier,” except that certain tactics are common to both.

            I think Anthony Watts is a climate change denier. But I have no idea at all what his position is on the Holocaust, on Jews, on gays, or anything related to that episode of history. I have no idea whatsoever of his position on the Holocaust.

          • kkloor

            You don’t see it because you’re in denial, plain and simple. I’ve had this debate with people who take your position but they at least acknowledge how it can be perceived that there is an association.

            Before climate “denier” came into being, the term was commonly used in reference to holocaust denial. Not only that, there is a history of public figures deliberately making the association between holocaust and climate denial. Look it up.

            Now, since that’s not considered cool anymore, people don’t don’t outwardly make the connection these days. But its implicit.

            What I can figure out is if you are being disingenuous or just argumentative for argument sake.

          • DavidAppell

            The word “denier” has NOTHING to do with a Holocaust denier.

            As I said earlier, some people are happy to be called climate change deniers.

            http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/05/why-its-ok-to-use-word-denier.html

            Why would you ever associte the Cornwall Alliance with Holocaust denial, just because they said they deny manmade climate change?

            How can you justifiy such a associate? Because it’s not what THEY mean….

          • Tom Fuller

            I actually think Jim Hoggan of DeSmog blog might have been the first: “These are not debunkers, testing outrageous claims with scientific rigor. They are deniers – like Holocaust deniers.” – Jim Hoggan, DeSmogBlog (2005)

          • DavidAppell

            That hardly proves where the term came from. But it does begin to illustrate the tactics and rhetoric that are common between the two groups.

          • Tom Fuller

            Ah, so the story changes? Because some skeptics use terms you don’t like it’s okay to link them to skinhead thugs that deny the Holocaust occurred? I see…not…

          • Joshua

            You don’t see it because you’re in denial, plain and simple

            Hilarious.

            Just goes to show how incredibly bogus your argument is, Keith.

            curryja | October 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm | ReplyYes, they confuse extreme weather events as being caused by anthropogenic global warming. I would call them extreme weather deniers – they seem to be in denial that these are caused naturally.

            So there we see that Judith goes directly from calling people at the Pentagon “deniers” to saying that they are “in denial.”

            So now it would be OK if instead, folks started saying that ‘skeptics” are “in denial” rather than calling them “deniers?”

            You think “skeptics” wouldn’t claim offense about being compared to Nazis, even as they compare people to Lysenko and Stalin, and Pol Pot, and Mao, and McCarthy, and Genghis Kahn, blah, blah, blah, or actually call people “deniers” themselves?:

            Spare me the sanctimony.

          • kkloor

            Did I reference anything Judith Curry said in this post? Typical misdirection of a trolling commenter.

          • Joshua

            The point is that the concern about the use of the term “denier” is mostly sanctimonious. Most of who complain the loudest use the same term or similar terms themselves. Including yourself. The reference to Judith was just one example. The same way that your use of pejorative labels are examples of the larger phenomenon.

            Pejorative labeling is sub-optimal and likely counterproductive no matter who does it. The use of the term “denier,” IMO, displays fallacious reasoning. I would say that same about much of your rhetoric – and as I long have told you, I think that your use of that kind of rhetoric detracts from the value of the good work that you do.

          • Tom Fuller

            No, the concern about the use of the term denier is mostly honest anger at being compared to skinhead thugs who deny the Holocaust occurred. especially when the term is used to legitimize ignoring their concerns.

          • kkloor

            Joshua,

            I asked you upthread for examples of my work where employ similar “use of pejorative labels,” as you content.

            Other than a single headline and a single tweet (out of thousands and thousands of words of mine, you have not provided evidence in support of your claim.

            I’m sure it’s there somewhere, since I’ve written so much about these conflict-laden topics. Could you point to some concrete examples?

            You also write:
            “The point is that the concern about the use of the term “denier” is mostly sanctimonious. Most of who complain the loudest use the same term or similar terms themselves.”

            This is a fallacious argument. And it happens to be the argument you emphasize, which again, speaks to why I consider you a troll.

            Because instead of focusing on WHY “climate denier” is considered to be an association with holocaust denial, you focus on individuals “who complain the loudest” about it who engage in similar name-calling.

            That kind of reasoning is what I hear from my 8 and ten year old boys, when one complains “he started it it first” or he “called me x first.”

            Your focus is rarely on the argument being made but on who is making it (and why said person is supposedly hypocritical for making it). That’s a hallmark of a troll.

            And in my case you claim–falsely–that “much of your rhetoric”-meaning mine–is similarly pejorative.

            That is a sweeping claim that happens to be false. That you can make a baldly false claim like this is why I have no respect for you.

          • iFred

            You don’t WANT to see it, Appell, that’s all.

          • chadke

            You’re wrong, and not just with the terminology you used. No one denies natural variation in climate. There’s a difference between climate change and anthropogenic climate change. You should start learning that.

            Anthony Watts has stated publicly many times that he believes that CO2 has a warming effect. Try again.

          • DavidAppell

            Anthony Watts is the King of Climate Deniers. Try again.

          • Tom Fuller

            No, Anthony Watts is a meteorologist who disagrees with your policy prescription for dealing with anthropogenic climate change that he agrees is occurring.

          • kkloor

            Tom,

            That is a disingenuous characterization of Watts. He inflames the climate conversation with his style of blogging–which I summarized in my post. Of course, he’s not alone in that regard, but c’mon, let’s not pretend that Watts is something other than he really is.

          • Tom Fuller

            Please see above, Mr. Appell. Those on your team worked very hard to create an explicit association between climate contrarians and Holocaust deniers. Their words live on thanks to the Internet.

          • NiCuCo

            “The assertion: climate “denier” has an implicit association with holocaust denial. They get bundled together in the mind in such a way that one is just analogous to the other.”

            Only because the assertion that they are “bundled together” has been made over and over again by those who want argue that deniers are not deniers.

          • kkloor

            Afraid not.

            I know plenty of people who feel quite strongly about the risks of climate change–and who have little regard for the Anthony Watts’ of the world–and they see the association and so don’t use the “denier” term.

          • Tom Fuller

            No, they were bundled together as part of a cluster of statements made in the media by scientists, commentators and politicians. The term Holocaust denier was used repeatedly and those who oppose the consensus on climate change were directly compared to Holocaust deniers.

          • http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Richard_Betts Richard Betts

            Hi Tom, can you link to some examples?

          • Tom Fuller
          • BarryWoods

            If we were to call someone a ‘bigot’ despite their protests, and insist on a purely dictionary definition?

            “a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.”

          • Tom Fuller

            “It’s about the climate-change “denial industry”, …we should have war crimes trials for these bastards – some sort of climate Nuremberg.“- David Roberts, Grist Magazine (2006)

          • DavidAppell

            Again, your claims are misdirected, as I did not write that, David Roberts did.

          • Tom Fuller

            Roberts had lots of company, Appell. Your tribe has been trying to deligitimize your opponents for 10 years now, starting with DeSmogBlog’s Hoggan. You’re fighting for the right to continue using hate speech.

          • DavidAppell

            You are paranoid.

            And I don’t think “denier” is hate speech:

            —————————-
            DENIER: one who denies

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denier

          • 7eggert

            This thread is the first time I see this word in that connection. Greetings from Germany, we call them “Holocaustleugner”.

          • Tom Fuller

            This debate in a nutshell:

            David Appel: It’s up to me to decide what I mean by words, not anyone else.

            David Appel: I said the opposite — it’s up to you to decide the meaning of the words you use, not me.

          • DavidAppell

            Now you’re just lying — I never said or implied the second. And I don’t correspond with liars. Bye.

          • Tom Fuller

            DavidAppell kkloor • 2 days ago

            It’s the METHODS of denial that are the same (between Holocaust denial and climate change denial), not the ends.

            The goal of climate Change denial has NOTHING to do with the goals of Holocaust denial. I can’t imagine how anyone could assume so.

            It’s up to me to decide what I mean by words, not anyone else.

            DavidAppell kkloor • 2 days ago

            I said the opposite — it’s up to you to decide the meaning of the words you use, not me.

          • Jack Foster III

            There’s significant difference between denying what happened in the past and “denying” what might happen in the future. Really strange that people can’t see that . . .

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            Maybe not, though. Perceptions of the past can be just as unsure as predictions of the future.

            In this case in particular, the certainty that holocaust occurred his very high. And the certainty that a BAU emissions path will cause a global crisis is equally high.

          • Tom Scharf

            My understanding of the latest PC rules in play is that the oppressed community gets to decide what is offensive. You can try that line of thinking with the feminists and race relations experts and see what kind of response you get.

          • DavidAppell

            PC rules? Where are they found, outside of your own ideology?

          • Tom Scharf

            I could probably find a million references, but here is one I found in 5 seconds:

            http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/17/1202506/-Who-defines-racist

          • DavidAppell

            I’ve never read Daily Kos. Why am I subject to its rules?

          • Tom Fuller

            “There are many more traits that the climate deniers share with the creationists and Holocaust deniers and others who distort the truth.” – Donald Prothero, Occidental College (2012)

          • DavidAppell

            Yet again, your claims are misdirected, as I did not write that.

          • Tom Fuller

            No, you just piggyback on the associations Prothero made so you don’t have to debate the issue.

          • DavidAppell

            I don’t know who “Prothero” is either.

          • DavidAppell

            That is to say, I think “political correctness” is a term people like you use to pigeon-hole others, so as to avoid confronting the details of their ideas. It’s an excuse for your own intellectual laziness.

          • Tom Fuller

            “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.” – Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe (2007)

          • Tom Scharf

            Funny, because it is exactly the opposite.

          • DavidAppell

            Funny, because you’re wrong.

          • Tom Fuller

            Intellectual laziness is grabbing for the quickest insult so you don’t have to engage with the arguments of those you oppose.

          • Tom Fuller

            You wouldn’t fight so hard to retain the term if you didn’t think it was effective. I repeat–the insulter doesn’t get to determine the effect of the insult.

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            “…the insulter doesn’t get to determine the effect of the insult.”

            Huh? It’s the one who is insulted who is in control of whether they are insulted or not. Only you can choose to be insulted. I can say, “Hey, your hair looks interesting today,” and you can choose to be insulted or you can choose not to be insulted.

            And this is exactly what’s going on. Deniers are people who are denying basic fundamental scientific facts about climate science. And the way one deflects that assessment is to find a way to become insulted over being confronted by the denial. This is psychology 101.

          • DavidAppell

            Yes, I admit I do find the term “climate change denier” to be accurate for what I mean. Hence I consider it effective.

          • Tom Fuller

            “At its core, global warming denial is like Holocaust denial, an assault on common decency.” – David Fiderer, The Huffington Post (2009)

          • DavidAppell

            Take your complaints up with Fiderer, not me — I’m not responsible for what he has written.

          • Tom Fuller

            You’re responsible for what you write, though. And you write hate speech.

          • DavidAppell

            I disagree — I think the word is appropriate, as per its definition. I couldn’t care less if you like it or not.

            Time to wrap up this conversation.

          • stevenmosher

            try that in a libel case and you lose

        • stevenmosher

          “It’s the METHODS of denial that are the same (between Holocaust denial and climate change denial), not the ends.”

          The methods that challenge any claim to knowledge are the same whether the knowledge claim is true or false.

          You have to show that climate science denial and holocaust denial are uniquely similar.

          they are not.

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            In your comment you’re quoting something that I don’t say.

    • Tom Scharf

      Rules for Radicals #4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

      Tarring and feathering a group with a derogatory term is sacrilege to the left in the US. Exceptions are made when the group is not in the blue tribe.

      Sticks and stones…

      • Joshua

        Let’s let Keith lay out just how transparent the sanctimony actually is:

        kkloor Mod DavidAppell • 10 hours ago
        You don’t see it because you’re in denial, plain and simple.

        Although Judith Curry does try to outdo Keith’s sanctimony:

        curryja | October 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm | ReplyYes, they confuse extreme weather events as being caused by anthropogenic global warming. I would call them extreme weather deniers – they seem to be in denial that these are caused naturally.

        Rules for radicals, eh Tom?

        • Tom Scharf

          For the record Joshua I personally could care less about the name calling. I also could care less that there is documentable hypocrisy in a polarized debate. I’m not holier than thou and neither is the other side.

          The left cares a lot more about labels and their connotations than the right does (spare me your impulse to go find an example where the right cares). You can chalk up much of this skeptic faux outrage as an exercise in rule #4 and nothing else. I grant that there are some people who are legitimately offended.

          There are some here who seem to be pushing that there is no connotation with denier and that is not a very credible argument. There is a connotation, and I don’t care.

          People who stand in front of abortion clinics and call people baby murderers have the right to do so. I don’t find it a particularly effective strategy. My feelings are that denier does more damage to the AGW cause than it helps. Others feel differently.

          • Joshua

            Tom –

            ==> “For the record Joshua I personally could care less about the name
            calling.”

            At the personal level, I couldn’t care less either (I assume you mean you couldn’t care less?) But I think that the name-calling is sub-optimal, sometimes counterproductive, and pretty much evidence lways that the discussions were the name-calling is taking place are really about identity politics and not the ostensible subject at hand. As Kahan might say – they’re about “who you are” rather than “what you know” or ” what you believe”

            ==> “The left cares a lot more about labels and their connotations than the right does (spare me your impulse to go find an
            example where the right cares).”

            Not sure where you get that from. I see plenty of “political corectness” from the right. Maybe worth a discussion at another time.

            ==> ” I grant that there are some people who are legitimately offended.”

            Sure, I think that there are. But not nearly all those who hand wring about the outrage.

            ==> “There are some here who seem to be pushing that there is no connotation with
            denier and that is not a very credible argument.”

            I agree that there is/can be some connotation in that regard. But that kind of guilt-by-association is ubiquitous on both sides (Lysenko, McCarthy, etc.) What’s laughable is that each side tries to claim that it characterizes the other side but not their own.

            ==> ” My feelings are that denier does more damage to the AGW cause than it helps. f”

            Maybe. I think that it doesn’t really change anything in any significant way. The polarization is already in place. I don’t think it creates polarization or makes the polarization that already exists any worse. But I do think that the use of the term displays poor reasoning, just as does the Lysenko BS.

      • Joshua

        Keith really got into calling me a troll when I started pointing out that his name-calling in the context of GMOs was probably sub-optimal and perhaps even counter-productive.

        I could be mistaken, but I think that “loon” was his pejorative label of choice.

        ‘Cause, you know, it’s so much more useful than “denier.”

        But yeah – Rules for Radicals explains it, Tom.

        • kkloor

          I called you a troll because you often take something I write out of context. Similarly, in this case, you are selectively remembering the exchange.

          But as I said to you before, I don’t bother engaging you anymore because of your disingenuousness.

          • Joshua

            Keith –

            You started calling me a “troll” when I started to point out the fallacious association you were drawing with “the left” and anti-GMO ideology.

            You started calling me a “troll” when I argued (without personalizing my arguments) that by focusing on the extreme ends of the scale, you were adding to, not detracting from, the polarization on any number of these issues.

            I like a lot of the stuff you do, Keith. For example, I really appreciate the posts and articles that you’ve written about the different directions of different conservationists (even if I think that there was a bit too much of your own personal bias in the way that you did that reporting). I learned a lot from those posts.

            But I think that you tend towards mercurial and hyperbolic, and that undermines the good work you do. It is when I started to point that out that you started calling me a “troll,”

          • kkloor

            You don’t like it when I hold certain thought leaders accountable for their false rhetoric or scare-mongering.

            Understandable. On the issue of GMOs, people that adore Michael Pollan. Vandana Shiva, Jeffrey Smith, etc are not going to like it when I rap them on the knuckles.

            I got the same flak when I was critical of Joe Romm years ago. Today, it’s anthony watts yammering away at the “hit job” I supposedly did on him, and so on.

            You should recognize your own biases and try to understand how that filters your perceptions of what I write.

            I often do “reality checks” with experts I respect who keep track of Scicomm and ask them if I am positively contributing to various debates in my blog or if I am fueling the conflict? I am very conscious of this.

            What do you think their answer is? I’ll give you a hint: they do not share your perspective.

          • Joshua

            Keith –

            ==> “You don’t like it when I hold certain thought leaders accountable for their false rhetoric or scare-mongering.”

            That’s your overlay. I have no problem, per se, with you holding people accountable for false rhetoric or scare-mongering. I disagree, often, with the hyperbolic and pejorative way that you do that, as I think it makes some combatants further entrenched and others feel vindicated in their partisan orientation. I have stated that to you many, many times. My criticism has been consistent. You may not agree with my criticism. Fine. But your overlay is inaccurate.

            ==> “What do you think their answer is? I’ll give you a hint: they do not share your perspective.”

            Which is fine. I think that the field of scicomm is evolving and quite open. For the most part, I think that no one really knows what is effective. I don’t doubt that there are people more expert than I, and their expertise should be given due consideration. I reserve the right formulate my own views, and criticize you accordingly. I’m always open to engagement about the logic behind different views on what is or isn’t effective.

          • Tom Fuller

            Joshua, people have been calling you a troll for years now.There’s a reason why. It’s because you are a troll.

          • Joshua

            Hi Tom.

        • Tom Scharf

          Come on Joshua, I think everyone on the Internet has called you a troll at one point or another. For whatever reason you seem to be obsessed with ankle biting the hosts. But it is mostly entertaining.

          He who has never called someone a name can throw the first stone.

          • Joshua

            The subjective assignation of the attribute of being a “troll” is just more evidence of how people engaged in these debates make no effort to control for their own biases.

            Usually, “troll” just means someone that I disagree with.

          • Tom Fuller

            Actually, Joshua, ‘troll’ does have a meaning. You fit the definition.

          • Joshua

            Hi Tom

        • Tom Fuller

          But Joshua, you are a troll… doesn’t truth count?

          • Joshua

            Hi Tom,

            3 comments in 3 minutes? All saying the same thing?

          • Joshua

            Fascinating!

            Disqus

            9:18 PM

            Tom Fuller wrote, in response to Joshua: Joshua, people have been calling you a troll for years now.There’s a reason why. It’s because you are a troll.

            Disqus

            9:17 PM

            Tom Fuller wrote, in response to Joshua: Actually, Joshua, ‘troll’ does have a meaning. You fit the definition.

            Disqus

            9:15 PM

            Tom Fuller wrote, in response to Joshua: But Joshua, you are a troll… doesn’t truth count?

          • Tom Scharf

            We might have to add stalker to the list, ha ha.

          • Bill

            I know what a Patient Troll is, but what do you mean by Troll?

    • Buddy199

      Don’t kid yourself. The term “denier” is used deliberately because of its Holocaust connotations. It is used as a word bomb meant to shock, intimidate and silence. Used by the same people who in other circumstances specialize in PC exorcising any words from the English language that could be considered in any way offensive to anyone, anywhere. That they continue to use the term after its offensiveness is pointed out is proof of their cynical intention.

      • Buzz Fledderjohn

        “The term “denier” is used deliberately because of its Holocaust connotations.”

        And how do you determine the motives of others?

        • Buddy199

          That they continue to use the term after its offensiveness is pointed out, the way a racist or other bigot would use an offensive slur, is proof of their cynical intention.

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            That’s pretty convenient for those in denial, huh? You can deflect the description of your position by calling the description offensive.

      • DavidAppell

        Want to talk about deliberate? Then let’s talk about Ben Santer, who in the mid-1990s was accused of “scientific cleansing” the 3AR chaper on attribution.

        This was during the Bosnia War, with its heavy, ugly accusations of genocide and “ethnic cleansing.” And it immediately brought to mind the “racial cleansing” practiced by the Nazis.

        It was a phrase chosen for a specific reason. A very ugly reason.

        • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

          Its funny you see this when someone you admire is getting smeared, but fail to see you are doing the same thing when you use the term “denier” yourself.

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            Look, I’ve had climate deniers repeatedly say I’m a “natural causation denier” and I don’t immediately jump to the holocaust association. I just laugh because I know my position is backed by the vast majority of scientific research.

            Climate change deniers become offended because it deflects from having to confront their cognitive dissonance.

          • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

            The people you argue with get offended because you descend to name calling. But hey – keep name calling – it is working very well for advocates of climate mitigation.

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            All I’m doing is pointing out they’re in denial of the vast body of scientific research.

          • DavidAppell

            I’ve already said: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using the common English word “denier” to identify those who deny the science of climate change. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the Holocaust, except that the arguments used are similar to other denials (on GMOs, and vaccines, etc.)

            It’s simply the most accurate word for such people.

    • DavidAppell

      Several prominent deniers are happy to be called “deniers”:

      http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/05/why-its-ok-to-use-word-denier.html

      • Jack Foster III

        So call them deniers. If someone isn’t happy to be called a denier . . .then don’t.

        • DavidAppell

          “Denier” is an accurate word for them. Why can’t it be used?

          • Jack Foster III

            2 reasons: vague and offensive.

          • Tom Scharf

            Go ahead. Knowingly using a word like this that you know may be offensive to someone says a lot more about you than it does about them.

          • DavidAppell

            False. I don’t think the word “denier” is offensive.

            I deny the Seattle Seahawks are the best team in the NFL.

            How is that offensive?? Am I an anti-Semite for that belief? Does it mean I think the Nazis were big fun-loving guys who never did a thing wrong?

            Right.

            I don’t see at all how it’s offensive, just because some people use the word “denier” in the phrase “Holocaust denier,” which when combined means something completely different.

            More to the point, you don’t get to decide how I use words. It’s not up to you.

          • kkloor

            David,

            Your argument here is once again making me shake my head. You are such a smart guy so I’m going to chalk this up to stubbornness.

            I’m going to call it a night. You might want to, as well.

          • DavidAppell

            Keith, you know I have tons of respect for you and your work. I just disagree with you on this. Strongly, I guess.

          • kkloor

            And the feeling is mutual. I can see the passion you have about this issue. So we’ll just have to agree to disagree since I think we’re talking past each other.

          • DavidAppell

            OK. Cheers.

          • iFred

            I’ve never seen Appell giving in, ever, how much wrong he was. It’s like discussing with a bot.

          • Tom Fuller

            Mr. Appell, people who use insulting terminology deliberately to cause offence are rarely the ones who should be the arbiter of the terms’ affects.

            Lots of racists sought to legitimize the term ‘nigger.’ I have heard people who were otherwise apparently sane say that blacks used the term for each other, so why shouldn’t they?

            The word denier does have a legitimate history. You and others like you on the more rabid side of the consensus fence pretty much destroyed legitimate usage of the term with your explicit association of climate contrarians with Holocaust deniers.

            “The deniers of climate change are cut from the same cloth as Holocaust deniers. They’ve never been to the death camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau, so what they haven’t seen does not exist.” – Charles Larson, American University (2013)

            “At its core, global warming denial is like Holocaust denial, an assault on common decency.” – David Fiderer, The Huffington Post (2009)

            “There are many more traits that the climate deniers share with the creationists and Holocaust deniers and others who distort the truth.” – Donald Prothero, Occidental College (2012)

            “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.” – Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe (2007)

            “I think these people are anti-science flat-earthers. …They are every bit as dangerous as Holocaust deniers.” – Guy Keleny, The Independent (2013)

            “These are not debunkers, testing outrageous claims with scientific rigor. They are deniers – like Holocaust deniers.” – Jim Hoggan, DeSmogBlog (2005)

            “There are now proposals that ‘global warming deniers’ be treated the same as ‘Holocaust deniers: professional ostracism, belittlement, ridicule and, even, jail.” – Paul Payack, Global Language Monitor (2006)

            “Denialism, a concept that was first widely used, as far as I know, for those who claimed that the Holocaust was a fraud, is the concept I believe we should use.” – Robert Manne, La Trobe University (2009)

          • johndaddyo444

            Ah, then you ARE a Denier, because the 2014 Seahawks WERE the best team in the NFL. They proved it in Superbowl XLIX, and had to throw the game on the one yard line in order to give Brady his 4th ring.

            Wilson is young; Seattle has a fledgling dynasty in the making. The Patriots are last decade’s team.

          • Bill

            Oh, well NE should give them the trophy eh?

            NE was THE team over the last 15 years, but the next ten are yet to be played so well have to see how NE and everyone else does, however, I’m more of the belief that the Seahawks will fade like all the others while NE remains. WE will see in the Seahawks are still a dominating team over the next 13 years.

            NE won the SB, then didn’t make the playoffs the next year, before wining back to back rings. Wilson win to back to back SBs an lost one, so he is up on Brady. But he has to win two more rings in the next two years to equal him.

          • Buddy199

            Because it is pointed out as very offensive to many people. I’m sure you bend over backwards to adopt every new PC euphemism created to drain any offense. Why do you insist on being offensive to people whom you disagree with in this case, instead of simply disagreeing with them in a civilized way?

          • Tom Fuller

            “We don’t give Holocaust deniers equal time to vent their noxious views, so why offer it to the climate change deniers?” – Richard Schiffman, The Huffington Post (2012)

          • DavidAppell

            Not true: any Holocause denier, or climate change denier, can vent their views anywhere they want (in America). No one is stopping them from exercising their right to government-protected free speech.

          • Tom Fuller

            You’re contradicting your fellow alarmist, Appell. Schiffman is arguing that his opponents in the climate debate should not be offered equal time.

          • DavidAppell

            I don’t even know who “Schiffman” is.

            Offered “equal time” by whom?

          • johndaddyo444

            Do you care more about what people are called, or about what science is correct?

          • DavidAppell

            We all discuss both the science and its social ramifications.

          • Tom Fuller

            Because they are of course mutually exclusive. You must choose!

      • Tom Fuller

        “The deniers of climate change are cut from the same cloth as Holocaust deniers. They’ve never been to the death camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau, so what they haven’t seen does not exist.” – Charles Larson, American

      • stevenmosher

        and some native americans dont object to the name redskins.. go figure

        • Buzz Fledderjohn

          “Redskins” is a pejorative terms, and has clear pejorative roots.

          “Denier” is a descriptive term, well pre-dating anything to do with the holocaust, related to a psychological response to a cognitive dissonance.

          Being offended by the term is also an expected response to being presented with the conditions of their cognitive dissonance. (Termed as “Denial of denial.”)

          • stevenmosher

            You are missing the point

            Appel

            “Several prominent deniers are happy to be called “deniers”:

            This seeks to justify the term by the assertion that SOME people dont mind being called denier.

            Your argument

            “Denier” is a descriptive term, well pre-dating anything to do with the holocaust, related to a psychological response to a cognitive dissonance.”

            This is akin to the etemology fallacy. That you can determine the meaning of a word by looking at its history.
            you can’t

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            The etymological fallacy doesn’t mean that the history of the word has no value. It means merely that the meaning of words can change based on their circumstances. That’s fine.

            I think this is exactly what we’re talking about here. In response to being presented their cognitive dissonance on the subject of AGW, “rejectionists” (we can use that term for the moment) are assuming a meaning that most do not intend. And that’s a rather convenient tactic for the person who needs to reject the consequences of their position in order to maintain the status quo of their cognitive dissonance.

            Part of the problem here is that the word “deny” is a base level word whose meaning is accepted, and the derivations of that word have to follow in form.

            I honestly don’t think “rejectionists” are offended because of the word itself (regardless of their protestations). They’re reacting to being faced with their cognitive challenge. It’s a defense mechanism.

        • DavidAppell

          Then, like climate change deniers, they have nothing to worry about.

    • Joshua

      Judith Curry – one of the leading hand-wringers about the term “denier,” then turns around and uses the term to describe people at the Pentagon.

      The “outrage, outrage I say” about the term is hilarious…

      But yeah, there is no particular reason that I can think of to insist on using the term – unless for some reason you like hearing “outrage, outrage I say” over and over from drama queens.

      It’s also amusing that Keith (they’re loons, loons I say) Kloor is again expressing his selective concern about name-calling.

      • kkloor

        Joshua,

        Please link to the “loons” post(s) you are referencing for all to see the context. I’ve written much about GMOs, so any posts you could supply would be helpful.

        • Joshua

          Gee – that was tough, Keith. I’m sure you couldn’t have done it:

          http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/01/30/stop-legitimizing-loony-anti-gmo-voices/#.VNOUti7Yqed

          First, hit, first Google search.

          Maybe you could link to that post where you acknowledged your tendency towards name-calling before then resuming your name-calling?

          How about this?:

          http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/01/30/stop-legitimizing-loony-anti-gmo-voices/#.VNOUti7Yqed

          Which you advertised on twitter as such:

          If you want to know why the #GMO debate is mired in loony land, here’s a one-stop shop of recent crazy talk.

          • kkloor

            You linked to one post that contains loony land in the headline. I’m pretty comfortable characterizing Jeffrey Smith’s world as “loony land”

            That said, can you find posts where I refer to specific anti-GMO activists as loons.

            You really need to do better than one headline and one tweet.

            I have written tons about anti-GMO activists, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

          • Joshua

            Sorry, Keith, but that argument looks like it comes from loony land to me. It’s from the world of crazy talk.

            Not that anyone should think that in describing it that way, I’m implying anything about anyone who might make such loony, crazy arguments. I’m sure that people who make such loony, crazy arguments are entirely well-reasoned and rational people who just happen to make loony, crazy arguments and live in crazy land.

          • kkloor

            Joshua,
            You wrote in a separate comment on this thread: “It’s also amusing that Keith (they’re loons, loons I say) Kloor is again expressing his selective concern about name-calling.”

            I asked for some examples of my writing where I engage in similar name-calling.

            You responded with a link to a post of mine that contained “loony land” in the headline–and a single tweet of the same nature.

            I asked you to supply some concrete examples of my supposed name calling–and I have written many, many posts taking anti-GMO and anti-vaccine activists to task for their false claims and scare-mongering.

            You have yet to offer concrete examples from my voluminous blog writings.

            I find that amusing.

          • Joshua

            You know what? Argument X is the kind of argument that holocaust deniers make..

            But let’s be clear, I’m not saying that person A and B, who make that argument, are like holocaust deniers. In fact, I haven’t said that anyone in specific who makes that argument, is analogous to a holocaust denier.

        • Joshua

          And BTW –

          As much as I disagree with Shub – he’s right in the sense that this very post of yours is more a representative of the problematic polarization than a part of the solution.

    • johndaddyo444

      I agree, Andy. Complaining about persecution is pathetic. This is what I saw people like Al Gore, Dr. James Hansen, and Dr. Gavin Schmidt (NASA GISS directors) do on a weekly basis when legitimate criticism by competent scientists was brought against their computer models — the ones built to show CO2 warming amplified beyond credulity.

      See Tom Scharf’s post on Rules for Radicals #4. You’ve fallen victim to it.

    • Bill

      Andy I don’t deny anything, you just aren’t educated.

      The Daily mail is not a scientific site, go here to learn about the Greenhouse effect and the effect of GHGs on earth heat

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

  • http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Richard_Betts Richard Betts

    Yep, I think I agree with pretty much all of that. One-sided scepticism is prevalent and not true scepticism. However ‘denier’ is not helpful -indeed labels of any kind tend to be unhelpful, as there’s a range of opinions in all areas of the climate change discussion. Surely there must be a way of challenging one-sided scepticism without simply fanning the flames of an already totally overheated debate….?

    • kkloor

      I think the challenge to one-sided climate skepticism has to come from within that sphere.

      • Jack Foster III

        First off, thanks for the article! It’s a move in the right direction, and even the conversation below the fold is more civil and thoughtful than we usually see. Second, I don’t think it’s just the skeptics that tend to one-sided. Confirmation bias is pervasive on both sides of the argument. Will the challenge to one-sided climate alarmism also come from within that sphere?

      • Tom Fuller

        Hiya Keith. It has–skeptics have confronted and rejected things like Iron Sun, Sky Dragon, Oliver Manuel, Doug Cotton and more.

        Moreover, a group of those who oppose the tactics and strategy of the Consensus and were classed as skeptics by the skeptics and denier by the alarmists ended up labeling themselves as lukewarmers.

        It is easy to find skeptic criticism of Anthony Watts, Monckton and Morano. They continue to accept them as allies. That would never happen on the alarmist side, right?

    • Tom Scharf

      We all know it’s a two way street here. The skeptics can look at overt climate alarmism and AGW advocates can look at those who believe the temperature record is a conspiracy and conclude the extremes are representative of the entire spectrum. This way the substantive arguments do not need to be addressed.

      Both sides try to sell this. Both pretend to be blind to their own extremists and think only the other side needs fixed. They put up with their own embarrassing uncles because they are family.

      • DavidAppell

        What “alarmism” is unjustified?

        • Jack Foster III

          yours

          • NiCuCo

            What part of his is unjustified?

          • BarryWoods

            context – 0.09C over 55 years.
            What proportion is attributed to natural variabiliy, what proportion to AGW..

            that sort of thing. oh and 1 ARGO buoy per 250,000 CUBIC kilometres of ocean, and that’s the good data in the last 15 yrs.

    • Buzz Fledderjohn

      “However ‘denier’ is not helpful…”

      For whom is it not helpful? The person is denial?

      Somehow I don’t necessarily think the point is to get those in denial of AGW to accept it. What is fundamentally important is to get action on climate change. What best serves that end goal?

      I would suggest those in denial are going to remain there regardless of what terms are used. Perhaps it serves the greater purpose to not worry too much about their personal feelings and consider what will move the larger voting populace to action. Consider the possibility that pointing out the absurdity of their position, and highlighting their denial of science, is a production path toward action.

      • Tom Scharf

        How’s that working for you so far?

        • Buzz Fledderjohn

          Not too bad. How about you?

    • Tom Fuller

      Well, even the skeptical use their own labels for different shades of thought, from Skydragons to Iron Sunners. But that sort of ubiquitous shorthand is everywhere.

      The denier meme as regards to climate skepticism surfaced about 20 years ago (it was used prior, both as a general term and to describe skeptics) but was rapidly adopted in popular media starting around 2005. See various examples on this thread and I provided you a link to a compilation.

      Because NGOs and media writers had been specifically advised not to debate those who opposed the skeptics, having a reason to invalidate opponents seemed necessary.

      As for alternatives, I would suggest that climate skeptic or climate change skeptic works just fine. It doesn’t imply appropriation of the meaning of skepticism and since it is used by skeptics to refer to themselves it is unlikely to cause offence.

  • JH

    Yawn.

  • mem_somerville

    So, in a tweet we say the climate-wrong? The vaccine-wrong? The GMO-wrong?

    Not really handy. Now those words are stuck together in a way that could be unhelpful to connect. And the “wrong” will just use them back because they think they are right.

    • Tom Fuller

      How about ‘my opponents;?

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    That the US northeast is deep frozen and heavily snowed in winter disqualifies its populations from criticizing Klimate Kaos. They fail their test of faith. Fill Carbon Tax on Everything collection plates – it’s coming!

    • Eli Rabett

      Cmon, that crap passed it’s sell by date back when USENET was the only game in town

  • Paul_Butler

    Call them “selective skeptics”

    Some people accept AGW theory but advocate a low-end sensitivity, which is a perfectly reasonable scientific position, but may also be disingenuous, since it can be seen to justify a complacent political reponse.

    Others apply random skepticism, but only about anything that appears to support the link between human activity and climate change (sometimes even if they have to adopt inconsistent positions at the same time). You could these deniers, but really it isn’t worth the grief!

    • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

      A low-end sensitivity position is only disingenuous if the person who holds it doesn’t really believe it. If they do believe, then they are not disingenuous (by definition).

      • Paul_Butler

        It can be more subtle than that. They can emphasize the low-sensitivity position for scientific reasons that they understand, but their decision can also be influenced by other more political concerns, such as their emotioinal attachment to business as usual.

        Of course this can also apply to people who favour a high-end sensitivity position.

  • Tom Scharf

    The vast majority of skeptics acknowledge the world has warmed.

    To me, the actual working definition of denier is one who does not support costly and immediate action to prevent climate change. That is clearly how the tribes are sorted. The logical fallacy at play here is that an implied assumption is always made that anyone who accepts the world is warming must therefore believe warming is dangerous. Therefore if you don’t believe warming is dangerous, then you are “denying” climate change.

    What you will almost never find is the actual meaningful debate explicitly stated. There is a world of difference between “skeptics don’t believe in climate change” and “skeptics aren’t convinced climate change is dangerous”.

    Our esteemed author gets a little closer to reality: “that it poses a risk to humanity if not addressed”. Yes, it poses “a risk”.

    What are those risks?
    What is the uncertainty that these risks will occur?
    Can we wait and get better data?
    How do we prevent these risks?
    Will these preventative actions work?
    How much will it cost to prevent them?

    How much will it cost to adapt to them?

    These are typical skeptical questions. You can support all the basic tenets of the consensus science and easily conclude the dangers of global warming have been overstated *** by the media and activists ***. Extreme events are a good example of the media’s narrative not matching science reality.

    It is bit ironic that the same people who get all worked up about micro-aggressions and subtle social queues such as stereotype threat turn around and broad stroke an entire loosely defined group as deniers. The fact that the media and academia routinely use this is pretty shameful by their own rule book.

    • DavidAppell

      “What are those risks?
      What is the uncertainty that these risks will occur?”

      Answer your own questions.

      You’re the one in favor of doing nothing. You must have therefore made a calculation, conscious or not, that these risks are small.

      So let’s see your numbers that show action isn’t worth the risk.

      PS: Do you buy fire insurance for your home?

      • Jack Foster III

        How about earthquake insurance?

        • DavidAppell

          It’s a question with the same methodology.

          • Guest

            But often a different answer. . .

          • Jack Foster III

            People assess risks and costs and then make decisions. Most people I know have fire insurance but no earthquake insurance. And I live in California!

          • DavidAppell

            So, when will your house be burning down?

          • Jack Foster III

            Don’t know; unlike you, I can’t tell the future.

          • DavidAppell

            So why buy fire insurance?

          • JaimeIslandGuy

            Strawman

          • DavidAppell

            If you don’t know when your house is going to burn down — or even *if* it will — why buy fire insurance?

          • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd
          • JaimeIslandGuy

            David, earthquake insurance is not the same methodology.

      • Tom Scharf

        If you have a mortgage, you have no choice whether to buy fire insurance or not. Insurance is useful for small probability large cost scenarios where a pool of people can share the costs and the risks are well defined.

        Just like anything it is an individual calculation of whether the protection is worth it. I wouldn’t buy fire insurance for $10,000 a year based on the risk. Fire and auto insurance have well known risks and costs so they tend to be wise investments.

        I don’t buy insurance for my big screen TV or cell phone because I can self insure and over the long run I should come out ahead because insurance companies by definition charge more than the actual risk to make money.

        You typically would not buy asteroid or nuclear war insurance because in these cases all members of the group incur large costs and the insurance company would be unable to pay.

        The risks on climate change are not well known, and neither are the costs for mitigation or adaption. This makes this economic calculation very unclear. This is likely why people just default to their ideological preference.

        • DavidAppell

          “Just like anything it is an individual calculation of whether the protection is worth it.”

          It’s not your calculation, it’s the mortgage company’s. After all, it’s their money at risk, much more than yours.

          Because the risks of fire “are not well known” — does not mean your mortgage company can’t make you buy fire insurance.

          They make you buy it BECAUSE the risk is ultimately unknown.

          If they knew the day your house would burn down, there’s no need at all for insurance.

          Not knowing the risks of climate change in no way says you can ignore it. (Ever hear of the Cheney doctrine?)

          It says you choose to stick your head in the sand. Most of us won’t do that.

          Where did you learn that igorance is a reason for doing nothing?

          • Tom Scharf

            If I own my house, it’s my calculation on whether it is worth it.

            Of course the fire risk is known. Their risk is bounded by the cost of the home and they have reliable statistics on how many homes burn down each year and the average cost of each claim. If the numbers are large enough their annual claims will be pretty stable and they will reliably make money every year and the consumer will get a fair price.

            If my cost to fix climate change is $1/year I am in. If it is $10,000/year I’m not. I would say the breaking point for me at this point would be about $100/year. I would prefer that money to go for energy research and nuclear power.

            How much are you willing to pay? Note I am talking about your personal income, not spending other people’s money.

          • DavidAppell

            Your fire risk is known??

            So what date will your house be burning down? Perhaps you can even tell us the hour….

          • JaimeIslandGuy

            As an actuary I can say your reply is not serious. It is quite easy to determine it, we do it for you — based on tens of millions of data points — and we reflect it in you insurance calculation which you can look at — it is called your “premium.”

            Subtract about 15% for our administrative costs, our profit, undetected fraud, and a few other small costs in fact you do know the fire risk in your zip code, for your age and type of structure, and for your age demographic. And we even factor in your credit report and criminal history. We even do quite exact projections on rebuild cost changes every time your jurisdiction adopts new building codes.

            As someone who deals specifically with rebuild cost changes, from reading some of the work on the climate change issue, I think the major unaccounted aspect of climate change amelioration discussion is the major and perhaps dominant metric, the certain steep future decline in costs for carbon storage and sequestration technology.

            It is one thing to add about 15% to your risk amelioration costs. It is another thing to erect a vast machine that may well be many times the actually loss costs.

          • DavidAppell

            It’s “quite easy” to determine when your house will be burning down?
            So then, give us the data of that future event.

          • Tom Fuller

            In a survey I did a couple of years back for Examiner.com, Republicans were willing to see taxes raised by $250 a year to support improvements to the grid. Sometimes it’s how it’s phrased.

          • Tom Scharf

            I think the right way to ask is to query people on how much they would tolerate their electrical bill being raised per month. Everyone understands this measurement.

            You start asking about tax policy and people start thinking how much other people’s taxes should be raised.

            The big question is: Would they spend this wisely?

            I might be labelled a denier with my response to this question, ha ha.

        • Dadamax

          You may find this analogy helpful. http://youtu.be/o4oMsfa_30Q?t=40m38s

          • Tom Scharf

            IPCC AR5 Chapter 13. You may find that helpful. When geologists talk about ice sheet “collapses” they are speaking in geological time, typically millennial scale. If a WAIS collapse were to occur it could add 4 feet to sea level over a period of 200 to 900 years. This event is theoretical and the odds of this happening are unknown (i.e. low probability). For now seas are rising at 1 inch/decade. Catastrophe is not imminent and I feel no need to buy sea level rise insurance.

          • Dadamax

            You can apply this analogy of risk management to all of the risks of climate change. Not just myopically to the WAIS. There is thermosteric sea rise to consider as well. And we’re talking about a public “insurance policy” that is a responsible policy for civilization, not a litteral insurance policy for your personal property.

            Investing in mitigation now may seem expensive and draconian to you, but delaying will only necessitate measures with even higher costs that are even more draconian. Acting now is the economically prudent course. This isn’t going to magically get better or go away on its own.

          • Tom Scharf

            “but delaying will only necessitate measures with even higher costs ”

            FIXED:

            “but delaying MAY necessitate measures with even higher costs ”

            Your point is valid. One of the big differences between the opposing groups on climate change is tolerance for risk. Some people put their money in CD’s and some people are day traders.

            If I was convinced that mitigation costs were less than adaption costs I would be on your side. I’m not convinced.

          • Dadamax

            Well, I very much appreciate your unusual pragmatism and the fact that you are clearly not an ideologue. Refreshing.

            There is also the problem that traditional crude oil supplies will likely peak sometime in the middle of the century anyway. As the world economy continues to grow and develop, its demand for energy will grow with it. When that demand bumps up against the ceiling of supply constraints, things are going to get ugly. The problem of AGW is simply making this a premature reality. A transition in this century will be necessitated either way, and I don’t see how getting a head start on the inevitable tech race does more harm than good.

            There is an argument to be made that investing in technological advancement is economic stimulus and that in the long run will yield a greater return than the cost of investment. An investment comparable to the Manhattan Project ($26 billion in 2015 dollars) would represent less than 1/5 of 1% of US GDP, if my math is right. Imagine if we invested 3% of GDP. If we can split the atom, I don’t see why we can’t harness the power of the sun in the 21st century, if we want to. There is also the fact that competing in the STEM fields globally is in national security interests, as it was with the space race and nuclear arms race, if less blatantly so. Relying on a finite raw-material commodity, subject to market speculation and geopolitical conflict as our primary energy source can only be sustained for so long. Hence the need for ‘sustainable’ energy.

          • Tom Scharf

            Remember that splitting the atom already gave us the cleanest form of deployable energy we have today.

            I’m all for energy research. India and China will not deploy cost ineffective clean energy en masse. Everyone wins with cheap clean energy. We just need to solve the cheap part.

          • Dadamax

            I agree with all of that.

            Nuclear power plants are great, but unfortunately it takes a decade just to build a handful of them. I think along with natural gas they are an important bridge to renewables, but they are not the end game. They are also extremely expensive and there are only so many dollars to go around.

            The way I see it is that the problems of peak oil and AGW are more or less proportional to each other. The better we are at discovering and extracting hydrocarbon deposits, peak oil is less of a problem, but emissions go up and AGW is more of a problem. The less we are able to extract, the sooner we hit peak oil, and the more that is a problem.

            I believe in capitalism, but capitalism has a limited capability of addressing far-horizon problems that have consequences that are not immediate. Sometimes circumstances call for the stimulation of technological innovation with public dollars.

          • Tom Fuller

            France built 80 nuclear power plants in two decades.

          • Dadamax

            The Messmer Plan? The goal was 80 nuclear plants by 1985 and a total of 170 plants by 2000. They still haven’t managed to get to 60 yet.

          • Tom Fuller

            Sorry–59 plants, 80 plus reactors.

      • chadke

        Do you pay fire insurance for your home that costs more than the value of your home?

        • Eli Rabett

          Replacement value tends to be much higher

    • Eli Rabett

      Amusing. Try asking about 2014 being the hottest year in most of the temperature anomaly series.

      • Tom Scharf

        People who are incapable of making a clear coherent statement have deep seated fears of appearing wrong. Know anyone like this?

        • Eli Rabett

          Others prefer to distribute sufficient amounts of rope for amusement value

  • Jack Foster III

    Are the scientists of the IPCC “deniers” because they recognize broad uncertainty in the value of climate sensitivity? 😉 I think “skeptics/skeptical” are the right term, perhaps modified by an adjectives or adverbs: “appropriately skeptical” . . . “way too skeptical”.

    • Stu

      Heh… “not skeptical enough”… “so skeptical it hurts”…

  • Les Johnson

    Keith: I think you are over simplifying the issue. The range of “deniers” goes from the Dragon Slayers, who think that global warming is not possible, to people like Lomborg, who feel that warming is a problem, but that there are more urgent problems that need to be addressed.

    In my experience, most of the “deniers” are actually “lukewarmers”. In fact, most fit into the consensus (defined as there is warming; man contributes, and CO2 part of that). Witness Moncton’s resolution at a Heartland conference, where 100% of the vote affirmed the above.

    The range of “deniers” makes generalization impossible. (I use “denier” here, not because I think it is accurate, but because that is the most used term in the blogosphere by the pro-CAGW side.)

    If you do need to generalize, the term “skeptic” is probably closest. For the majority (who are lukewarmers like myself), there is evidence for AGW, and CO2 is a part of that. But the evidence for the “catastrophic” part of CAGW is missing.

    • kkloor

      You have a legitimate point in terms of the spectrum, but I’ve argued in the past that the fringe (like inhofe et al) is the face of climate denial/skepticism, whatever you want to call it it.

      So when I thought (mistakenly) that Perry would be the GOP candidate a few years ago, I said he would be the face. .

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/tag/rick-perry/#.VNJsPigwL18

      The larger argument being: the nutter fringe is what gets all the attention (in part because some are in seat of political power), so that defines the position of those skeptical/dismissive of climate change threat.

      • Les Johnson

        No, its the “nutter fringe” on the pro AGW side that defines the position. The ones that use the “denier” term.

        Even Inhofe does not “deny” warming. per se.

        But let me get this straight: you are defining the vast majority of lukewarmers, who are actually in the “consensus”, by the actions of the lunatic fringe?

        Perhaps you also define all muslims by the actions of the very small minority?

        • kkloor

          I made my point in brief twitter exchange with Ryan Maue.

          Short version: Limbaugh/Inhofe yell hoax/fraud, climate advocates/Dems step up “denier” usage.

          Sorry, but lukewarmers, whoever they are, don’t speak for U.S. Republican party/Tea Party/conservative establishment, et al.

          The battle, whatever we may think of it, is often fought rhetorically. This is especially so since climate change became heavily politicized.

          Those (including myself) who would like to see a more substantive, nuanced debate don’t like that these are the terms that have framed the discourse. But that’s what it’s become.

          • Les Johnson

            Which means there will NEVER be any communication between the two majorities; one on the pro-AGW side, and the other on the skeptic side. They will be ignored for the lunatic fringe, sadly.

            And really, there is not much separation between the two.

            But, I would think that as a journalist, you would be trying to reframe the discussion, rather than perpetuate the old and failed method of discussion.

          • kkloor

            “But, I would think that as a journalist, you would be trying to reframe the discussion, rather than perpetuate the old and failed method of discussion.”

            As a journalist, I see my job more as an observer/chronicler/reporter, so I’m not trying to reframe anything. I don’t see myself as a communicator or someone with an agenda trying to advance a message.

            This blog happens to be a forum where I comment more on the dynamics of conflict-laden issues, such as climate change, vaccines, GMOs, etc. And even that commentary is subtle and understated–more often than not, I hope. (At least this is what I strive for.)

            So I’m really just trying to open different windows onto these ongoing conflicts, or sometimes actively shed light where I can.

            Thought leaders, policymakers and politicians have the capacity to reframe debates and I’m none of the above,

          • Tom Scharf

            What you are doing is a very transparent guilt by association. Skeptics don’t care what Inhofe has to say about anything. He is your face of climate denial because this is what you choose to look at. Read your own thoughts on confirmation bias. Highlighting the clowns on the opposing side is not very useful for anything because Al Gore says…

          • Tom Scharf

            And for the record your copy/paste from SoD ended right before the sentence:

            “The best you could say is with such a complex subject straddling so many different disciplines, they might be entitled to have a point.”

            It would have been appropriate to include this I think.

          • kkloor

            For the record, I also strongly encouraged everyone to go read the full post, and I’m sure many have–such as yourself.

        • Tom Fuller

          Hiya Les. The Consensus really, really wants for reasonable skeptics to be classed with the skydragons. They work hard at it.

      • Eli Rabett

        Inhofe is a us senator which is not a fringe group last Eli looked

      • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

        Even the senator you call a “nutter” voted with 97 other senators that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” Of course the amendment that the humans are contributing to the change in climate was not passed by a majority of the senators.

        That makes sense to me, because the science on how much of the change in climate is caused by humans and how much is caused naturally is not very clear. It looks to be about 1/2 and 1/2 right now – so which is greater?

        • DavidAppell

          “It looks to be about 1/2 and 1/2 right now…”

          Based on what science?

          • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

            AR5, WG1 Box TS.3. This basically says that when looking at periods of 10 to 15 years, the internal variability can negate the trend, leading to a hiatus. Therefore, they are about equal and sometimes cancel and sometimes reinforce (i.e. 1/2 and 1/2).

        • Eli Rabett

          Shaming works

          • kkloor

            Not always. You have been shamed many times on the internet, but it hasn’t had any noticeable effect on your behavior.

          • Eli Rabett

            Maybe you didn’t do a very good job of it?

    • Buddy199

      A climate catatrophist would consider a lukewarmer to be just another denier, and themself to be the cool-eyed rationalist.

    • DavidAppell

      “The range of “deniers” goes from the Dragon Slayers, who think that global warming is not possible….”

      Slayers like Joseph Postma are even stupider and more dishonest than that — they think the energy radiated from a colder object doesn’t impact a warmer object.

      • Tom Fuller

        Oh–Slayers? Don’t you mean Deniers? David, I am amazed! You found another word to describe your opponents. I didn’t know that was possible.

        • DavidAppell

          Now you’re the one connecting them to Holocaust deniers….. I’m sure most people know who/what the “Slayers” are — and see, I didn’t reference the Holocaust at all.

          • Tom Fuller

            Kind of making our point, aren’t you David? You actually have alternatives to hate speech.

  • willard

    > To me, the provenance of “denier” can be clearly traced back to holocaust denial.

    Citation needed.

    • Les Johnson

      Lots of evidence out there. Here is a sample, with references to original sources.

      http://www.populartechnology.net/2014/02/skeptics-smeared-as-holocaust-deniers.html

      • willard

        Thank you, Les.

        This evidence does not answer my question.

        The first usage of the concept of “denier” goes back way before WWII.

        Another hit with “denial”, this time against some guy named Tyndall:

        https://books.google.com/books?id=cuMHAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA5&dq=“denial”+science&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6mzSVOKmJ8SdyATIrYKwDA&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBA

        Small world.

        • Les Johnson

          You asked for provenance that “denier” can be traced back to “holocaust denier”. I provided this.

          Now you say this NOT what you wanted. Please clarify what exactly you are looking for.

          • Tom Scharf

            He’s asking for proof for a question noone is asking: “prove the word denier is associated only with the holocaust”.

            You are answering the question: “prove that climate denial is being associated with the holocaust”.

            It’s equivocating on whether all references to climate denial refer to holocaust denial. A lot of the use of this word falls under plausible deniability (ha ha pun).

          • Buzz Fledderjohn

            That’s not provenance. That’s merely usage.

          • willard

            > That’s not provenance. That’s merely usage.

            Only tracing back usages will lead you to provenance, Buzz.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provenance

            Do you know the provenance of “denial industry” by any chance?

          • willard

            > You asked for provenance that “denier” can be traced back to “holocaust denier”. I provided this.

            Pop’s list does not clarify **the provenance** of “denier””, Les.

            The **provenance** of “denier” can’t be traced back to “holocaust” denier, Les.

            I don’t think **provenance** means what you think it means.

            Thanks for playing.

        • willard

          > You asked for provenance that “denier” can be traced back to “holocaust denier”. I provided this.

          No, Les: you provided evidence that climate scientists and acolytes associate AGW denial to Holocaust denial.

          Also, I asked for the “the provenance of “denier,” not the provenance of the usage in the climatesphere.

          Denial as a psychological concept dates back at least from the early 1920s.

          Usages of “denial” and “denier” can be documented from earlier than the Holocaust itself, unless by Holocaust we’re referring to what Abraham was asked to do to his son Isaac.

          Anyone who disbelieve that the WWII genocide bears any mystical resemblance to the myth in the Old Testament could, at least in principle, be called an Holocaust denier.

          ***

          It would be interesting to know if this label was used against those who denied the effects of nicotine or tobacco.

          • Tom Fuller

            As mentioned above with numerous examples, alarmists hijacked the term ‘denier’ and corrupted it. In other fields it can still be used. But you and your buddies trashed it. Kinda like ClimateBall. You both created and destroyed it.

    • kkloor

      Perhaps I was imprecise, but I was referring to its wider usage in public discourse/media.

  • willard

    Scratching my own itch:

    https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=denier&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3

    ADD. First hit I got goes back to 1858:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=UyFeAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA192&dq=“bible+denier”&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=zGfSVMr_HoX4yQSF_ICABQ&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAA

    • Tom Fuller

      Yes, so why did you ruin a good word?

      • willard

        > [W]hy did you ruin a good word?

        For the same reason alarmists beat their wives.

        Quoting me using that good word to label anyone would be nice.

  • Nom de Plume

    This can all be summed up as follows:

    Skeptic: When you want proof that something is true.
    Denier: When your opponent wants proof that something is true.

  • Tom Scharf

    Here is a more adult version of the different perspectives on climate change, but it’s not nearly as fun as calling each other names.

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/02/03/taxonomy-of-climateenergy-policy-perspectives/#more-17744

  • Paul_Butler

    Is the use of the term “denial” here problematic for anybody?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-31130750

    • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

      Yes. I consider it a gross insult.

      It is nothing but name calling.

      When arguments extend to name calling they are over.

      The name isn’t even accurate.

      Nobody denies that the climate changes.

      I mean literally, there is nobody who argues that the climate of today is the same as the climate of 30 years ago, or 60 years ago or 300 years ago – this person literally does not exist. Climate change denier is a really really bad label.

      There were a few dragon slayers who deny “global warming” happened (meaning humans caused the planet to warm via CO2 emissions) – but the vast majority of “skeptics” do not deny that the Earth has warmed about .8C over the last 150 years. And I bet if you took a poll of dragon slayers even they would agree the climate changes over time and that the climate of today is not the same as the climate of 1750.

      Most skeptics do not deny the physics of the direct effects of adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

      Most skeptics merely wonder how much of the .8C of warming from about 1850 on is due to humans and how much to nature.

      Until we have a good handle on this question it is impossible to forecast the climate of 2100 (or 2050 or even 2030).

      Personally, I am very very skeptical of the non-direct so called amplification effects of CO2 added to the atmosphere. When you pull this out (which trebles the direct effects), we are only due for another .4C of warming until we hit 560 ppm of CO2. This is only about .1C of additional warming per decade. Which is about the amount of natural variability per decade also – so the two sometimes cancel out (hello pause) – and sometimes reinforce each other (hello 1990’s).

      None of the observation evidence shows this amplification effect – the data to date are very close to what you would expect from the direct effects of CO2 (1.2C from doubling CO2 from 280 ppm to 560 ppm). Which is why the 3C of warming due to doubling CO2 from 280 ppm to 560 ppm is gradually being cut in half to about 1.5C – that is because the consensus group is taking a reinforcing period of .2C and blaming it all on CO2 – when in fact only 1/2 of the warming is due to CO2. No wonder the models are running hot.

      The ramp up is always in the future and never in the actual data, and we are just supposed to believe the models, all of which are running hot, not validated and which are constantly being changed and updated with new features of the climate which nobody realized were important – but which are important.

      So I, for one, do find the term “denier” problematic. If people disagree with me – I would much preferred to be called wrong. But do not call me a denier.

      Do not accuse me of denying climate change because I do believe that the climate changes. I believe in the MWP and the LIA (examples of changing climate). I believe the river Thames froze over during the LIA. I believe the Earth has warmed up since the LIA.

      What I do not believe is that the Earth warmed up after the LIA BECAUSE of human emitted CO2, as there is no evidence of this. Most of the warming has happened since 1950, and yet it started in 1750.

      It seems to me that of the .8C, as much as .4C could easily be due to nature not humans (and the human contribution seems to be mostly after 1950). So what caused the warming from 1750 to 1950? Natural variation? The sun? Ocean currents? I have no idea – but it sure wasn’t human emitted CO2.

      So even if we get the entire world on board to stop emitting CO2, would it make a difference? How much of a difference? How long would it take to make a difference? How much would it cost to make a difference. How much more expensive would food, fuel and energy become? What is the cost/benefit?

      In the USA we only generate 20% of our power with nuclear. Why not boost that to 50%? That would bring the costs of nuclear down and is a no-brainer as a baseload power source which doesn’t produce CO2 (or not much compared to coal, oil and natural gas).

      Just my personal opinion.

    • Buddy199

      The term is offensive. Why use it?

      • Paul_Butler

        Perhaps. I have no views on that, and I prefer not to use it if possble.

        But what I’m trying to say is that the term is used in all sorts of contexts, but as far as I know the connection with denial of the holocaust is only brought up in a major way when it is used of people who don’t accept a human influence on climate.

        • Buddy199

          Like “colored” is a perfectly good word that is rarely used anymore because it offends. Go find another word. Especially in this age of PC Word Police creativity, I’m sure they can help you come up with a new, completely inoffensive term.

  • Buddy199

    I’m skeptical that the same central planning geniuses who have ham-handedly mangled the $3.8 trillion U.S. healthcare sector can be trusted to work their same magic on the global energy supply and $87 trillion world economy.

    • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

      They can be trusted to steal and sour everything they touch. Sacrifices, sacrifices, mankind’s making a sacrifices. Imagine a boot crushing a human face forever. Test of faith! Fill the collection plate to be shriven into heaven. Eventually.

      http://www.nature.com/news/us-government-abandons-carbon-capture-demonstration-1.16868

      Tthermodynamics cannot be cheated, purchased, subborned, or counterfeited. It cannot be made diverse, compassionate, non-discriminatory, or activist. Ignorance is not a form of knowing things, nor is faith. A society inundated with rules from religious and secular political classes ignoring productive ends will implode.

      • Eli Rabett

        Thermo also requires an equilibrium

        • johndaddyo444

          Yes, Thermo DOES require reaching an equilibrium. What is the time constant associated with our planet’s thermal reservoir? How long does it take for CO2 warming to present itself?

          Approximately 40% of all human CO2 emissions have occurred since 1958. During that period of time, we’ve had planetary cooling for 20 years, then planetary warming for 20 years, and finally, planetary temperature stagnation for 15 years.

          What’s the word again? “Denial”?

    • DavidAppell

      Then propose your own solution to the problem, instead of denying it.

      People like James Hansen, who I’ve personally heard express his skepticism of government solutions, therefore suggest a carbon tax-and-dividend, where all carbon taxes collected are distributed back to Americans on an equal per-capita basis.

      60% of Americans would make money under that plan.

      And let’s not forget, the cap-and-trade program initiated by the US government 20 years ago for SO2 and N2O has lead to significant reductions in these pollutants, without bring western civilization to a halt or personal freedom to an end.

      • JaimeIslandGuy

        Not all solutions require erecting a gigantic tax scheme. In fact that is more often counter productive.

        You seem to be luddite and lack faith in future technology,

        • Buddy199

          The solutions that work the best are usually the product of pure government research and the free market developing those technologies. Enormous tax schemes, political favoritism, crony capitalism, grandiose programs run by bureaucrats have a tendency to misallocate and waste enormous amounts of taxpayer money and resources before they crash and burn. This is particularly true in the energy sector. Because of a tech revolution implemented in the private sector the U.S. is on the verge of becoming the lead producer of oil and natgas, a development unimaginable six years ago. Versus the checkered and still underperforming green sector, despite the commitment of vast government resources and power.

        • DavidAppell

          “Future technology” doesn’t come from wishing it into being. It comes from knowledge, sweat, and capital, and as long as fossil fuel pollution is emitted without cost — that is, as long as the emitter doesn’t have to pay for its damage costs — any sustainable technology will be considerably delayed, having a cost hurdle to overcome that isn’t a true hurdle, but a subsidized one.

          In other words, sustainable energy technologies aren’t competing in a free market, but in one whose costs are socialized.

      • Tom Fuller

        “Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.” – Richard Glover, The Sydney Morning Herald (2011)

        • willard

          “Alarmists have called for skeptics to face Nuremburg trials, go to prison, ad absurdium. Alarmists have killed their children and then themselves in a chilling echo of Jonestown. Alarmists have committed suicide by cop at the Discovery Channel headquarters. They trash archaeological treasures, agitate against cheap energy for the poor in South Africa and tell skeptics ‘we know where you live.’ The issue is serious enough to warrant comparison with what happened in Paris, if not exactly the same.” A groundskeeper who shall remain unnamed (January 12, 2015 at 7:39 am)

          • Tom Fuller

            That was me. All of that happened in the real world.

  • realheadline

    What you mostly see at Collide-a-Scape is not true science but confirmation bias masquerading as science.

  • Buddy199

    “Negro” is no longer commonly used because so people said that they were offended by it. Why can’t “denier” be similarly retired to cultural obsolescence in the face of the same objection?

    • Buzz Fledderjohn

      That’s a false equivalence since the term “negro” referred to a physical attribute. The term “denier” is a reference to the rejection of a large body of science.

      One can choose whether or not to reject science. One’s race is inherited.

      • Buddy199

        Race, religon, belief system. Whatever. Why do people search for loopholes to continue to be offensive to others after it has been clearly pointed out.

  • Eli Rabett

    Rejectionists, all of the power none of the concern troll bagage

    • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

      Reject what? I do not reject that the climate changes. I do not reject that humans are causing the climate to change. I do reject that all of the change in climate is caused by humans – as it is pretty clear that some (about 1/2 in my opinion) is caused by natural variation of one kind or another. Whether the natural variation is caused by cosmic rays changing cloud cover, or solar variation, or magnetic coupling of the sun with the earth’s atmosphere, or ocean current variations or whatever else you want to call nature or natural variability – all of the climate change is not caused by humans (in my opinion).

      • Eli Rabett

        Now you’re trying to negotiate your rejection down

    • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

      What power? I don’t find this label any more accurate than calling someone a climate change denier.

    • Buddy199

      How about heretic? Since what we’re talking about for many people amounts to a self-contained, unquestionable belief system that equates to quasi-religious faith.

    • Tom Fuller

      Yeah, Rabitt. You used that for about 10 minutes a while back, but couldn’t resists and went back to ‘denier.’

      • Eli Rabett

        Cites please. Strangely enough Eli has not used the naked denier term much if at all. Climate change denier on rare occasion.

        Now it’s not that Eli thinks denialist is a bad description, or that he has much use for the crocodile tears pouring down some cherub like cheeks, but as some put it (thanks Bart), it pays to listen to what your opponents are talking about.

        Truth is that the Watt’s Up With That, Climate Audit, Judith Curry crowd are not denialists, they are rejectionists, and this extends, as Ethon will show, to the Roger P Jr. and Sr., Shellenberger, Tol and Lucia bunch with able assistance from the Heartland, GMI, Fred Singers and beyond.

        Frequently, actually most often, the rejection of climate science emerges from political views. It takes a certain maturity to decouple belief from observation, the kind of maturity that a Kerry Emmanuel has, and maybe to an extent Richard Muller (jury is out on the latter).

        It’s not that these other folks don’t believe science, they reject science, sometimes with lip service, sometimes hillariously. We only have to look at the Gerlichs, the Chillingers, the Manuels. the Fullers and more for the funny page side, but even folk who should know better fall into the trap of rejectionism. And, of course, we have the rejectionist for the sake of controversy which sells papers crowd, the Kloors and their pals.

        Denial is passive, rejection is active. Willard would appreciate the difference.

        • willard

          > Denial is passive, rejection is active. Willard would appreciate the difference.

          Nice. Note, Eli, that Rogatien Vachon denied many goals without being passive. Considering his size, he did not have much choice.

        • Tom Fuller

          So over at Bart’s when Miles Allen was called a denier a couple of years ago you would instead call him a rejectionist?

          I think the term is ludicrous but i would gladly accept it over the other one. But when you first started using it a couple of years ago, posting about it and all, it took about two weeks before you went back to using denier.

          Be consistent.

          • Eli Rabett

            Link please. Are you saying that Eli called Allen a denier in general, a climate denier or that someother bunny did.

          • Tom Fuller

            https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/dilemmas-in-science-communication/#comments

            It was a group of your buddies, actually. And it was Mike Kelly, not Miles Allen.

            Marco: Regarding Kelly, I pointed out that he supported an analysis by a fake expert (Pat Franks – who’s analysis is outright mathturbation, something any engineer should be able to see), drew from that analysis a conclusion that contradicts very well established science (CO2 increase due to ocean outgassing), and signed a letter that pointed to a conspiracy (by referring to Lysenkoism). That’s three out of five on the denialism scale. I could dig into the last two and find some examples, too, but three out of five is already enough for me.

            Sidd: Mr. Michael Kelly is denying the science just as much as Mr. Pat Franks.

            Opatrick: Michael Kelly signed the Wall Street Journal letterThat would certainly put him squarely in my database.

            Your comment was: There is no depoliticizing the policy response to climate change and should not be.

            FYI: Mike Kelly is a respected physicist chosen by Rod Oxburgh to help investigate the CRU leaks and has 250 published papers.

          • Eli Rabett

            You know, Eli had forgotten how unpleasant and journalistic you were in that set of comments Tom, Still, the Bunny is happy to rewrite what he wrote there about deniers

            —————–

            As far as Michael Kelly goes, the answer is what it always has been

            ====================
            this is a problem with physicists: they think they know everything, because they’re smart. What they don’t understand is that yes, it is true, actually meteorology is a branch of physics. And so you take a physicist, like me, and you can sit him down, and in 2 or 3 years, they could learn meteorology. But physicists confuse being smart and having the ability to learn everything with actually knowing stuff!

            ==================

            so if Eli were to be as careful with words as Willard, he would call Kelly ignorant**, if there were evidence that the ignorance were purposeful in furtherance of a particular end he would call the reasoning thereto denial logic and Kelly a denier.

            **IGNORANT
            1 a : destitute of knowledge or education ; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified b : resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence
            2 : unaware, uninformed

            ————————

            and

            ———————–

            FWIW and not to pour gasoline on anything (at current prices who can afford to) misleading and denying are not the same things. Someone who misleads is always culpable for actively promoting lies. Someone who denies can do so because they are ignorant whether that ignorance arises from a lack of knowledge, capacity or the desire to not admit to something. Thus, at least to Eli, a misleader is always worse morally than a denier.

            ————————

            Well, gasoline is a lot cheaper these days

          • Tom Fuller

            Your last few sentences there read as if they are someone speaking from gradually increasing self awareness. They describe what you do.

  • windy2

    Years ago for shits and giggles I would post direct quotes from IPCC reports or peer reviewed science papers at Progressive web sites like Mother Jones that did not align with the meme being pushed. For instance if MoJo posted an “Arctic death spiral” styled article I would link one of the 20+ proxy based paleoclimate studies I’ve read indicating that the Arctic was ice free in winters during much of the Early Holocene. On one occasion I even linked published data from Russian Journals showing Semilitov’s and Sharkova’s actual methodology and data and explained why it was less than robust and that anyone pushing the Ticking Methane Time Bomb might want to actually read the study before blindly accepting a belief that MoJo was pushing.

    In both occasions I was immediately savaged with accusations of being a denier even though these were studies published in/by Nature, Harvard Press, Russian Academies Of Science. Even when scientists like Edward Dlugokencky and Richard Alley later came out and posted similar views on the Methane Bomb scare on Andy Revkin’s blog and I linked to Revkin’s blog, I still got hammered as a denier.

    Roger Pielke Jr. got attacked as a denier using IPCC and SREX reports regarding extreme weather events.

    The term has lost all meaning in its overuse and misapplication and if I come across someone using the term denier, I either stop reading their article, comment, tweet, etc. or I just start mocking them.

    • Eli Rabett

      The Arctic being ice free a few thousand years ago is relevant how? And how many of today’s large cities would then have been under water. To paraphrase Keats we would have all not have been born then.

      • windy2

        How is it relevant for 3 dozen climate scientists to study the Greenland ice sheet during the Eemian and learn that it was 14.4 degrees warmer than today? Why were the Dutch building sea walls in the 12th century?

        If you run into Keats while you’re surfing the astral plane, let me know what he thinks too.

        • Eli Rabett

          If you embrace the email you also sign on to a high climate sensitivity and proxy studies. It’s a package deal

          • windy2

            I have relatives involved with GCMs at DOE since 2005 and now with NOAA. I know the problems and shortcomings. Thanks.

          • Eli Rabett

            And, of course, the strengths and high points.

    • Jeffn

      Ten years ago, you were a “denier” if you didn’t believe in 6-degrees, Florida underwater this century, the Arctic ice-free this decade, and British and German industries powered entirely by wind and solar by 2030, worst ever hurricane seasons annually and 50 million climate refugees by now.
      We’re all deniers now.

  • http://www.vaslaw.com/ Richard Arrett

    Instead of climate change denier or climate change denial how about global warming doubter?

    Kind of like a doubting Thomas.

    Given that the data seem to show about 1/2 natural and about 1/2 human for the .8C of warming from 1850, I doubt whether science can show which is greater, the human contribution or the natural contribution (at least as of today).

    So I don’t believe I am in denial – I think the data are in balance and I doubt it is definitive either way.

    So global warming doubter.

    Not that there is global warming.

    Not that humans have caused some of it (about 1/2).

    But I doubt the data show humans cause most (i.e. more than 1/2) of it.

    You could also call me a global warming balancer – but that is not very catchy.

  • Ketan Joshi

    I’ve been constantly fascinated with how the phenomenon of ‘wind turbine syndrome’ is considered in the climate denial community – an Australian climate change skeptic group called ‘the Galileo Movement’ (yep) is particularly obsessed with it.

    https://twitter.com/search?q=from%3Agalileomovement%20syndrome&src=typd

    But; other members of the community tip-toe around the issue with extreme caution – eg, Patrick Moore:

    https://twitter.com/EcoSenseNow/status/526340150557544452

    Then; you get politicians in Australia who both reject climate science and angrily propagate the ‘wind syndrome’ theory:

    https://www.facebook.com/CraigKellyMP/photos/a.117937578400885.1073741828.117871478407495/222262851301690/?type=1&permPage=1

    It’s all very fascinating :)

    • Buddy199

      And Americans who are all about climate science but think GMO’s are poison and fracking causes earthquakes. Go figure.

      • Eli Rabett

        On the earthquake thingee, you might want to look at what has happened in Oklahoma

        And, oh yes, those who dislike GMO food, tend to be spread across the political spectrum, thought Keith appears not to have read the surveys. FWIW the group most opposed to GMO food in Europe is women.

  • Maurizio Morabito

    Sad isn’t it when both SoD and Kloor find it necessary to go for brownie points, and clarify, clarify and clarify again that they ARE part of the Good Guys Brigade indeed, and have NO DOUBTS about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years.

    You are missing a very important point.

    I have been labelled a D many many times. I have even collected all the insults received during a brief period in the Greenfyre blog

    http://omnologos.com/the-agw-debate-challenged-game-1-word-list/

    The insults haven’t gone away…they just resurface whenever I say anything in “warmist” blogs.

    What’s the issue? The issue is that in my About page there is a text from 2007 where I clearly state that I have no doubts about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years.

    It’s from eight years ago. Yet the “concerned heretic watchers” would not and will not accept my membership of the Good Guys Brigade.

    And who wrote that text? Why, Willis Eschenbach of WUWT fame. This should obviously and clearly and definitely destroy Kloor’s defense. WUWT is not the Very Bad Place he tried to describe in order to get brownie points.

    Know what, the vituperated Bishop Hill has a blog owner who I suspect would subscribe to the same – that is, he has no doubts about the greenhouse effect, or the fact that increasing anthropogenic GHGs has been a significant contribution to rising temperatures of the last 100 years. There is a category of self-style Lukewarmers: Ridley, Lomborg, Lawson among them.

    However, as seen countless times and for at least seven years and again in this thread, and about Ridley and Lomborg and Lawson, this does not matter. The people who utter the D word do not care about what the objects of their ires actually think: because the issue is not one’s opinion on the GHG properties of CO2, and not even what the temperature record says, or what the equations may indicate, or how good the numerical solutions we call Models are.

    The issue for those who want/need to use the D word has been indicated by the Guardian some time ago: a skeptic is somebody who thinks at least some of the alarming claims made about climate change are exaggerated.

    Conversely, a Believer is somebody who thinks no alarming claim is exaggerated.

    In other words, a Believer does see the world as destined to a fiery and burning death. With the catastrophe approaching, anybody who doesn’t agree we’re a few years away from total collapse of civilization and more, is put in the D category.

    You guys, (SoD and Kloor) are hovering about, almost ready to fall in the B camp. Maybe you should make it clear to yourselves and to your readers.

    Are some claims of what is going to happen about global warming and climate change, exaggerated?

  • DavidAppell

    “Denier” is not inflammatory language. It is a perfectly good English word with a specific meaning, that in the case of climate change accurately portrays the position of those who deny AGW.

    This word existed long before the Holocaust.

    But for sure, some of their tactics are very much the same as those who deny the Holocaust.

    That hardly means climate change deniers deny the Holocaust, or favor burning Jews and gays.

    It means they use some of the same tactics as those who deny the Holocaust, and of those who deny anything with overwhelming evidence.

    And climate change deniers don’t get to decide how they will be labeled. It’s irrelevant whether they like the moniker or not — it’s not up to them.

    • kkloor

      Your logic is stupefying.

      • DavidAppell

        Keith: the word “denier” has a meaning, right?

        Didn’t it have a meaning before the Holocaust?

        Can it not still have a meaning outside the Holocaust?

        • kkloor

          David,

          You keep ignoring what I’ve been saying. Of course “denier” existed before the holocaust.

          But in the latter part of the 20th century the term became identified with Holocaust denial. Then, as I mentioned in another comment, some public figures a decade ago made an explicit connection so that a climate “denier” could be seen as variant of a Holocaust “denier.”

          Are you not aware of all this or are you contesting it?

          • DavidAppell

            I just don’t see that “denier” means “Holocaust denier.”

            If it did, we could now just use the word “denier,” and not have to include the word “Holocaust” in front of it.

            If I called you out at random and said you were a “denier,” to me that does not mean you are a Holocaust denier. It means I still need to define WHAT KIND of denier you are.

            I’m a “Seahawks denier” — I deny that the Seattle Seahawks are the best team in the NFL.

            How in the world does that also make me a Holocaust denier??

          • willard

            > I just don’t see that “denier” means “Holocaust denier.”

            Connoting is not meaning.

          • DavidAppell

            THe connoting is in your head. I’m just trying to use the most accurate words I can find.

          • willard

            > THe connoting is in your head.

            Your journo card does not grant you access to my head, DavidA.

            Here’s where the connoting is:

            I think that last paragraph with “the worst you could say” is a bit charitable, but honestly, the larger point about “trivializing” is why I avoid using “denier” in the climate context. To me, the provenance of “denier” can be clearly traced back to holocaust denial. That spawned the usage of the term in public discourse. Up until the last decade or so, the term “denier” was commonly associated with holocaust denial.

            In other words, Keith’s argument is not that the D-word means anything related to the Holocaust, therefore your argument is invalid.

          • DavidAppell

            That is very much what Keith’s argument was.

          • Tom Fuller

            No, you’re fighting to retain the word denier because the emotional impact serves your political purposes.

            If you inadvertently used the word Spic in a conversation about immigration and a Latino/a pointed out to you it was offensive, you would immediately apologize and never use it again.

            It is only because you recognize that denier is a loaded term that you fight to preserve it.

          • Tom Fuller

            Context is king. When you use it as a label in a conversation about climate change, your team has constructed a specific meaning for the term: Holocaust denying Koch sucking pinhead.

            You need the term because you need to degrade your opponents. You need to degrade them because you have chosen not to debate them. Maybe some day you will reconsider that.

            You know this to be true. If you didn’t need the emotive value of the term you would have quit using it when you realized it offended.

          • DavidAppell

            “Denier” is an accurate term. It’s deniers who pretend to be insulted because they find it useful to pretend it means a link to the Holocaust, and then ‘look at how bad those global warming people are, calling us Nazis!’

            They don’t get to specify what language I can and cannot use.

          • Tom Fuller

            Your team worked very hard to create an association between ‘climate change denier’ and ‘Holocaust denier.’ Instead of pretending that didn’t happen, you should thank them for their hard work.

            Thank you Ellen Goodman
            Thank you Mr. Hoggan
            Thank you Dave Roberts

            etc… There are hundreds in the media for you to thank, so it might be like an Academy Award speech, but you can do it.

            Appell, you’re hilarious.

          • DavidAppell

            I don’t know Ellen Goodman, I don’t read her (and did not even when I lived in New England), nor am I on any of her “teams.”

            Try again.

          • Tom Fuller

            You seem remarkably ignorant of what others write. “I know nothing. Nothing!” Sergeant Schultz used to say that…

          • Eli Rabett

            Ah yes, as Roy put it

          • Eli Rabett

            Wrong. What has happened is those who it accurately describes with respect to their denial of climate science studies are trying to shed the label by a full Godwin appeal.

          • Tom Fuller

            Ah, I see. You compare us to Holocaust deniers and we are the ones invoking Godwin. Right.

      • DavidAppell

        Or does the term like “Bigfoot denier” now always mean denial too of the Nazi Holocaust?

        • Jeffn

          97% of Bigfoot researchers assert that bigfoot is real. They think you are a denier if you disagree. All the bigfoot journals agree.
          Is Judith Curry a “denier” David?
          James Hansen says faith in renewables is tantamount to belief in the Easter bunny. Should we call people who disagree with him deniers.

          The word is a political construct- designed to inflame, designed to mislead. It’s one of the reasons it’s so popular amongst the warm.

          • DavidAppell

            Who designed this phrase, supposedly?
            Did it exist in the dictionary before the Holocaust?

          • Jeffn

            The words “tax” and “spend” have existed in the dictionary for thousands of years. And yet, i bet i can still use them in a phrase that you would object to.

        • Tom Fuller

          Denier used to be a normal word. Your team trashed it. So quit using it.

          • DavidAppell

            a) I’m on no “team.”
            b) who trashed it? Specifically? Details….

          • Tom Fuller

            You, amongst the many others quoted here.

          • DavidAppell

            4 or 5 people analogized the term to the Holocaust, and suddernly all the few billion English speakers have to mean the same thing by it?

            Hardly.

          • Tom Fuller

            Dozens of media commentators used it in a calculated fashion to create a meme. They were joined by hundreds of bloggers and blog commenters.

            There are about 50 sources cited here by myself and others. That’s a bit more than 4 or 5.

          • DavidAppell

            As I said, you’re paranoid. “Denier” means one who denies. Look it up in the dictionary.

            You don’t get to decide what words I use. I don’t see any point of continuing this conversation.

          • Tom Fuller

            Yeah, you can use the n word too. You have the right. You can call women the c word, Latinos the s word, Italians the w word and Jews the k word. Go ahead.

          • Eli Rabett

            Bunnies can call Tom Fuller the A word. So?

            You going full victim on us? Please do not expect any sympathy.

          • Tom Fuller

            No Eli. I’m sticking up for skeptics even though I am not one.

          • Eli Rabett

            A hero in his own head is our Tom.

          • Tom Fuller

            Whereas you are a hero in your own bed. Sans heroine, sadly.

          • Tom Scharf

            Since you are so fond of literal meanings:

            “Climate denier” means one who denies climate.

            I believe there is a climate.

            “Climate change denier” means one who denies climate change.

            I believe climate does change.

            “Climate science denier” means one who denies climate science.

            I believe climate science exists.

            Make sure when you use those phrases you are using them properly. Feel free to let us know what you literally mean with the proper words.

      • JH

        David’s rational functions no longer work on this topic.

      • Tom Fuller

        There is no logic there. There is no there there. That’s what is stupefying.

    • JH

      As usual, David is denying that he puts words in other people’s mouths to tar them as deniers.
      That’s the Your-a-Climate-Consensus-Denier game plan: ignore any strong arguments against the consensus and shout “you’re a denier!!!!” as loud as possible.

      • DavidAppell

        “Denier” is an English word with a specific meaning.
        In the case of the stance of many on climate science, it fits.

        • Tom Fuller

          It used to have one meaning. You and your ilk have corrupted it. You killed a word, David! Bad David. Naughty David.

  • Tom Scharf

    Slightly on topic. Slate tracked how their employees voted in the last 4 presidential elections. Anybody want to take a guess? This will surprise absolutely nobody:

    Democrat 162 times, Republican 12 and third party 10
    http://danfrank.ca/?p=264%3Cbr%20/%3E

    What is a bit surprising is that every media outlet’s (including Fox!) % employees donate more money to Democrats. The lineup here will no doubt also surprise no one. It’s only a bit surprising as journalism tends to be left leaning. It is noted that many employees have nothing to do with content creation.

  • Michael Brown

    “Crank” is a word that has a well established meaning and may be relevant here.

    Cranks have odd pet theories who primarily publish in blogs, vanity press and news paper columns, and they are common to a number of debates (e.g., vaccines, climate). These same people typically reject professional science and ignore many lines of evidence that support mainstream hypotheses (and demolish cranks’ pet theories).

    • JH

      “and demolish cranks’ pet theories”
      Or sometimes the “cranks” demolish academic work. Is McIntyre a “crank”? :) He disemboweled Mann’s hockey stick. He also showed that hockey stick itself was a fraud. But the rest of academia likes to keep their head in the sand on that front, presumably because even if the hockey stick was wrong and even if it was fraud, it was for a good cause. Right?

      • Michael Brown

        McIntyre is interesting, because he did publish some of his work in reputable journals, so he isn’t just throwing around pet theories on blogs and in the popular press.

        That said, McIntyre’s focus on the Mann papers from the late-1990s seems unjustified given other groups using other data and improved methods get comparable results to MBH. (Mann and collaborators have also produced improved temperature reconstructions.)

        There are examples of pseudo-skeptics (noted in the article) who operate almost exclusively in the blogsphere, and who often promote ideas that are frankly nowhere near plausible. Watts’ instances of using “Journal of Cosmology” as if it’s a reputable source of information is an example of this.

        • Tom Fuller

          You should look at the number of tags or categories at Mac’s blog. To say he is focused on Mann would certainly make some people happy, mostly scientists that like Mann publish without thinking through their statistics.

          • Michael Brown

            Your original comment was “disemboweled Mann’s hockey stick”, whereas the reality is multiple groups using a variety of data and improved methods are now producing comparable results to MBH.

            McIntyre has made some legitimate criticisms, but many of his claims are very much disputed. The fact that Mann’s results are comparable to more recent studies indicates criticisms of MBH are less significant than some originally claimed.

          • Tom Fuller

            Hi Michael

            I believe another commenter said Mac ‘disemboweled’ Mann’s Hockey Stick, but that is pretty much what happened.

            And indeed, many people can replicate the blade of the stick and have. Sadly, those who try to replicate the low and even level of the shaft have to resort to the same machinations as Mann. Yamal and the Night Visitors, Whistle Down The Pinecones or Do It Again With Varve.

          • Michael Brown

            My mistake regarding who said “disemboweled”.

            There are multiple groups now that have produced results comparable to MBH, and many of these are plotted in IPCC AR5 WG1 Figure 5.7. The continued focus on the MBH papers from over 15 years ago is thus rather odd.

          • Tom Fuller

            Well, MBH is wrong. It is still defended by Mann. Mann attacks those who point out the errors. Might explain why it doesn’t just go away…

          • Michael Brown

            Well, some of the claims made about MBH are wrong or not significant, so Mann is understandably not accepting those criticisms.

            Regardless, MBH is not the state of the art as it is 15+ years old and has been superseded by other studies using more/different data and improved methods (see AR5 WG1 Figure 5.7). Science moves on.

          • Tom Fuller

            Hi Michael,

            I think what is state of the art is saying that we can’t be as certain of temperatures before 1850 as we thought we could be back in the halcyon days of 1998.

          • Michael Brown

            I think that statement is incorrect. MBH was a huge improvement on Lamb (1982), and now we have multiple studies from multiple groups using a variety of data that are providing comparable results. The more modern studies also provide more coverage of the globe and now span a greater amount of history.

          • Tom Fuller

            He got the blade right. He could read thermometers. Do we give him a pass because of that?

          • Michael Brown

            I would argue MBH is far better than that. But regardless of whether it is right or wrong, why do some people (yourself included?) feel it is still important given it has been superseded by other studies?

            (Similarly, it is curious that some people still want Lamb 1982 to be a definitive measure of global temperature, even though it only measured central England.)

          • Tom Scharf

            If you examine the shameless case of confirmation bias that occurred with Gergis, it is hard to give much credence to paleo reconstructions. Gergis was clearly only interested in an end result, this was an embarrassment.

            It is not so much that these guys made mistakes, this happens. It was the response to these mistakes that give paleo a bad name. Clearly Gergis should have republished using the math described in his original paper. Instead he went back and modified the processing until a HS could be output.

            The raw data in paleo is so bad that the processing methods have way too much influence on results. Perhaps they are truth, but I don’t trust them based on the weakness of the raw data (trees aren’t very good thermometers and neither are the other proxies) and the history of the apparent bias in processing methods.

            The game of appending high resolution high frequency observations to low frequency low resolution proxy data and making a finding that recent observations are higher frequency is corrupt at its core.

          • Michael Brown

            Joelle Gergis is a woman.

            You are claiming you know Gergis’ intentions and she “modified the processing” to reach a pre-determined outcome. That’s a pretty wild claim.

            If you believe this is the case, then it should be possible for other scientists to reach very different results using legitimate methods. Instead we have IPCC WG1 AR5 Figure 5.7 showing comparable results from multiple studies.

  • BarryWoods

    The word denier of course has existed for a long time, but that is a distraction..

    When it is used in the context of the climate debate, it has a number of associations, including climate deniers are the moral equivalent of holocaust deniers..

    in the 80-90’s green groups were saying politicians, public were in ‘denial’ of climate change. and there was a theme was the coming climate catastrophe would be worse than any holocaust.. and that the public (like the Jews) were in denial about what was to befall them. (George Marshall, ex Greenpeace, Rainforest Foundation, Earth First, RisingTide) – 2001 Ecologist

    http://www.ecoglobe.ch/motivation/e/clim2922.htm

    Which then appears to morphed among activists into those that question, must be bad, mad as sad as holocaust deniers, or creationists or cranks or conspiracy theorists.. a pretty standard activist/political trick to associate your opposition with a label, that nobody would like to be labelled with (to shut them up)

    The very real David Irving trial (a real holocaust denier) came to prominence in UK/EU at least, and a number of writers made the comparison.. Not least writers Johann Hari, George Monbiot and Mark Lynas (both environmental activists)

    The Guardian (in 2010) recognized the well established problems and associations of using the phrase climate denier, or denier in the context of the climate debate.. and had internal arguments about it’s use

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/climate-change-scepticism-style-guide

    they are well aware of it!, because George Monbiot was making the comparison as far back as 2006 (in the Guardian). Irving was still in the news at this time.

    “Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and as unacceptable as Holocaust denial.”

    – George Monbiot, The Guardian (2006)

    “The climate-change deniers are rapidly ending up with as much intellectual credibility as creationists and Flat Earthers. …they are nudging close to having the moral credibility of Holocaust deniers.”

    – Johann Hari, The Independent (2005)

    “I wonder what sentences judges might hand down at future international criminal tribunals on those who will be partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead. I put this in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial.”

    – Mark Lynas, Environmental Activist (2006)

    or in America:

    “It’s about the climate-change “denial industry”, …we should have war crimes trials for these bastards – some sort of climate Nuremberg.”

    – David Roberts, Grist Magazine (2006)

    “These are not debunkers, testing outrageous claims with scientific rigor. They are deniers – like Holocaust deniers.”

    – Jim Hoggan, DeSmogBlog (2005)

    “Would PBS go so far as to give air time to an even more extreme kind of disinformer, a Holocaust denier?”

    – Joe Romm, Climate Progress (2012)

    also a concern to see UK politicians making similar analogies

    “Giving in to the forces of low ambition would be an act of climate appeasement. This is our Munich moment.”

    – Chris Huhne, U.K. Energy and Climate Change Minister (2011)

    As for Lindzen, ‘liking’ it… well most people don’t, and just maybe the sight of a scientist with a Jewish background, trying to (rather desperately) repatriate the word into something else, isn’t rather sad/tragic, really shows how desperate people are to keep hold of a label they like to use to discredit people in the eyes of the public..

    Mosher summarises with some irony..(about the apparent desire to never concede any point, on any issue, to any sceptic, ever)

    Steven Mosher says:

    February 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    “The term denier is saving the planet.
    don’t give it up. the cause depends on it.”

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/hostilities/#comment-46489

    The offensiveness of the phrase is really the intent of the person using it, to discredit people, and they will happily use what ever association floats the boats of a particular audience. If their was a worse comparison than holocaust denial (that would also be used)

    “Would the media insist on having a Holocaust-denier to balance any report about the Second Word War?”

    – Caroline Lucas, U.K. Green Party MP (2007)

    more quotes here:
    http://www.populartechnology.net/2014/02/skeptics-smeared-as-holocaust-deniers.html

    • Eli Rabett

      Ah yes, sort of like premature anti-Fascism. They didn’t get any credit from the Preston Bushes of the world.

      • Tom Fuller

        Whereas you can be spotted wandering the streets of Mexico City, axe in hand, searching for stray Trotskys. Look! It’s a Curry! Look! It’s a Pielke! Look! It’s a Kloor. The post modern equivalent of squirrels, I guess.

        • Eli Rabett

          Paris

  • willard

    > But in the latter part of the 20th century the term became identified with Holocaust denial.

    The reason why we use “Holocaust denier” is exactly because “denier” simpliciter is not enough to convey the genocide connotation, Keith.

    In a context where historical revisionism is relevant, “denier” could refer to the Holocaust. In a context where AGW is discussed, “denier” refers to AGW denial.

    For instance:

    > How did genocide denial become a doctrine of the internationalist left?

    http://www.monbiot.com/2012/05/21/see-no-evil/

    • Tom Fuller

      “Denialism, a concept that was first widely used, as far as I know, for those who claimed that the Holocaust was a fraud, is the concept I believe we should use.” – Robert Manne, La Trobe University (2009)

      • willard

        “Tobis is scum. You’re worse.” – A groundskeeper that shall remain unnamed (February 4, 2015 at 5:49 am).

        What’s the connotation of “scum,” again?

        • Tom Fuller

          Look in a mirror.

          • Tom Scharf

            That one’s going to leave a bruise.

  • johndaddyo444

    There’s one major flaw in this entire article: among scientists, there is no “consensus” that mankind has caused global warming by the emission of CO2 from the consumption of fossil fuels.

    The reports of 97% consensus refer to the widespread agreement among all scientists that climate warmed during the 20th century, and is likely to be continuing on a long-term warming trend going forward. Note the use of the word “likely”.

    Some serious scientists are proposing (we use the term “hypothesizing”) an alternative cause for 20th century warming which has nothing to do with CO2. This hypothesis is important because the physics of radiation do not support the notion that atmospheric CO2 “back-radiation” can drive climate change.

    Any scientist can run the calculations – and so can lay people, perhaps with just a little bit of assistance:

    Human CO2 emissions = 37 Gt/yr (Gt = gigatonnes)
    Natural CO2 emissions = 820 Gt/yr

    This means human consumption of fossil fuels cannot exceed 5% of all CO2 emissions each year.

    Furthermore, nature sinks all but +2ppm (16 Gt) of CO2 every year. This is the average rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past few decades.

    Now, a scientist will recognize that Nature has no mind of its own, and therefore, cannot selectively sink only the CO2 it has emitted. Simple algebra shows that only a small fraction of annual human emissions of CO2 remain in the atmosphere:

    37/857 x 16 = 0.69 Gt

    Finally, the atmosphere contains 3200 Gt of CO2, and this CO2 is credited with contributing 5% of Earth’s Greenhouse Warming Effect. (The other 95% is credited to atmospheric Water Vapor)

    The total GWE = +33 C. So the CO2 GWE = 5% x 33 = +1.65 C.

    Our maximum possible contribution to this global warming effect?

    0.69/3200 x 1.65 = +0.00035 C. per year, or about one-third of one degree Celsius for 1,000 years of human emissions (at current rates of emission).

    Now, it is neither “denial” nor “self-delusional” to trust in basic algebraic calculations, and in the scientific facts upon which all climate scientists must agree (the numbers used in this post are widely reported and accepted by all scientists familiar with this subject – however, I rarely see any “climate scientist” review the numbers in as obvious and open a manner as seen here).

    “Denial”, such as it may exist in climate science today, seems to be dominated by those who would argue mankind is driving climate change through the consumption of fossil fuels.

    Therefore, when one reads about “consensus” in science, one must be careful to evaluate what exactly does the consensus agreement mean? As any good scientist knows, science does not progress through consensus, but through open, honest, and robust criticism. No scientist ever seeks to shut down debate. No scientist ever thinks he or she has “arrived” at the answer — there are always known sources of error in the measurements, known systemic sources of error in the method, and unknown sources of error.

    P.S. This post is not intended to obscure the fact that some climate scientists (e.g. working at NASA GISS, Hadley CRU, and NOAA NCDC) have created computer models which indicate this tiny bit of warming due to CO2 (if it actually exists in reality) might cause a positive feedback in Earth’s climate system through the melting of polar ice caps and the evaporation of water. The added water vapor then causes more warming, and the cycle repeats. The CO2 warming effect is essentially “amplified” in Earth’s climate system. Or, at least that’s what the most widely reported theory has been among government-sponsored climate scientists for the past 25 years.

    I’ll spare the reader the details of the computer models. The important point is that the models were created using an assumption that more CO2 in the atmosphere must cause some warming. They were created specifically to estimate “how much” warming was attributable to added CO2.

    Unfortunately, the scientific process was corrupted by a few politically active scientists, and has now been thoroughly dominated by politics. We find ourselves set backward in climate science progress about 30 years, all thanks to the misguided “denial” of the climate activists.

    • OWilson

      Well put.

      “The most exciting phrase in science, that heralds the most scientific discoveries, is not Eureka!, but, “Mmmm,that’s strange”

      Isaac Asimov

  • willard

    Could the term “loon” be traced back to holocaust denial, Keith?

    An URL:

    http://www.loonwatch.com/tag/holocaust-denial/

    A random quote:

    I hadn’t really wanted to mention this nutcase again for a while, but unfortunately he’s like the Energizer Bunny of Holocaust denial. He just keeps going and going and going and goin. If theres’s any doubt about it now that the President of Iran is a complete and total wingnut, this ought to put it to rest: […]

    http://oracknows.blogspot.ca/2006/01/loon-running-iran.html

    Seems that “total wingnut” can also be traced back to Holocaust denial.

  • Toby Joyce

    Shep Smith called anti-vaxxers “science deniers” on Fox News.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AojGzJyOypo

    Denier like “Truther”, “Birther”, “Tea Party”, are now popularly accepted terms. “Big Bang” began as a derisive name for a scientific theory. This horse has bolted, closing the stable door is an idle fantasy.

    No more that anyone can stop deniers using the terms “warmists” or “alarmists” or “watermelons” or “green fascists”.

    Accept them as features and learn to love em. Or advocate for a code of “speech correctness” on all sides.

  • windy2

    The concept of denial is rooted in religion. Scriptures note that Jesus foretold his apostles that Peter would deny that he knew Jesus 3 times for instance. The historical use of the term “denier” and its equivalents (heretic, unbeliever, etc) has always been used throughout history by those who sought to oppress others. As far as I can see nothing has changed with the use of the term “denier” today.

    • Buddy199

      The Denier is the modern heretic, since we’ve dealing with what many adhere to as their quasi-religon.

  • JH

    The problem with climate communication isn’t the tone. It’s the message.

    • 7eggert

      What message would you like?

      • JH

        The truth? that would be a good start:
        a) climate change has a very small chance of having a disastrous impact on human affairs.
        b) as of yet there is no rise in extreme weather events.
        c) there is no compelling reason to believe there will be a rise in extreme weather events.
        d) the current trend in increasing global temperature is far below projection and thus projections are incorrect.
        e) no one knows why they are incorrect and thus no one knows how to model the future global average temperature to small enough uncertainty to be at all useful.
        f) global warming’s potential impact on the biosphere is small compared to, say, the impact from farming and urbanization.
        That’s a start at any rate.

        • 7eggert

          a) The Larki eruption lead to a climate change of about 2 °C, caused fame in Europe, doubled the number of deaths and probably caused the french revolution.

          c) Simulations show a correlation between increased temperatures and more violent events.

          d) Sceptics claim that the amount of solar activity is a main factor – which is quite possible. Currently there is low solar activity and therefore the temperatures should be much lower than the local maximum.

          f) Farming and urbanization are contributing to global warming, too. You can even see an increase of methane when the Chinese started farming rice, and if you also look at the isotopes from solar radiation and the isotopes from global temperatures, they seem to have prevented a glacial period.

  • viggen

    Using the word “denier” toward someone who simply disagrees with you is typical of leftist, totalitarianism. The problem with climate change promoters is they don’t actually act as if man-made climate change is real. 1,700 private jets fly the affluent to Davos to discuss climate change. Al Gore builds an oceanfront mansion (rising sea levels anyone?). Leo DeCaprio operates a ginormous yacht with just a small handful of people aboard. Scientists falsify climate data to protect their grants; one leading climate scientist actually claims publicly that he is a Nobel prize winner and he is not. The list goes on and on and on. Am I to believe you, or what I can see with my own eyes?

    • Eli Rabett

      Of course, those who deny scientific studies of climate are more direct

    • vaggin

      DiCaprio*

  • BarryWoods

    for David Appell –

    Even John Cook (Skeptical Science) once got the problems with denier and nazi’s. This was several years ago a few months before he started Skeptical science – on his Cricketblog:

    “….Apparently in a flame war, there’s no greater insult than
    comparing your opponent to Nazis. I’ve been following the global warming argument closely of late and I’ve noticed both sides often fulfill Godwin’s Law. Global warming advocates liken skeptics to Holocaust deniers (akin to a Nazi). Sceptics compare Al Gore’s public awareness campaign to Nazi-like propoganda. It’s lazy debating – why discuss the issues with facts and logic when you can easily write off your opponent with a derogatory label? …..“– John Cook 2007

    http://web.archive.org/web/20130821112704/http://www.cricket-blog.com/archives/2007/05/13/JCs-Law/

    http://web.archive.org/web/20130820001731/http://www.cricket-blog.com/about.php

  • OWilson

    If pointing out that the projections of the 1990 UN IPPC FAR report were completely wrong these 25 years later, and if pointing out that global sea ice is at the same extent as it was in 1980 and,

    If pointing out that Amundsen sailed through the Northwest Passage in a wooden boat over a hundred years ago, while today it is frozen solid….

    If pointing out that the UN are mainly a corrupt bunch of third world despots, who have never been able to stop war, nuclear proliferation and terrorism, but tell us they can modulate a planet’s temperature to within 2 degrees, makes me a denier.

    Then yes, I am your denier!

    • Eli Rabett

      Took Amundsen three years to do it, in a ship designed to be frozen in.

      The global sea ice measure depends on a growth of sea ice in the Antarctic that partially compensates the annual loss in the Arctic, but the West Antarctic ice sheet is melting three times faster than thought

      Your arguments are at best cherry picks.

      • Tom Fuller

        The Western Antarctic ice sheet has been forecast to melt since the 1930s due to mechanical issues unrelated to global warming. Get real.

        • OWilson

          Something keeps getting in the way of their dire catastrophe, – reality!

          Here’s an example:

          Antarctic Ice Thicker Than Previously Thought, Study Finds – Nature Geoscience, November 2014

          ““The key thing is that this is a game changer because it was previously very challenging to measure ice depth. We were limited to visual observation from the decks of ships or ice cores and take measures.

          “It was a lot of hard work and quite crude, which means we were BIASED towards thinner ice. It was a bit like a doctor diagnosing a condition by prodding the skin.”

          Biased? is that the opposite of Denier?

          Lol

      • OWilson

        I’m talking Global Sea Ice, this idiot throws up “Western Antarctic” and the accuses me of cherry picking!

        Ah, well, what else do we expect from warmers?

        • Eli Rabett

          Ok well Amundsen is off the table.

          Sea ice is interesting but contributes nothing to sea level rise (ice floats), otoh, let Eli in the interest of using no inflammatory language quote a paragraph from that link

          —————–

          It often has been speculated that West Antarctica may be the most unstable of the world’s great ice sheets, a group that also includes the still-larger Greenland, and the truly massive East Antarctica. And research published in May suggested that for the oceanfront glaciers of West Antarctica, held in place by moorings at the seafloor, a point of no return already may have been reached.

          ——————-

          Don’t worry, be happy

          • Tom Fuller

            That could have been written in the 1930s, long before any concerns about global warming. In fact, maybe it was written in the Thirties.

  • Mike Mangan

    Let’s see, I think Ellen Goodman got the ball rolling with the “denier” label back in 2006, IIRC? It’s been the bloodthirsty cry of Alarmists since then and has resulted in…what, exactly? Apparently nothing. Combating “climate change” still doesn’t even register as far as voter’s concerns are expressed. Actually, I can’t think of a single Alarmist tactic that has changed since 2006. What do you call it when you keep doing the same thing over and over, always expecting different results? Insanity?

    • Dano2

      Overwrought, comical hyperbole is overwrought. And incorrect in the facts.

      Best,

      D

      • Mike Mangan

        Look, it’s my own personal troll, Drano2. Silently he sits in his dank downstairs apartment waiting, waiting for me to post on Disquis again….

        • Dano2

          No need to call widdle namie-names to dissemble away from your untruths.

          Best,

          D

          • Mike Mangan

            Not that you would supply any contradictory facts, would you? Links? Arguments? Persuasive yet pithy observations? Hmmmm? Cans someone find me a better troll please?

          • Dano2

            Now you are back to your old stand-by: making stuff up to feel better.

            Best,

            D

          • Mike Mangan

            Sigh. If my troll were a car he would be a Pontiac Aztec.

          • Eli Rabett

            And you would be a horse and buggy. Hmmm

          • Tom Fuller

            Dano! How are you? I miss your clarion call “But climategate……….” I hope all is well with you.

          • Dano2

            Tom! We were talking that we need some quality mendacicizing and FUD around here, and look who shows up!

            Best,

            D

  • Mike Mangan

    It’s 2015 and all of your efforts are going into convincing the public that it’s still getting warmer and it’s OK to use provocative slurs against huge segments of the populace. Brilliant. In any other endeavor you would have all been sacked years ago.

  • Mike Mangan

    Alarmists should have put their efforts into affecting the political process. Trust me, it works…

    http://amash.house.gov/

  • Graham Strouts

    Hi Keith I partly agree with you on things like wind-turbine syndrome, although it is not a topic I have looked at in any detail. However, your broader argument does not work- if YOU were a “real skeptic” you would compare “so-called skeptic” bogs with “so-called alarmist” blogs- but it seems that anyone who is on the “climate change is more a problem than not” side of the fence gets a free pass, no matter how much exaggeration, hyperbole or fear-mongering they engage with. There is just as much “denial” of the science on this side of the debate on the “luke-warmer” side- what would you call such activists who bend the science to suit their political stance?

    “the consensus that 1) man-made climate change is real and 2) that it poses a risk to humanity if not addressed.”
    This is a very weak “consensus”, widely open to interpretation , and with an extremely wide margin of views where the jury is still out (viz how much warming? how fast? how much of a risk? how to address it?). It is within this very broad area that of positions that the real climate debates take place. The vast majority of so-called “skeptics” are for the most part genuinely skeptical in the proper sense of the word, and sit well within your “consensus” yet are routinely called “denier”.
    I think this is what is missing from your analysis- “denier” was never anything about the science, always a political slur. No-one is a “perfect” skeptic with zero cognitive bias- the problem is the political use of climate alarmism – people are not stupid and many see through this, which leads to a wider distrust in the science and a (false) conclusion that the whole thing is fabricated. So-called “denialism” is merely a response to this. If the actual state of the science (and all its uncertainties) had not been abused in the first place, the word “denier” would never have been used in this context.

  • Peter Gleick

    Oh for goodness sakes, this semantic argument has been going on for years and years (see my Forbes column on it four years ago, link below). “Deny” is a perfectly good verb; “Denier” is a perfectly good noun. Apply it where it fits. If you think it is polarizing, fine — don’t use it. If you think it accurately describes a particular person’s position (on climate, second-hand smoke, moon landings, etc.) use it.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2011/11/21/the-rise-and-fall-of-climate-change-denial/

    • Tom Fuller

      You umm, claim you stole the term from other users? How’s that rehabilitation thing working out for you? Other fundamentalist preachers–Swaggart, Baker–were able to climb back to respectability.Why not you?

  • Susan Anderson

    This seems one of the better discussions I’ve seen on the subject. I particularly like the use of the direct word “wrong”.

    It really doesn’t matter what word you use, it will be exploited by professionals to prevent honest discussion. The professional element seems to me to get bypassed in responses to discussions of language, which means you are looking at symptoms of a larger problem. You can see the progression as soon as a new bit of information comes out. As time goes on, increasingly clever bits of misleading information are put out. This work is ongoing but the holocaust association with the perfectly good dictionary word denial was a work of perverted genius.

    “a statement saying that something is not true or real : a statement in which someone denies something.”
    “2.a. A refusal to grant the truth of a statement or allegation; a contradiction.
    “b. Law The formal challenge by a defendant of the truth of an allegation made by the plaintiff.
    “3.a. A refusal to accept or believe something, such as a doctrine or belief.
    “b. Psychology An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities,thoughts, or feelings.
    “4. The act of disowning or disavowing; repudiation.”

    People who are by wishful thinking or political inclination wrong because they are incurious as to the source of the information prefer leaders who themselves may be getting their material at second or third hand. There is a vast array of carefully mirrored false information ready to hand for this purpose.

    There is no logical argument that will bypass this endless stream of distraction. It has prevented honest discussion and will continue to do so.

    But thanks for “wrong”!

    Since I’m here I’m going to go a little off topic, because I’m tired of the misuse of “no single event can be attributed” to mean no event can ever be attributed. Only a pointy-headed thinker would come up with this knuckle-headed way to establish their credibility with colleagues and mislead a much less language-precise public.

    Saying attribution is too precise for a system as complex as weather but there are obvious relationships between increased energy and water vapor in the system, and broken circulatory patterns would not be so readily exploited by those who cannot bear to look at the dangerous situation we are making worse by ignoring it.

  • Bill

    I don’t see what the writer is speaking about.

    What is not scientific about NASA’s catilite data?

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

    And what is not scientific about GAY-LUSSAC’S LAW?
    This is the Mathematical formula that controls the Greenhouse Effect

    How can anyone talk about the Greenhouse effect without discussing it?

    This is not Conformation bias, this is science.

    NASA is quite direct. It’s satellite and earth based observatories report that GHGs in the air block out 23% of the sun’s incoming heat making the earth 23% cooler than it would be with no GHGs in the air.

    The Greenhouse effect captures only 5% of the outgoing heat.

    NASA’s web page above clearly says this.

    GHG cool the earth.

    They make the earth 18% cooler than the earth would be without them in the air.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+