Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Establishing consensus is vital for climate action

What’s the best way to reduce the roughly half a million annual deaths from smoking in the US alone? Nearly half a million lives cut short, often with untold suffering, by a commercial product that has…

Smoking: bad for pretty much everything. SlapAyoda

What’s the best way to reduce the roughly half a million annual deaths from smoking in the US alone? Nearly half a million lives cut short, often with untold suffering, by a commercial product that has been known to kill its consumers for more than half a century.

We can raise the price of cigarettes through taxes, which is known to reduce demand, especially among young people who are the industry’s reservoir of future addicts to their legal product.

We can introduce plain packaging, which replaces the glamourous, glittery gold of Benson & Hedges with the graphic image of a lung destroyed by cancer. Or we can put warning labels on packs, in bus shelters, on TV. The possibilities are almost endless.

Many policy options exist, and research has shown that they work. Tobacco control policies save lives. They also save addicts the money they no longer pour into tobacco industry coffers.

No wonder, then, that the tobacco industry spent decades undermining the pervasive scientific consensus on the adverse health effects of tobacco.

The seminal book Golden Holocaust by Robert Proctor, whose publication the tobacco industry infamously sought to suppress, provides a chilling analysis of the industry’s ruthlessness. These efforts to undermine the science continue to this date.

So why are tobacco control measures now in place in many countries around the world? Why has the rate of smoking in California declined from 44% to less than 10% over the last few decades? Why can we now debate the policy options for a further reduction in public harm, such as plain packaging or tax increases?

It is because the public demanded action. This happened once the public realised that there was a scientific consensus that tobacco was harmful to health. The public wants action when they perceive that there is a widespread scientific agreement.

Those who wish to maintain a status quo, whether it involves tobacco or fossil fuels, have long understood this principle. In 2002, Republican strategist Frank Luntz advised politicians to undermine the scientific consensus on global warming, in order to influence their views on climate change. And the tobacco industry infamously stated that “doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public."

A scientific consensus is necessary to understand and address problems that have a scientific origin and require a scientific solution. The public’s perception of that scientific consensus is necessary to stimulate political debate about solutions. When the public comes to understand the overwhelming agreement among climate scientists on human-caused global warming, acceptance of the science and support for climate action increase.

Consequently, one of the principal strategies of people who reject the scientific evidence on climate has been to try to maintain the consensus gap by creating the appearance of a scientific debate where there is none.

That is why among newspaper opinion pieces from 2007 to 2010, the most common myth promoted by syndicated conservative columnists was that “there is no scientific consensus about global warming”.

We should be talking about policy

There is clear evidence that closing the gap between the scientific consensus and the perception of it by the public is key to stimulating the constructive policy debate we should be having.

In a recent article, Mike Hulme argued that the debate “needs to become more political, and less scientific”. We agree, because the scientific debate has moved on from the fundamentals – there is no scientific debate about the fact that the globe is warming from human greenhouse gas emissions. So we need to hammer out political solutions rather than “debating” well-established scientific facts.

Hulme also suggested that, in reference to a paper by John Cook, “merely enumerating the strength of consensus around the fact that humans cause climate change is largely irrelevant to the more important business of deciding what to do about it.”

The data we have just reviewed show otherwise: there is strong evidence that the public’s perception of an overwhelming scientific consensus is key to stimulating the constructive policy debate we should be having.

Underscoring the consensus is therefore essential to counter the pseudo-scientific myths that are injected into the public debate by what scholarly evidence has recently revealed to be a nearly US$1 billion-a-year effort of political and vested interests in the US alone.

The infamy of those lobbying efforts is evident to anyone who understands the extent of the scientific consensus.

When Hulme queries the value of consensus on human-caused global warming in the peer-reviewed literature, he has it backwards in two important ways.

Closing the consensus gap is an important step towards the public debate about climate policy which he rightly calls for. The problem is the attack on climate science and the overwhelming consensus, not the research supporting it.

Join the conversation

187 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Eli Rabett

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Paul Wigton

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    4. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. In reply to John Cook

      Comment removed by moderator.

    7. In reply to John Cook

      Comment removed by moderator.

    8. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    9. In reply to John Cook

      Comment removed by moderator.

    10. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    11. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

    12. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

    13. In reply to John Cook

      Comment removed by moderator.

    14. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    15. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    16. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    17. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    18. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    19. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

    20. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

  2. Ben Pile

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    "Establishing consensus is vital for climate action"

    The problem with this claim is that it reveals that the need for a consensus may proceed the fact of the consensus. The climate narrative, however, has hitherto held that the call for political action is subsequent to the existence of the consensus. Lewandowsky, naturally understands the problem differently.

    "The problem is the attack on climate science and the overwhelming consensus, not the research supporting it."

    One reason Lewandowsky…

    Read more
    1. Barry Woods

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ben Pile

      Prof Richard Betts (Head of Climate Impacts. Met Office, IPCC AR4 and AR5 lead author,) wrote this recently (the authors may recognise the name from their 'Recursive Fury' paper. I would agree with all of Richard's points, as would most 'sceptics' and 'lukewarmers' I know.

      "I don’t think discussions on climate change should be falsely balanced with views disputing any of the following:

      1. The greenhouse effect exists and CO2 is a greenhouse gas
      2. The world warmed over the last century…

      Read more
    2. John Samuel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gavin Cawley

      In which scientific journals is Professor Salby's work to be found?

      report
    3. Barry Woods

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Gavin Cawley

      I speak for myself, no one else, where have I ever disputed CO2 is rising and that humans are doing this.. to repeat, I agree with Richard Bett's:

      "1. The greenhouse effect exists and CO2 is a greenhouse gas
      2. The world warmed over the last century
      3. CO2 concentrations are rising as a consequence of human action

      Those are all beyond doubt."

      may I ask, have you ever read - The Consensus on the Consensus - M Zimmermann, I quoted the author above.

      http://www.lulu.com/shop/m-r-k-zimmerman/the-consensus-on-the-consensus/ebook/product-17391505.html

      Read more
    4. Gavin Cawley

      Lecturer

      In reply to Barry Woods

      I did not say or in any way imply that you disputed that the rise in CO2 was man made (note I didn't even mention *your* WUWT article at all). I was pointing out that "we (or 97% of us ;-) ) are all part of the consensus now" may plausibly be true of the scientific community, but it certainly isn't true of the wider public debate on climate change, as demonstrated by the repeated discussion of this issue at a range of climate skeptic blogs, both on the part of the authors and the commentors.

      The value of surveys on the scientific consensus is that it helps to better inform the public debate on climate, so there isn't a such divergence of the scientific and public consensuses on these very basic points, and we could get on with discussing the less well settled scientific issues and equally important socio-economic and political questions.

      report
    5. Foxgoose

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Gavin Cawley

      Maybe it's escaped your notice that carrying out opinion surveys is a very large and sophisticated industry these days.

      Some practitioners have proved, at election times, pretty proficient at it.

      If surveys of scientific opinion are a valuable way of "informing the debate", why hasn't a tiny sliver of the billions spent on climate research not been used to commission proper, objective, professional opinion surveys - rather than latching on to a rough & ready amateur job by a compromised and biased bunch of activists?

      Could it be because a proper, professional survey of scientists might not have come up with the required magic number of 97%?

      report
    6. Paul Wigton

      Geologist

      In reply to Foxgoose

      NOW we get real conspiracy ideation!! Pray tell, please show me the source for these *billions* spent on climate research...maybe in the last 50 years of it, it might tote up that large an amount!

      Also, the results of opinion surveys are not science...hate to break that news to ya.

      Back on track: I trust Dr Hulme will now pay a bit more attention to his work, even when another copy editor...editorializes on it.

      report
    7. John Samuel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Foxgoose

      All you need to do then is a better survey. In the meantime the demented cite the OISM.

      report
    8. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Foxgoose

      Foxgoose,
      re: "Could it be because a proper, professional survey of scientists might not have come up with the required magic number of 97%?"
      If you examine the methodology of the Doran survey you will find that it was a "proper, professional survey of scientists" in the related field, carried out with the assistance of statisticians. The questions were carefully analyzed to remove bias and the survey gave no indication of a particular position held by the authors. Over thirty percent of those…

      Read more
    9. Barry Woods

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Rennie

      Actually the Doran (Doran/Zimmermann survey was a students MSC thesis - The Consensus on the Consensus - M Zimmermann, and there was A LOT of criticism, given in the feedback of the thesis by the scientists that took part in the Doran survey..

      have you read it.. (only £1.26 to download)
      http://www.lulu.com/shop/m-r-k-zimmerman/the-consensus-on-the-consensus/ebook/product-17391505.html

      the survey author at least seem to have her prejudices/preconceptions challenged by the results and learnt…

      Read more
    10. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Barry Woods

      Barry,
      You provide no references to academic research refuting the methodology or the outcomes of the doran/zimmerman survey.
      You display a lack understanding of academic process by attempting to refute the survey as only a part of an MSC thesis, when it is in fact published in a reputable journal. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009EO030002/abstract.
      You ignore the fact that the findings have been replicated by at least three other papers using different methodologies.
      You attempt…

      Read more
    11. Gavin Cawley

      Lecturer

      In reply to Foxgoose

      Foxgoose, I can see why you would rather talk about surveys rather than discuss the point that item 3 on Bett's list (that the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic) is not widely accepted at many climate skeptic blogs (as demonstrated by the warm and reception given to Prof. Salby's work on skeptic blogs and repeated discussion at WUWT). The evasion certainly didin't escape me.

      report
    12. Barry Woods

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Rennie

      If you read the EoS paper you cited, you will that the source of the survey, is M Zimmerman's MSc. My concerns was how politicians misuse the paper's findings, and I highlighted the authors own words about what she had learnt (which I think those quoting Doran, would be wise to read).
      For that quote I cited the authors own words in her own paper/

      “This entire process has been an exercise in re-educating myself about the climate debate and, in the process, I can honestly say that I have heard…

      Read more
    13. Barry Woods

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Rennie

      What do you mean I made no attempt to show whether the quotes came from the scientists that took part!

      As I specifically DID show this:
      The quotes came from the scientist that took part, come from
      The Consensus on The Consensus, M Zimmermann (which IS the survey referenced by Doran Eos)

      look for yourself: Full Doran paper here.
      http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

      which cites the survey as:

      "Kendall Zimmerman, M. (2008), The consensus on the consensus: An opinion survey…

      Read more
  3. Paul Matthews

    Mathematics lecturer

    It's becoming clear that "The Conversation" is becoming a mouthpiece for activism. Or was this always the intention?

    report
    1. Foxgoose

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Samuel

      By saying "Watts is not considered reputable science" you seem to be labouring under the delusion that Watts sets himself up as some kind of scientific authority.

      He just happens to operate by far the most visited climate science blog on the internet.

      Because of a very tolerant moderation policy, all shades of opinion can be found there. Mainstream climate scientists have posted articles there - as well as those with more esoteric fringe beliefs.

      I assume you consider yourself intelligent enough to discriminate between the views on offer there - so it would be really perverse to ignore people who link to information there on principle.

      report
    2. Paul Wigton

      Geologist

      In reply to Foxgoose

      Watts. beyond the *single* paper he published--which found in support of the "alarmist" position--DOES hold himself and his cesspool of a blog as a science authority. His outright rejection of the BEST study is but one of a *multitude* of ways he does so. He brags constantly that his blog is 'one of the world's authorities on climate change science,' and if you wish, I'll happily find a few thousand more references, both self- and external, that assert he's an expert.

      Here's one place he got caught red-handed.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H9QKhIy29c

      It is well and good that Dr Hulme corrected his article, but given his past strong criticisms with Cook 13, I am disinclined to believe it was a "simple misspeak."

      report
    3. John Samuel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Foxgoose

      His blog is a climate science site. It try to set a climate. And he's well known for moderating people out.

      But, heck, if you just want to write the first thing that comes into your head, without evidence, then start your own blog.

      Keeping graffiti from a building is not censorship. I presume you're intelligent enough to discern such - even if it limits your tagging.

      report
    4. Eli Rabett

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Foxgoose

      mmmmph. That was Eli being gagged by Willard Tony.

      report
    5. In reply to Paul Wigton

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    7. Kelly Anspaugh

      Teacher

      In reply to Foxgoose

      You note that Watts "just happens to operate by far the most visited climate science blog on the internet."

      Yes, and ultimate fighting matches get higher tv ratings than educational documentaries such as PBS's Nova.

      Watts yer point?

      report
    1. Foxgoose

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Rachel Martin

      Rachel

      Have you really ever met anyone who doubts the scientific principle of vaccination?

      I'm quite old and I haven't.

      It's true there was a controversy about a particular combination of vaccines - but that had nothing to to with the principle of vaccination.

      I suspect you're trying to peddle a cheap smear - that people who are unconvinced about the warming catastrophe you agonise about (in between blogging about your globetrotting) are anti-science.

      All the climate sceptics I know have at least first degree level qualifications in science - unlike the majority of climate activists.

      report
    2. Rachel Martin

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Foxgoose

      Foxgoose,

      <i>Have you really ever met anyone who doubts the scientific principle of vaccination?</i>

      Yes. I have argued with them and the arguments, in my view, are similar to those I see in debates about climate change. Perhaps you need to have small children requiring vaccination to be aware of them.

      report
    3. Foxgoose

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Rachel Martin

      My children are grown up now - but of course they had all the recommended vaccinations available when they were small.

      I also have any recommended vaccinations when I travel.

      I have no idea where you think you're going with this bizarre line of argument.

      report
    4. In reply to Andy Skuce

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. In reply to Eli Rabett

      Comment removed by moderator.

    7. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    8. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

  4. Brandon Shollenberger

    logged in via Twitter

    This article grossly misrepresents Robert J. Brulle's research in it's fourth to last paragraph by claiming "evidence has recently revealed... a nearly US$1 billion-a-year effort of political and vested interests in the US alone" to inject "pseudo-scientific myths... into the public debate." Brulle's work shows nothing of the sort. His paper clearly states:

    “Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.”

    Brulle himself has even spoken out against this interpretation of his work, explicitly saying "saying that they spent $1 Billion on climate change issues is just not true."

    http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1ru6cd9

    It's a disgrace this article would contain such a glaring misrepresentation. If Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook had even read the paper they reference, they'd have known what they said about it is false.

    report
    1. In reply to john smith

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. Brandon Shollenberger

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Foxgoose

      I'm more troubled by the fact a news organization would stand for it. In the span of a week, John Cook managed to misrepresent at least three different things. How does that happen?

      Basic fact checking should catch these things. When a person submits an article, you check its references. If you can't find what they say within the reference, you ask them to provide a more specific reference or a direct quotation.

      Scientists and activists having low standards is one thing. News organizations failing to do even the most basic of investigation is another.

      report
    4. Kelly Anspaugh

      Teacher

      In reply to Brandon Shollenberger

      Right. Not a billion dollars a year. That's an exaggeration. Probably just hundreds of millions over the last decade or so. That's all. Hundreds of millions of dollars devoted to confusing the public about the science behind climate change.

      report
    5. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. Stephan Lewandowsky

      Chair of Cognitive Psychology at University of Bristol

      In reply to Kelly Anspaugh

      The "nearly $1,000,000,000" figure comes from: Brulle, R. J. Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of US climate change counter-movement organizations Climatic Change, 2013. (DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-1018-7). I doubt it's an exaggeration because if a scholar can unearth this much from public records in a peer-reviewed article, then that means that there is likely a little more out there.

      report
    7. John Samuel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Foxgoose

      Yes, these organisations lie about lots of things, not just global warming.

      Thank you for your concern.

      report
    8. In reply to john smith

      Comment removed by moderator.

    9. Brandon Shollenberger

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Stephan Lewandowsky

      Stephan Lewandowsky, you clearly did not read my remark. Had you done so, you've have seen Robert J. Brulle explicitly condemns the interpretation you put forward. My position is the same as the author of the paper you cite.

      Moreover, it's clear you did not read the paper you're referencing. As I quoted in my comment, the paper makes it clear your interpretation is unsupportable. Specifically, it says:

      “Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.”

      Citing a paper while blatantly misrepresenting its conclusions is ridiculous. It's all the more ridiculous when you do so in response to someone pointing out your misrepresentation.

      If you think what you said is actually justifiable, address the points raised in rebuttal to it. Don't just pretend to address them by repeating yourself without bothering to read what people say.

      report
    10. Brandon Shollenberger

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Paul Wigton

      Paul Wigton, I quoted both the paper and the author of the paper explicitly stating the same point I made. In any sensible exchange, everyone would just acknowledge the article got something wrong and call for it to be fixed. The mistake is undeniable if one looks at either the paper or the author's comments on the paper.

      The fact people are avoiding acknowledging it is troubling.

      report
    11. Barry Woods

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Stephan Lewandowsky

      via Revkin:
      http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1ru6cd9

      Robert Brulle pushes back on @Guardian $1 billion/yr spin on his study of "climate change counter movement" funding:

      "You may have seen the Guardian article on my paper: I have written to the newspaper complaining about this headline. I believe it is misleading. I have been very clear all along that my research addresses the total funding that these organizations have, not what they spent on climate activities. There is a quote in my…

      Read more
    12. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

    13. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    14. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

    15. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    16. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

    17. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    18. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    19. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

    20. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    21. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    22. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    23. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    24. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    25. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    26. In reply to Barry Woods

      Comment removed by moderator.

    27. In reply to Foxgoose

      Comment removed by moderator.

    28. In reply to Paul Wigton

      Comment removed by moderator.

  5. Paul Richards

    integral operating system

    Appreciate the effort attempting a paradigm shift in values with lines of logic, Stephen and John.
    Personally I think it is fruitless, the triggers allowing all the global climate change data need an equally weighted trigger to shift values. As I said before, the whole is one of time value. The more time passes the more the public centre of gravity will be weighted correctly.
    Has anybody examined the new link to Google Maps?
    It provides a very clever way to demonstrate the variable way climate changes on a global scale. It is brilliant for scanning the changes from country to country. Great use of technology.
    Grateful to the efforts of Google for putting up the data on Google Maps from The University of East Anglia on Climate Change. The sheer weight of data in this era is amazing, it's nice to have so much to refer to.
    _____________________
    http://goo.gl/maps/xkf9D

    report
  6. Leopard Basement

    Carnivore

    I wonder if Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook have considered any possible downsides about their apparent single minded use of the analogy of the history of tobacco use with fossil fuel use today?

    Look at the juxtaposition of these questions from their article:

    "So why are tobacco control measures now in place in many countries around the world? "

    "Why has the rate of smoking in California declined from 44% to less than 10% over the last few decades? "

    "Why can we now debate the policy…

    Read more
    1. John Samuel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Leopard Basement

      The history of tobacco science denial is well documented. And many of the same players now deny climate change.

      report
    2. Leopard Basement

      Carnivore

      In reply to John Samuel

      @John Samuel

      "The history of tobacco science denial is well documented. And many of the same players now deny climate change."

      The history of the quantum theory is well documented. Who knows that? ;)

      It is not the documentation - it is the popular current knowledge that is at issue here

      With the tobacco analogy Lewandowsky and Cook imply the public will see a comparison.

      Do you agree?

      For instance. I ask you - Do you really think there is some extraordinary connection that shows tobacco propagandists, who were once asking you to indulge in a recreational drug are now employed to ask you to use gasoline to fuel your car instead of seeking out an alternative?

      report
    3. Leopard Basement

      Carnivore

      In reply to John Samuel

      I accept there may be some clear evidence of overlap in societal externality damage behaviour between the CEO's in tobacco and fossil fuel companies.

      I'd argue the overlap could be shown with a lot of large companies. I think a large proportion of this has to be accepted as just standard self interest. There could be justifiable critiques about crony capitalism that both tobacco and fossil fuel interests have benefited from.

      However I think the simple minded thesis of Cook and Lewandowsky is to ignore these complexities.

      That is why I ask my question about the analogy.

      report
    4. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Leopard Basement

      Err, the "tobacco propagandists" discussed in this article weren't asking us to indulge in a recreational drug, they were well-paid obfuscationists who were attempting to Deny well-established findings of adverse health impacts of tobacco use.

      Your description of the action of these "tobacco propagandists" is itself, intended to be misleading.

      report
  7. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    Note to moderators:

    I've just had a look a the profile for "Foxgoose": the account was set up 8 months ago, and to date has only commented on three 'the Conversation' articles, all of which have been at least co-authored by Stephan Lewandowsky.

    Further, the name "Foxgoose" seems in breach of community expectations that pseudonyms not be used.

    Now, there may be sound reasons for questioning Prof Lewandowsky's work - but this Foxgoose appears to just be a serial pest.

    report
    1. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Appreciate the comment Arthur and the intention.
      David Arthur wrote; "... name "Foxgoose" seems in breach of community expectations that pseudonyms not be used." But there is no 'seems' about it.
      They are transparent and serve as proof of the campaign waged by the Abrahamic conservative North American zealots trying to influence our culture. They serve as a warning lesson to those still Wilfully Blind ^ to many issues in science.
      So why be bothered, it's mystifying why anyone gives these pseudonyms oxygen by commenting.

      ----------------------
      ^ http://youtu.be/ZsPIfQLvdl8

      report
    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to David Arthur

      Can we also add "Brandon S?" and "Leopard Basement" as others in violation of the community standards.

      Anonymity only empowers cowards.

      "We require real names. Contributors who want to comment must use their real names when signing up for an account on The Conversation. Organisation representatives creating accounts also must use their own names. Requiring real names helps us maintain a transparent and credible forum for discussion and debate. We reserve the right to delete comments made from profiles with partial names or aliases."
      https://theconversation.com/au/community_standards

      report
    3. Brandon Shollenberger

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Arthur

      It seems cheeky to suggest I be banned for not following a rule when that rule clearly isn't applicable. The rule you guys refer to says people "must use their real names when signing up for an account on The Conversation." I've never signed up for an account.

      I was given the option to use my Twitter account to post here, and I took it. It is hardly my fault if the site imposes a rule on creating accounts then gives the option to comment without creating an account. I wasn't even given an option as to how my name would display.

      Does anyone seriously believe my comments should be deleted because I didn't put my full name in my Twitter profile years ago, long before I had even heard of this site? It's not like I'm anonymous. It is incredibly easy to find my full name via my Twitter account.

      In effect, you're suggesting my comments be deleted because this site doesn't give me the option to choose what name to display.

      report
    4. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Brandon Shollenberger

      Thanks for that clarification, Mr S?. I note, however, that you persist in not setting out you name, so we'd have to bother with Twitter to find your full name.

      Noting that you've only ever posted to Stephan Lewandowsky's article on 'The Conversation', is there a reason to not consider you a serial pest at this site?

      Still, you've succeeded in this conversation being all about you, which is fair enough; there is nothing overly controversial in Lewandowsky & Cook's article. That said, my view is that there's no need for 'consensus' to initiate climate action: all that's needed is that a majority of voters in any given nation will accept a consumption tax on fossil fuel in return for a few offsetting tax cuts. After all, it's WTO-compliant, and can be instituted unilaterally.

      That Lewandowsky & Cook seem unaware of this might reflect that they've not had a chance to come out of Der Bunker.

      report
    5. Brandon Shollenberger

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Arthur

      I'm not given the option to set my name anywhere so it is hardly remarkable I haven't done so.

      As for whether or not you should consider me a "serial pest," your standard is remarkable. As far as I know, I've only posted on this site once, on this page. The idea that me being new would somehow make you think I should be labeled a pest seems... peculiar.

      As for me supposedly succeeding "in this conversation being all about," I pointed out a simple and obvious problem with the article. The…

      Read more
    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Brandon Shollenberger

      You've addressed my remarks, on which point I stand corrected. Thank you for this considered reply.

      Thank you for pointing out that Brulle has corrected the record about how much of that billion dollars was spent on climate science Denial; Professor Lewandowsky and Mr Cook should indeed seek to correct the public record if they have misquoted Brulle.

      That said, what is disgusting is that there is an industry of paid propagandists that are willing to sell out the lives of their own children…

      Read more
    7. Brandon Shollenberger

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur, now that it seems everyone acknowledges Robert J. Brulle's work was misrepresented here, we should discuss what his work actually showed. The "industry of paid propagandists" you refer to includes a number of groups who not only don't dispute the reality of global warming, but support taking action to combat it.

      Brulle counted groups so long as those groups oppose mandatory restrictions on carbon emissions. There are many people who believe global warming is a serious threat yet…

      Read more
    8. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Brandon Shollenberger

      Now that I have access to the Brulle paper, I do not agree that it was misrepresented.

      What I see is another climate science denier with no other arguments attempting to smear the authors of this article.

      This is what the article above states
      "Underscoring the consensus is therefore essential to counter the pseudo-scientific myths that are injected into the public debate by what scholarly evidence has recently revealed to be a nearly US$1 billion-a-year effort of political and vested interests…

      Read more
    9. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Brandon Shollenberger

      Look, thanks for this. In particular, I read with interest your paragraph
      "Brulle counted groups so long as those groups oppose mandatory restrictions on carbon emissions. There are many people who believe global warming is a serious threat yet oppose mandatory restrictions on emissions. These people support other options, such as taxing emissions to decrease their appeal while using the money to fund adaptation measures."

      I'd be included in Brulle's groups, because I am opposed to any and all…

      Read more
    10. Foxgoose

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Paul Richards

      You're so perceptive it's almost uncanny.

      Personally, I'm a retired, atheist, graduate professional engineer from Somerset, England.

      Otherwise… errr…spot on.

      Probably.

      report
  8. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    My view is that there's no need for 'consensus' to initiate climate action: all that's needed is that a majority of voters in any given nation will accept a consumption tax on fossil fuel in return for a few offsetting tax cuts. After all, it's WTO-compliant, and can be instituted unilaterally.

    I'd encourage the authors of this article, and indeed everyone else who so enjoys a slanging match, to do a little reading around fossil fuel consumption taxation.

    Hansen et al's 2014 PLoS article "Assessing…

    Read more
  9. Geoff Henley

    Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

    When will those like John Cook and Prof. Lewandowsky and their cheer squad ever come to realise that this debate is not about '...humans causing climate change' but whether or not human activities are causing the Earth to heat dangerously.

    Just sprouting figures about 'x% of (climate) scientists believe humans are causing climate change' is meaningless since a significant proportion of those considered sceptics believe that human activities may cause warming to some degree. It is important to…

    Read more
    1. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to John Samuel

      Comment removed by moderator.

  10. Comment removed by moderator.

  11. Thomas Goodey

    Researcher

    Of course (if we are to trade opinions to and fro), the opinion of Freeman Dyson is of no value as far as the authors of this article are concerned.

    report
  12. Comment removed by moderator.

  13. Comment removed by moderator.

  14. Comment removed by moderator.