I don’t refute this nonsense by constructing a new argument each time which, point-by-point, shows why their claims are not supported by the evidence. This is pointless, since the majority of non-greenhouse theorists (‘sceptics’) blithely ignore any such counterpoints and simply repeat the same arguments elsewhere. Instead I rebutt by hyperlinking to some of the wealth of explanatory material out there on the world wide web. For reasons of general accessibility, the articles l link to are predominantly pitched for a lay audience – but they are consistent in linking to the peer-reviewed primary scientific literature (sometimes I’ll link straight to the journal papers). I focus primarily on the science content of the piece, except where non-science arguments are clearly false and demand correction.
Today there is a new piece out in The Australian, by John McLean, a climate data analyst with the Australian Climate Science Coalition, a group who works closely with the International Climate Science Coalition. Its members include Prof Ian Plimer and Dr David Evans, both of whom have featured in previous versions of ‘Spot the recycled denial’, so I guess this makes it a triumvirate of spin.
Here is the first paragraph:
ROSS Garnaut made it clear in his interim report that his climate change review takes as a starting point – not as a belief but on the balance of probabilities – that the claims made in the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are correct.
Had he made even a cursory examination of the integrity of those IPCC claims he would have found a very troubling picture.
The IPCC encourages us to believe that about 2500 climate scientists supported the claim of a significant human influence on climate. It fails to clarify that the claim was made in chapter nine of the working group one contribution and that the contributions of working groups two and three were based on the assumption that the claim was correct. The first eight chapters of the WG1 contribution were mainly concerned with climatic observations and the authors expressed no opinion about the claim made in chapter nine, and chapters 10 and 11 assumed the claim to be correct. The entire IPCC thesis therefore stands or falls on the claims of just one chapter.
The full article can be read here…
I’ve decided to change the format of this series a little. In most cases, rather than reproducing the article in full and hyperlinking the refuted claims, I’ll simply list them below with some links to the relevant scientific information or debunking. It will be up to you to look at the original and pinpoint these recycled arguments:
1. The IPCC process is biased/flawed or driven by a political agenda
[Short response: The IPCC is a UN review body with scientists nominated by each participating country; it conducts no primary research because its job is to summarise the already peer-reviewed scientific literature; its conclusions have been endorsed by the national science academies of all G8+5 countries and many others; some of its predictions have been shown to be overly conservative]
2. The supposed consensus among scientists is a sham, thousands of scientists dispute a human role in global warming
[Short response: Climate warming due to human activity is mainstream science involving a huge number of research disciplines; consensus does not mean that every single scientist agrees with man-made climate change, but that the vast majority does agree; this is reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, for which surveys have found >99% of the primary scientific literature explicitly or implicitly endorse this view; former Science editor Donald Kennedy said: "Consensus as strong as the one that has developed around this topic is rare in science"]
3. The climate change agenda is being driven by a narrow self-interested coterie of climate modellers
[Short response: As any practicing scientist will tell you, science does not and cannot work by collusion. Why would scientists be urging a halt to emissions when playing up the uncertainties ('we think this is a problem but need more research to be sure...') would be a surer path to continued funding investment? Finally, to quote Michael Tobis: "Probably the weakest reason for mistrusting us climate scientists is the idea that we are in it for the money. When I was a starving grad student, I told a dignified lady from rural Mississippi that I was doing climate modeling. She was briefly taken aback. After a beat, she gathered her wits and politely replied "Oh, that must be... lucrative".]
EDIT: Tim Lambert’s (Deltoid) take on the above piece can now be found here, with some interesting details on John McLean’s background.