Saturday, January 23, 2010

Climate Hypocrisy

This is a great post on the subject of 'Climate Hypocrisy':

Deniers of climate change like to castigate Al Gore and others for the supposed hypocrisy of preaching the benefits of CO2 reductions while flying on jets, living in big houses, etc. I won't defend the big house (although Gore did respond to accusations by installing renewable energy onsite), but there's no problem with jetting around to climate conferences, because those trips result in net CO2 reductions.

But those are technicalities. The real problem with gloating over climate activists' small specks of hypocrisy is that it ignores the hypocritical planks inherent in the philosophical underpinnings of opposition to CO2 reductions. Here are some ways in which deniers are hypocritical (feel free to add suggestions in the comments):

The article then goes on to list examples - loads of them. Here's a few I really like...

2. They argue that siting problems (e.g. urban heat island) render temperature data useless, while simultaneously arguing that adjusting for those problems constitutes scientific fraud/ fudging the data.

4. They advocate skepticism and oppose proclamations that "the science is certain," while simultaneously claiming certainty that all climate science is one big hoax.

5. They argued that averting a 1% chance of catastrophic terrorist attacks justified spending $100 billion a year on the Iraq war, but oppose investing billions of dollars per year in averting a much higher risk of catastrophic climate change. (see this Tom Friedman article)

6. They said the US did not need a permission slip from other countries to go to war in Iraq, but don't want to act on climate change until poor countries have done so.

7. They claim that the US temperature record is unreliable when it reports warm temperatures, but have no problems using the US temperature to report cool temperatures.

8. They say it is arrogant and "elitist" for climatologists to defend their science, but have no problems with the arrogance of laypeople questioning a science they have never studied.

11. They call themselves "conservatives" but oppose efforts at conservation.

13. They say it's unwise to make decisions off of uncertain climate models, while basing their own predictions of economic doom off of uncertain economic models (WAG).

15. They removed regulation from banks in the name of free markets, then spent trillions of dollars to rescue banks because they were too big to fail. But they refuse to spend smaller amounts on the greater damage of climate change, even though it's more important that the planet not be allowed to fail (anonymous).

16. They say 30 years is too short a time to conclude there's a global warming trend, but base their own claims of "global cooling" on a 10-year trend (Tony O'Brien).

19. They demand more science/research before we can make a decision, then oppose funding for that research (Tony O'Brien).

20. They never criticise each other even when taking opposite sides. Just ignore the discrepancies and charge ahead. When one argument looses traction recycle an old one, e.g. they say it's the sun causing global warming, and when the sun cools down they say it's cosmic rays (Tony O'Brien)

23. They call their opponents "alarmists", but warn of impending economic doom should we try do anything to counteract AGW (anonymous).

25. They plead for balance and respect of dissenting opinions, and yet they continually insult people who disagree with them. (Steve Carson) [e.g. "Leftists, Communists, eliteists snakes that prey on our children in their quest to take over the world."]

26. They say, "You can't trust proxy data so the hockey stick is wrong," but then they claim "Loehle's reconstruction shows the Medieval Warm Period is warmer than today!" (Prof. Mandia) [One of my favourites]

28. They claim that temperature data that shows warming cannot be trusted because it has been fraudulently adjusted, but then use that same data when it shows temporary cooling to say that "observations prove the models' predictions wrong." (WAG)

29. They say climate scientist have a "bad scientific attitude", never criticising each other. And when there is a scientific discussion they claim it proves that "the science is not settled". (Anonymous)

30. They demand full disclosure of data and code from scientists who agree with the IPCC's conclusions; and yet, when asked for their code or data to replicate denier studies, they try every weasel way to avoid sharing code and data (see Scafetta's dodging at RC) (True Skeptic)

31. They challenge the scientific consensus and demand empirical "proof" that it is correct, yet at the same time insist that they don't have to prove anything themselves. "I'm just asking questions!" (Rumble)

32. They oppose government regulation to control CO2 emissions, improve fossil fuel efficiency, encourage energy conservation and encourge research into and development of renewable energy, because that would be "too much government intervention in people's lives." Yet by and large they are the same people who will pass laws to prevent/regulate abortion, gay marriage. (Anonymous)

37. They say it's disingenuous to point to extreme weather events (Hurricane Katrina, wild fires, etc.) as evidence of warming, but crow joyously over every cold weather event ("it's snowing in Texas!). (WAG)

38. They point to the "decline" in tree-ring proxy data as evidence that Michael Mann is covering up cooling temperatures, but criticize proxies as unreliable when they show past temperatures cooler than today's (and when temps look warmer in the past, they accept the proxy data as reliable again). (WAG)

39. They say the US can't act on greenhouse gas reductions until other countries agree to, and then fly to Copenhagen to try to prevent other countries from acting (WAG)

43. Deniers claim that anthropogenic global warming is a partisan, political line rather than legitimate science, and then argue against it by citing talking heads and press releases from industry front-groups, or "free market" think-tanks. (Wheels)

44. Taking as gospel truth sources which up until that moment they had previously castigated as never to be trusted (e.g. last year's Pravda article claiming the Sun was the cause of GW) (Sergei Rostov)

47. They say there hasn't been any warming, but later they explain the warming with mechamism different than CO2. (Jesús)

48. They explain the warming with mutually exclusive theories (eg. cloud albedo, sun, ocean currents...)

And here's a few of my own...

- They claim the peer review process is broken and yet cite peer reviewed studies as proof when it suits them.
- They claim any error in studies showing evidence of global warming means the whole theory is wrong and yet when their own lines of evidence collapse, that does not impact their theory.
- They claim to be stopping a push to a big brother state ignoring the risk that if they are wrong, then collapsing states almost always fall into extremist governments.
- They claim that they are sticking up for liberty and against big government while opposing the development of markets and technologies that would lead to micro-generation and so free us from the existing state control of energy.
- They claim to be about 'good' science while quoting people who don't believe in evolution and an expert in the made-up field of 'Orgone Energy' (this is energy from your libedo! As seen in the Cato Institute Ad featuring 'Dr' James DeMeo).
- They claim scientists are fabricating global warming for the research money while ignoring the $1120 million PER DAY the fossil fuel industry stands to loose if controls are put in place.
- Uber-denliast and oil-funded Senator Inhofe uses arguments from paleoclimate to 'disprove' global warming yet is also a Young-Earth creationist who believes the earth was created around 6000BC - well before the data he cites.
- They claim there are '100s of scientists' who disagree with the consensus on global warming yet cite the same tiny handful of paid denialists (like Singer) and non-scientists (like Monkton) over and over.

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