Can we get on with fixing the world now? [BEST

Global warming is a fact. It’s even more of a fact than it was yesterday. It is factier. The factuality of it all has been proven beyond de-factification by a sceptic-sponsored super-study of weather station data. It’s done. Fact this in your fact hole, fact-face. I fact yo’ momma. And she loved it.

If you’re anything like me (and I hope, for your sake, you aren’t), your first act after hearing the news was to quickly check its “interpretation” by the Telegraph’s resident troll, James Delingpole. Sadly, at the time of writing this, he’s been unusually quiet. No doubt he’s busy scouring the (three) denier blogs he reads, looking for someone, anyone, to tell him what to think.

In truth, believers in reason over ideology will find limited satisfaction in this news. Already arch-sceptics are either weaving this study into their elaborate conspiracy theories, or pointing out (genuinely in some cases, but with slippery dishonesty in others) that they never, ever said the earth wasn’t warming and, anyway, the real question is whether or not the change in global temperature is being caused by humans. So there.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem an unreasonable position to take. But this argument, like much of the news coverage I’ve seen of this study, misses an important point. The BEST report is further proof that climate scientists are not engaged in deception, exaggeration, or sloppiness. There is no conspiracy. There is no scam.

It’s shocking, I know, but they really have been telling us the truth all along.

And while climate scientists have been vindicated, the climate ‘sceptics’ are the ones who have been proven wrong. Yet again. All their doubts, protestations and demands for ‘real science’ have been shown to be completely unfounded.

So, maybe next time the science guys and gals who’ve been proven right say to the public, “yes, global warming is caused by humans, we should be worried about it and here’s our evidence to prove it”, should we, and the media that channels things into our putty-like minds, not trust them a bit more? Wouldn’t that make sense? I mean, not everyone can be a climatologist or a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Some of us can’t even spell physicist. And we can’t all spend our days picking apart stultifying statistics in some stodgy journal. We’ve got to accept some things on the basis of authority and credibility, right?

And when the alternative is to listen to the confused rants of the eccentric, hysterical science-deniers, repeatedly, embarrassingly showing themselves to be wrong time and time again, is there really any choice at all?

We all know the results of this latest study will not change a single person’s mind. But who cares? If you want to believe that a secret, globe-spanning cabal of evil scientists are inventing science while under the command of a mysterious shadow-EU for the sole purpose of inventing a crisis that allows them to impose new taxes FOR SOME DIABOLICAL REASON, then go for it. Good luck with that.

I only hope journalists, bloggers, columnists, politicians (and anyone else setting the agenda that defines the future) stop indulging in the fake “debate” and focus on the real one. Climate change is here. Shit. What the fuck are we going to do about it?


Is James Delingpole for real?

If you’re familiar with the work of James Delingpole, you’ll know him as the painfully ignorant, eternally inaccurate “journalist” trolling on the Telegraph Blogs. Like a pickled deformed foetus, he is at both repulsive and fascinating. Repulsive because every opinion he has, belief he holds and statement he makes manage to distort reality and normal human decency to such an extent his articles become something like a written manifestation of a Dali masterpiece – if said masterpiece was painted by a brain damaged chimp with stumps for hands. Fascinating because I can not comprehend how someone so devoid of an ability to construct a cogent opinion (let alone honestly report anything factual) is a journalist – and has a regular presence on the website of one of Britain’s biggest daily newspapers. Yes, being an ignorant jerk isn’t exactly uncommon within the British press, but Delingpole is SO consistently bad, it genuinely troubles my mind.

I’ve long suspected Delingpole to be a fake. That the James Delingpole persona is entirely fictional; his blog nothing more than a vessel for other Telegraph writers to vent their most vile and hateful thoughts. Like a columnist ‘river of slime’. However, that doesn’t quite add up as I’ve seen the ‘Pole on the telly and I don’t think they make CGI that ugly. In the past, I’ve termed him a professional troll – a shameless shill paid to discuss issues he doesn’t really care about (and clearly knows very little about) simply to stir up controversy and attract readers. This too isn’t quite right, as Jimmy spends his offline time head-to-head with the world’s brightest, debating issues he knows very little about.

So, even though it hurt my brain to do so, I was forced to accept that Delingpole was genuine. At least, I did until today… (the plot thickens!)

Delingpole’s latest post on the Telegraph is so pointless it’s barely even worth mentioning. I only do so to set the scene. He rants in response to today’s “exclusive” report in The Times about EU plans to adopt a more ambitious target for the reduction of CO2 emissions.

[As an aside, earlier today The Guardian’s George Monbiot wrote a blog post about the same story. It’s interesting to compare the differing approach of the two long-term rivals. When confronted with the news, the first thing Monbiot did was phone the European commission in an attempt to check the validity of the story (for the record, they said it was “totally wrong” – interesting to think that The Times will be charging for such exclusives very soon). Meanwhile, Delingpole smacked his angry face into the keyboard until something resembling an article was vomited forth.]

Towards the end of this stream of non-consciousness, he rages about David Cameron’s commitment to tackling climate change (going so far as to use ALL CAPS – truly the mark of a serious journalist). This is despite telling his readers to vote Conservative pre-election. In the comments, one of his followers, Jacquesarden, points out this inconsistency. Not particular cutting, I feel. It is entirely possible to support one party about others but criticise individual policies. Regardless, the really interesting part of this tale is Delingpole’s enigmatic reply:

@jacquesarden Sorry mate, but I think you may be a bit too stupid to understand the point of any of my blogs. May I suggest the Guardian’s Comment is Free, or similar?

Now, this is unusual for a couple of reasons. For one, Jacquesarden’s is the only comment out of 16 to which Delingpole bothers to reply. It’s odd that a so-called professional journalist would respond to such a harmless comment with such a childish rebuke. More intriguingly is Delingpole’s reference to “the point” of his blogs. He could’ve just said something like: “I still feel voting Conservative was the best option; albeit out of an exceptionally bad bunch. However, just because I supported David Cameron in the general election, this doesn’t mean I’m going to relent when trying to bring some common sense to British politics”.

Instead, he teases us with talk of a “point”, suggesting a grander scheme behind the blog – something only an inner circle of his sycophantic followers know about. Maybe they’re not even in on the secret?

Now, what could this “point” Delingpole refers to be?

It can’t be to inform or educate his readers; his articles mainly consist of misleading claims and tenuous assertions.

It can’t be to further the debate about climate change; he frequently regurgitates long-debunked denialist arguments.

It can’t be to spread doubt and confusion about climate change; he lacks the credibility and knowledge to make much of an impact.

It can’t be to promote the libertarian philosophy; he’s very aggressive towards people whose thoughts differ from his own and is remarkably critical about people making money (admittedly the only people with money he mentions are the ones who also campaign for protecting the environment).

It clearly isn’t to help or support a Conservative government; if his advice for the Tories are anything to go by, he either wants them confined to the political wilderness or understands even less about the British public than he does about climate science (I think it’s the latter).

So, what’s the point?

Possibly there isn’t a point and the James Delingpole blog is nothing more than the earnest writings of an egotistical man-child, overcompensating for his own insecurity and whose privileged upbringing managed to disguise what I suspect is a mild case of autism.

On the other hand, this could be the closest I’ve got to seeing Delingpole admit that the whole thing is a hoax – a parody. Could it be that the “point” of James Delingpole’s blog, and in fact his entire existence, is to act as a twisted reflection of ourselves?* A dark satire, exposing man’s innate instinct to eschew rationality and compassion in favour of bitter, instinctual self-interest? His every assertion is baseless and narrow-minded. Every piece of “evidence” he uses is mercilessly corrupted to fit a predefined conclusion. How then does he differ from the rest of us in our every day lives? When we tell our friends about how unfairly we’ve been treated at work, we don’t stop to fact-check or make sure all quotes are put into proper context. When overhearing a snippet of private conversation between two friends, we don’t seek to establish the full story before leaping to (and passing on) any conclusions. Delingpole’s gift to humanity has been to expose its lack of credibility by sacrificing his own.

Just think: when you’re reading Delingpole, you’re reading yourself telling the people who you want to take you seriously things you think you know stuff about.

Either that or you’re reading the deluded scrawlings of one of the world’s biggest cunts.

*That question was totally an homage to John Rentoul.

Weathermen, scientists and the lack of uncertainty about climate change

Traversing the snake pit of flaws and functional shortcomings that is the media’s ability to effectively communicate any message that veers from a position of so-called common sense or conservative opinion (note the little c) is a fun, if often fruitless, game. While such an exercise brings many opportunities for raging rants, getting to the root cause of why they are so fundamentally useless at their, almost, singular role in society is surprisingly difficult.

In the case of climate change and, in particular, how it relates to the decidedly un-warm weather in the UK, you can hardly be surprised that such noteworthy columnists as (ahem) Gerald Warner and Janet Daley get confused about the science when, reportedly, so do the meteorological magnates across the pond.

In a survey of U.S. weathercasters, 41% said their biggest obstacle to reporting climate change was “scientific uncertainty”. I’m sure many of the most vocal ‘sceptics’ (as they like to be called) in the media would agree. This appeal to doubt as justification for their failure would be more understandable if another survey didn’t show that 96% of climatologists agree that man is having an impact on global warming.

To see the bizarre discrepancy in acceptance of AGW (human-caused global warming) between climate scientists and those who could arguably be called their most public voice, I’ve cobbled together this graph based on the results from a number of surveys*…

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Snow in UK proves global warming is a lie – does record heatwave in Bulgaria prove it’s real?

There are so many idiots writing nonsense blogs for The Telegraph it’s barely worth highlighting individual examples of their boastful ignorance. Sometimes, however, I can’t help but be encouraged by the gushing veneration of their commenters.

Thusly, it was Stew’s comment on Gerald Warner’s post, BBC: forecast of a mild winter ‘wasn’t actually wrong’. And they called climate sceptics ‘deniers’, that spurred me into writing this inaugural post for 2010.

Stew wrote:

“Devastating; and brilliantly argued. Thank you, Mr Warner.”

Now, after reading just a few paragraphs of Mr. Warner’s paranoid rant, I would not have considered it “brilliantly argued”. Nor would I have considered it sensible, rational or relevant. Still, I can’t help but think that maybe it’s me who is at fault here; that I’m just too blinded by my liberal sensibilities to spot the luminosity of the polemic. I must therefore stick my surgeon’s cap on and dissect the article, in the hope that I might learn something.

Continue reading

Does a Polar Bear drown in the Arctic Ice Shelf?

Image by SordxMaelstrom on DeviantArt

Those who persist in doubting the strong evidence that supports climate change recently received a nice, juicy bone to chew on, in the shape of this combatively headlined article in USA Today:

Could we be wrong about global warming?

Could the best climate models — the ones used to predict global warming — all be wrong?

Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The report found that only about half of the warming that occurred during a natural climate change 55 million years ago can be explained by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What caused the remainder of the warming is a mystery.

With such a loaded headline typical of the US media, it’s no surprise that this article was seized by right-wing bloggers as proof positive that climate change is all just a liberal/progressive/socialist conspiracy. This camp is ably represented by Blogmocracy, answering USA Today’s question: Does a Bear Sleep in the Woods?

Blogmocracy’s blog post is full of the usual bollocks, relying on supposedly self-evident statements and dodgy science. Oh, and I should also point out that it’s based on a complete misrepresentation of the facts.

The study doesn’t cast doubt on global warming at all. As one of the scientists who worked on the research told Reuters:

…This could mean current forecasts are underestimating how hot Earth’s atmosphere will get in the future

As explained by Reuters here and here, the story behind the attention grabbing, right-wing baiting headline is that this new research, worryingly, indicates that current models of global warming may in fact be underestimating the problem.

This story is another example of typical denial nonsense. When will they simply admit that global warming and climate change are accepted by virtually every respected scientific organisation – and challenged by none.

Footnote – Science was founded on people admitting their ignorance, looking for mysteries, questioning evidence and then going out and finding the answers. Unfortunately, such (entirely beneficial) admissions of knowledge gaps on “politically sensitive” topics are seized by the anti-science, pro-personal agenda brigade and twisted in an attempt to discredit otherwise widely supported theories. Learning for the day, kids: always look deeper and always do your own research before believing anything you read or hear, online or offline!


CO2/temperature correlation over the 20th Century

CO2 cause of global warming

Carbon dioxide emissions charts