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Climate sceptics and a multiple choice blog post

globe_west_540redNASA VE.jpgClimate change sceptics wrapped up their latest high-profile conference yesterday. This should be fun.

The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change was organized by the Heartland Institute. In its own words the institute is there to “to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems”.

In the words of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Dateline Earth blog it is “probably the biggest basher around when it comes to the thought that maybe, just perhaps, humans might be affecting the climate”.

Every indication is that this conference was not in the slightest bit interested in discussing the true state of play with regards global warming (there are already conferences for that sort of thing). This was an opportunity to sceptics to reinforce their scepticism, and nothing was going to change their minds (see Real Climate’s pre-conference post for more on this).

So with that in mind I’ve divided this blog post into two parts. If you don’t believe in global warming: read part one. If you totally believe in global warming: skip to part two.

Part one: liberal media’s climate propaganda bashed

The conference was a great success according to the Heartland Institute (see a series of articles on its website). Hundreds of delegates successfully overturned the nonsense of a scientific consensus on global warming.

“People are saying this event has already made history, that it is the beginning of a major change in the way climate change is debated world-wide,” says Heartland president Joseph Bast. “It’s a genuine turning point in the global warming debate. The world can hear us now. The global warming swindle is finally coming to a much-deserved end.”

Showing just how much on the back foot the climate change pushers are, Al Gore refused to appear at the conference EVEN WHEN HIS $200,000 FEE WOULD BE PAID!!!

Even liberal bastion the New York Times allowed some scepticism onto its website, with John Tierney blogging thus on the conference:

Considering how many false alarms have been raised previously by scientists (the “population crisis,” the “energy crisis,” the “cancer epidemic” from synthetic chemicals), I wouldn’t be surprised if the predictions of global warming turn out to be wrong or greatly exaggerated. Scientists are prone to herd thinking — informational cascades– and this danger is particularly acute when they have to rely on so many people outside their field to assess a topic as large as climate change.

Part two: a flop of a conference

The desperate attempts of climate sceptics to prove there is debate over the issue were exposed as a hollow sham this week. Despite packing a conference hall with delegates, when the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change asked all the scientists in the room to step forward there were only 19 present (NY Times).

The De Smog blog has some nice points too, my favourite being that CNN even labelled delegates “Flat Earthers”. Come on guys, what happened to that famous American journalistic impartiality, leave the poorly sourced mud-slinging hackery to us Brits will you?

For a more serious take on Heartland, head over to the Framing Science blog where Matthew Nisbet takes apart their communication strategy. In a nutshell: “While manufacturing a scientific controversy where there is none, HI also moves to promote the public accountability frame, arguing that scientists, news organizations, and liberal elites like Al Gore, Hollywood, and the UN are censoring rival ideas.”

Everyone should also read Andrew Revkin’s take on the issue at the Dot Earth NY Times blog.

Image: modified from original on NASA Visible Earth


  1. Report this comment

    Bishop Hill said:

    It’s interesting that you quote approvingly the claim that there is “no controversy” over global warming.

    We know that something like 25% of bona-fide climate scientists think the IPCC reports are overstated (per the Pielke/Annan/Brown survey which Nature Precedings refused to publish). So why would you not criticise Framing Science for being misleading?

  2. Report this comment

    Bill Sweet said:

    I’m not surprised that 25% of “bona fide climate scientists” think the IPCC report is overstated. These documents are by consensus, i.e., (roughly) the most probable value on a distribution curve. Probably 25% think the reports are understated. Did the Pielke/Annan/Brown survey ask that question? If not, the survey is biased, intentionally or not, towards an answer.

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