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Monbiot – Projection, Denial And Ad Hominen Are Now “Argument”?

Incredible projection on view in an article by George Monbiot today. If you’re not familiar with Monbiot, he’s been a leading supporter of AGW writing for the Guardian. And when Climaquiddick broke, he agreed that there was fire within the smoke and made the point that the damage to the AGW cause from the emails is real.

Today we see him trying mightily to erect a strawman and beat it to death. But he does that after again admitting the problem brought on by the emails but not quite as much as he has in the past. So here is his first of three apparent observations in the wake of the email disclosures:

When you survey the trail of wreckage left by the climate emails crisis, three things become clear. The first is the tendency of those who claim to be the champions of climate science to minimise their importance. Those who have most to lose if the science is wrong have perversely sought to justify the secretive and chummy ethos that some of the emails reveal. If science is not transparent and accountable, it’s not science.

I believe that all supporting data, codes and programmes should be made available as soon as an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal. That anyone should have to lodge a freedom of information request to obtain them is wrong. That the request should be turned down is worse. That a scientist suggests deleting material that might be covered by that request is unjustifiable. Everyone who values the scientific process should demand complete transparency, across all branches of science.

I agree completly with his first observation. It is “not science” (and because it has yet to be reproduced, it’s not a theory either) and since the public is funding it, it should – no must – all be out in the open. And that’s doubly true when the so-called “science” is going to be used to make public policy.

Great. Now we come to the strawman:

The second observation is the tendency of those who don’t give a fig about science to maximise their importance. The denial industry, which has no interest in establishing the truth about global warming, insists that these emails, which concern three or four scientists and just one or two lines of evidence, destroy the entire canon of climate science.

What “canon of climate science?” He admits that the data is unavailable and untested and that those supporting AGW have a tendency to minize the “wreckage”. Then he does exactly that. The person who obviously doesn’t “give a fig about science” is projecting that on those who are skeptical of the “science” – for the very reasons he previously gave. It’s a stunning few paragraphs.

In fact, the skeptics, like all good scientists, actually want to see the science upon which the assertions about climate change are based. You’d think that was the very “canon of science” every person would want to see upheld. His strawman – that skeptics don’t give a fig about the science – is in direct contradiction with the demand of skeptics – let us see the science.

Even if you were to exclude every line of evidence that could possibly be disputed – the proxy records, the computer models, the complex science of clouds and ocean currents – the evidence for man-made global warming would still be unequivocal. You can see it in the measured temperature record, which goes back to 1850; in the shrinkage of glaciers and the thinning of sea ice; in the responses of wild animals and plants and the rapidly changing crop zones.

But it is not unequivocal, as the disclosure of the emails proves. And there is much controversy concerning the cause of the shrinkage of glaciers and whether the amount of sea ice is declining or increasing. Just recently, one of the favorite AGW claims about the melting snow on Mt. Kilimanjaro has been declared not a result of global warming. And since the temperature data has been shown to have been fudged, that portion of it has never moved beyond hypothesis stage to that of a scientific theory via the scientific method.

And then there’s the bothersome fact that science has said that CO2 is a lagging indicator (by 800 years) and is an “effect” of warming, not a cause. Lastly there’s the exclusion of the sun, cosmic rays and solar wind from these supposedly infallible computer models that have been unable to duplicate the past and have been wrong about the present for at least 10 years. And I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what the earth’s optimum global temperature should be.

Monbiot’s final observation has to do with what he calls the denial industry. He classifies anyone who is “paid to say that man-made global warming isn’t happening.” He cites four cases where various entities with vested interests in seeing the status quo maintained have paid to have studies done that support their supposition.

Apparently irony free, Monbiot misses completely how the same effect has been achieved through public funding on the AGW side with grants going to those scientists who essentially support the premise of man-made global warming, and little if any money going to those who don’t.

He concludes by calling those who question the science and the cause stooges:

These people haven’t fooled themselves, but they might have fooled you. Who, among those of you who claim that climate scientists are liars and environmentalists are stooges, has thought it through for yourself?

I for one have done exactly that and continue to be very skeptical of the science and especially of the alarmist “industry”. If what Mr. Monbiot presents here is the best case for his side, then I can only say his case is weak and my skepticism is only deepened by it.

~McQ

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12 Responses to Monbiot – Projection, Denial And Ad Hominen Are Now “Argument”?

  • Does anyone else see the irony of his use of the word “canon”. Canon is a religious term meaning “an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority and, in the Roman Catholic Church, approved by the pope”. So, he’s finally admitting what Global Warming is…..a religion.

  • I’m reminded of Lee J. Cobb in “Twelve Angry Men”.  As the case against the accused continues to break down under examination and more doubt is cast upon the evidence and testimony, he becomes increasingly intransigent, attempting to assert that evidence already in question ought to be considered conclusive and then finally insisting that it’s “his right” to consider the defendant guilty no matter what the evidence indicates.

    The problem is that Monbiot, like so many people, has believed in AGW for so long that it has become self-evident to him.  What he can’t (won’t?) see is that his proof is at best open to alternate explanations, and at worst is merely a rehash of data that he’s been forced to admit is fraudulent.  And, so, he’s reduced to accusing the skeptics have having dishonest motivations and of not being interested in science because they won’t - like him - accept ON FAITH what there is no evidence to prove.

    • I believe Cobb’s motive for intransigence is at play here but there are others as well.

      Cobb was free to change his mind at any time without damaging his own credibility or livelihood.

      The scientists will not be able to escape the damage to their own credibility.  The politicians and pundits will also have their credibility damaged.  And its more than credibility.  These people have actively tried to harm the credibility and careers of skeptics.  What happens to those scum if their ‘greater good’ was a falsehood?

      As far as many of those people are concerned, there will be global warming forever.  It will take decades of cooling (which aren’t guaranteed just as warming isn’t guaranteed) to silence them nearly completely.

      Then there’s a greater harm.  While the world is fixated on its belief in warming.  A cooling phase would lead to reduced crop yields like it did 2 years ago, except it would be progressive.  The world could be late preparing because its distracted with a false theory.

  • It takes an idiot to invoke “big oil” when the CRU e-mails show Esso and BP Amoco going to the various IPCC AR3 meetings along with Shell who was offering a “strategic alliance” along with student grants.
    That “big oil” carnard just isn’t going to work anymore.
    Meanwhile, over at Watts Up with That, they show how the CRU et al folks faked (and I do mean faked) the data in the IPCC report for Australia.  This is stuff  the Tobacco Institute wouldn’t have tried.

  • Sounds like Monbiot is looking to get back into the good graces of the alarmist camp, which doubtless excoriated him for not toeing the line.  He is following what seems to be the game plan.  He claims that it’s just three or four individuals and just a couple of lines of codes, which is false on both counts.  He claims that there’s plenty of evidence outside of this small circle of people that establishes the case for warming, which is also false, especially since much of the data that is used to support that evidence is linked to the CRU data.  He smugly insists that skeptics simply haven’t looked into the issue deeply enough to justify their criticisms of the people involved in the emails, a bit of sophistry designed to distract from the real issue.

    This has become the alarmist’s playbook on climategate.  Attempt to minimize the damage so that you can dismiss it, hopefully before people realize just how bad the damage is.

  • The word moonbat comes from George’s last name as a way of describing a leftist zealot

  • The Warmist side is doing push-back now, and the bondage and discipline aspect of that is for those who might stray from that side.

    There’s tremendous pressure to conform among the Warmists. Note that email sent to NY Times reporter Andrew Revkin (did I get that right?) from one scientist who was expressing his extreme displeasure that Revkin mention that Copenhagen prostitutes at his blog.

    These people have been caught with their pants down and they are going to lash out like nothing that’s been seen before.

    I think that they think that the story has been contained and the “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” act is working. Their heels are dug in.

  • Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after ‘Danish text‘ leak

    Developing countries react furiously to leaked draft agreement that would hand more power to rich nations, sideline the UN’s negotiating role and abandon the Kyoto protocol

    The agreement, leaked to the Guardian, is a departure from the Kyoto protocol‘s principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2, should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol – the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions; and would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions.

    The so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as “the circle of commitment” – but understood to include the UK, US and Denmark – has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was finalised this week.
    The document was described last night by one senior diplomat as “a very dangerous document for developing countries. It is a fundamental reworking of the UN balance of obligations. It is to be superimposed without discussion on the talks”.
    One troubling provision:
    Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.
    As the guy with the hockey mask, The Humungus, said in Road Warrior

    … I have an honorable compromise. Just walk away. Give me your pump, the oil, the gasoline, and the whole compound, and I’ll spare your lives. Just walk away and we’ll give you a safe passageway in the wastelands. Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror.

  • Australian science writer Joan Nenova has a good breakdown of the funding as well as the ptential carbon trading prostitutes (no, not the Danish hookers).
    http://joannenova.com.au/2009/12/sub-prime-carbon-is-coming-2/
    http://tinyurl.com/yd8ockk
    Arguing with an irrational person is much like arguing with your dog.

  • The world has just ten years to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control before the damage they cause become irreversible, the Met Office has warned.

    .. Deja vu ? …

    According to July 5, 1989, article in the Miami Herald, the then-director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Noel Brown, warned of a “10-year window of opportunity to solve” global warming.

  • The Medieval Warming Period ended about 800 years ago.  CO2 is rising.  CO2 is a lagging indicator……..

    Hmmmmmmmmm.