Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Climate change bandwagon rolls on

by Dom Corrigan

I'd stumbled across this blog before, and most of it seemed quite reasonable. On the recent blatherings of the media on global warming, a fairly long article examining the issues in a scientific manner concluded,

Uncertainty in climate sensitivity is not going to disappear any time soon, and should therefore be built into assessments of future climate. However, it is not a completely free variable, and the extremely high end values that have been discussed in media reports over the last couple of weeks are not scientifically credible.

which is a fair point.

I mention all this because www.realclimate.org is very much talked up in the 23/30 December 2004 issue of Nature. In the editorial, the advantages that blogs have over the main stream media are acknowledged,

But the political potential of this new media format only became truly clear during this year's US presidential race. Bloggers led some of the freshest debates, helped raised money for political parties and, most imporantly from a research point of view, corrected mistakes made by other media outlets.

Allusions here to the LGF Rathergate story and the DailyKos Deangate shocker.

But, reading a little further, alarm bells start ringing. Why set up a blog to provide "rapid rebuttals" to "egregious statements" about climate change? Apparently because,

Press coverage of climate change is known to overly emphasize the views of the small community of scientists who dispute the notion of man-made climate change.

Hmm. This is certainly at odds with my experience. It is surely because we don't hear from those in the "small community of scientists who dispute the notion" that we're all headed for a man-made armageddon, that we have headlines promising 11 degree temperature rises. That lack of balance allows this scaremongering to happen. Thankfully, the rogue scientists, once they escape from their BBC holding pen, start making thoroughly sensible arguments about how such predictions are simply junk science.

As is explained here in a wonderful Steve den Beste-style exposition, a lot of climate science is nonsense, and climate modelling leaves so much to be desired that it's essentially unscientific. In particular, NASA's climate modelling is shown to have some serious credibility problems.

In a another article later in this issue of Nature, the RealClimate blog is discussed again. One Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller from, er NASA, is asked to comment.

He says it is needed to counter pressure groups funded by the US energy industry that deny that global warming is happening and is being caused by greenhouse-gas emissions. Such groups are "truly abusing scientific results", according to Schmidt.

Note the change in the argument here. In the editorial the line is that it's unscientific to suppose that climate change is not happening. This is a fairer point than that being made in the second article - that it's unscientific to suppose that man, by his polluting and general rape of the planet, is causing global warming.

It's pointed out in the same article that projects like RealClimate might not be the best response to the nasty US monsters,

That would give the impression that there is a party line.

And so it all becomes clear. It turns out that the domain "www.realclimate.org" is registered to an organisation called "Environmental Media Services". With board members like this chap with clear links to the Socialist Workers' Party, this is, pure and simple, a spin machine for the environmental movement - a machine that takes fear mongering from the lunatic fringe, launders it, gives it an air of credibility and sells it the media, so we can read their rantings in our copy of the Independent.

As we've said before, the SWP is an anti-semitic, authoritarian and profoundly undemocratic group. We join Oliver Kamm in his campaign to "reject and condemn anyone who would knowingly ally” with the SWP and its front organisations “let alone speak from those organisations' platforms”.

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