The IPCC is out and so are the climate denialists

The “pause” in perspective. Chart courtesy of NASA GISS using meteorological station data of annual-mean surface air temperature change and base period 1951-1980

The IPCC is out with a new analysis of climate change and the verdict is hardly a surprise: there is a 95% probability that human industrial activity is far and away the dominant factor in forcing higher temperatures. Which means it’s time for the usual suspect to justify their extravagant salaries by taking to the pages of various publications and spread misinformation as far and as wide as fat stacks of cash and their wingnut enablers allow. Over the past few months the Bad Astronomer has become quite the bad-ass at knocking this stuff down as fast as it gets posted and he doesn’t disappoint here. I think he deserves DK level premium pages hits for that effort:

This latest report is hardly a “headache” for the IPCC … While denialists are distracting everyone about the “pause”, about climate sensitivity, and all that, the Arctic sea ice is melting. Antarctic land ice is melting. We just experienced the hottest decade on record. .. I could go on; Delingpole’s article is a rich source of the same tiresome anti-reality claims. I suggest you keep your browsers pointed to locations of good information, and follow real climate scientist Michael Mann on Twitter.

A few days ago I was visiting a friend here in Texas, and he we  happened to briefly argue about climate change. The thing is, he does trust me, he knows what I do for a living, he knows I can call guys like Jim Hansen or Mike Mann on the phone right in front of him and get the answers to just about any layman’s question. But I’m not the only voice he trusts and listens to. Therein lays the problem for science and the path to success for well funded weasals.

We chat about issues like this for a few minutes maybe once a week, and that’s in a good month. But he listens to misinfo everyday, often for hours, either in the background or front and center. Plus, he isn’t scientist and doesn’t work with scientists. Most laypeople simply do not understand how the research world works, they see it more as an opinion thing, where the scientist with the most funding gets the biggest say, not as the rigorous process you and I know and respect, or at best they think of the front page of Omni or Nat’l Geo as the actual science itself.

They don’t fully appreciate the fundamental method, i.e., where you as the science guy or gal publish a paper and your best science buddies then take turns scrutinizing it for the tiniest empirical errors in the hope of publicly humiliating you. Or that what survives that ruthless process over time grows robust, gets filled in and built on, and is the state of science in that field at that time. Instead they get the Rush Limbaugh and Fox News version.

He’s been led to think weather and climate are the same, and since weather forecasts are dicey a few days out, long term climate forecasts are worthless. He’s been lied to about what global temps are doing and have been doing. He’s been lied to that Climategate was an example of leading climate scientists caught red-handed manipulating data to cook the results. He’s been told in sneering, nod-nod wink-wink format that scientists have a powerful financial incentive to engage in a massive conspiracy in the form of shadowy grants and tenure, with no mechanism to correct and filter out the quacks and stooges. He’s been lied to that the jury is still out, or that there is significant uncertainty about what greenhouse gases do, how they act, what properties they have, and where they come from.

In short, he’s been lied to, effectively and systematically, for years on end. To the point that if he confronts how bald-faced and transparent the lies are, he’ll feel like it was his fault, as if it were his responsibility and therefore his failure for not having an independent lab and personal super computer for performing his own experiments. And far from being angry at him, I am pissed for him, I’m pissed that he’s been lied to about something he wouldn’t find the least bit controversial, about basic science that he does indeed have the intellectual heft and enough education to evaluate, if not for paid actors and industry hacks posing as research scientists infesting traditional and new media.