Monday, July 30, 2012
Set of Actual Climate Sceptics Approaches Null
Physicist and now officially relapsed climate sceptic Dr. Richard Muller of Berkeley is making some waves today with his NY Times op-ed about his conversion to accepting the reality of human induced global warming. This actually isn't really much "news" at all, since Dr. Muller's Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) group released preliminary findings confirming the overall accuracy of climate science last October. Even at the time, actual climatologists were nonplussed as they felt the whole effort was superfluous, a giant study that could only confirm the already obvious and reeked of attention seeking by a contrarian. As for the deniers, their reaction was as expected. Anthony Watts, runner of the popular denialist site "Watts up with that?" had previously declared of Muller's work that he was "prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.” Instead of keeping his word, he has doubled down on denial, now releasing his own ridiculous hastily cobbled together counter-study that claims global warming is actually some fiction of NOAA adjustments to raw temperature figures. I guess he's got to keep the cheques from Heartland flowing somehow.
On another significant front, the most prominent organization of sceptics, the US Skeptic Society has put out their July magazine issue with a front page article titled "How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused."
The Heartland Institute is pretty put out by the whole thing. They even got Monckton to personally write a rebuttal (where he essentially goes Godwin right out of the gate complaining that anyone using the term "denier" is equating someone to a Holocaust Denier).
See, a few years ago, the most famous sceptic of all, James "the Amazing" Randi seemed for a moment to join the ranks of climate sceptics. As many noted at the time, his post on the subject was uncharacteristically ignorant for Randi, most especially buying into the fraudulent Oregon Petition. He caused a storm of response, and followed up with another post where he (mostly) backed down and admitted "I do not deny the finding of GW. AGW, to me, is less clear, though I accept that it is likely true." It was in a way, a testament to how effective climate denial propaganda is that even a renowned sceptic could be fooled. Still, it was clear that in the world of self-identified sceptics, people who generally focus on rebutting nonsense medicine like naturopathy and homeopathy (Randi's TED talk is particularly amusing on this), that there was still some reluctance to accept climate science's findings regarding AGW (not for nothing but sceptic ranks are heavy with libertarians who are almost always climate deniers). Now even this refuge of the denier-damned is being exposed to the light of reality.
Where can deniers hide and still claim some mantle other than sheer denial? What fig-leaf of legitimacy can a movement led by Viscount "Not a Member of the House of Lords" Christopher "Claims to have cured Grave's Disease" Monkcton possibly have? And no, deniers, Al Gore is not even in Monckton's league when it comes to this. Gore's movie was generally accurate and Gore, unlike Monckton actually did do the "crazy" thing he supposedly claimed in that yes, he really does deserve credit for the creation of the Internet. Really though, Gore is just a popularizer and proponent of the science, he never claims to be a scientist. You can accuse him of hypocrisy for flying in planes and living in a house (if you can, you know, show where he tells anyone else not to fly in planes or live in a house), but hypocrites aren't wrong they just don't practice what they preach.
It's really becoming clear that ludicrous characters like Monckton lead the climate denial fight because there is no one more credible to do so. Frauds, fools and charlatans are all that remain. Will the last sceptic remember to turn the light off when he or she leaves? Those remaining won't miss it, they weren't using it anyway.