Climate denialism in 5 easy stages, and with Rupert Murdoch’s blessing
The 5 stages of climate denial are on display ahead of the IPCC report, The Guardian, by Dana Nuccitelli Monday 16 September Climate contrarians appear to be running damage control in the media before the next IPCC report is published The fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is due out on September 27th, and is expected to reaffirm with growing confidence that humans are driving global warming and climate change. In anticipation of the widespread news coverage of this esteemed report, climate contrarians appear to be in damage control mode, trying to build up skeptical spin in media climate stories. Just in the past week we’ve seen:
- The David Rose Mail on Sunday piece that treated scientific evidence in much the way bakers treat pretzel dough.
- Dr. John Christy interviewed by the Daily Mail;
- Christy’s colleague Dr. Roy Spencer in The Christian Post;
- Andrew Montford in Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian;
- Matt Ridley in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal; and
- Bjorn Lomborg in The Washington Post.
Interestingly, these pieces spanned nearly the full spectrum of the 5 stages of global warming denial.
Stage 1: Deny the Problem Exists.……..Most climate contrarians have come to accept that the planet has warmed significantly. Unfortunately many have regressed back into Stage 1 denial through the new myth that global warming magically stopped 15 years ago (most recently exemplified by David Rose in the Mail on Sunday). The error in that argument involves ignoring about 98 percent of the warming of the planet, most of which goes into heating the oceans. When we account for all of the data, global warming actually appears to be accelerating………
Stage 2: Deny We’re the Cause Once people move beyond denying that the problem exists, they often move to the next stage, denying that we’re responsible. John Christy and Roy Spencer took this approach by disputing the accuracy of global climate models in The Daily Mail and The Christian Post,……, climate models have done very well in projecting long-term global surface temperature changes………
Stage 2b: Consensus Denial In Murdoch’s The Australian, Andrew Montford took a different approach to deny that we’re the cause of the problem, attacking the expert consensus on human-caused global warming. Specifically he attacked the Cook et al. (2013) study finding 97 percent consensus on this question in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
In order to deny the consensus, Montford employed the Climategate strategy, using material stolen during a hacking of the private Skeptical Science discussion forum. He then pulled quotes out of context to claim the study was “a public relations exercise,”……… we have set up a public ratings system so that anybody can read and rate the scientific abstracts. If you don’t believe the vast body of evidence of an expert consensus on human-caused global warming,test it for yourself. Moreover, the scientist ratings of their own papers – independent of our abstract ratings – also resulted in a 97 percent consensus.
Stage 3: Deny It’s a Problem
Once they’ve progressed through the first two stages and admitted global warming is happening and human-caused, contrarians generally move on to Stage 3, denying it’s a problem. ……..
Stage 4: Deny We can Solve It
In his editorial, Roy Spencer bounced between the second and fourth stages of global warming denial, also claiming that solving the problem is too expensive and will hurt the poor. In reality the opposite is true……….
Stage 5: It’s too Late
Stage 5 global warming denial involves arguing that it’s too late to solve the problem, so we shouldn’t bother trying (though few climate contrarians have reached this level). Unfortunately this stage can be self-fulfilling. If we wait too long to address the problem, we may end up committing ourselves to catastrophic climate change.
The good news is that we still have time to avoid a catastrophic outcome. The more emissions reductions we can achieve, the less the impacts of climate change will be. The challenge lies in achieving those greenhouse gas emissions reductions when Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and other news outlets are spreading climate misinformation and denial. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/sep/16/climate-change-contrarians-5-stages-denial
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