First Post

It’s with excitement and some trepidation that I write my very first blog post today.  As a trained scientist, it really isn’t in my nature to write short blips about weighty subjects like climate change.

But I’ve taken up this challenge - today, on the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day – because I simply couldn’t stand by and watch while climate change “deniers” continue to try to take center stage and to keep all of us from doing what’s necessary to head off the impending climate change disaster.

As a professor, a scientist, a Holocaust survivor and someone who has just written a book on climate change, I think I am uniquely positioned to tell the climate change story.  I know that once people really grasp the science behind climate change and how each person really can help us reverse course, they take action and feel hopeful.  I’ve seen it happen.  Despite everything, I feel hopeful too.

So please, read on, leave comments and let’s start a discussion.

  Climate Change and the Holocaust

“Deniers.”

The term itself triggers angry responses and, recently, it’s been used in a tumultuous series of climate change opinion pieces, responses and blog posts – now numbering in the hundreds – a recent focal point was an exchange in the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published under the title “No Need to Panic About Global Warming,” an opinion piece signed by 16 scientists that appeared in the January 26th edition.

Even Physics Today, got into the fray, and published this on their blog recently: “Any time somebody publishes the words “denier” “climate” “Mann” “Santer” and “Trenberth” in an online article, they might as well be blowing a dog whistle that attracts a swarm of obsessive, inarticulate, scientifically-illiterate human comment-bots. They always say the same thing (probably cutting-and-pasting from elsewhere), bringing up Holocaust deniers “we’re not that” and Lysenko “yes you are”. This discourse is at the intellectual level of a playground. This is probably the first Physics Today article they have ever read.”

The comment reflects the undeniable fact that the term “deniers” has a direct association specifically with Holocaust deniers and captures much of the intellectual spirit and tone of this debate.

We are now painfully aware that the Holocaust deniers were dead wrong and that there was a planned systematic genocide.  But what about climate change deniers? Can we really compare the two, the Holocaust and climate change? Does this have anything to do with science?

I am probably one of the very few who can write with some authority on both topics.

I was born in Warsaw, Poland in May, 1939. The first three years of my life were spent in the Warsaw Ghetto, as the Nazis developed their plans for systematic Jewish genocide. Before the destruction of the Ghetto in 1943, I was hidden for a time on the Aryan side by a family friend, but a Nazi “deal” to provide foreign papers to escape Poland resulted in my mother bringing me back to the Ghetto. Then a Nazi double-cross sent the remnants of my family not to safety in Palestine, but to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp as possible pawns in exchange for German prisoners of war. As the war was nearing an end, in April 1945, we were put on a train headed to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp further from the front lines.  American tank commanders with the 743rd tank battalion of the American 30th Division intercepted our train near  Magdeburg in Germany, liberating nearly 2500 prisoners.  Within the year, my mother and I began building new lives in Palestine.

I am now a professor of Physics, studying the causes of global warming. I have just published a book on the topic titled : “Climate Change: The Fork at the End of Now” (June 2011 by Momentum Press). I publish regularly in the Climate Change and energy literature, founded the Environmental Studies undergraduate program at Brooklyn College of CUNY and have taught Climate Change on various levels for the last 15 years or so.

The last chapter of my book is titled “The Future, the Past and the ‘Just World’ Hypothesis” where I make an attempt to understand the intensity of the climate change debates and try to answer the question, “Why do we tend to underestimate risks relating to natural hazards, when a catastrophic event has not occurred for a long time? If the catastrophic events are preventable, can this lead to catastrophic inaction?”

The Webster Dictionary defines genocide as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of racial, political or cultural groups”. There is no question that the Holocaust was a genocide. Genocides do not repeat themselves exactly. They come in different guises. Despite the deniers, it is straightforward to teach students to condemn the Holocaust, but it is more difficult to teach them how to prevent future genocides.  One of the most difficult parts is to see them coming. Despite the fact that Hitler published the first volume of his manifesto, Mein Kampf, in 1925, where he laid out his philosophy, he was, nevertheless, democratically elected as German Chancellor in 1933. Few people believed in 1933 that he would seriously try to accomplish what he preached or anticipated the consequences that resulted from his actions.

Predictions by the Intergovernmental Plan on Climate Change (IPCC) and most scientists, strongly suggest that we may be creating our next genocide ourselves; a “business as usual” scenario over the next 70 years (the expected lifespan of my grandchildren – my definition of “Now” in the book) will result in doubling of greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions at these levels would result in major extinctions around the globe, with more than 40% of ecosystems destroyed.  The belief that we are not part of the ecosystems is a dangerous hubris. We have just passed the 7 billion population mark and even if we take the 40% prediction with a large grain of salt, we are talking about the potential genocide of billions of people.

Arnold Toynbee wrote that civilizations die from suicides, not murder. Even if the predicted consequences of “business and usual” environmental scenarios over the next 70 years turn out to be wrong in some details and even slightly wrong in timing, it’s clear that once we pass a critical point in the ability of the planet to adapt to the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, the consequences amount to global suicide – a self-inflicted genocide. We know what we must do to mitigate this possible future genocide, but we need our collective will to do so.  We can’t allow the deniers to win again.

Thank you for reading this and please let me know what you think.

-Micha Tomkiewicz

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About climatechangefork

Micha Tomkiewicz, Ph.D., is a professor of physics in the Department of Physics, Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. He is also a professor of physics and chemistry in the School for Graduate Studies of the City University of New York. In addition, he is the founding-director of the Environmental Studies Program at Brooklyn College as well as director of the Electrochemistry Institute at that same institution.
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77 Responses to First Post

  1. Wyo says:

    Congrats…looking forward to reading all your posts.

  2. Dr. Tomkiewicz,

    As a Jewish person who has previously spent several years in the virtual trenches observing and combatting Shoah deniers, I find it very disappointing that you should be appealing to your own authority as a survivor in order to persuade your audience of the validity of the “denier” label when it is so egregiously mis-applied in an attempt to denigrate and marginalize those who have the temerity to hold skeptical views. Views which the above essay strongly suggests you have failed to personally examine.

    Had you done so, you would not have fallen into the trap of so glibly and disrespectfully invoking the denier canard.

    One particular choice of phrasing that you have used in this maiden post suggests very strongly that you are far from being au courant with the pronouncements of the IPCC. You wrote:

    Predictions by the Intergovernmental Plan on Climate Change (IPCC) and most scientists [...]“

    The IPCC long ago gave up making “predictions”. The correct nomenclature for the computer-generated results on which they hang their alarmism is “projections”.

    It is also worth noting that a careful study of Michael Mann’s latest opus strongly suggests that his mode of narrative and self-promotion is not unlike that of Holocaust denier, David Irving’s mode of “doing history”.

    And speaking of historians … I see that you’ve also chosen to quote the late Arnold J. Toynbee. Perhaps you are unaware that while he enjoyed the adulation of the US press, Toynbee’s reputation as an historian is far from exemplary. As Wikipedia has noted:

    Toynbee has been severely criticised by other historians. In general, the critique has been leveled at his use of myths and metaphors as being of comparable value to factual data, and at the soundness of his general argument about the rise and fall of civilisations, which may rely too much on a view of religion as a regenerative force. Many critics complained that the conclusions he reached were those of a Christian moralist rather than of a historian. Hugh Trevor-Roper described Toynbee’s work as a “Philosophy of Mish-Mash” – Pieter Geyl described Toynbee’s ideological approach as “metaphysical speculations dressed up as history”

    Similarly, some who have studied the assessment reports of the IPCC have described their approach as “speculations dressed up as science”. I trust you are aware of the InterAcademy Council’s 2010 report on the procedures of the IPCC, in which it was noted that there is considerable room for improvement – which, to date, the IPCC has failed to make.

    Since you are so concerned about global population numbers, I would suggest that you check out the views of Dr. Hans Rosling … particularly his presentation at the recent AAAS conference in Vancouver.

    And I would also strongly recommend that you spend some time exploring the blog of Dr. Judith Curry at Climate Etc

    This post of yours suggests that you have an awful lot to learn, and her blog would be an excellent starting point.

  3. Vinit Parmar says:

    Fantastic work.

    “Deniers” assume that human beings are not part of nature and the eco-system because we have acquired the ability to manage our survival in the world, i.e., we insulate ourselves from the weather system and patterns, manage our food sources on a long-term basis, defeat predators which challenge our food sources, protect ourselves from traditional predators roaming the “wild”, and overcome the immense physical challenges that historically presented dangers to our survival. That we may have removed ourselves from harm still has not changed the fact that we immediately impact our environment. Now, the challenge is for us to be aware of how we have done so, and take effective steps to reverse the damage done by living in a sustainable way.

    The UN reports that our current level of consumption is 1.5x what the Earth can provide, meaning, that by 2030, we will have reached a plateau of exhaustion of natural resources. We have little time and little knowledge/awareness of the extent of the misery we have created for ourselves and the rest of the species on our planet.

    On the positive side, technological advances may speed us toward our own rescue, if we act expeditiously. Is it possible to get 7 billion people to agree on the simple concept that we must alter our habits and ways of living to survive?

    Please check out:

    If that does not work, find this Vimeo link: http://vimeo.com/user8089060/quest4energy

  4. frankis says:

    re the second comment ever on your blog, from Hilary Ostroy: if you were to take a look at Judith Curry’s dubious blogging efforts would you please also consider some of the many online antidotes to her to be found at such exemplary places as http://realclimate.org or http://tamino.wordpress.com ?

    Welcome to the climate games!

  5. Tony says:

    Great work Micha,

    Climate change can be beaten if as you say 7 billion people make a concerted effort. On a practical level, we often hear that any effort to combat climate change will hurt the economy, action simply defies economic reality. I argue that economic reality has nothing to do with the natural world. For example, one economic reality is that there are people willing to pay large amounts of money for tiger parts. This economic reality has a devastating effect on the well-being of tigers in the wild, and if it continues tigers will be wiped off the face of the earth and the economic activity will disappear forever. Now substitute tigers with climate change in this analogy.
    We need action on climate change, but what does this mean in practical terms. If we want to use economic policies as a tool then we need to increase the price on carbon, so that it is more economic to plant trees, and less economic to emit CO2. The question is what price on carbon would see a dramatic shift from emissions to sequestration? If we can work out what that is, the next step will be to try and convince governments that it is critical before it is too late.

  6. Noel Fuller says:

    Thankyou for your first post, and many more to come.

    When I first used the term “denialist” I thought I invented it, realising at the same time these self declared skeptics were anything but skeptics all having some axe to grind. Now I know from my own experience that when the indications are pointing to cancer one tries to convince oneself that the symptoms are really something else. When people are faced with something they feel futile to cope with they try to deny it and remain futile. What I can’t forgive is willful ignorance, the downright dishonesty of those who try to protect their profits without conscience, and their tools, the merchants of doubt.

    So what can I do (I’m a few weeks younger than you) ? For one thing support those who are speaking up for climate science, for another, do all I can to reduce my own GHG emissions, as I can, even though in this country we have a government that gives no help, only pretends to be concerned, while pursuing the increase in mining, drilling, fracking for all its worth. When I spent money on a solar energy installation people ask me about payback period. I used to be concerned about that too, but eventually realised that much of my thinking along that line was mainly a deterrent to doing anything – “so what?” I now say. I will probably be dead before the end of the payback period, but at the very least my efforts will reduce, perhaps eliminate my emissions and maybe those of anyone else who share this house. Quite simply we must stop using fossil fuels. Once we determine to do something and commit to it we find ways we otherwise cannot think of. I have often put it another way – commit oneself to a needed change and the universe moves over a bit to make it possible. Put more realistically, one’s forces are flowing in a new direction, no longer upholding an unsustainable way of thinking and behaving – the new path turns out to be affordable.

    And then there are the people who see something going on and start thinking of ways and means themselves. I’ve just been reading extracts from the latest report of the club of Rome. They talk of short termism and among other predictions consider that in 40 years time resources will be scarce if by then a chastened world tries to find a way out of the mess. So when should one act?

    One is tempted to wait for prices of alternatives to come down further, while hoping that demand will increase because many more are beginning to do something, then will prices will rise again? If you can, do it now.

    But what of those who have no savings they can commit, or are bound to that love of money bottom line? It is here that governments must move, yet I despair of their blindness and “short termism”. Yet I admire the efforts in California on the energy front and am heartened by the support they get from enough of the populace that they can fight off the big money that tries to torpedo them (Koch). I also admire all those who are working to find solutions – CO2 free cement production cheaper than the current process for instance. I am heartened too by the upturn that appears to be happening in the support people who are prepared to face the issues on line are beginning to get. The seemingly coordinated drive-by shootings by the pretend skeptics are weakening as more people determine to face the issues of climate change.

    Noel

  7. Methuselah says:

    And right on time, Hilary the denier comes along to prove your points. The deniers are so consistent.

    Thank you for an understated, moving piece.

  8. Pingback: The Climate Change Debate Thread - Page 1257

  9. Toby says:

    I do not see “denialist” as an abusive term, at least in the climate change context.

    People who have received extremely bad news (job loss, bereavement, a fatal illness) spend a while in that state called “denial”, often with anger and resentment at the unjust hand dealt to them. These feelings are understandable and forgivable.

    However, there are people who never leave that state and spend what life is left to them recycling their anger and frustration on the world. This behaviour is clearly on view in the worst of those we call “climate change deniers”.

    Micha, welcome to the internet.

  10. Toby says:

    Just to add ….

    I hope you join the commenters at Skeptical Science and RealClimate, two of the best sites on the web where climae science is discussed.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/
    http://www.realclimate.org/

  11. Isabela says:

    i always like your posts because you have such a good way of expressing yourself, and this is a virtue in these days.http://www.listasegmentada.com

  12. I’m a proud catastrophic human caused global warming denier.
    I don’t take offence with the D word and its holocaust connotation in this context.
    What I’m not, is a climate change denier.

    What I take offence with is the Orwellian re-labeling of terms in this debate.
    Take for example the term Carbon Pollution, when one means carbon dioxide which is a life giving natural gas. Hopefully you should agree that that label is un-scientific even if one assumes that current increase of CO2 would be dangerous.

    Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. An increase of CO2 should lead to some warming. The question is if it does, then how much?

    By looking at your scientific background I think that here lies some of the problem. While climatology is a multidisciplinary discipline there are currently only two groups that are looking into the causes of climate change. One is the atmospheric physicists who study the chemistry of the atmosphere, thermodynamics and meteorology. They seem to me to have a fanatical belief that the climate during the last 1000 years o so is only controlled by small changes in the composition of the atmosphere, by volcanic eruptions and by small changes in TSI and in nothing else. This of course is wrong. The Earth’s main drivers are the Milankovitch cycle and changes in solar activity. Mentioning the Sun and they are all stonewalling.

    The other groups are climate modelers. The problem with their approach is that it is not possible to build accurate models for highly nonlinear chaotic system such and the world’s climate. It becomes even more difficult because they have to make many assumptions and they have to ignore many important factors because they are unknown. One such important factor is the feedback value between CO2 and water vapor.

    Scientific studies with contrary evidence from other disciplines are effectively blocked from being published in peer-review publications by a small group who view themselves as the ultimate experts on climate change.

    Because I have become interested in this subject I recently build a Neural Network collecting a large number of climate related factors and tested them against the global temperature.

    Correlations of climate forcing factors revealed in a Neural Network.

    What I found was that short term impact from solar impact is even greater than from changes in the ENSO signal. I further found that there is no statistical significant influence from Galactic Cosmic Radiation as suggested by Henrik Svensmark.

    The effect comes directly from the intensity of solar wind, from UV radiation and from changes in the magnetic properties in the upper atmosphere.
    Simply put, to ignore the Sun’s influence in climate models is now unsustainable.

    As far as I know no other studies using Neural Networks has been made in order to try to evaluate climate forcing factors which is quite surprising because NN is an effective method to extract correlations and besides it is not that complicated to do.

    Science is not based on belief, nor is it based on an agenda. It is based on evidence.

  13. J Bowers says:

    AGW denial, HIV/AIDS denial: no difference. There are also clear similarities between the AGW denial movement and the anti-relativity movement Einstein was faced with, but this time climate and environmental sciences act as a proxy for liberalism.

    “The world is a curious madhouse. At present every coachman and every waiter argues about whether relativity theory is correct. A person’s conviction on this pojnt depends on the political party he belongs to.” — Einstein in a letter to Grossmann, 1920.

    Good luck with your blog, and do tie yourself to the chair before reading below the line at Judith Curry’s: the contempt for climate scientists can be so intense it’s almost audible ;)

  14. Terry Moran says:

    First congrats on the blog!

    I’ve got but one criticism, and that a small one. Frank Luntz – Republican propagandist extraordinaire, found that people were much less upset by the phrase ‘climate change’, than by ‘global warming’, so I’ve tried to drop the former from my postings, and to urge others to do likewise. Hate to play the game using their terms. I recognize that climate change has been used by academia all along, but feel global warming may evoke a stronger reaction.

    I’ve come to see the melting of Arctic sea ice as a result of global warming as an irrefutable proof that things are not as they were, and a strong indicator of things to come.

    It’s difficult to deny that fast ice north of Ellesmere Island disappeared rather suddenly, or to argue that this is part of some natural, cyclic phenomena. The opening of the once fabled North West Passage and the Russian Northern Passage also present difficulties for the deniers.

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/ focuses on the Arctic, as opposed to global warming issues – but the two are joined at the hip.

    Thanks for taking it upon yourself to initiate this discussion. I’ll drop in regularly to lurk, if not to post.

    Terry

  15. tamino says:

    Welcome to the global warming blogosphere.

    I too recommend ignoring Judith Curry’s blog, instead devoting your reading time to RealClimate.

    And I salute you for calling deniers what they are: deniers. Not of the holocaust — of reality. But I prefer the term “fake skeptics.” They wear the mantle of “skeptic” like a badge of honor, but they practice the most egregious gullibility.

  16. Welcome to the blogosphere. You’ll probably do well and have fun. You’ll probably take a lot of flack as well. Here’s some from me.

    I get called a denier on a daily basis. This is despite the fact that I have been writing in support of climate science for several years now. I bitterly resent being compared to skinheads denying the Holocaust took place.

    There are actually two theories involved in climate science. The first, the greenhouse theory postulating a 1C rise in temperatures as a result of a doubling of the concentrations of CO2, is widely accepted and non-controversial.

    The second is that the atmosphere is preternaturally sensitive to forcings and that temperatures will increase far more than the 1C caused by CO2. This theory is not as well-grounded in either observation or model performance.

    The peculiarity of the politics of climate change is that if you indicate that you have problems with the second theory you are accused of denying the first.

    The fact is that this issue has become so polarized that those at the extreme on either end no long care about the science. People rally around the icons at the end of the spectrum and chant cargo cult mantras.

    Maybe you’ll change all that. Best of luck.

  17. Pingback: What I’m Reading, Friday, May 11, 2012 | Rationally Thinking Out Loud

  18. Climate Weenie says:

    Who is the “denier” and exactly what are they denying?

    Do we emit CO2? Yes.
    Does CO2 exert a radiative forcing? Yes.
    Is that forcing ( minus what is buffered by the oceans ) consistent with a few degrees temperature rise? Yes.

    Global warming is real.

    But it is at the same time a hoax – a hoax of exaggeration.
    And “impending climate change disaster” is a good example.

    Has CO2 risen more slowly than the IPCC indicated?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    Has global temperature risen more slowly than the IPCC “Low Scenario” rate?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    Incidently, since the MSU era, global temperatures have risen more slowly than Hansen’s
    Scenario C. That’s the one in which all CO2 increases stopped at 2000. So doing nothing has evidently been better than completely stopping CO2 emissions.

    http://climatewatcher.webs.com/ClimateWatcher.html

    Does CO2 benefit plant growth and crop yield?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    Are there some benefits to a warmer earth?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    Do people seek out warmer climates, particularly when they retire?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    Do human deaths peak in winter and trough in summer?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    Were northern summers much warmer for thousands of years during the alti-thermal, the period which corresponded to the ‘cradle of civilization’?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    Did the treeline extend to the coast during this period?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    Will northern summers be warmer than present for most of the next one hundred thousand years, even if CO2 had remained at pre-industrial because of orbital cycles?
    Yes – and anyone who denies it is a “denier”.

    I think it is denial of reality to proclaim a few degrees of warming “impending climate change disaster” when ten times that variation occurs from one cold front to the next, or from sipping coffee in the backyard in the morning to working in the backyard in the afternoon.

    So if we use the term “denier”, we should be explicit about what is being denied.

  19. Dave McRae says:

    A wonderful first post. Thanks for writing. I hope there’s more to come.

  20. Dr Tom says:

    Micha

    thanks so much for your contribution. Buckle up as you’ll become the focus of what we might politely call ‘the dissenting voice’. Some of the above posts will also give you a quick guide to the quack arguments that get repeated ad nauseum by science hating false sceptics.

    Good luck!

    Dr T.

  21. caerbannog says:

    Just took a look at Per Strandberg’s web-site.

    Found this little item:

    Another problem is from the so called Urban Heat effect. This effect is caused at temperature recording stations in or near urban areas which becomes hotter over time because of urban sprawls. The concrete and asphalt heats up the area. A temperature station which 100 years ago was out in the countryside may now be in an urban area. We know that most of the recorded warming have been in the northern hemisphere in the US, Europe, Russia and in the Artic. Some of that recorded warming may be caused by The Urban Heat Effect.

    All I will say here is that a competent programmer/analyst can prove, using nothing but public-domain raw temperature data and freely available software tools, that the “Urban Heat Effect” does not signifcantly affect global-average temperature trend calculations. It is simply a non-factor.

    That can be verified by computing global-average temperature anomalies from raw temperature data taken from just a few dozen Google Earth verified rural stations scattered around the world. Do that, and you will get results that are remarkably similar to the officially-published NASA “meteorological stations” index.

    Process raw data from as few as *two percent* of the GHCN temperature stations (excluding all urban stations), and you will get results that are amazingly similar to the officially-published NASA results.

    In fact, re-run the analysis a bunch of times with different randomly-selected subsets of temperature stations scattered around the world, and you will get similar global-average results virtually every time.

    Of all the data analysis tasks related to climate-science, verifying that the “Urban Heat Effect” has virtually no impact on global temperature trend results is one of the simplest and most straightforward of them all, requiring no more than high-school math and college-freshman programming skills. All the data, documentation, and free software tools needed to tackle such a project are just a few mouse-clicks away.

    Yet in spite of this, none of the “skeptics” who keep claiming that global-warming estimates have been “spiked” by the “Urban Heat Effect” have ever bothered to undertake the very straightforward task of testing their their claims with publicly-available raw temperature data. This is one reason that so many refer to global-warming “skeptics” as deniers.

  22. mark says:

    One of the other blogs was discussing “credible skeptics”–as opposed to purely ideological denialists such as politicians like Sen. Inhofe and his ilk, and the blog cited an item in the May 1st New York Times by Justin Gillis, that focused on Richard Lindzen and his clouds (“Iris”) hypothesis. Just goes to show, there’s a spread of disbelief between blind denialism and sincere skepticism (although some might argue much of the latter is based on some errors of knowledge and/or judgement).

  23. caerbannog says:

    A major problem with Lindzen’s “Adaptive Iris” theory is that it contradicts what the paleoclimate record tells us. If the climate were as insensitive to greenhouse-gas forcing as Lindzen maintains, then we would be left without an explanation for the “hothouse” climate episodes in the Earth’s past.

    Take the Eocene — the Sun was ever so slightly dimmer then (ruling out solar forcing as a cause), and the latitudinal distribution of the continents was similar to what it is now (ruling out land/ocean albedo factors). Ocean circulation factors currently favor transfer of energy to the poles (which inhibits ice-cap growth), so any major differences in ocean circulation patterns between then and now would most likely favor ice-cap *growth* back then (relative to what we have now). But it wasn’t cooler during the Eocene; it was warmer — *much* warmer.

    So we are left with the only plausible explanation — greenhouse-gas forcing in conjunction with a climate sensitivity *much* higher than what Lindzen posits. This holds especially true for the very sharp and short-lived (geologically) warming episode known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. A climate sensitivity as low as Lindzen suggests is incompatible with what we see in the paleoclimate record.

  24. mark says:

    And yet, that’s about the best they can do. Lindzen’s work does not stand up to scientific scrutiny, there is so much evidence that contradicts him, but he is still a darling of certain outlets that wish to build a case against significant, human-caused climate change.

  25. Bob says:

    Dear Hilary: You have found yourself firmly in league with deniers of climate science. Anyone who has studied the assessment reports of the IPCC and described their approach as “speculations dressed up as science” is a science denier. Science deniers attack climate scientists personally, and they have a very professional (the fossil fuel industry paid for it!) litany of shallow objections to the science. It is not to late for you, however, read the science and ignore the deniers! All the best to you/

  26. willard says:

    Hello,

    Readers might be interested to have some perspective upon this claim:

    > I get called a denier on a daily basis. [...] I bitterly resent being compared to skinheads denying the Holocaust took place.

    Here is a recent thread where we had this Saint Sebastian impersonation:

    > And while I think the politicization of the issue came from Republicans, I also think that the ideological reaction came from the other side, by mistaken application of Naomi Oreskes’ strategy for refighting the tobacco wars–the invention of the term ‘denier’, the incredible attacks on the personal integrity of non-signatory scientists, the refusal to debate, the insistence (of non-scientists) that the debate was settled, the focus on iconography not backed up by data, all of this created an opposition

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/dilemmas-in-science-communication/#comment-16207

    Keep your head up,

    w

  27. Jay says:

    Intriguing that tamino says to ignore a Ph.D Climate Scientist actively teaching Climate Science.

    My quick impression of the google evidence is that Tamino is Grant Foster, who doesn’t seem (I am very likely mistake) to be a climate scientists himself, but perhaps a mathematician, physicist, or astronomer.

    How about it Tamino, why is your recommendation to ignore a Ph.D climate scientist relevant, or reliable? Who are you, and what is your background?

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  45. climate hawk says:

    You could not be more right ; They are actually worse than Nazis since even Hitler wasn’t planning on deconstructing civilization itself for all time. Given enough time, we might have recovered from a Nazi victory in Europe and re-established a civilized democracy even if it took few hundred years. But with climate change denial, it’s potentially the end of even the possibility of civilization itself and for all future generations.

    I have been saying that climate change deniers are a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States for years. Either we get a Congress and a President with enough spine to act together to avert this looming disaster, or we descend into real civil war, never mind the cultural metaphorical thing we have now.

    As soon as it becomes apparent to the majority of people that 1) it’s real and 2) it’s now too late do anything about it, all hell will break lose.

    We won’t actually have to wait for the oceans to start dying from the bottom of the food chain up or a carbon feedback loop to kick or even more crop failures and droughts to wipe out our food supply completely. Just as in the stock market, you only need people to know the disaster is inevitable for it’s full effects to play out.

    The patronizing platitudes of universal culpability that get tossed around in the mainstream media such as ” we’re all equally guilty. We did this to ourselves” are not going to stop people all over the world and here in America from acting out their rage towards conservatives and Republicans. It’s going to be street fighting blood bath complete with the suspension of the Constitution, marshal law, revocation of habeas corpus and neighbor on neighbor murder.

    This is where climate change denial is directly leading us. The President took an oath to protect this nation against all enemies foreign and domestic. Its long past time for the President to act unilaterally and without Congress’s input against the actors in this nation who are systematically and knowingly generating the tissue of lies which are denialism.

    Just as we did with the American al Walaki, so too should we turn the full force of this nation’s national security power at the people and organizations who are threatening us by effectively crying “no fire !!!” in a burning theater.

  46. climate hawk says:

    Deniers have no legal defense for their actions, and this includes the “but I really believed it!!” defense.

    The fact is, as a system of jurisprudence, we’ve been here before. Here’s how it works.

    In Nuremberg , the prosecutors had a problem. What were we going to charge the Nazis with? They were , as they were eager to point out, only obeying the laws of their own nation. The soldiers they killed were killed as an Act of War and the civilians they killed were either previously German citizens or, as a result of conquest, living under the victorious Nazi’s rule of law. Therefore, they had committed no War Crime, however repugnant the Allies found the Nazi system of laws to be .

    So what did the Allies do? They invented, in an out and out act of ex post facto lawmaking a new crime they called “Crimes Against Humanity”, then they charged the Nazis with it, then they fond them guilty, and then they hung them.

    And that’s how that works.

    It’s amusing that deniers sincerely think they have found a a legal wormhole which will permit them to use the law to subvert the law. That they can game the law to subvert the fundamental purpose of law itself. This is the same mistake the Nazis made. “Sure, what we did resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of innocents but you can’t touch us. ” In this case, it might be termed the “I really believed it !!” defense or the “a man has a right to his opinion!” defense.

    The thing is, criminals define what the law will be through their actions. The law responds, reforms and adapts itself to whatever criminals do however they do it so that in the end justice is done. Anyone imagining that they have an absolute right to extinguish the lives of tens of millions of fellow humans – through whatever means direct or indirect- has a very rude awakening likely to take the form of a hemp noose in their near future.

    The Kochs, Roy Spencer, Anthony Watts, Fred Singer, James Inhofe , and Lord Monckton , the individuals hiding in various think tanks including the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute , Heartland Institute and Crossroads GPS and all the rest of the denial creating and disseminating think tanks and individuals are delusional if they believe they’ve found safe harbor from near future prosecution in claims involving their right to their opinion.

    The law goes wherever criminals lead and not visa-versa. These people through their actions are now defining what will be illegal and that illegality will from the future reach backwards into the present and their cries of ex post facto injustice being dealt tot them will fall on the same deaf ears the Nazi’s cries fell on. There is no escape for the above named individuals and many more, whose names are continuously being compiled and against whom evidence is assiduously being collected. They’ll pay for their crimes just as the Nazis paid for their crimes in likely the same way- through the legal, just and moral application of due process of law courtesy of the United States government and all other aggrieved parties.

    Denial=terrorism

  47. MSchopp says:

    It is hard to imagine how a trained physicist can write such nonsense.

    A physicist, a mathematician or a statistician should be able to follow discussions at http://www.climateaudit.org or at judithcurry.com.

    He will then find out, that there are significant errors in and particularly in the most influential climate science peer reviewed papers. Math errors are math errors and detectable for anyone with appropriate training. And it is really made easy to spot those on the shoulders of Steve McIntyre and others.

    I really don’t know how a physicist with an open mind cannot discover this for himself. Perhaps the assumption of an open mind is wrong.

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  51. jb says:

    “Take for example the term Carbon Pollution, when one means carbon dioxide which is a life giving natural gas. Hopefully you should agree that that label is un-scientific even if one assumes that current increase of CO2 would be dangerous.”

    No, intelligent and honest people agree that that is stupid and dishonest sophistic BS. Even the right wing U.S. Supreme Court recognized that your argument is bogus, that CO2 can be considered a pollutant within the scientific definition of the term.

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  56. Bianca Polo for Climate change Class says:

    This blog is very interesting on many levels. The connection between the holocaust and the way human beings treat the environment are quite similar.
    You ask and address this question – “Why do we tend to underestimate risks relating to natural hazards, when a catastrophic event has not occurred for a long time?
    I think the misinterpretation on the way climate change works . I think people have it in their minds that climate changes only by natural forces which in fact is not true. So with this thought humans are not taking action because they feel like they may not have any control of climate issues in America and globally.
    Although I am only 22 years old, I have witnessed two catastrophic event in America in my lifetime Hurricane Katrina that occurred in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in New York City in 2012. Hurricane Katrina occurred in New Orleans resulted as a tropical depression. A well-defined band of storm clouds began to wrap around the north side of the storm’s circulation center in the early morning hours of Aug. 24. With winds of about 40 mph (65 kph), the storm is named Tropical Storm Katrina. When New Yorkers think of this , in our urban minds we think to not pay these storms any mind because we think it will never happen to us. We were proven wrong with Hurricane Sandy ,which left many New Yorkers powerless, homeless and hopeless. It is our job to take measure into treating and keeping out environment safe and healthy.

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