Climate Change denial and conspiracies

I blogged the day before yesterday about a study soon to be published in Psychological Science . It revealed that conspiracy theories tend to cluster, those that buy into moon hoax theories are prone to buy into other conspiracy theories such as 9/11 being an inside job, or climate change denial. Interestingly enough they also found that those who oppose environmentalism, tend to also be climate change deniers.

Well guess what, the climate change folks are having a bit of a hissy-fit about all this. For example, Anthony Watts well-known climate change denier, writes over at Watts Up With That? about some sort of conspiracy to hide the truth …

From the “free the metadata” department, we have this gem. Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia’s Cognitive Science Department devised some sort of survey where he supposedly contacted skeptical climate blogs to ask we post a link to gather opinions for his survey. He says he contacted five and they all declined. Only one problem with that; none of the mainstream skeptical blogs appear to have any knowledge of being contacted. That includes WUWT and Climate Audit, among others.

I keep all my email, and I see no such contact or invitation. I’ve searched WUWT and found nothing in comments from him inviting to participate either. To be thorough, I also searched for any communications from his co-authors Klaus Oberauer and Gilles Gignac. I’ve found no invitation of any kind, but I did find that a commenter in the USA, PaulW left a note about it on WUWT here: But, he’s not affiliated with UWA or the authors, and it was purely a comment of curiosity. One of our moderators, D.B. Stealey took the survey (now deleted) after seeing the comment, and noted “Interesting questions.” but he didn’t note any invitation to post it on WUWT, nor did I.

Similar lack of confirmed invitations are being reported in other skeptical blogs, and the list is growing. But, for some reason, Dr. Lewandowsky  refuses to divulge which skeptical blogs he contacted.

Jo Nova and Lucia Liljegren are asking some very pointed questions. Given the sheer lunacy on display in the paper…

So lets see then, Dr Lewandowsky has a survey that demonstrates that climate change deniers tend to buy into crazy conspiracy theories. Now some climate change deniers are cooking up some conspiracy theory relating to it being a duff survey because he will not name the participant blogs. Could that be a conspiracy? Nope, it is called ethics, you do not name names without permission, he would get fired if he did.

As for wild conspiracy theories and climate change denial, well here are the facts …

  • Scientists (notably climatologists) have reached scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and is mainly due to human activity (See Oreskes, Naomi (2007). “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong?”. In DiMento, Joseph F. C.; Doughman, Pamela M.. Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren. The MIT Press. pp. 65–66)
  • The scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth’s climate system is unequivocally warming, and it is more than 90% certain that humans are causing it through activities that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels.
  • No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion; the last was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate with its current non-committal position

So, if you wish to push against this consensus, you need to believe in some grand conspiracy by the bulk of climate scientists.

almost two decades after the issue became one of global concern, the ‘big’ debate over climate change is over. There are now no credible scientific skeptics challenging the underlying scientific theory, or the broad projections, of climate change.” – Peter Christoff, writing the The Age

2 thoughts on “Climate Change denial and conspiracies”

  1. Paul .. no Ad Hominem’s required, also no “belief” …just science.

    I’d recommend this … “Why Ferenc M. Miskolczi is Wrong” (

    As for Knorr … on to a short summary of what other people are saying : here’s what RealClimate have to say :-

    “Knorr (GRL, 2009) is a study about how much of the human emissions are staying the atmosphere (around 40%) and whether that is detectably changing over time. It does not undermine the fact that CO2 is rising. The confusion in the denialosphere is based on a misunderstanding between ‘airborne fraction of CO2 emissions’ (not changing very much) and ‘CO2 fraction in the air’ (changing very rapidly), led in no small part by a misleading headline (subsequently fixed) on the ScienceDaily news item Update: MT/AH point out the headline came from an AGU press release (Sigh…). SkepticalScience has a good discussion of the details including some other recent work by Le Quéré and colleagues…”

    In the general blogging world, a good source to trust is Skeptical Science (yes almost same name as my site, but not mine), who add this :-

    “…I’m not sure the move from “not much happening” “to “still not much happening” warrants the label “bombshell”…”

    An amusing little take from Joe Romm writing the web log Climate Progress :-

    “Yes, the atmospheric CO2 fraction has risen at a dangerously fast rate in the past 160 years, reaching levels not seen in millions of years : January 5, 2010… 5 out of 3 Americans can’t do fractions.”

    Are your citations convincing? Nope.

  2. You can see who’s winning the intellectual argument by the use of name-calling and Ad Hominem attacks. Einstein said to the Nazi’s 1000 scientists who set out to prove him wrong that it would only take one. Perhaps in this case that is Ferenc Miskolczi in his paper “Greenhouse Effect and the IR Radiative Structure of the Earth’s Atmosphere” published in Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, which concludes that CO2 does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. Sceptics are treated like scum for not believing that what is still a trace gas in the atmosphere is transforming the Earth’s Climate. Wolfgang Knorr has showed that airborne CO2 isn’t even increasing (“Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing?” published in Geo Res. Letters 2009). Unbelievable!


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