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The perverse skills of climate change deniers

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Charles Rue |  30 November 2009

'Climate sceptics' by Chris JohnstonIn April 2007 Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, held a meeting at the Vatican 'to gather data' on climate change. The 80 invited participants were evenly divided between climate change sceptics and those looking for a credible church response. It was a mixed group of politicians, scientists, Catholic bishops, lobbyists, lay and church agency people, missionaries and leaders of other churches.

It turned out to be an unhappy squabbling event. US based Baptist minister Dr Calvin Beisner interpreted Scripture to say that the world is evil and that burning fossil fuels is a way to purge it. Catholic Archbishop Patrick Kelly and Anglican Bishop James Jones from the UK were aghast at this interpretation.

At the same meeting, former US lobbyist for the tobacco industry Professor Fred Singer made several interventions on the present and future benefits brought by the oil industry. He was supported by US Catholic layman Dr Craig Idso of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, partially funded by Exxon Mobil. Both of them state publicly that they work to influence the energy and agricultural policies of governments.

Beisner, Singer and Idso are part of a cluster of names which keep popping up in the literature of climate change denying scientists and religious leaders. Their primary concern is to attack the proposition that human activity is a major cause of climate change. They work to maintain current fossil fuel based economic systems, and promise that the world will not have to change its patterns of using fossil fuels.

These US sources are often quoted in Australia along with local names like Bill Kininmonth, Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, David Archibald, Don Aitkin and David Evans.

It is crucial to recognise that climate change sceptics have placed themselves outside the normal scientific community. They pile up so called 'evidence' with which to browbeat people.

For example, they misuse temperature trends and conflate readings from different spheres surrounding the earth. They focus on minor contributors to climate change, such as the earth's 100,000-year-long orbit of the sun, or cry 'sun spots'. They deride models of climate change as inaccurate because the models cannot predict short term weather patterns, or are refined as more data is gathered.

But the basic physics of climate change is simple — a rising percentage of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere warms the planet. These percentages have risen during 200 years of industrial expansion and industrial agriculture as humanity has used increasing amounts of fossil fuels.

The Christians among climate change deniers have developed tenuous ties with the teaching of the Christian communion. Concern about climate change was the theme of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Position Paper in 2005. That Cardinal George Pell allows himself to be aligned with climate change deniers is very sad. The credibility of church mission to serve humanity is compromised. What is more, many of the faithful are scandalised and their following of church leaders sorely tested.

Climate sceptics use tried and proven lobbying techniques to propagate distractions. These are designed to confuse people and delay political action. Jesus praised the unjust steward; so also must the perverse skills of climate change deniers be recognised as effective. They have honed their slogans, stayed on target with their message and achieved their desired end — paralysis on urgent action to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to defend carbon intensive industries.

A well orchestrated campaign by the fossil fuel industry has fed denial of climate change. Its PR machine has dozens of lobbyists employed full time even in Australia. The Marshal Institute and Heartland Foundation in the United States are two think tanks used by Australian carbon lobby groups such as the Lavoisier Society.

Magazines like AD2000 pass on the pre-packaged denial messages, often with a semi-religious tone supplied by the US based Acton Institute. An introduction to its website describes it as 'an ecumenical think-tank dedicated to the study of free-market economics informed by religious faith and moral absolutes'.

Climate change denying organisations need to be exposed. Whether from ignorance or malevolence, they are hindering constructive debate and blocking urgent action. Informed public debate is needed on the comparative effectiveness of a direct carbon tax or carbon trading, as well as on the comparative speed with which they can reduce greenhouse gases.

Our Murray-Darling experience of water trading has salutory lessons. Banks and corporations were the major beneficiaries of moving around make-believe water. They hope to do very well by moving around carbon credits.

Making a Catholic Response to Climate Change is opening a new chapter in the Christian story. This will emerge in dialogue with the scientific, business and political communities, and the lived experience of people. It will draw on Catholic teachings about the structures of sin, and compassion for this and future generations.

In this story, humanity will relearn its intimate connection with earth systems and experience God the Creator in new ways. Our positive responses could become an exciting chapter.

Recalling Cardinal Henry Newman's writings on the development of dogma, Cardinal Martino at the end of the Climate Change Meeting in Rome said the 'Gospel is always new and changes as it is applied within historical changes'. Pope Benedict recently returned to his theses on history to ponder on how human history might be entering a new stage. He also called for a re-integration of the theologies of Creation and Redemption.

These calls give urgency to our task of identifying the best sources to help that re-integration. These good sources will not come from the climate change deniers.


Charles RueDr Charles Rue is a Sydney-based priest of the Columban Missionary Society, and coordinator of Columban JPIC (Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation). 

 



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Dr Rue must have written his article before the "Warmgate" scandal broke. That is the hacked emails from University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. It would appear that climate change deniers do not have the market cornered when it comes to perverse skills.

From a myriad of choices the following could be the choiciest.

Kevin E.Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and a prominent man-made-global-warming advocate, wrote in one of the discovered e-mails: "The fact is we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

The definition of peer-reviewed may also need to be redefined. The CRU excluded scientists that did not play along with the AGW narrative. They tried to bully the editor of a journal that published atricles critical of their views. Does this mean that they also are now "outside the normal scientific community"?

Finally, it is not as if the academic champions of AGW are simply servants of the truth with no pecuniary interest in the whole issue. Look at the billions given in funding for research. If there were no crisis, there would be no funding.

Patrick James 30 November 2009

Regrettably, climate change debate rarely starts with a discussion about standards of proof. In much of what we do, we do not wait until satisfied to a scientific standard of proof or beyond a reasonable doubt before acting. I wonder whether those unconvinced that climate change may be a phenomenon contributed to by human activity wait until a bushfire is upon them before taking precautions to mitigate risk or take out insurance.

I also wonder whether comments such as “A well orchestrated campaign by the fossil fuel industry has fed denial of climate change” really advance the debate. Having read the recent BHP Billiton report (a vendor of both coal and petroleum), the balloon you have floated, Dr Rue, seems to be leaking air.

Kim Chen 30 November 2009

Our relentless reliance on fossil fuels must be changed, but this article is so vitriolic in its condemnation of skeptics. Even Tim Flannery has conceded that he does not know why the Earth's temperature is now dropping, challenging one of the main fundamental planks of anthropogenic change. The latest figures on the growth of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere also shows a 33% reduction in its growth from the previous year. Whilst there may be evidence, there is still no absolute proof. I am scientist and as such still have an open mind, obviously the author of this article does not

Bill Esman 30 November 2009

Dr Rue needs to play the ball and not the man. Increasingly, people like Dr Pell, many eminent scientists and now the ordinary person in the street are recognising the "human-caused climate change" matter for the expensive fraud that it is (eg British email scandal). The smell of corruption by people/agencies who stand to make big $$ or retain pointless jobs out of blaming humans for a natural event that has been going on for hundreds of millions of years is rising.

Climate-change alternatives (not sceptics - horrible word) are not nutters. We are realistic people with a balanced study of both sides of the issue and a healthy suspicion of human nature when big dollars and egos are involved. If CO2 (not a poison by the way) is rising, why is the earth cooling? Even pro human-caused climate change activists acknowledge that and can't explain it. The answer isn't rocket science.

We need to be good stewards of creation of course, but for the right reasons.

Rodger Punch 30 November 2009

Keep up the good fight, Dr Rue. I am disappointed almost on a daily basis to hear how the slogans of climate change deniers/sceptics make rational discussion/conversation on climate change impossible. The way fear has been exploited is disgraceful. Fear of loss of jobs. Fear of a huge new tax. Fear of economic insecurity. The likelihood of new "green" jobs doesn't get a look in. How has this new tax been calculated and who will pay it? What will be the world wide benefits if a carbon reduction scheme is introduced?

Lenin once said "Get the slogan right and we will win over the people." The advertising industry has learned this. And so have the climate change deniers.

Uncle Pat 30 November 2009

Father Charles, regrettably I have to say 'what a rant'!

I object to your criticiam of Cardinal George Pell who has a better grip of reality than most.

You omitted to mention that 30,000 scientists are on record as holding the opposite position to yourself and the IPCC.
If you allege temperatures have been rising for 200 years why did you omit discussion on the Paul Elich campaign, of 40 years ago, to convince us that the world was going to freeze, with millions of deaths.
Don't overlook the fact that some of we old buffers have seen 'saviours' come and go.
Official records show that global temperatures peaked in 1998.The year 2008 was the coolest
for a decade.

I invite you to contact me in five years time if temperatures have not declined further.

Pat Healy

Pat Healy 30 November 2009

As I read this article, I notice that there is an ad for Flight Centre down the right hand side of my screen. Rather ironic is it not?

I have read so many articles in this journal calling for us to change our ways before we kill the planet. And here they are advertising for one of the greatest carbon pollouters on the planet, air travel.

Timothy Scully 30 November 2009

Dr Rue's Church of Climatology has not produced the evidence to justify Rudd's tax of $116 billion on Australians over the next 10 years.

Peter Flood 30 November 2009

This was a good article, Dr Rue, and a welcome addition to what should have been a debate, but has now turned into a debacle. Those calling for watertight proof need to be reminded of the Precautionary Principle, and those trying to sidestep the important points about the carbon lobby don't seem to understand just how powerful it is. Rudd's scheme is appalling but only because it does too little, relies on the market instead of sound regulation, and gives huge polluting permits to the big polluters. We can do better and must do better.

wv 30 November 2009

I think a contrary view needs to be put. I believe climate change is always with us, but I am increasingly of the view that CO2 is not to blame. Recent empirical evidence (as opposed to computer modelling) indicates that the atmosphere has a negative, not positive feedback effect on CO2 emissions. This would render all the IPCC models inaccurate.

We now know that the most respected of IPCC contributors have been guilty of failing the scientific method test (to put it kindly).

The new evidence that is emerging surely requires us to maintain an open mind and not apply pejoratives to anyone with an opposing view.

Ian Duncan 30 November 2009

Vehemence and energy in support of bad arguments does not make them into good arguments. Climate change sceptics and deniers [of every stamp] are not short of vehemence and energy. As usual, they were the first cabs off the rank in this correspondence on an important article by Dr Rue.

People are weary of reading such tired unconvincing arguments over and over again: what, we might ask, is the point of trying to rebut them?

The argument that counts today is the one going on within the Parliamentary liberal party. Here, it appears, the deniers are about to take their first major political scalp, of a talented, decent and far-sighted political leader. It is a sad day for Australian democracy and for our children's climate security. We know where the destabilisation of Turnbull has come from - the coal lobby and the denialist movement.

tony kevin 30 November 2009

I believe that WV is right - "We can do better and must do better". We must learn better to distinguish between science and morality, we must strive to find better energy alternatives to fossil fuels, we must find a better balance between our use of natural resources and our need to care for others less fortunate than ourselves, and on and on.

But perhaps above all we must have a better quality of debate. More light required than heat, of course, though both do require energy for their production.

Indeed, I shudder to think of the consequences if what we have seen here - in Dr Rue's article and some of the responses it provoked - is as much as we can expect from all sides during any election campaign that features "climate change" as its central theme.

John R. Sabine 30 November 2009

What this article is objecting to is a free discussion about climate change. Why should not the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace conference embrace participants with a variety of views, even contradictory ones? For Catholics, climate change is not a matter of dogma.

Also disturbing is the spreading currency of the increasingly sinister word "denier" as a label to attach to people who do not think in the same way as I. People who advocate critical historical research to determine the precise extent of the persecution of the Jewish people in Nazi-occupied Europe are called "Holocaust deniers". Now, those who ask questions about climate change - is it happening, is the plant warming or cooling and for what reasons? - are labelled "climate-change deniers".

The replacement of debate with denigration has been going on for quite some time. People who have concerns about Australia's immigration and demographic policies for whatever reason (even climate change!) are labelled as "racists", those who uphold the definition of marriage as understood in the West and other civilisations for centuries are labelled as "homophobes" and anybody who criticises Israel's policies and behavious must be "anti-Semitic".

And then there is the catch-all term of abuse of anybody who doesn't agree with me - "Nazi". It is a measure of the advance of the Left in the culture wars and of the flight from reason.

Sylvester 30 November 2009

You say: "It is crucial to recognise that climate change sceptics have placed themselves outside the normal scientific community. They pile up so called 'evidence' with which to browbeat people." Being against the majority is not necessarily a bad thing. And who decides who the "normal scientific community" is composed of? Are you aware of the controversy going on in the UK re email correspondence which sections of the media are reporting and saying that it indicates an arrogant bullying attitude of the "trend setters" to other who disagree with them and that these "normal" scientists recognise that they are forcing the science to fit in with their conclusions. As for the use of the word "denier", that just about says it all where this debate is concerned. I am a doubter where anthopogenic global warming is concerned, not a denier of facts. The fact is that people of goodwill in the scientific community have come to different conclusions where the facts are concerned. Majority opinion in science is not necessarily right as the history of science shows. And nor are scientists immune from pushing their own barrows. I am very disappointed in this article. I do not know in what area Dr Rue is expert but have assumed it must be climate science. I acknowledge I am not an expert in that science but like any responsible Australian I am trying to make up my mind. Ridicule is no substitute for argument.

Fr John Fleming 30 November 2009

The ad down the side of the screen now is for the Australian Conservation Foundation. That's better guys! Does not jar as much with the theme of the article as the Flight Centre one.

Timothy Scully 30 November 2009

Dr Rue and readers may like to actually consider the arguments of AGW sceptics like Kininmonth, Carter, Paltridge and Evans.

Kininmonth was a scientist at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for 38 years, the last 12 as head of the National Climate Centre, and was Australian delegate to the World Meteorological Organisation's Commission for Climatology for 18 years. He is the author of a book, Climate Change: A Natural Hazard (2004).

David Evans actually modelled climate for the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999-2005. (He reckons the modelling is too flawed to be reliable).

Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge is an atmospheric physicist and was a Chief Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. His book, The Climate Caper, was published this year (but you probably didn't hear about it).

And by the way, they are not 'climate change deniers', Dr Rue, but climate scientists who question orthodoxy.

As Marx said: Question everything!

Barry York 30 November 2009

I am not a climate change denier — well, not yet anyway. I gave a short summary of my position in a comment on an article by Neil Ormerod in this journal on 4-9-09. I still hold these views, and I am not optimistic about what our climate is gong to do.
However, I was alerted to the alleged East Anglia scandal by the comment by Rosemary to Bronwyn Lay's article on 23-11-09. I followed it up on the internet.

What is worying me now is that I have heard nothing about this from any other source. I do not normally read any of the major city newspapers, but I listen regularly to ABC News. This makes me wonder whether not only the East Anglia researchers, but also the media, are deliberately restricting access to information about contrary views. So should we refuse to believe them?

Gavan Breen 30 November 2009

I have a great respect and admiration for Cardinal Pell and Fr John Fleming. I accept as trustworthy their views on climate change and reject the views from members of the Church of Climatology.
Ron Cini

Ron Cini 30 November 2009

Bill Esman29-Nov-2009 said: "The latest figures on the growth of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere also shows a 33% reduction in its growth from the previous year."

Do you have a reference for that Bill? I found this one:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/11/mauna-loa-co2-record-posts-smallest-yearly-gain-in-its-history/

It's pretty clear that humans aren't even causing the CO2 increase. Nature produces and absorbs 700 billion tons CO2 every year (source: IPCC 2007) and we produce 26 billion - puny.

We are told by warmers that 60% of our output is absorbed by nature's sinks and 40% remains causing a rise. Good enough for most warmistas - no further explanation required.

But think about it for a minute: 700 billion of nature's tons of carbon dioxide are absorbed - allegedly in a perfect, unchanging equilibrium - but nature looks at our CO2 and says, nah I'll only take 60% of that. I contend that our CO2 is absorbed at same the rate of every other CO2.

In fact CO2 rises and falls naturally. More CO2 is good.



Paul Clark 30 November 2009


To suggest that questioning global warming could compromise the church's mission is one of the more intellectually bankrupt statements I have ever heard.

Peter Golding 30 November 2009

Too much discussion on this topic is just little snippets of reports that people read and jump to conclusions. It is quite possible for people to read the actual papers that climatologists publish - for example Trenberth's paper that he was referring to in the email quoted by Patrick James is available online at http://ccsm.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/EnergyDiagnostics09final.pdf

Please just go and try and read it. It's a very fair minded paper. Talk of bullying etc is just way over the top. Most scientists are very competitive and are quite capable of standing up for themselves. They are far from saints but talk of corruption and conspiracy needs better justification than a selected batch of hacked emails.

Tony O'Connor 30 November 2009

Too much discussion on this topic is just little snippets of reports that people read and jump to conclusions. It is quite possible for people to read the actual papers that climatologists publish - for example Trenberth's paper that he was referring to in the email quoted by Patrick James is available online at http://ccsm.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/EnergyDiagnostics09final.pdf

Please just go and try and read it. It's a very fair minded paper. Talk of bullying etc is just way over the top. Most scientists are very competitive and are quite capable of standing up for themselves. They are far from saints but talk of corruption and conspiracy needs better justification than a selected batch of hacked emails.

Tony O'Connor 30 November 2009

Another splendidly informed and informative article from Eureka Street. The quality of article after article makes the magazine something to look forward to and to value very highly.

Joe Castley 30 November 2009

Thamk you Dr. Charles Rue for giving behind the scene details of those opposing climate change. It is a real eye opener.
Those doubting the climate change theory,may be wise to have a more open mind ,considering the devastating consequences to our planet, if they were wrong.

Can anyone tell me the motive behind this train of thought?

Could it be money from industry? What about so- called religious grounds? Are some reverting to fundamentalism?

I am very puzzled by their attitude of not taking into account the results of all scientific research, and most of all of not posing the question 'what if'.

Bernie Introna 30 November 2009

Aquí va este buen artículo sobre el apoyo cristiano al problema del cambio climático.

Angel Camiña 30 November 2009

Dr Rue reports that Cardinal Pell states that he is a 'climate change sceptic'.

That puts Cardinal Pell on side with the Exclusive Brethren, one of whom gave Philip Adams an interview a couple of years ago.

According to that member, the Exclusive Brethren are 'very interested' in the issue of climate change.

If you believed that the End Times are close, that the Rapture is at hand, what lies would you tell if you knew that obfuscation and deception could help forestall action to prevent rapid environmental degradation?

To whom is Cardinal Pell accountable?

David Arthur 30 November 2009

What a lively flurry of comments Charles Rue has stimulated. It would be helpful for those who disagree with Charles to actually put some evidence forward besides quoting the lively and frustrated interactions of some of the front-line workers revealed in hijacked emails.

Or who throw in that there are 30 000 scientists in the world who disagree with the finding, based on massive data-sets over decades, that temperature and atmospheric concentration of CO2 and methane are correlated.

Where do those guys all publish their data?
A very interesting article has just been published in Harpers Magazine, November 2009, noting the effect of the massive depopulation of parts of China, India and countries all the way to Europe from around 1320 onwards by the "Black Death".

Following the initial rapid spread the plague continued to take a heavy toll for centuries almost halving the population of Europe and Asia. Later the Americas were depopulated by diseases that arrived with the European settlers. That was the beginning of three centuries of the "little ice age" when globally the temperature dropped and settlements on Greenland for example were abandoned.

There is evidence that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere fell during this period as massive areas of farmland were abandoned and reverted to woodlands sucking up and storing carbon on a grand scale. Steven Stoll has done a remarkable of describing this as a classic case of anthropogenic climate change, reversed only wen the human populations began to recover and the industrial revolution gained momentum and things began to get warm. The article is "The cold we caused" but it cannot be downloaded from the internet.

It shows very convincingly that we humans "have form" when it comes to influencing the climate, and this adds some credibility to the idea that we are now influencing it in the opposite direction from the 13 hundreds to the 18 hundreds.

Mike Foale 30 November 2009

I am a climatologist. I also taught RE at High School and College level. I guess I have a foot in both camps. I have been recording the weather daily for over 45 years. My own records show a warming drying trend over SE Australia.

That trend is conformed by Bureau observations. I also remember what I was taught about atmospheric chemistry and the role of CO2 and other 'greenhouse gases such as Methane in the earth's energy budget.

Theory tells us that increasing Greenhouse Gases and less Industrial Haze should contribute to Global Warming. I accept that. I also accept that Models are just that- models, they cannot predict the complexity of atmospheric processes as concisely as we would like.However given the Theory based on Physics etc. I believe it is morally rash of us to continue to use up the earth's resources at the current unsustainable rate.

To me the Church should be protesting at the incredible 'rape' of the Earth's resources by less that 25% of the population while the other 75% are missing out.Worse the 75% will ultimately pay the price for the extravagant living of of us lucky to be in the 25%!

Gavin 30 November 2009

I am not a climate change denier - or whatever fashionable phrase you might want to use.

But I am aware that climate change is a frequently recurring fact throughout history. Contemporary accounts of pre-1314 England, for instance, clearly show that there was a medieval warm period which came to an abrupt end and gave way to a mini-Ice Age which lasted centuries. Human activity didn't cause it, or end it.

30-odd years ago the Big Scare was of global cooling! (Snow stops play at Buxton Cricket match in June!) There has been global warming on and off since the last Ice Age but reliable data on temperatures worldwide has only been available in very recent times (given the age of the earth), too recent to justify the pseudo-religion of 'Climate Change' you seem to want to construct. Is this the second big climate scare I shall have lived through?

I'm sceptical about fashionable scientific theories full stop. I am more so when people atrt calling other sceptics nasty names like 'climate change denier' (akin to 'holocaust denier') in an attempt to close down debate. That's not science - it's fascism!

Paul Johnston 01 December 2009

I'm sick of being labelled, Mr Rue. What exactly do you mean by "climate change denier"? As a BA in geography I know very well that the earth's climate is constantly changing - human inputs or not.

The earth's climate is not well understood, and frankly, the credibility of modern science allied with politicians is worrying to say the least.

And how you equate the push to engineer the world's climate (in effect, to try to change the laws of nature) to suit some arbitrary status quo with humanity relearning "its intimate connection with earth systems" and experiencing "God the Creator" is not very clear. It seems that you favour the 'bend Earth to our will' approach.

IMHO "political action" in this regard is simply a metaphor for yet another attempt to "play God".

Scott Collingwood 01 December 2009

Patrick James, Trenberth's quote you write of is taken out of context and is talking about the smaller flatlining within the overall inexorable climb in temperatures. He actually wrote a public paper on the very same thing.

Further, it has been shown that many of the purported comments are actually fraudulently doctored to misrepresent the academic discussion about this issue, and the full context of the discussion very clearly talks about the overall climb in temperatures.

As a researcher, it is incredibly important to check the primary sources and the contexts from which anonymous messengers cherry pick and misquote. Just check the sources. Please, before you perpetuate what is clearly mischief and fraudulent. Basic research 101.

Helen Bergen 01 December 2009

Helen Bergen, here is the online reference to the letter from Trenberth from which I quoted.

http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=1048&filename=1255352257.txt

I was working from a primary source. If you could direct me to another source that sets it in its proper context, please post it here and I will happily check it out for myself.

As for fraud and mischief, please refer to the following two hacked emails.

(i) Phil Jones is writing to his colleagues looking for reviewers for an article sceptical about AGW.

After suggesting a couple of names, Jones writes, "All of them know the sorts of things to say - about our comment and the awful original, without any prompting."

(http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=1003&filename=1249503274.txt)

(ii) In another email Keith Briffa states, "I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC, which were not always the same."

(http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=794&filename=1177890796.txt)

I am open to being told that there is some "context" that would show these two emails in another light. However, on the surface they seem to be disturbing to anyone who values true science.

The first email shows reviewers being selected to give a pre-determined conclusion; the second shows the IPCC is more a political body than a scientific one.

Patrick James 01 December 2009

The tag 'climate change denier' is given for a reason: because those so named deny, rather than challenge, the science put to them. They selectively emphasise the claims of a small number of vested interest peddlers of opinion (in this sense they are skeptics in the classical philosophical sense of followers of Skeptikoi, or the 'thinker' who 'opined' rather than engage in dialogue/dialectic); rather than give a measured account of both sides of the 'debate'. Your climate change denier never criticises the fragments of scattered opinion that apparently contradicts the science, they are always sure the pseudo-science of the lobbyist is unquestionably the truth, or they cling to it like Odysseus lest they be tempted by some less palatable idea. The motivation of your denier is varied, but much of it at root can be explained by the psychoanalitic idea of the Real. The end of a world fit for human habitation is unthinkable because it no longer includes the one who is thinking such a thought; much like dreaming you are dead. It is beyond our finite capacity to think. But the way things are going, we will need to start finding the language.

David Akenson 01 December 2009

Dr Charles Rue might have been more restrained and disciplined in his use of language had he been aware of the scandal at the Climate Research Unit of the East Anglia University precipitated by ten years worth of hacked emails and documents. This issue is hugely important and not to be dismissed as no more than robust and colourful exchange between scientists.

So many excellent responses to Dr Rue have already been posted that I don't feel the need to offer much other than this comment. Even though the leaked emails and documents would appear to contain highly inflammatory and compromising information don’t think it is a lay down misere that the international media will cheer the prospect of a closer scrutiny of the science underpinning the climate debate. It takes time, perseverance and professional scholarship to thoroughly appraise this number of complex documents. Very few of us have this sort of time to give to this task.
Here is a tip for those of us who are time challenged. Go to Radio National and download the last program of Counterpoint. You will hear Michael Duffy interview Professor Aynsley Kellow expert reviewer for the UN,s IPPC Fourth Assessment Report. You will invest about twenty minutes of your precious time but my guess is that you will be very satisfied with that investment.

Rosemary 01 December 2009

The tag 'climate change denier' is given for a reason: because those so named deny, rather than challenge, the science put to them. They selectively emphasise the claims of a small number of vested interest peddlers of opinion (in this sense they are skeptics in the classical philosophical sense of followers of Skeptikoi, or the 'thinker' who 'opined' rather than engage in dialogue/dialectic); rather than give a measured account of both sides of the 'debate'. Your climate change denier never criticises the fragments of scattered opinion that apparently contradicts the science, they are always sure the pseudo-science of the lobbyist is unquestionably the truth, os they cling to it like Odysseus lest they be tempted by some less palatable idea.

The motivation of your denier is varied, but much of it at root can be explained by the psychoanalytic idea of the Real. The end of a world fit for human habitation is unthinkable because it no longer includes the one who is thinking such a thought; much like dreaming you are dead. It is beyond our finite capacity to think. But the way things are going, we will need to start finding the language.

David Akenson 01 December 2009

We are all, more or less, cherry pickers; only selecting points of views that support our own.

Science , if done correctly, helps us to get at the truth.It is not about cherry picking. Bernard Lonergan, the brilliant Canadian theologian knew this. The scientific method underpins his "theological method". I think we could all take a leaf out of his book.

I have identified some interesting sites for our education.

Global warming is not a new idea. It has been known from at least the 1930s.
Pprofessor Naomi Oreskes talk about this and other things in her talk " The American denial of Global Warming" on YouTube at
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

Next see why Cardinal George Pell should NOT be impressed (as he claimed he was some time ago )by Ian Plimer's book "Heaven + Earth" where Plimer criticizes the global warming proponents .

On this site Professor Barry Brook presents the flaws in Plimer' arguments.

http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/


Next what about the 1970s ICE AGE prediction?, I think not.
See
http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm

Here you have the 1970s media predicting an ice age whilst at the same time the scientists are predicting global warming.

Which cherry will you pick?


Rich 02 December 2009

Dr Rue calls at the end of his article for good sources that help reintegration of theologies of Creation and Redemption. I'd like to offer one for consideration: A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE (global warming facts for faith based decisions) which addresses good questions and straightforward responses to climate change without the spin.

This book attempts to untangle the complex science and tackles many long-held misconceptions about global warming. Authored by a climate scientist and a pastor (who are married) A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE explores the role our Christian faith can play in guiding our choices and shaping our opinions on this crucial global issue/controversy.

Take the quiz or read preview chapters at: http://www.climateforchangethebook.com

Clair Hochstetler 02 December 2009

An important update on this issue that I came across in the news today. Prof. Phil Jones is stepping aside while his conduct is investigated by an indepedent panel. Also Penn State is to investigate Prof. Michael Mann.

The outcomes of these two inquiries will be extremely interesting. They may establish whether these two AGW proponents have been guilty of misconduct.

Patrick James 03 December 2009

Fr Rue has been heroic in his consistent and thoughtful defense of our planet over many years. This response is therefore no criticism of him personally.

Australian Catholics should remember that they are 'shareholders' in one of Australia's ten largest 'corporations'. What of our hospitals, schools, and other business interests? Are they using green power? Do you know? Are they recycling? (they're not). Why is it that CCI insist you 'opt in' to green/ethical investments, rather than have this as as a default? Why does Catholic Resources flog cheap car fleets to religious organisations? Why can't we ever do more than issue press releases?

While utilising the Christian tradition to interogate 'the world', when will we turn the spotlight onto ourselves and our own considerable business interests? While we are at it, when will traditional Catholics (that is, Vatican II Catholics) courteously but firmly name things as they are: Tony Abbott does not act according to Catholic tradition when it comes to climate change. But who would know? No Catholic takes a public stand when Abbott claims the high moral ground.

Who will speak if you don't?

Kate Mannix 03 December 2009

It's very sad to see a priest so strongly defending the "New Age Religion" of Climate Change. Most disappointing is his sinking to usual attacks on personality and integrity of the "deniers", rather than dealing with facts.

As a mathematician I can tell you two things: 1) The numbers do NOT add up on climate change 2) There are many more billions of $$ involved in the climate industry than in "denying" it.

Cardinal Pell is a hero, a man of integrity who can think for himself who has the guts to rise above the media frenzy and say what he thinks.

Gary 04 December 2009

It has been acknowledged that carbonsinks have been destroyed worldwide by cutting down the forests and the increased use of fossil fuels.

Why not listen to the pro global warming science and cut back our CO2 emissions and let time prove within a few years who was right or wrong in the argument. Then we have nothing to lose and possibly we have a great deal to gain, or once again is finance ruling common sense?

Matthew van Gestel 04 December 2009

It's very sad to see a priest so strongly defending the "New Age Religion" of Climate Change. Most disappointing is his sinking to to usual attacks on personality and integrity of the "deniers", rather than dealing with facts.

As a mathematician I can tell you two things: 1) The numbers do NOT add up on climate change 2) There are many more billions of $$ involved in the climate industry than in "denying" it.

Cardinal Pell is a hero, a man of integrity who can think for himself who has the guts to rise above the media frenzy and say what he thinks.

Gary 05 December 2009

Thank you Gavin (30 Nov) for reminding us that the people who suffer most from natural disasters are those who share in the least of the world's resources and they are the great majority. Perhaps we should give the world back to the trees.

Ray O'Donoghue 07 December 2009

Here's some easy questions:
Is the planet warming?
Are anthropogenic CO2 emissions contributing to that warming? If so, how?

Answers are

Yes, yes and

1. The earth's surface is warmed by absorbing short wave incoming solar radiation. Ice caps, being white, tend to reflect this radiation rather than absorb it.

2. Earth's surface cools off by transferring heat to the atmosphere, evaporating water to gas and energising molecules of gases including water vapour. This heat is transferred upward through convection and through cascades of molecular collisions until it arrives at altitudes high enough for the air to be thin enough for the emitted thermal radiation to be radiated back to space without further molecular retention.

3. Gases that are particularly good at retaining heat are those that have three or more atoms, such as water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), ozone (O3), methane (CH4). Above the lowest part of the atmosphere, the troposphere, there is very little water vapour because it condenses out and falls back as rain. At such heights, heat retention is therefore dominated by carbon dioxide. For this reason, changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide affects temperature at the earth's surface.

4. Through deforestation, humans have severely limited the capacity of biosequestration to lower atmospheric CO2 sufficient to allow reversion to glacial conditions, not even when earth's orbital precession minimises intensity of sunlight on Arctic terrestrial icecaps.

5. Through combustion of fossil fuel and cement manufacture, Industrial man has added sufficient carbon dioxide (CO2) over the last two centuries to raise atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppm to 430 ppm; the last 40 ppm has been dissolved in, and acidified, oceans. Most of this has occurred over the last 50 years.

The hard question is, why do some people refuse to acknowledge this? Lack of moral courage? Absolute terror (images of rabbits in headlights, etc)?

David Arthur 25 August 2010

Patrick James quotes a private communication of Kevin Trenberth: "The fact is we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

Patrick needs to understand that the travesty to which Trenberth was referring was the discrepancy between total solar energy arriving at the top of the atmosphere, and the sum of total thermal energy leaving the top of the atmosphere PLUS the energy accumulating in the atmosphere as it warms up, albeit slowly.

As Trenberth sets out in his April 2010 essay with John Fasullo "Tracking Earth's Energy", we KNOW that this missing energy must be accumulating somewhere in the earth's climate system (atmosphere + ocean + icecaps), and the travesty is that we haven't got enough ocean temperature monitoring to measure this.

Context is all, Patrick. Your quote, out of context, is meaningless. That's alright, I've now given you the context.

David Arthur 25 August 2010

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