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Apr 19, 2010
Bishop Hill in Climate: Sceptics, Media

This is a guest post by Barry Woods.

The number of people contributing to online climate change articles and the various blogs has shot up since the Climategate story broke. One strategy for dealing with sceptics, seen on a 'climate change' lobby group website, might explain why.

Campaign for Climate Change (CACC)
Skeptic Alerts
Are you fed up with sceptics and pseudo-scientists dominating blogs and news articles with their denialist propaganda? Well, fight back! We are trying to create an online army of online volunteers to try and tip the balance back in the favour of scientific fact, not scientific fiction... You will receive one e-mail alert per day containing links to various climate change news articles.

The idea is to organise 'climate change' activists to post comments on any sceptical man made climate change article in the media. CACC give examples of tactics to use and sources of information to counter any sceptical article. can also consider going onto the offensive and explain that the real uncertainty about man-made climate change is not whether its happening but how fast its happening and that in fact there is increasing evidence that the mainstream science of the IPCC is actually underestimating the scale and imminence of the threat.

There are similar links at RealClimate and many other websites.

Very few climate change activists seem to want to actually look at any of the evidence or allegations following Climategate themselves.  As activists they seem to look to voices of authority to provide the means to counter any contrary views.

One example below (from a  climate activist's transcript of a QA session at a  CACC meeting).  

QUESTIONER: Andrew Neil (BBC) interviewed Caroline Lucas (Green Party Leader) and asked her about the Phil Jones interview with the BBC where he said there had been no “statistically significant” warming in the last 15 years. Has there been no statistically significant warming or not ? Why wouldn’t Caroline Lucas, head of the Green Party, say “you’re wrong” ?

ANSWER FROM PHIL THORNHILL - CACC: I wrote her a rather long e-mail. You can’t really debate Science in the popular media. Most people don’t understand. - The tip for answering this kind of question is – "in 15 years, it’s hard to spot a trend against the background noise". It’s a difficult thing to explain. - It’s a clear case of how, once you start debating the science, it gets twisted.   She should have said “this is a typical case of the misrepresentation of science”.

ANSWER FROM BEN STEWART - GREENPEACE MEDIA: She was fine to say “I’ll take a pass on that”. 

The alternative answer is of course that the BBC's Andrew Neil was not wrong to ask this. The Climategate emails themselves show the key CRU/IPCC scientists involved discussing this issue privately: namely that the amount of manmade CO2 has accelerated during the 1990s, yet the temperatures have been static since 1995 or have even been falling. One conclusion is that the catastrophic predictions of unprecedented temperature rises from various computer climate models should be treated with caution.

In the last 20 years, 'Big Oil' has become 'Big Energy' and corporations, banking, media, politicians have all very much signed up to the consensus of manmade global warming.  Billions of dollars/pounds have been spent and a whole new 45 trillion dollar 'carbon economy' is envisaged.  Yet the climate change activists believe in a well-funded sceptic denial organisation. Even Judith Curry has referred to this on occasion.

It is obvious to a sceptical observer (should I say dispassionate? - 'sceptic' has been highjacked) that climate change is very much part of the media, business and political establishment now. For just one example, the Campaign Against Climate Change lists among its leadership George Monbiot (Guardian), Michael Meacher (Lab MP), Norman Baker (Lib dem MP), Caroline Lucas (Green Leader, MEP) and Jean Lambert (Green MEP). How more establishment can this manmade climate change lobbying group be? One is even a former Minister of State for the Environment!

This organisation is doing nothing wrong or illegal but, on reflection, this is yet another lobby group trying to manipulate the general public with the tools of political spin and misdirection.  It is frustrating to think that even the comments sections of newspapers and websites are being spun by activists from manmade climate change pressure groups, without the general public ever being aware of this manipulation.It might be interesting to sign up to this email list to see what is so important - all in the spirit of a fair and balanced debate.

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