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« Yeo tells Davey that DECC misled Parliament | Main | Hansen before the Environmental Audit Committee »

Pointman on the infowars

Pointman has written another of his incisive analyses of the climate debate, this time looking at the failures of the alarmist public relations strategy.

On one side you had the alarmists, who had all the politicians in their pocket, a massive PR budget which was usually and still is replenished by governments grants, all the mainstream media including the crypto-state television channels like ABC, CBC, PBS and BBC, pretty much the whole of the journalistic establishment, all the activist prominenti of climate science, the EU, NASA, NOAA, BOM, EPA, IPCC, pretty much anything you can think of which has an acronym, the seamier side of the investment industry, every environmental organisation right down to the smallest fruit loop loony tune outfit, all the major science journals, presidents, prime ministers, the world, his brother, his sister, their dawg and even the frigging cat, never mind their bloody hamster.

On the other side you had us and we had, umm, well, as a matter of fact we’d bugger all beyond the wit to point out the teensy-weensy cracks, nay yawning crevasses, in the science, and in a political sense, sound the alarm bell about the sort of Armageddon the hysterical bandwagon was slouching towards.

Given that match up, the obvious question has to be – how the hell did they ever manage to lose and why are we doing so well, while their once soaring ambitions now lay in smoking ruins?

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Reader Comments (68)

"The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." Thomas Huxley

Jun 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Sublime Pointy!

I doff my cap in homage to Pointman, whose vitriolic prose once again delivers a relentless admonition: to all of the; charlatans, thieves, swindlers, quacks and imposters who purvey this great green scam.

Yes indeed, that's one for the Everyman! Plus his "dawg" and has showed them all up for what they are - liars and about a country mile from being very accomplished liars - at that.

Jun 7, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Magna est veritas et praevalebit

(If I remember my classics teacher of half a century ago rightly)

Jun 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterEdward Spalton

Pointman missed the one tiny thing we have on our side: Reality.

Reality couldn't care less what the BBC thinks, or what rhetorical flourishes Al Gore makes. It doesn't care about snazzy graphics or Powerpoint presentations. It isn't taken in by clever accounting techniques or dodgy business models.

At the end of the day saying 'I can fly' won't help when you step off the 14th floor.

Jun 7, 2013 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I think Pointman's post is a very good analysis of where they went wrong and why they are now losing. As he says, it was a major own goal to insist that the science was settled, because they thereby painted themselves into a corner of having to defend all of it, including the obvious and manifest rubbish.

There were several other decisive and unforced errors as well, I think. One was insistently demanding that we bow to authority, but apparently without having foreseen the fact and nature of how that authority might be challenged. When actual skilled statisticians started taking Mann apart, for example, he consequently had nowhere to hide and has had instead to run.

This also worked against their science-is-settled meme, because if it’s settled, why is there a vote on it?

Another was failing to explain plausibly why there was scepticism at all. It was always obvious how the consensus upholders personally gained from preservation of the consensus. It wasn’t obvious what sceptics stood to gain from being sceptics. Why were they then sceptics, unless it was because they were, er, right? This required upholders to fabricate some lie that explained the phenomenon of scepticism. Unfortunately, they came up with several, and many contradicted each other. So according to some warmists, sceptics were part of some vast oil-funded movement. But according to others they were an irrelevant fringe. Well, which is it? Are they vast, or are they tiny?

Looking forward, the next pratfall they have lined up for themselves is that in insisting on nonsense like wind farms, environmentalists have set themselves up as the sworn enemies of conservationists. This is weird, but true, in that what they want actually to implement is simply unacceptable to a very significant proportion of people where it matters and who you’d think would be their natural allies.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Reality is relative (in the AGW world). I have often wondered how with no resources, the giant was being (I choose that tense deliberately because it is being a long process) slayed.

It is because reality isn't relative. It doesn't matter how much money you have. Red is red and white is white. Opinions are something else. Interpretations are something else, but, facts are facts.

What I find diffcult to understand is the total lack of critical thinking amongst so many concerned friends, not only on this issue but other currently 'popular' issues as well.

My partner has only just taken on board that the wonderful low energy lightbulbs, cost a lot more, blow just as frequently (because they only last a long time if you don't switch them on & off) and contain mercury! This came up in the car on the way home yesterday. She was shocked. I was too because I'd told on a number of occasions.

It is a long battle, but David is beating Goliath.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterbilbaoboy

I thought his most pertinent point was that the Alarmists were inevitably undermined from the outset by their own attitudes, particularly their fundamentalist rigidity in not conceding a skerrick of uncertainty in their position or an ounce of respect for their opponents.

Perfection, as many have pointed out, is a difficult stance to maintain.

Still, it gives them plenty of material for their next struggle meeting.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Maybe it is because they have had a free ride from the politicians and the media?

If you close down the debate then you get "corpulent".

Had they had to work harder then perhaps their message would have been believed by the audience.

The audience has not been convinced. Maybe they are their own worst enemies?

They certainly do not understand the enemy because they believe their own unquestioned propaganda.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

I wish he'd come off the fence and tell us what he really thinks.. :-)


"Magna est veritas et praevalebit"

Indeed, although sometimes it involves a long wait and a lot of money.
As has been said of the state of America, it always does the right thing in the end, but only after it has exhausted all the other possibilities.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


I think I would have taken longer to spot the lightbulb scam if the greens hadn't overplayed their hand and arranged for the incandescent (cheap and easily disposable) sort to be verboten. I always smell a rat when that happens.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:32 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I thought there were a lot of good points in Pointman's vigorous and amusing essay, but it is all a long way from being over. Two recent posts - the Marshall guy and Hansen - show no doubts whatsoever, and the greens listen with rapt attention to every word. It will get uglier I think.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Sometimes words are just words and the meaning of the piece comes about by simply reading.

But here we have an example where those words create such a "picture" that the old adage that a picture is worth a 1000 words is seen to be totally false.

A superb article.

A craftsman's work.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

" the hell did they ever manage to lose and why are we doing so well..."

Like the best cream, fact & truth floats to the top given the least opportunity.

I salute all you folks who "outed" the Warmists for what they are. Liars.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteamboat McGoo

mike fowle +1

There are a lot of words written on climate change which aren't going to get unwritten easily. It's a shame that so many of them are in textbooks and in policy.

In my opinion, as far as the debate goes, the focus needs to be on asking for, and properly testing, the real physical evidence for AGW. That is: the evidence which differentiates the currently observed from the historical. There remains a lot to learn.

Jun 7, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I never miss a Pointman's blog post. Highly entertaining, informative, succint, to the point

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commenteralex

Sorry to rain on the parade.

I agree with everything Pointman says with one tiny exception.

We are winning????


In a battle over the scientific facts or the realities of energy policy, yes. We probably are winning. Maybe (gradually) in the battle for the hearts and minds of at least some of the public.

Otherwise, not so much. Big wind farms sprouting up left, right and centre. 97% (natch!) of politicians still spouting bullshit, still citing long debunked greenie nonsense (even the Hockey Stick, for Christ's sake!)as 'fact', still beating the precautionary principle drum at every turn.

So, yes, we're nipping their ankles and annoying them.

But when will the first windfarm be demolished? When will Miliband, Davey or Yeo be impeached for their lies and brazen waste of taxpayers' money? When will WWF, FoE, Greenpeace, Carbon Trust and all the rest be told to piss off and no longer be welcomed on every BBC programme as "experts"? When will the Ruinables promoters be in the dock, on a conspiracy to defraud charge?

So, maybe they are losing, but they can carry on losing at this rate for a decade and still walk away from the wreckage of UK plc with smiles on their faces and their boots stuffed with treasure.

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered Commentermartin brumby

Not banned yet's comment, " It's a shame that so many of them are in textbooks and in policy" cannot be more true than in the establishment of renewable fuel standards. The environmental and economic damage caused by these mandates is tragic.

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

"how the hell did they ever manage to lose and why are we doing so well"

As mentioned above - the truth is on our side.

In the end our victory is inevitable. The only question is how much wealth and resources have been squandered and how many lives blighted in the meantime.

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith L

+1 to Martin Brumby
Pointman is jumping the gun.
Skeptics have some wins, but the hearts and minds are with the mainstream.
Revealing interviews with delegates to Bonn Climate conference.(ref WUWT)
They either dont know about the pause, or think its irrelevant.
Also, there isnt any sign of the RoySoc, APS, AAAS, ,,,, altering their positions.
Politicians will take their cues from the Scientifc peak bodies, as they should.
I would much rather a Minister taking advice from the Royal Society than from some blogger.

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Hill

+2 for Martin Brumby.

Communism was falsified dozens of times in the last century. Yet our entire intellectual elite, media and rulers are still publicly (or privately) in thrall to it.

The Thermageddonists aren't going anywhere.

We haven't won.

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

A waste of a perfectly good climate warm period the like of which had given civilisation so much in the past and now squandered by a collective madness.

The Millenium Warm Period. RIP.

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Stuck-record has it right, I think.

Environmentalists paint doom and gloom scenarios all the time, often with no valid basis for doing so. If, say, GM food or nuclear-power never happens in an individual's location or experience, then the reported inaccuracies and untruths will be accepted by many and may possibly never be contradicted.

But weather and climate happen everywhere all the time. Unless they live in a submarine, every person on the planet will gain first hand experience of the facts as they are slowly, but irresistibly, revealed. The greenshirts picked a loser. Big time.

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I'll believe we are winning when:

- The new Chief Scientist of the Met Office declares that predicting the climate decades ahead is not possible, for fundamental reasons.

- 100 W tungsten lamp bulbs are stocked by Tescos.

Jun 7, 2013 at 1:58 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

For clarity, I was referring to Stuck-record's first comment.

Jun 7, 2013 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Martin Brumby,

Another argument that supports your idea that we have a long way to go to “win” (though whether acknowledging acceptance of a fact is winning also has to be open to question):

There is an oil terminal in the Shetlands, Sollum Voe, built by BP (Big Oil! Boo!). One of the stipulations for establishment was that BP must revert the locale back to its original condition when the terminal closes – that means removal off ALL buildings, roads, tanks, pipes, jetties, and the foundations of same. (Whether this will actually be done is, of course, a moot point, however.)

Will the removal of the dreadful turbines similarly involve the removal of the tonnes of concrete in the foundations, removing such aberrations from the often otherwise unusual soils of the moors? Somehow, I doubt it. I doubt even the turbines will be removed; they will just be left to rot, in situ, surrounded by barbed wire, keeping people out, lest a turbine topples over onto them.

Jun 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Is it cuz we right and Babylon wrong?

Jun 7, 2013 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I agree with some others here that alarmism is nowhere near over at the pace it's going, but there could well be a tipping point, to use an increasingly tiresome phrase.
There are an enormous number of prominent people out there who have made, and continue to make, fools of themselves by loudly proclaiming the truth of CAGW and the evil wrongness of "deniers". Eventually they will come to understand that they have made fools of themselves.
Naturally they won't blame themselves for not having questioned the warmists or for not having properly read even one sceptical website, let alone a book like those of our host, they will blame those who provided them with the rope with which to hang themselves.
When it starts to hit the fan, ignorant but strident politicians, celebrities, non-climate scientists and professional non-sceptical "skeptics" (yes, Randi, we all know remote viewing is bollocks, that's the easy bit!), are going to be flailing around looking for someone to blame and some of them are going to be as attention-seeking as they were when they were in the wrong.
In those circumstances the mood can change very quickly and we may yet see what I've long said will be the sign that it's really all over - when CAGW is the but of jokes on the likes of Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week.
Those sort of comedians like to pretend that they are somehow shocking or alternative but they are mostly anything but, (jokes about bankers and Ann Widdecombe's looks, how smart, how alternative!) and only display attitudes which flatter their audiences own misguided sense of being hip and edgy. When they feel it's safe and zeitgeisty enough to mock the hockey stick and climate change we'll know the day is won.
In such circumstances a number of institutions are going to have to try to salvage their reputations. For some it will only be a long period of penance which MAY restore some reputation, others will ruthlessly lash out at those they see as the guilty parties they can most plausibly blame without blow-back. If that happens I wouldn't want to be Hansen, Mann, the Met Office or CRU for a start.

Of course it may not happen this way, but if this is anything like, then the death of CAGW could be surprisingly swift and very messy.

Jun 7, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

On the question of 'winning' we need to be realistic.
On one hand we will continue to deal with the regulatory 'hangover' from this nonsense for many years to come, but on the other can anyone really imagine something like the Climate Change Act going through parliament in the future?

No - they are well past the apex of their power - but most of them do not realize it - and that is their biggest vulnerability.

Great analysis from Pointman as usual.

Jun 7, 2013 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJud


"the turbines .. will just be left to rot"

More than likely..


Jun 7, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The bile green color of their snake oil gave the game away.

Jun 7, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered Commentertckev

It's very simple. Mistakes in the basic physics and the early researchers became controlled by the carbon traders and the politicians they bought.

I worked for 20 years on CO2 related projects but I always put in the caveat 'assuming the climate models are tight'.

They aren't and you can easily prove who made the key 'mistakes' starting with 1981_Hansen_etal.pdf, the origin of the 33 K nonsense and positive feedback. Chance?

Jun 7, 2013 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

From an election statement for the "TransitionNC" brigade in the recent local elections:

""Unfortunately, most electors do not understand the extreme urgency with which we must all switch from burning fossil fuels to renewable energy and to sustainable lifestyles. Too many electors still regard the view from their house of paramount importance, rather than the triviality it is in comparison to the likely runaway global warming caused by burning fossil fuels, which would be an utter catastrophe for human civilisation on the planet Earth.""

The Transiton freakazoids are financed by our Government. I really do not think these people are beaten, they are just keeping a lower, more localised profile. On the plus side, this particular zealot was not elected, but I do not think we can call a victory parade yet. It is easy to think that a few victories in the bloggosphere is a win but the corruption of our children by the Agenda 21 brigades goes on uninterrupted. They are playing the long game whilst we are distracted by a few flag waving idiots like Mann, Hanson, Gore and Glieck.

Ivor Ward

Jun 7, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

Radical Rodent - if a turbine falls in the ocean does it make a sound?

Some creative individuals will figure out how to knock the things down in the dead of night and sell the good bits for scrap. You'll have a forest of wind-turbine stubs pretty much forever. At least they'll make good impediments to seaborne invasion.

As for the "we've won" theme - we are WINNING but we've by no means WON, there's too much bad law already on the books, too many power-grabbers still able to use the climate bludgeon.

Jun 7, 2013 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

Being a physicist myself and having worked for over a decade in aerospace and space research, the whole AGW argument seems like that eternal battle between theorist and empiricist. The point that keeps coming up anytime I hear about sensitivity, models, forcing and the rest is that the basic idea about "back radiation" is testable in a lab. You don't even need CO2.

The frequencies in question are around 4 and 15 µm. It may be hard to get a narrow enough IR filter but basically all that is needed is a controlled environment, a surface that is thermal isolated or at least well characterised, and an IR lamp. Add in sensors and a means to measure the W/m2 and away you go. Build up a set of forcing v temperature curves for different atmospheric conditions.
The reason I keep coming back to this point is that an experiment like this tests more than the "basic physics". If you think about it, IR radiation will be absorbed by a surface, but penetrate less into it (due to frequency being lower). There will be surface loss effects especially surface conduction with air and maybe other random losses. I suspect that the net amount of energy turned into heat will be less than the ideal case. It may even be zero. Then again it may be as the ideal case. An experiment would go a long way to give you this info.

So here I am thinking: why hasn't anyone done this for 20 years? And I believe it's because the theorists got loose with their models. Plus I think that such a simple set-up of measuring "forcing" was thought beneath the average scientist. Almost that it could all be modelled anyway. Settled science as they say.

The problem with this is that first of all it's dripping with idiotic hubris; and second Mother Nature will give you a slap soon enough. Usually this all happens without a lot of money being spent or life-changing policies being enforced. This isn't the case with AGW. The horse was on the Moon before the door was shut. And as such it'll have all that distance to fall.

Lastly, I've been fortunate to perform experiments and tests on hardware that produce a result completely contrary to theory. And it's a humbling and nice feeling when it happens. A lot more of that is needed with global warming theories. Do the experiments.

Jun 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

I know the answer! Ask me! Ask me! The answer is scientific method. You cannot engage in science without it. Skeptics were able to show that Alarmist theories did not comport with scientific method.

Scientific Method is one of the great gifts of modern civilization. It enforces a degree of rationality on all matters scientific. Today it is under heavy attack from ideologues who believe that the truth is found in the last ideology standing. It will remain under heavy attack for the foreseeable future.

Jun 7, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

No matter how eloquently one rambles on, essentially the enviromentalists and the money grabbing commercially savvy desperately overplayed the climate armageddon scenerio brought into play with some seriously dodgy science.
Ultimately the majority of the remaining Jo public disbelieved every doom and gloom climate story that came along, moaned like crazy about soring energy costs and finally realised that most politicians had their hand in the till resulting in UKIP forming part of the next coalition government and UK leaving the EU.
Now can I get back to the cricket?

Jun 7, 2013 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Yeah I wish.

Jun 7, 2013 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

AlecM and not banned yet:

How about this for a straight forward insight into the Physics ?
-slaying-watts-with-watts.html. + comments

Jun 7, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

Like others above, I like what Pointman says, but don't see that skeptics are winning.

We see daily that alarmists and media supporters whip up CO2 hysteria based upon the radiative effect on the climate from “heat trapping greenhouse gases.” They mislead in two ways. Most of radiation is from H2O, and only a minor amount from CO2. Secondly, radiation is a bit player in the troposphere, where conduction, convection and latent heat transfer dominate.

The public is thus deceived, and the CO2 molehill is transformed into a mountain endangering humankind. The distortion is never exposed, and as one result, we get a new estimate by the US Dept. Of Energy of $36 for the social cost per ton of carbon emissions.

Jun 7, 2013 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

Slowly winning ....

Daily Mail today...

Wind farms are a 'complete scam', claims the Environment Secretary who says turbines are causing 'huge unhappiness'
The extraordinary intervention by Tory Cabinet minister Owen Paterson risks fuelling a row with the Lib Dems as communities get new powers to oppose turbines.

Jun 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermanwithastick

They lost because somebody 'created' climategate and the Americans ran away from Copenhagen.

It's irrelevant because carbon trading was supposed to pay for all this and it failed. American corporations don't pay any kind of tax (in Europe), never mind a carbon tax !!

Game over.

Jun 7, 2013 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Ron C.

The science is more or less irrelevant because nobody cares. Millions protested Monsanto, dozens for AGW.

Jun 7, 2013 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

May I add my support to Martin Brumby's contribution. We cannot claim winning even a battle until a government of one major state comes on side. We are miles from this in the UK, with only one sceptic in the cabinet and a handful of backbench MPs, none of which are LibDems. Perhaps there is one Labour member. However, I feel that if one reasonably influential government comes on side, the rest will shortly follow.

Jun 7, 2013 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Brilliant. Thank you for posting it.

Jun 7, 2013 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

Simply - they lied...

Jun 7, 2013 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMWaPW

Peter Stroud: the government of one very major state is firmly on side. See the "Fantasy China" thread on the Discussion page. No state is more influential than China - just consider the humiliation of the West at Copenhagen.

Jun 7, 2013 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

reality will continue to bite


there is too much political risk in Green energy for the massive investments that are required

Looks like Spain is going to reduce subsidies on solar

the smart cookies know the game is up

stupidity has its shelf life like anything else

I give it 3 years before the last rites are read

Jun 7, 2013 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

Pointy is da man

For any stereotyped skeptics out there (over 40, white, science background) try the readability bookmarklet to pump up the point size.

Jun 7, 2013 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes protests against the Keystone pipeline continue, windfarms get built, solar panels in the UK get subsidised...nucleqr is in the long grass, green groups campaign against GM crops....

pointman needs to wake up and smell the coffee. He is winning in the sense that the Romanovs won against the provisional government.- they never had to combat the Bolsheviks.

Jun 7, 2013 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

diogenes (June 7 11:43pm) has it right

Pointman, as usual, is full of angry, empty rhetoric

In what MSM outlet is this published:

When large-circulation MSM outlets start to put up serious scientific and engineering discussion, I may be tempted to think that rationality has a chance

Next century, perhaps

Jun 8, 2013 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

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