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Discussion > Is the climate skeptic community too fragmented to be effective?

No, the thing that unites sceptics and deniers is that, whatever the truth on CAGW, nothing at all should be done. In particular, nothing should be done that affects my lifestyle or standard of living in any way.

Nov 26, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Richard Drake, comparing sceptics to UKIP is a good comparison. There are more potential followers out there than the official numbers suggest, but few people know what they stand for other than one policy. To become more acceptable there needs to be a wider knowledge of why they might be worth listening to. To take a chance on backing them you have to feel they’re really determined and not just a bunch of nihilists who just want to put a spanner in the endeavours of others. Sound like us?

I would agree that a sceptic wiki is too easy to sabotage and/or likely to flounder for lack of enthusiasm. That doesn’t mean a collaboration isn’t possible but it would need use a different method of sharing effort.

I don’t agree that we can’t build a coherent sceptic picture, even though much of what we agree on is what we don’t like about climate science.

Take the history of temperatures. We know why we think it’s important, we just need a clear way to convey it to others. A lot of the sceptic story is told in graphs but they’re spread all over the internet, come in a variety of different formats and often run in opposite directions. To put current temps into perspective, all you have to do is show temperatures dropping from 550 million years to the present and put ‘warmist on record’ to bed.

(I know that there are great sites like C3 headlines but the narrative there still feels like it's for experienced sceptics not beginners.)

Thanks Geoff for restarting this thread. I think the time is right in the UK for people to start listening to sceptics.

Nov 26, 2012 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

BitBucket "No, the thing that unites sceptics and deniers is that, whatever the truth on CAGW, nothing at all should be done. In particular, nothing should be done that affects my lifestyle or standard of living in any way."

On the contrary, if CAGW is real I want the scientists to prove it. I want them to do more than create messy, flawed, politcal drivel that can be easily dismissed. If CAGW is real then we really do need to change society in ways that make the Industrial Revolution look like a non event. To do that you need much more than the 'proof' currently on offer. Much more.

Nov 26, 2012 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I am sorry to labour this point but it is also true that CAGW is no longer the issue. Lord Deben already stated something like "we do not need to think about climate change because all the things we need to do to fight climate change; we need to do anyway (to feed 9 billion people.... sustainability/Agenda 21).
Now a combined, organised group fighting the idea that sustainability is a problem would be nice!
Bloody Hell I am changing my mind on the hoof here >.<
The real enemy is anti capitalist groups who will pick up and put down any and all weapons that help them to destroy our industrial economy.

Nov 26, 2012 at 10:04 PM | Registered CommenterDung

We are different. Excellent point. For that reason, we are never going to organise ourselves into e.g. a political party or a religious sect.
All the better.
An undergraduate philosophy student could write a programme which unites us (though none of us might be capable of doing so).
I don’t believe in predictions of the future.
(Well, almost none - see below)
Not Marx’s, nor Richard Betts’.
Which is why I agree with Mark Morano and a host of people who otherwise I wouldn’t touch with a delingpole.
Predicting something 50 years in advance (except eclipses and, possibly, trends in population growth) is for the birds.
We have the whole of social science on our side.
But the specifics of climate politics and the irony of history means that we are unaware of our greatest strengths.
Climate Chaos is with us for at least for 50 years, until the current crop of environmental science graduates, having climbed the greasy pole, finally pop their clogs.
Then it will certainly die.
Can we hasten this process, by, for example, organising ourselves?
This is precisely the kind of question which Marx addressed in the mid-nineteenth century.
The fact that his acolytes got the answer disastrously wrong is no reason not to ask the same question now.
My tentative answer is: “Yes, let’s try.” But I’d like to hear hundreds of alternative views first.

Nov 26, 2012 at 10:10 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

What ever works for you Dung ;-)

The two issues are prongs of the same fork. If it's sticking in your butt, it doesn't matter which one stings the most.

Nov 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

C3 headlines? Never heard of it. A quick look,...

1st headline, Global Warming Produces A Significant Reduction In North American Wildland Fires, is followed by a graph that shows the total area burned increasing, albeit acrobatically. The text says it is decreasing but the small print agrees that it is increasing. Nice one!

2nd headline, Obama's Green-sharia Economic and Political Agenda.... Green-sharia? Are these people complete fruitcakes? Oh, its by US conservatives; silly question.

3rd one... oh my, its about Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation...

Read this site and be mislead up the garden path. If it adds nuts to your fruitcake, well go ahead...

Nov 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


I am not saying it can not be done, I am saying I cant see HOW it could be done so feel free to make the suggestions that you are bursting with ^.^

However please note that concentrating on fighting the threat coming at you from the North because you can see it, when your intel guys are telling you about a much bigger threat from the South will only save you from being strung up by the fact that your population will not survive :)

Nov 26, 2012 at 11:02 PM | Registered CommenterDung

The total acreage burnt increased earlier and is at somewhat of a standstill. The number of fires has reduced. Both are contrary to alarmist predictions.

You shouldn't have opened your mouth about fruits and cakes.

Nov 27, 2012 at 12:16 AM | Registered Commentershub

I’m bursting with nothing, but willing to ally myself with anyone who’ll oppose the current nonsense (with the exception of the BNP). “How” hardly seems a problem, given the modern means of communication. “Whether or not” is something else. The English are not big joiners.
ChrisM raised the question at the beginning about whether our movements were specific to particular countries. Whatever happens in Canada or Australia is governed by specific local conditions which have a minimal effect on the situation in Britain. It’s a shame, but that’s the way it is. To that extent I’m a convinced Stalinist - Scepticism in one country.
So What Is To Be Done? to quote Lenin. Maybe nothing at all. There are recent examples of ad hoc cooperation between individuals of vastly different political horizons which lend support to the idea that the internet enables the purest anarchist theories of mutual aid to flourish. Bakunin and Bishop Hill can shake hands, and we statists/communitarians can retreat to the sidelines.
If that be so, then so be it.
(I’ve no idea what you”re on about with your North / South story)

Nov 27, 2012 at 12:30 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Shrub, even the C3 graph shows total acreage burnt going up. I'm sure they would have shown it going down if they could have.

Nov 27, 2012 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


I have known for some time that language is the biggest barrier to communication, your post suggests that education comes a close second.

Nov 27, 2012 at 1:28 AM | Registered CommenterDung

"graph shows..."total acreage burnt going up..."

No, it doesn't. 'Going up' means there should be an increase. This is not an anomaly graph that you can lazily read off just like the temperature graph. The acreage burnt off has been swinging between values set between 1977-'78.

Nov 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Registered Commentershub

It occurred to me as I was thinking about the structure of a UK sceptic (lobby) group or named association that to some extent the GWPF already fulfills that role. Would a new group represent more of the popular groundswell aspect of scepticism, similar to a union representing its membership? I agree with you Geoff that any such group needs to be above party politics, and focused on this particular issue.

So we need to ask ourselves such questions as:

Who are we? What are our core beliefs about this shared concern? What do we want to achieve? Who do we select to speak on our behalf? How do we support our spokespeople? How do we gain the positive attention of the media and directly or indirectly influence policy change?

The Union of Climate Rationalists ... hmmm, has a certain ring to it.

Nov 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Chris M

The GWPF is not widely known or followed even though the "names" at its heart are the best we have. Traffic through their site has dropped dramatically since it went down but even before that it was only ranked about 65,000, RC ranks higher at 45,000 but WUWT is up at 12,500.

The kind of organisation needed depends on the question about what exactly will this organisation attempt to achieve? The organisation could decide to make educating the public its aim or it could concentrate on influencing politicians but what would the message be?

Without even being part of an overarching organisation there are already individuals on BH who have sent reports to government, fought wind farm planning apps, submitted many FOIs to get at the truth, written endless letters to MPs, Ministers, the BBC and the press in general and contributed to at least three succesful books. It is hard to see how any organisation could do more?

Nov 27, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I suspect the reason the GWPF site gets less traffic than eg WUWT is simply because there’s no interaction with readers. It’s there to inform us, and especially policy makers, by bringing together information from different sources.
There was some pseudo academic study recently which expressed surprise at how “influential” it was, based on how often it was cited in the MSM. The reason is simple: with Lawson and a couple of other peers on the board, it has authority.
Montford has authority, because he’s written books. And that’s about it ithe UK.
The main use I can see of such an organisation would be to provide an authoritative voice which journalists, particularly the BBC, could turn to. To be authoritative, it would have to have a proper structure, with elected officers, etc. I’m old enough to remember Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers and Listeners Association, dedicated to keeping filth off the airwaves. Though it claimed 50,000 members, the BBC refused to treat with it, because it had no proper organisational structure, but was basically a Mary Whitehouse fan club.
Because of the internet, and sites like this, we don’t need a club or organisation to keep in touch, but simply to represent ourselves to the outside world. Getting publicity would be no problem. I’d hope that people like the Bish would stand for election to important posts, even if they couldn’t devote much time to the organisation itself.
Once you’d got a rough consensus view of what the organisation would look like, it would be nice to put up a skeleton proposal here for discussion, invite suggestions for a name (I think your suggestion is pretty good, but expect dissension on a subjet like that), and open a site where people could sign up as potential members, to get an idea how many people were interested.

Nov 27, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Individually we’re a load of nutters, oil servants and simple minded sheep. As a group we’re harder to ignore. Look at the money raised for Green Peace, it’s pathetic and yet they have a huge influence on politics. Do we really believe there are more Green Peace supporters out there than sceptics? Most people know that AGW resistance is on the increase, why shouldn’t politicians or journalists talk to trend setters to find out what is happening in the minds of the public?

As a group we might be able to get one of the newspapers to run a series of articles about why sceptics exist. We each have our own stories and our favourite inconvenient fact. Perhaps we could persuade a politician or two to meet with us and hear our issues? Not as a group of conspiracy theorists who think AGW is a scam but professionals who think there are worrying holes in the science that are a barrier to public acceptance of the potential crisis.

I used to work for a chemical company and I went on media training in case we blew up or something. One of the first things they said was ‘never speak to the press on your own’. It applies to sceptic interviews. One person can be stumped by a question but a group can always keep the answers flowing because while one person is talking the others can think. Because we’ve never identified the best sceptic arguments, whenever we’re asked about it, we bounce around from one issue to another, often missing the key details and touching on too many issues.

If I had to pick one goal that I would want to achieve it would be get TPTB to admit that climate science is unconvincing. If they admit that it is lacking then they have to address what is wrong with it or give up trying to prevent CO2 rising and plan to mitigate instead.

Nov 27, 2012 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

But who is this organisation aiming itself at? Lord Lawson is a known and respected politician and so has some weight with both government and public, nobody else in government or the public has heard of anyone in the climate change debate.

Nov 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM | Registered CommenterDung

The trouble with uniting is that you must choose who your friends are. As an example from this thread, do you want to associate with those who equate sharia law and greenery (C3)? Making such associations would detract hugely from your credibility and seems to be worth avoiding. It could be said that C3 is not of the UK and so the question doesn't arise, but there would be difficult choices at home too. For example do you associate with groups or individuals that make claims that are clearly nonsense? We might be talking 'slayers' or perhaps favorite commentators. You must either choose or censor. Are you willing to tread that path?

Nov 28, 2012 at 1:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


Why not? Your side of the fence isn’t exactly nut job free, is it? In any organisation there is always a wide range of views. The UK Labour Party has members ranging from those barely distinguishable from communists, through the old fashioned socialists and all the way up to the “New Labour” adherents not much different in outlook to some in the Tory party. The Tories themselves range from those of the “Wet”, pro-Europe, pro-intervention mindset to the no holds barred, anti-Europe, anti-statist outright libertarians, with all stops in between. Further, all organisations, if they ever want to actually get anything done, sometimes have to suffer some strange bedfellows. You only have to look at the Con/Lib coalition to see that. Or even the European Parliament for some really outlandish examples.

Any Sceptic group would do what those other organisations do and simply put forward those views representative of the majority of it’s membership. That’s what Geoff and others are discussing here. How to work out what those views would be and how best to set them out. A sort of bare bones manifesto if you like.

By the way, don’t assume that the Sharia/Green angle would necessarily be a bad thing to be associated with. It’s certainly not my view and it probably wouldn’t fly in the UK, but I can see such hyperbole resonating well with a substantial number of our, presently very disappointed and disillusioned, American cousins right now.

Nov 28, 2012 at 6:27 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

BB I was writing about sources of good graphs. I wouldn't choose to send someone just learning about AGW to C3 (and I presume you're not a beginner) I'd send them to the original source, often a governenment or university. C3 links to the original sources. Unfortunately because climate science is more interested in intellectual property rights than saving the planet, many of science papers are behind a paywall. C3, CO2 Science and the Hockey Shtick pick and choose what papers they display (and make their own interpretation) but they do look at the tidal wave of papers flooding in from climate science and make them available.

I'd love to see a neutral source that digests and sorts all the science out there and gives a balanced picture but at the moment we have the likes of C3 on one side and the IPCC on the other, neither of which are without significant bias. If people like you would stop blindly supporting climate science and admit it needs a clean up, we might get something we could all trust in.

Nov 28, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Get into bed with the wackos of the US religious right if you like (and become a even richer target for ridicule).

BTW if you want access to papers behind a paywall, why not get your new organisation (or even BH) to subscribe to the magazines on your collective behalf. Spread over your millions of followers, that should not cost much per person...

Nov 28, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BB, you’re projecting. If you want to get into bed with wackos, you need to hang out with your heroes more or does Romm turn even your stomach? Personally I try not to get into bed with anyone I meet on the internet, but whatever floats your boat.

If I was worried about being connected to wackos, or even being one, I’d hardly be conversing with anyone who spends much time on AGW, let alone you. Most sane people have moved on and are trying to pretend it’s gone away. In the not too distant future the British public are going to get really cross and the CO2 baby will go out with the bathwater. Is that what you want? Don’t you sense the rising scepticism? Do you really think that climate science can trump rapidly rising energy bills? It’s hard to convince people of an invisible threat once but to do it a second time is nigh on impossible. Are you going to bet the planet on the science as it stands? Can you even demonstrate that people really believe it NOW? CO2 emissions figures would make a liar out of you if you tried but please have a go as you never answer the difficult questions.

No matter how hard you snip and snipe at us, you are doing nothing to convince the ignorant that CO2 is a threat. Time is ticking and the longer you wait before someone puts together a convincing argument for CAGW the more people will have made up their minds against it.

Nov 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

You address your comments to BitBucket. I hope you don’t mind me replying, since I find my disgreements with you more interesting than those I have with BB.

Don’t you sense the rising scepticism?
No, I don’t. All I sense is rising confusion. The scientists, journalists, and businessmen who have invested so much of their personal reputations in this are not going to go away. In the next 20 years there will be a heatwave in Britain or a flood in Bangladesh which “proves” that we are wrong, and the CAGW will fight off any criticism of rising fuel bills.
It takes time to develop a counter-movement to something as all-pervading as CAGW. Granted, it wouldn’t take much to turn the discussion in our favour. One brave senior scientist, one brave authoritative journalist or politician, might put the debate before the public and turn the tide in our favour. It might happen tomorrow. It might happen never.
I’m sorry to say it, but no-one on the horizon is capable of doing that: not Lawson, Farage, Lilley, Booker, Delingpole ... not Montford or McIntyre, because in the eyes of the media, they don’t count. It’s horribly unfair, but that’s the way it is.
Look at the money raised for Greenpeace, it’s pathetic and yet they have a huge influence on politics. Do we really believe there are more Greenpeace supporters out there than sceptics?
Here, you’re badly misinformed. Greenpeace’s influence today is based on more than 40 years of often heroic actions. No-one among us elderly white males ;-) is proposing launching boats into the Pacific, or scaling Big Ben. Their early financing came from small-time donations, then from green millionaires, now from the European Union.
And people do trust NGOs, whereas they don’t trust journalists or politicians. The most absurd propositions about saving our fragile planet receive huge positive responses in opinion polls. The day we find an authoritative, persuasive spokesperson capable of putting the sceptic case before the media, he or she will be the target of every green NGO on the planet. And they’ll have public opinion on their side, and we’ll see the true strength of the opposing forces. The ignorant masses moaning about their energy bills will be of little help in that situation.

Nov 28, 2012 at 7:40 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers


Something is already turning the tide in our favour without us getting organised, maybe it is simple things like word of mouth, maybe Lawson to Osborne, maybe Monckton to UKIP?
What has changed?

The EU has given the OK to shale.
The EU has said economic growth is now the priority not low carbon.
Our coalition has cut renewable subsidies and is going for shale.
Osborne has said that there will be no carbon reduction targets for the power industry.
UKIP is surging in the polls and their energy policy is bang on.

I am not in favour of and maybe would not join a sceptic organisation even if one was formed but I also believe that events have overtaken its possible relevance.

I was sad to see someone talking about this possible organisation being a sort of broad church containing many views. That sort of opinion smacks of the current political corruption....come on folks dont worry if you dont agree, just shut up and get elected, sorry that is not for me.

Nov 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Registered CommenterDung