Right-Wing Journalist Writes a Laughably Bad Article Justifying Climate Change Denial

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Charles Moore is an English journalist who writes for the Daily Telegraph. At one time, he used to be the editor of the publication, moving into that position at a very young age. Recently, he wrote a biography of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. On Sunday, Moore published an article attacking climate change believers while questioning scientists on their methods.

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Early on in the column, Moore pretty much shows why he shouldn’t be taken seriously on this issue, as he makes the all too common error of making a direct comparison between weather and climate.

Most of us pay some attention to the weather forecast. If it says it will rain in your area tomorrow, it probably will. But if it says the same for a month, let alone a year, later, it is much less likely to be right. There are too many imponderables.

The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky 21st century, “global weirding”) has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. All the action plans, taxes, green levies, protocols and carbon-emitting flights to massive summit meetings, after all, are not because of what its supporters call “The Science”. Proper science studies what is – which is, in principle, knowable – and is consequently very cautious about the future – which isn’t. No, they are the result of a belief that something big and bad is going to hit us one of these days.

Moore sets the table right away by using one of the most common arguments by climate change deniers. Basically, we can’t predict the weather months or years from now. Therefore, how can we properly know what the climate will do? Because, obviously, climate and weather are the exact same thing. This is the problem with allowing non-scientists to be part of the ‘debate’ on climate change.

The Telegraph’s Tom Chivers felt the same way about Moore’s article and offered a rebuttal on Monday. Mainly, he takes aim at Moore statement that “the theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more.” Chivers states how that is just completely and utterly wrong.

And what climate modelling, climate forecasting, does is try to work out how those odds are going to change. As more energy is trapped in the atmosphere, how will it affect the local climates of England and Egypt? (And by extension, of course, the economies and societies of those places, which are adapted to their particular climates.) It’s a complicated job, of course; the climate is an incredibly complex system. I recommend the climate scientist Tamsin Edwards’s blog All Models Are Wrong for a discussion of the limitations and strengths of climate modelling.

But to call “the theory of global warming” a “gigantic weather forecast” is just wrong. Staggeringly wrong. The idea is not to say “in Leamington Spa on Saturday 7th of April 2114, it will be overcast with a chance of rain”, but that “in 100 years’ time, the likelihood is that rain will be more frequent in western Europe than it currently is”.

Moore’s whole premise through his article is that weather forecasts become less accurate the further out you go and that scientists keep changing their mind, so we should just stop listening to them. In his mind, everything centers around today’s economic needs. We should no look to make changes for the future if it causes individuals, companies and countries to get hurt in the pocketbook right now. Science isn’t to be trusted. This is how he finished his article:

Since then, the international war against carbon totters on, because Western governments see their green policies, like zombie banks, as too big to fail. The EU, including Britain, continues to inflict expensive pain upon itself. Last week, the latest IPCC report made the usual warnings about climate change, but behind its rhetoric was a huge concession. The answer to the problems of climate change lay in adaptation, not in mitigation, it admitted. So the game is up.

Scientists, Rupert Darwall complains, have been too ready to embrace the “subjectivity” of the future, and too often have a “cultural aversion to learning from the past”. If they read this tremendous book they will see those lessons set out with painful clarity.

Moore is pretty much calling for a complete disregard for science. He feels that those with absolutely no knowledge of a particular subject should step right in and have a ‘debate’ with those who have done extensive research and have spent their entire lives learning and teaching on that particular subject. The debate, in his mind, is really just on throwing doubt because of how it will effect certain people financially. Since he, and others, don’t know or even really understand the subject, it is all about cherry-picking and obfuscating the entire scientific method, by pointing out earlier statements by scientists that have since evolved.

Thankfully, Chivers pointed out on Monday how terribly wrong Moore is by taking this approach. He ended his article with this:

It’s reasonable to be concerned about economically damaging or socially authoritarian responses to the threat of climate change. But Charles has utterly misunderstood the issue, and told an entire scientific discipline that he knows best, and it’s important that someone points out that he’s got it wrong.

Exactly. Charles Moore should not be telling scientists that they are wrong when he doesn’t even understand the very topic he is discussing.

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24 Replies to “Right-Wing Journalist Writes a Laughably Bad Article Justifying Climate Change Denial”

  1. Wonder what made Moore decide he should put forth an opinion on something he obviously knows little about? I love it when people blurt out what is contrary to science, like science is some evil entity. Although they seem to enjoy all the benefits that science has brought.

    I keep wondering at what point the denialist will admit that we are treating the earth like a trash can and consequences will come. Will it be some catastrophic event, or when we are all walking around in gas masks having soylent green for dinner? I doubt they will still back off the stance that we are dooming ourselves.

  2. It’s not just climate change that is the worry. It’s the amount of toxins being pumped into our air our oceans and ground water. The coral reefs are dying. Shell fish are having trouble forming shells because of the acidity levels in the oceans. Sea creatures are choking on plastic. Jelly fish are proliferating at an alarming level.

    Fracking causes the ground water to be polluted for hundreds of miles around the sites. Well failures happen at 30% rates within the first 1-5 years.

    Air pollution is still a terrible problem globally. One of the most polluted cities in is China.

    This is not even talking about the radiation that is still being leaked into the water from the Fukushima plants. I would NOT eat any Japanese seaweed or fish caught in the Pacific Ocean. Within the next couple of years the radio active water is going to reach the California coast.

  3. There is a power facility in the UK that pumps 250,000 gallons of low level radiated water into the ocean every day. Its unbeleivable what we do to ourselves. And I only single them out because its one I know about

  4. Discover the cause of the warming, the end of it, why temperatures are headed down and what to expect.

    There are only two primary drivers of average global temperature change. They very accurately explain the reported up and down measurements since before 1900 with R2>0.9 (correlation coefficient = 0.95) and provide credible estimates back to the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age (1610).

    CO2 change is NOT one of the drivers.

    Search keywords AGW unveiled for the drivers.

  5. No, I think we’ll stick to ACTUAL Science, that shows CO2 levels ARE the driver.

    Interestingly, there’s a new Scientific breakthrough; the mass Extinction 352 Million years ago, before the dinosaurs, might have been caused by the growth of a weird bacteria that fed off volcanic gas and emitted huge amounts of CO2.

  6. How do I know Global Warming is for real? A1A washed out today —again along the east coast of Florida . no matter how many truck loads of sand we are forced to pay for – the tide is rising – and will continue to rise…how do i know…A1A will flood again TOMORROW…

  7. With global warming there is a reasonable middle ground. That is we should reduce pollution and emitting carbon as much as possible without destroying our industry civilization or taking away our freedoms. Extremists on both sides are irrational and use the same kinds of arguments. What they do is vilify anyone who doesn’t agree with them. On one side we have those who claim that only greedy fools question how fast the world is heating or reasons for it. On the other side we have those who claim that those who are concerned about global warning are part of a global plot to enslave the world.

  8. The record shows that CO2 change has no significant influence. This was the conclusion of the study made public 6 years ago at (search keywords Pangburn Middlebury).

    Briefly:

    In the late Ordovician, the planet plunged into the Andean Saharan ice age and later emerged from it while the CO2 level was about 10 times the present.

    During the last glacial period, warming trends changed to cooling trends while the CO2 level was higher than it had been during the warming trend.

    During the 20th century, average global temperature trends went down, up, down, up while the CO2 level went steadily, progressively up. Lack of correlation demonstrates lack of causation.

  9. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, transparent gas that is absolutely mandatory for all life on earth and change to its level has no significant effect on climate. Calling it carbon makes it sound more ominous and distracts from attending to real atmospheric pollutants such as particulates, mercury, NOX and sulfur (as the Chinese are discovering).

  10. Carbon Dioxide Levels Climb Into Uncharted Territory for Humans
    The amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere has exceeded 402 parts per million (ppm) during the past two days of observations, which is higher than at any time in at least the past 800,000 years, according to readings from monitoring equipment on a mountaintop in Hawaii.
    http://mashable.com/2014/04/08/carbon-dioxide-highest-levels-global-warming/#:eyJzIjoidCIsImkiOiJfbHoxd3RuN3VlYzcxcWNlZiJ9

  11. With such poor knowledge about the subject, I am surprised that The Telegraph printed such a poorly argued piece, it is supposed to be of a higher intellectual level than The Mirror or Mail. British journalistic writing of the class of The Guardian and Observer it seems is at a low ebb

  12. The CO2 level continues to go up while the average global temperature (AGT) doesn’t. Apparently, the separation between the rising CO2 level and not-rising AGT will need to get even wider for the AGW mistake to become evident to some of the deniers of natural climate change.

  13. “The CO2 level continues to go up while the average global temperature (AGT) doesn’t.”

    It didn’t do in 30 years between 1930-60 and yet is warmer today. That something must follow a straight line cause and effect in a scientific matter is just silly.

    If all things considering equally then yes it would match almost exactly but nothing in earth science does. We have radiative forcing and/or feedbacks effects like aerosols, TSI, PDO, Albedo effect etc that affects temperatures and energy balance in the globe.

    http://www.realclimate.org/images/ipcc_rad_forc_ar5.jpg

    The problem with CO2 is that is acts as temperature regulator and many of the positive feedbacks effect are dependent on the temperatures.
    Higher temps means less albedo effect, more water vapour in the atmosphere, more methane from the permafrost. All those things makes the temperatures rise even more.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-change/guide/science/explained/feedbacks

  14. You also have to understand that warming the surface only accounts for 2,3% which is nothing.
    It is less then it takes to melt the earths ice.
    It takes energy to melt ice for example. To take an example if the surface and surface temperatures would show no warming in 10years but the ice melting had been accelerating and the oceans where also heating up it wouldn’t mean that the world as whole wasn’t warming. In fact it is similar of what is happening today. Slow surface temperatures but land ice is diapering in a accelerating rate and oceans are still warming up.
    So there is no pause and it is really even a pause in any statistical level.

    http://www.350resources.org.uk/?attachment_id=17113

    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/global-temperature-the-post-1998-surprise/

  15. That’s right. The alarmists can’t get around the 17.5 years of no warming. Climate models failed to predict the ‘Pause’, therefore the models are wrong. Then they tried to blame the pause on the oceans, but the models didn’t predict this either, so again the models are wrong.

    I love it.

  16. Absolutely true James. What you are alluding to is that the climate debate is really just politics, hiding behind the thin veil of science.

  17. Paraphrasing Richard Feynman: Regardless of how many experts believe it or how many organizations concur, if it doesn’t agree with observation, it’s wrong.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), some politicians and many others mislead the gullible public by stubbornly continuing to proclaim that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is a primary cause of global warming.

    Measurements demonstrate that they are wrong.

    CO2 increase from 1800 to 2001 was 89.5 ppmv (parts per million by volume). The atmospheric carbon dioxide level has now (through December, 2013) increased since 2001 by 27.18 ppmv (an amount equal to 30.37% of the increase that took place from 1800 to 2001) (1800, 281.6 ppmv; 2001, 371.13 ppmv; December, 2013, 398.31 ppmv).

    The average global temperature trend since 2001 is flat (5 reporting agencies http://endofgw.blogspot.com/). Graphs through 2013 have been added..

    That is the observation. No amount of spin can rationalize that the temp…

  18. Ocean rise is the most embarrassing climate fear going.

    Antarctica and Greenland combined are contributing 400 cubic kms of melt-water annually to the worlds oceans. But the worlds oceans contain a whopping 1.3 billion cubic kms of water.

    400 is so insignificant compared to 1.3 billion cubic kms, it can’t be measured with any certainty. At this rate it would require 1000’s of years to flood anything.

    You’re confusing ‘relative sea level rise’ with ‘absolute sea level rise’. A major difference between the two.

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