Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sex, Lies and Videotape (ok - no sex - sorry)

One of the most popular pieces of "evidence" promoted by people who jump though mind-game hoops not to believe that mankind can be messing up the climate (like a certain Jersey Senator) is "The Great Global Warming Swindle" - a so-called documentary that was made for Channel 4. The DVD of this programme is still sold, and promoted, on many climate change denier websites and this is perhaps the biggest clue that deniers are most probably lying when they claim to be "sceptics" - or to be giving balance to the arguments - or that they claim to believe it is sensible to wait until the final scientific verdict is in (at some indeterminate time in the future).

Deniers must know the truth about what the "Swindle" film really is by now because they have been told a thousand times already that it is full of deliberate lies and crafted deception. The most obvious ones were actually edited out of subsequent showings of the film because they were just too blatantly deceitful! Scientists in it have complained vociferously that their interviews were deliberately edited to make them appear to say exactly the opposite of what they really did say. This sort of black propaganda does not happen by accident. And yet it continues to be promoted as some sort of balanced, reasonable counter-argument to the overwhelmingly accepted scientific position (that climate change is real; it’s happening now; that we are mostly responsible and it ain’t going to be pretty) by people who keep trying to pass themselves off as the voice of reason.

These denier types are in reality like the mythological Greek Sirens, who lured sailors onto the rocks with the beauty of their voices. Deniers are trying to lure the whole planet and all the people on it onto the climate change rocks if people give their pernicious lies and distortions any credence. Are they mad? Are they bad? They certainly are dangerous to know!

The latest “crock of the week” video ends up with Mr Sinclair pointing out that the creators of this diabolical propaganda appear to rely upon the fact that this apparently attractive package can circulate for years, fooling a fresh bunch of naive suckers every day, because "on the Internet nobody knows you're a fraud”. This is because too often “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” (The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel). People googling around who want to have their biases confirmed will find this sort of garbage programme and they won’t bother to look into whether it is a credible source or not because it appears to be “scientific”.



Anonymous said...

“a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” also applies to the Climate Change believers too!

Fact is, there's no such thing as 'normal' weather or climate, we just happen to be in a reasonably stable period, but if things are changing it could be due to natural cycles we just don't understand yet.

Nick Palmer said...

No, it doesn't apply to the Climate Change "believers" too. With this one comment you display your complete ignorance of the reality of the situation.

A huge mistake that critics like you tend to make is to believe that everybody's opinion in areas like this is of equal value there. There is a fundamental difference between the opinion of the man in the pub who believes something that he once read an article about or saw a half-remembered documentary (or out and out lies like "The Great Global warming Swindle") about on TV that seem pretty convincing to him and the opinion of people you state that position of tens of thousands of man years of work by climate scientists publishing peer reviewed scientific papers, building on what is known and predicting most likely outcomes based on this. It's like asking a four year old and a NASA scientist what the Moon is made of, then, because of your particular prejudices which make you want to believe that the Moon is made of green cheese you go with the answer of the four year old.

This is not a matter of opinion. It's not even a matter of democratically counting up who believes what and going with the majority - that is politics. It is a matter of assessing whose viewpoint is credible or not and then making a risk assessment of who it would be safest to listen to. Big clue: it's not the irresponsible idiots who claim there is nothing to worry about!

You wrote: "Fact is, there's no such thing as 'normal' weather or climate, we just happen to be in a reasonably stable period, but if things are changing it could be due to natural cycles we just don't understand yet"

You honestly think that climate scientists don't know about the normal state of the climate? - about the many other "normal" states of the climate that have existed over the millenia and the savage climate instability and disruption and mass extinction of species that sometimes occurs when one normal State of the climate changes to another?

Nick Palmer said...

Part two:

The change of the climate from one "normal" state to another has happened many times in the past, often with catastrophic consequences for most of the life on earth at the time. But the factors which set off these "flips" built up over a long period of time. What scares many climate scientists, and knowledgeable people, rigid is the certain knowledge that the rate we have been pouring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, deforesting and changing land use, and massively increasing the number of ruminant cattle (which generate lots of methane) is far, far, far, faster than anything that natural cycles ever did.

This "normal climate" idea and the "inadequately understood natural cycles" are poisonous pieces of propaganda put out by the deniers to fool ordinary people because they seem plausible. You have been sucked in. Climate scientists are generally far more knowledgeable about climate than the average person (duhhh). The major natural cycles are well understood and black propaganda such as that the observed global warming (which even the contarian scientists admit is happening) is due to cycles in the sun has also been demolished, not least in several of the other videos in the "crock of the week" series on this blog if you could have been bothered to look, instead of reflexively shooting from the hip.

The root of the plausibility of this particular piece of propaganda is based upon the following slippery idea; "the Earth is so huge and we humans are so small that we cannot possibly be having an effect on it, therefore if we see anything happening it must be due to natural cycles". It is laughably ridiculous, as anyone with basic mathematical knowledge should realise if they divide up the surface area of earth between the 6.6 billion inhabitants to find out how "land" much each person has.

To save you the time, the answer is a square 150 metres on a side, or about 2 1/4 hectares. This is the space within which everything you eat has to be grown; all your food animals have to be grazed in; all the trees and plants that create the oxygen that we need to breathe have to grow in; all the materials to make your car, your house, your share of the roads and the buildings you work in, your share of the factories that make the consumer goods that you use - all these materials have to be extracted from your 150 metres square patch. All the pollution and habitat destruction and erosion that you cause when you buy products and services all has to happen to your small patch. All the gases from your car and central heating etc etc...