Sunday, August 6, 2017

Russell Cook and his "25 errors"



I recently made a posting about how the denier hatchet-man Russell Cook had written a letter to the editor to beat up a woman who submitted a letter of her own. You can read about it here. Cook apparently took exception to my post about him and made one of his own, purporting to show 25 errors I made. Certainly, I’m always concerned about making errors and put a lot of effort into my writing to ensure it factually accurate, so I took a look at what he had to say. It was so humorous I had to go through and examine it point by point. I made a screen shot before he realizes how stupid it is. My analysis is below and I hope you have as much reading about it as I had writing it. I start out each section with my comment that Cook states is in error, followed by his comment (reprinted here verbatim). I then respond and determine if I made an error or not.

Enjoy!


Me: Tom Harris will lie
Cook:  1. Lie about what? Harris routinely refers to climate assessments from skeptic climate scientists, and what climatology expertise does Keating have to prove such skeptics lie about their science-based assertions
Response: My expertise is that I’m a professor of physics. Unlike Tom, who allows people to call him ‘Dr. Harris,’ or ‘Professor Harris,’ or to state that he’s a scientist, I really am one. I do my research in planetary geophysics and have been actively involved in research in climate science for over 25 years and a student of the subject for a good ten years before that.

As for Harris’ lies, let me provide some links to a few examples:

That is eight separate articles by Harris where I’ve exposed his intentional deceptions (i.e., lies) and documented his false science claims. And, that was for only the last three months. Harris has a very long trail of lies, deceptions, false arguments and false science claims. I’m not sure if Harris has ever gotten the science correct.

Harris continually states he has never been affiliated with the fossil fuel industry. Take a look at his bio from APCO which states, “Specifically, he has worked with oil and gas, coal…” Harris is lying every time he denies his affiliations with the fossil fuel industry.:

And to be clear, if I went around stating Harris was lying and I couldn’t back that statement up, I could be liable under libel and slander laws. You can be sure I was very certain of the accuracy of my statements before I ever made them.
Error/Not Error:  This one is such a non-error that I’m can’t believe Cook even claimed it was. It has to be embarrassing for both Cook and Harris to have his lies documented and pointed out like this. He should have let this sleeping dog lie.


Me: Russell Cook will show up to be his pit bull
Cook: 2.  Hardly. Tom Harris writes op-eds and letters-to-the-editor that I am totally unaware of, but he has alerted me via email to a few where he knows I would have some fun challenging his critics to prove he or others are paid by 'Big Coal & Oil' to lie.
Response: Incredible, Cook just stated he doesn’t come running to defend Harris by claiming he runs to defend Harris. Does he even read these things before he posts them? The truth is, as soon as the comments demand Harris back up his claims with facts and science, he goes into hiding and Cook shows up to try and do the heavy lifting. It’s typically pretty embarrassing for both of them.
Error/Not Error: Laughably far from being an error. Thanks, Russell. I needed that.


Me: Tom Harris is a paid shill of the fossil fuel industry
Cook: 3.  Two words: prove it. Keating has yet to produce an iota of evidence proving 'money paid' came under any instructions from anybody on what, when, where, and how to knowingly lie.
Response: Cook’s logic is that, since I was not sitting in a meeting where some fossil fuel executive said to Harris, “We’ll pay you a bunch of money to lie about climate change,” that Harris is, therefore, not a paid shill. Go back to the first statement about Harris’ lies. Take special note of his APCO bio showing he was a PR man for the fossil fuel industry. Clearly, Harris is lying on a regular basis. Further, all of his lies are to undermine climate science and promote fossil fuels, especially coal. Further, his comments about fossil fuels are almost always lies and work to promote that industry. Someone is paying ICSC to do all of this. Harris has long-standing ties to the fossil fuel and tobacco industries, including Heartland Institute, which is paid by the fossil fuel industry to undermine climate science. There is only one conclusion to reach here.
Error/Not Error: Majestically not an error. Harris paid shill status has been documented for decades.


Me: it's his job to place anti-science pieces
Cook: 4.  Harris often refers to science-based assessments from skeptic climate scientists who in turn cite peer-reviewed material published in science journals to make their case. Exactly what is anti-science about that?
Response: What is anti-science about Harris’ pieces is the fact that there is no credible, supportable science in his claims; the fact (yes, fact) that he lies; the fact that he misleads; the fact that he uses false arguments; the fact that all of this deception is to make the climate science appear to be non-credible and we shouldn’t do anything about it; and the fact that he’s paid to undermine the scientists. That is quite a track record of anti-science activity.

And, don't forget how his nearly sole source of information is the Climate Reconsidered Reconsidered report from the NIPCC. The NIPCC is itself paid by the Heartland Institute, making it a paid shill organization. The smell is getting bad here.
Error/Not Error: Not even close to becoming an error.


Me: campaign to undermine climate science.
Cook: 5.  What campaign? What evidence exists naming the participants, their strategy meetings, and what happens if speakers such as Harris have material which does not meet the approval of fossil fuel executives?
Response: Refer to the Luntz report. Harris, and other paid shills, are following the recommendations of this report to the letter. You can read the entire report at: http://www.motherjones.com/files/LuntzResearch_environment.pdf. This is a well-organized and well-funded campaign.
Error/Not Error: Not an error, but good effort on the part of Cook to maintain the appearance that he isn’t following someone else’s talking points.


Me: association with the fossil fuel and tobacco industries
Cook: 6.  "Associations" are worthless as evidence of corruption without proof that money was paid in exchange for material which all parties acknowledge is false, deceptive, etc.
Response: Not true. When Harris lies about his association with these industries and then openly works to promote them, that is corruption.
kəˈrəpSH(ə)n/
noun
noun: corruption; plural noun: corruptions
1. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
Synonyms: dishonesty, unscrupulousness, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, misconduct, crime, criminality, wrongdoing

Yikes! Even without the payoff, Harris has proven to be dishonest and fraudulent. And, of course, refer to the APCO bio above.
Error/Not Error: Most definitely not an error.


Me: TomHarrisPaidShill
Cook: 7.  And the page Keating links to contains zero evidence proving Harris is in any kind of conspiracy where he is paid to lie.
Response: What???? This is an example of Russell’s favorite line of logic: “It’s not true until I say it’s true. Therefore, if I say it isn’t true, it isn’t.” For further amplification, I refer you to my responses above. All of this is documented in the Tom Harris Clearing House, plus much more. And, the APCO bio is included there, among many other gems about Harris.
Error/Not Error: Not an error, but it is a great example of Cook’s faulty logic stem, which we will be seeing more of.


Me: Duluth New Tribune, a news media that is an unfortunately friendly place for the anti-science crowd
Cook: Aside: I'd like to see Keating defend this statement in front of the entire staff of the Duluth News Tribune.
Response: Gladly. And, I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Take a look at this letter to the editor complaining about this very issue. As long as they publish anti-science articles from climate change deniers who are attempting to undermine the science, it will be a friendly place for the anti-science crowd.
Error/Not Error: He didn’t actually call this an error, which is good, because it isn’t.


Me: You can read the response Terry and I made here.
Cook: 8.  Keating's link DOESN'T go to the paper of record, the Duluth News Tribune's version of his letter-to-the-editor, which is at this link:  http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/opinion/readers-views/4294271-readers-view-climate-skeptics-hard-believe

Why? Because Keating's and his co-author's original version, which he DOES link to. contained unsubstantiated personal attacks against Tom Harris, which the DNT does not permit. Compare what appears at the DNT against what Keating originally proposed. After his LTE did appear online, Keating altered the introductory  paragraph about his LTE to what is seen here  http://dialoguesonglobalwarming.blogspot.com/2017/06/tom-harris-deceives-about-science.html , to mention its publication, albeit without a word of why he deleted the post for 10 days.
Response: He isn’t even saying this is an error. He’s merely complaining that he doesn’t like the way the other kids play. I provided a link to my posting on my blog and there was nothing deceptive about it. After all, it says in big letters at the top: Dialogues on Global Warming. Here’s the story: I and Terry wrote a response together and submitted it to the Duluth News Tribune. We received the following response from the editor,

Hello, Mr. Keating. Just an FYI. To help assure the letters to the editor that we publish remain civil, we don't allow letters to be about previous letter writers but rather the content of their letters. That helps head off personal attacks. So your letter in response to Tom Harris's letter was edited as you see it below. Just didn't want you to be surprised.

I also posted the original response on my blog. What I didn’t know is that Russell Cook contacted the paper and tried to prevent its publication (see the next Cook statement below.). The paper asked me to take it down because they required it to have not been submitted for publication before. I did not realize that posting it on my blog counted as previously published, so I removed it as they asked. Once it was published, I was allowed to post it again. In order to ensure I wasn’t violating anything, I included the original version instead of the paper’s version. Besides, I wanted to highlight how Harris was deceptive again.
Error/Not Error: Again, he didn’t even say it was an error, so it certainly falls under the Not Error category. This is another example of Cook’s deceptions. All he did was complain about me and then made the bold statement that I had made 25 errors.


Me: called in Russell Cook to do one of his attack pieces.
Cook: 9.  Harris did no such thing. The actual sequence of events happened as follows: Since I periodically look at Keating's blog as a matter of curiosity, I found his then-proposed 6/28/17 letter-to-the-editor (archived in original form here http://archive.is/Iid5o ), and I alerted a DNT editor to it as yet another potential opportunity to challenge people like Keating to prove their assertions. The editor replied to say Keating's publication of it at his blog violated the newspaper's requirement about having first-publication exclusivity to such pieces, and he asked Keating to delete his blog post, which Keating did. Before Keating's LTE reply to Harris was published, I saw another LTE critical of Harris at the DNT of a rather similar nature, which prompted me to write the letter Keating is referring to here. I did this entirely on my own with absolutely zero prompting from Tom Harris.
Response: I’ll stand by this statement without hesitation. It is irrelevant if Harris called him about this specific issue when Cook has already stated Harris has him responding to comments and articles. If that is the working relationship they have established and he acts on his own (or, possibly, not), he is still being called in by Harris.
Error/Not Error: Not an error.


Me: Russell Cook is a hatchet-man for the Heartland Institute
Cook: 10.  No, I'm not. They do know of my history of challenging letter writers and article commenters to show readers where the proof exists indicting skeptics of corporate corruption, and they sometimes suggest places where I can pose those challenges, but I receive no instructions on what to write.
Response: Did he really just say that? Heartland tells me what to do, knowing that I write stupid comments to harass people, but I’m not their hatchet man.
Error/Not Error: Not an error. I’m glad I took a screen shot of this one before Cook realizes what he said and takes it down.


Me: gets paid thousands of dollars
Cook: 11.  I'm not paid a dime by anybody to do what I do. I have fully disclosed my strings-free grants from Heartland from the start of my blog:  http://gelbspanfiles.com/?cat=1
Response: Compare this one to the claim above (number 10). Heartland knows what he does, tells him where to go to make comments, and pays him. Somehow, in Cook’s weird universe, that is not getting paid.
Error/Not Error: Not an error. I’m trying to think of some witty comment to go along with this, but I can’t think of anything funnier than what Cook just said.


Me: gets paid thousands of dollars to obsess over Ross Gelbspan.
Cook: 12.  My GelbspanFiles blog - which Keating cannot bring himself to link to here - dissects Gelbspan's role in the accusation that skeptic climate scientists are paid industry money to lie. Since Gelbspan is widely described as the 'discoverer' of this alleged corruption, astute readers will see this as a focus of mine, and certainly not any kind of unwarranted obsession.
Response:  Let’s see: His blog is called the “GelbspanFiles.” It’s since been changed, but his “Who We Are” page on the Heartland Institute previously stated "He specializes in research of the origins of accusations leveled at skeptics and the associations of people surrounding it, most notably anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan." And, he can’t stop talking about him. Sure looks like obsession from where I’m sitting. As for the pay, see claim number 11 above.
Error/Not Error: Not an error.


Me: won the Pulitzer Prize
Cook: 13.  If this is so, why is it that the Pulitzer organization itself, the final arbiter of who receives their prizes, does not acknowledge Gelbspan as a Pulitzer winner?  http://www.pulitzer.org/search/Gelbspan
Response: Cook is technically correct on this one. Ross Gelbspan conceived, directed and edited a series of articles in the Boston Globe that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984. The prize actually named Kenneth Cooper, Joan Fitz Gerald, Jonathan Kaufman, Norman Lockman, Gary McMillan, Kirk Scharfenberg and David Wessel of The Boston Globe. So, Gelbspan’s name was not on the prize. 
What is amusing about this is that Cook was the first one to tell me how Gelpspan was a Pulitzer winner. Take a look at his comment:

Meanwhile, what's up with the "the sold[sic] job of attacking one particular blogger" line? What blogger? Show us all exactly where it says that. Surely you don't actually believe the "Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist" Ross Gelbspan is a mere blogger, do you?? Really???

After reading his comment, I did some research and misinterpreted the statement concerning the prize. Apparently, so did Cook.
Error/Not Error: This is an error. I suppose I could try a Russellism and blame him for stating Gelbspan won the prize in the first place. But, I won’t. It was my responsibility to get my facts straight and I obviously take that responsibility much more seriously than Cook, so I’m the one to blame.


Me: My first run-in with Cook was several years ago when he made a poorly-disguised threat on this blog to sue me
Cook: 14.  As I described with screencaptures in my prior analysis of Keating  http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=4936  , his very first reply to me struck me a so bizarre that my immediate response was to re-phrase my challenge in an entirely different manner to overcome any kind of perception problem he had about what the challenge was.
Response: Picture this scenario: You are talking to someone who wants you to stop saying the things you’ve been saying and that person says to you, “If you had to answer a court subpoena as a defense witness supporting people accused of committing libel/slander against skeptic climate scientists, is that material from ExxonSecrets all you'd have to bring with you?” (Exact quote.) How would you interpret that? If you didn’t interpret it as a threat or an effort to intimidate, then you are different from most people.
Error/Not Error: Not an error. Cook can try to recant as many times as he wants, but the fact is that he was trying to intimidate me with a threat of a lawsuit. Suck it up, Russell, put your big boy pants on and take responsibility for your actions.


Me: if I didn't stop criticizing the Heartland Institute.
Cook: 15.  I never even mentioned the Heartland Institute in my very first comment at Keating's blog:  http://gelbspanfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Keating-5-15-weirdness-1024x939.jpg
Response: The blog post and the conversation were about Heartland and the NIPCC (Heartland’s fake science group). There was no other topic. If Cook decided to start discussing something else in the middle of the conversation he gave no indication of that. Therefore, it was, and is, logical to assume he was referring to my criticisms of Heartland.
Error/Not Error: Not error and not even very ingenious of Cook.


Me: He quickly backed down
Cook: 16.  Again, my second-ever comment at Keating's blog was to rephrase the identical challenge to produce evidence proving skeptic climate scientists were paid to lie, and I politely but relentlessly posed this challenge, with apparently enough damaging effect that he chose to ban me from commenting there: http://gelbspanfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Keating-delblacklist.jpg

One reason why he claimed he did this was my alleged personal attacks, but I'm confident readers will find no such thing within the entire history of my comments at his blog: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:dialoguesonglobalwarming.blogspot.com+%22russell+cook%22
Response: I delete comments that are overly offensive. Cook was making repeated uncivil comments and was trolling my blog. After several warnings, I banned him. No, you won’t see his offensive comments on the blog. But then again, you’ll see very few uncivil comments from other trolls. I even banned one person because of a racially offensive handle.

What Cook isn’t telling you here is when he first tried to intimidate me I told him the first thing I was going to do was “subpoena the necessary financials of the individuals and organizations involved.” He immediately backed down and has had a bug up his butt about it ever since. Just like any playground bully, stand up to them and they back down, but they don’t like it.
Error/Not Error: Not an error.


Cook: Aside:  Keating has never yet identified who these lawyers are or what type of law they practice.
Response: Really? That’s your argument? I didn’t identify these lawyers, so, therefore, it isn’t real.Sorry, I'm not providing that kind of information and it really isn't any business of yours.
Error/Not Error: Not an error (or even a credible complaint). But, of course, he didn’t actually say it was an error. He was simply jumping at another opportunity to embarrass himself. I would’ve thought he already had enough of those, but I guess not.


Me: simply proclaim nothing is evidence until he says it is.
Cook: 17.  Hardly. I demonstrate at considerably length at GelbspanFiles how particular narratives do not line up right, and how the 'corrupt skeptics' accusation falls apart no matter which angle it is viewed from. I leave it to readers' judgement about such problems.
Response: Please see his number 7 claim above for an example of this strategy of his. It is consistent with Harris’ strategy of stating, “I stopped reading when...,” only to then discuss topics that occurred after the point he claimed he quit reading. Cook is kind of similar – a very shallow, unimaginative tactic that proves nothing, but makes him sound clever.
Error/Not Error: Still not an error and yet another statement of mine that Russell proved correct with his own words and actions.


Me: show me where the author describes "cataclysmic-sounding situations" anywhere.
Cook: 18.  "deniers of global climate change also support an "alternate reality," one that may well spell disaster for humans in the next 25 to 50 years" / "the imminent calving of the Larsen C ice shelf" / "continued loss of ice on the Greenland ice sheet" / "water flowing into Davis Strait and the Arctic Ocean, raising sea levels"

When such events are described by global warming believers as potentially causing millions of refugees, that's the definition of cataclysm: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cataclysm
Response: The writer of the letter did not make any claim about millions of refugees, so you’re already wrong on this claim. But, keep in mind that droughts, floods and famines are all disasters. All of these, and much more, are already happening and getting worse because of climate change and will continue to do so. The other instances you mentioned are things that have already occurred. A disaster is not a cataclysmic event.
Error/Not Error: Not an error (or even a very good try).


Me: Maybe it's to attack the author of that letter
Cook: 19.  No, the objective was to set up how such letter writers are enraged when the science-based emotionless assessments from skeptic climate scientists undermine the alarmism of global warming believers, and that such believers often refuse to engage in reasoned, calm debate, but instead launch into emotion-laden personal attacks. Which is exactly what the letter writer did with zero evidence behind the accusation.
Response: First, in this comment Cook is describing the actions of the anti-science deniers, not the writer of that letter. But, in no way did Cook demonstrate that was his intention. What he did was to attack the writer of that letter (and continues to do so in these comments of his). He started with the attack, “are often livid at the mere mention of famous-name climatologists and climate-denier organizations which doubt it,” without ever producing any of these famous-names. He then presents false statements concerning the denier movement as being factual without ever backing them up. Funny, that’s what he accused the letter writer of doing. This is yet another example of his “it’s not true until I say it is” logic.
Error/Not Error: Not an error. Cook is a bully and he showed it by beating up an anonymous woman.


Me: people like Cook hate is the fact that essentially every climate scientists in the world who is active in the field acknowledges manmade climate change is real.
Cook: 20.  Keating is of course guessing what my opinion is. The question of course is not whether humans have some effect over climate, it is entirely whether our activity is the primary driver of global warming.
Response: No, you’ve expressed this opinion many times. There is no guessing involved. Take a look at my last posting about you for an example of this.
http://dialoguesonglobalwarming.blogspot.ca/2017/08/russell-cook-demonstrates-lack-of.html
Error/Not Error: Not an error.


Me: Cook provided NO climatologists who doubt it.
Cook: Aside:  Letters-to-the-editor have word limitations. Whether Keating chooses to acknowledge it or not, climatologists exist who dispute the notion that human activity is the primary driver of what little global warming we've seen over the last 150 years.
Response: Interesting that Cook didn’t provide any of these climatologists. Maybe he’s thinking of Roy Spencer, who has been caught committing fraud with his research so many times he can’t get anything published anymore. Or, Tim Ball, who is not a climatologist and whose record led a court to state, “The Plaintiff is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist.” Or, maybe Richard Lindzen, who stated for years he received no money from the fossil fuel industry for his research until it was discovered he was receiving up to $2500 per day for ‘consulting.’ Or maybe he means Willie Soon, who is an aerospace engineer and not a climatologist, who has close ties with the anti-science Heartland Institute and has received over $1 million over the last decade in funding exclusively from the fossil fuel industry. Or, maybe he means Christopher Monckton who is not a climatologist and has falsely claimed, among many other lies, that he is a member of the House of Lords to the point that Parliament sent him a letter to stop making it and posted the letter on its webpage. Or, maybe he means John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, who claims to be a meteorologist, even though he isn’t, and has no degree in science at all and has his every claim routinely debunked. I could go on, but the point is made. I’m waiting for Cook to produce even a single credible climatologist who says manmade global warming isn’t real.

And, please note that he STILL hasn’t produced one, even with as many words as he wants.
Error/Not Error: A complete face-plant by Cook. Not an error.


Me: It's because he can't.
Cook: 21.  Keating's assertion here is acutely ironic, because my first-ever comment at his blog was in reference to the NIPCC Reports, which features numerous names of internationally recognized skeptic climate scientists, and as I mentioned in one of my GelbspanFiles posts  http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=609 , my email address book reads like a “Who’s Who” list of skeptic scientists. 
Response: Take a look here or here to see just how incredibly bad the NIPCC report is. That is only a very small reference list of places you can go to to find out about the lack of credibility in that report.
Anyone who thinks the NIPCC has anything to do with science is suffering a mental illness. This report of theirs has been completely debunked. It’s so bad that it is a joke and a punch line rolled in one. If it is so good, why isn’t they can’t support their claims with any experimental evidence? Answer: It’s because they can’t.
Error/Not Error: Most definitely not an error. Cook needs to seek psychiatric counseling if he really believes the NIPCC reports show any kind of science undermining climate scientists.




Me: Cook goes on to claim there is no evidence that the fossil fuel industry has been funding the anti-science community to protect it's profits.
Cook: 22.  Keating torpedoes his own assertion with my subsequent verbatime quote. Nobody denies that skeptic climate scientists have received some funds from industry people. Clear as day, I say there is no evidence proving the money bought lies as part of any explicit arrangement acknowledged by all parties as corrupt action.
Response: Once again, Cook uses his “it’s not true until I say it is” line of logic. There is a mountain of evidence. See the next comment for some of these references as provided in my original post.
Error/Not Error: No error here except on the part of Cook.


Me: try reading this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.
Cook: 23.  What's the common thread among all those links? 'Deniers are funded.' What's missing at every one of those? Evidence that the funding was in exchange for specific lies that all parties know were lies designed to keep 'Big Coal & Oil' profitable.
Response: So, given nine separate reference, Cook denies them all. “It’s not true…”
Error/Not Error: Not an error so much that it’s pretty disgraceful of Cook to even try.


Me: includes internal documents from the Heartland Institute
Cook: 24.  No, the genuine leaked documents were utterly benign, devoid of any evidence of a conspiracy to lie, but the one fake memo had to be concocted in order to make a conspiracy mountain out of a boring mole hill. See: http://fakegate.org/study-gleick-forged-fakegate-memo/
Response: Not even the least bid credible, Russell. Take a look here.

Or here.

Or here.

There’s lots more, but the point is made. It was a Heartland internal document and did a lot of damage.
Error/Not Error: Heartland and Cook made errors, but I didn’t.


Me: Cook will just tell you this isn't evidence.
Cook: 25.  The inexplicable appearance here is that Christopher Keating seemingly does not comprehend what the meaning of corrupt is: "having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain."
Response: I posted it above, but it’s worth repeating:
kəˈrəpSH(ə)n/
noun
noun: corruption; plural noun: corruptions
1. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
Synonyms: dishonesty, unscrupulousness, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, misconduct, crime, criminality, wrongdoing
Cook (and Harris) have repeatedly shown intent to deceive. In this way, they are dishonest and fraudulent and that makes them corrupt. But, of course, Cook will tell you, “If I don’t say it’s true…”
Error/Not Error: There was no error here and I stand by my posting. I also stand by this one.


Conclusion: Out of 25 so-called errors, one was, in fact, an error on my part while 24 were not. That’s about right for Russell Cook’s batting average on the facts and science.

Of course, Cook will read this and reply, "Until I say it's true, it isn't true. Therefore, this isn't true."

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Russell Cook Demonstrates Lack of Credibility


A tip of the hat to Dave James for alerting me to the following comment by Russell Cook.


Debunking the Heartland Institute's hatchet man, Russell Cook, is both fun and easy. But, it does take time and I have a very full plate. That means spending time on his inane drivel is time away from something more productive. I need a reason to do that and, sometimes, I find it useful. Cook is a little man who wouldn’t amount to anything important if not for the Internet. But, that’s the world we live in and little people who are given a large forum find it possible to have an impact. The fact is climate change is already the most serious issue of our day and is only becoming more so. Russell Cook is not a serious person, but he, and others like him, have an effect that we need to pay attention to.
[UPDATE: In the comments Cook made in his posting about my 25 so-called errors, Cook states (referring to Heartland:


They do know of my history of challenging letter writers and article commenters to show readers where the proof exists indicting skeptics of corporate corruption, and they sometimes suggest places where I can pose those challenges, but I receive no instructions on what to write.

Here Cook is admitting to doing the dirty work for Heartland.]

So, let’s look at his comment below and review it for credibility and accuracy. Below is a comment Cook made in a recent article by the anti-science team of Tim Ball and Tom Harris. As soon as people showed up to point out the factual errors in it, Cook showed up.

Here's a bit of an aside on this Tom Harris-commenter Dave James situation: Over at a blog which James is seen frequenting in its comment sections, the blogger accused me ( http://dialoguesonglobalwarming.blogspot.com/.../russell... ) of among other things, fitting a pattern where I supposedly was at Harris' beck-and-call to defend him. I count 25 errors in that blog post here http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=5509 , but that is another story. What I would suggest to readers is a simple test of that particular accusation, in relative comparison to what the actual situation is: Place the name Tom Harris and mine within quote marks in a single Google search window, and see how many times I supposedly 'come to Tom's defense.' Then do a similar search, but substitute the name Dave James for my name. Again, put his within quote marks which narrows the search to only his name and Tom's. The results are most fascinating.

The larger lesson is more critical - how often do we see pushers of the notion of catastrophic man-caused global warming resort to various forms of character assassination ('he's not a climate scientist / 'he's a paid industry shill' / 'his religious/political leanings/education level taints his viewpoints' etc) as a means of marginalizing opposition, instead of conclusively demonstrating how skeptics' science assessments are refuted? How often do we also see false premise attempts to deem the issue a 'settled science' via worthless references to a so-called consensus (scientific conclusions have NEVER been validated by a 'show of hands') or via worthless appeals to authority (science societies' proclamations are pointless if influential members having control over public relations statements have been misled or have political agendas to promote, and if the proclamations do not reflect many of their own members' viewpoints).

What Tom Harris attempts to do is make up for the lack of reporting by the mainstream media about the skeptic side of the issue. While the skeptic side doesn't call for the censorship of comments such as those coming from folks like Dave James, his side does not benefit from having the appearance of having dedicated stalkers who follow Tom Harris around the internet with comments ranging from unsupportable assertions about Harris' positions to outright accusations about taking industry money to lie. But don't ask James about the latter problem; ask Al Gore to provide us ALL with the evidence he has against ANY skeptic climate scientist over that specific accusation. Deer-in-the-headlights ambush opportunity for intrepid reporters, anyone?


In his first line, Cook states, “fitting a pattern where I supposedly was at Harris' beck-and-call to defend him.” Please notice this comment was made on an article by Tom Harris and Tim Ball that was receiving comments by people showing where Harris is factually incorrect. In other words, Cook is denying he runs to defend Harris by running and defending him. Really!

[UPDATE: I am currently working on reviewing the so-called 25 errors I made in my posting concerning Cook. One of his comments was:

Tom Harris writes op-eds and letters-to-the-editor that I am totally unaware of, but he has alerted me via email to a few where he knows I would have some fun challenging his critics to prove he or others are paid by 'Big Coal & Oil' to lie.
While stating he is not at Harris' beck and call, he simultaneously states he is at Harris' beck and call. Great logic.]

The bigger issue is that Cook is well known for showing up when the comments get too difficult for Harris to deal with. Cook comes in and uses his favorite approach – “it’s not real until I say it is” in an attempt to counter the science. I can’t recall even one instance where Cook actually produced any science or data to support his arguments. I would be interested in anyone pointing out to me any instance where he did.

He next states I made 25 errors in a blog post about him. I’ll review that one in detail in a post.

Then, he makes one seriously flawed statement that really demonstrates his lack of credibility:

The larger lesson is more critical - how often do we see pushers of the notion of catastrophic man-caused global warming resort to various forms of character assassination ('he's not a climate scientist / 'he's a paid industry shill' / 'his religious/political leanings/education level taints his viewpoints' etc) as a means of marginalizing opposition, instead of conclusively demonstrating how skeptics' science assessments are refuted?


WAIT A MINUTE! What he’s doing is describing the actions of the denier community and doing it at the same time! He actually starts by stating “pushers of the notion of catastrophic man-caused global warming” before accusing people of character assassination. For those of you not familiar with this, the common form of this statement is to call people who accept the science ‘alarmists.’ This is an effort on the part of the denier community to marginalize the science and anyone who accepts it. He then follows up by claiming that pointing out someone, who professes to be an expert on climate science, is not, in fact, a climate scientist is somehow character assassination. Wow! And, I bet Cook actually believes that line of reasoning.

And, pointing out someone is a paid shill of the fossil fuel industry is not character assassination. If someone is going to make statements to the public and claim they are an unbiased source of information, then the public has a right to know that the person in question is, in fact, not unbiased at all. When a person is paid to promote an agenda, that person is a paid shill. Tom Harris, Tim Ball, Russell Cook are just three examples of a plethora of people who fit this description and fail to advise readers of their affiliations to the very industry they are promoting.  

And, I find it very interesting to see him make comments about political and religious viewpoints. This is very much the tactic taken by the deniers, not the science community. I cannot even begin to estimate how many times I’ve been accused of being a liberal Democrat or a Hillary-lover. And, you should see the spectrum of claims about my religious beliefs. All from people who have no knowledge whatsoever of either. And, I’m not the only one. I routinely see this tactic taken by deniers when they attack pro-science people with claims anyone who supports the science of being “extreme leftists” or “Hollywood elites.” This doesn't even include the amount of vulgarities hurled by the deniers at pro-science people. No, character assassination is something the deniers do. Cook can’t put this one on the pro-science people.

As for demonstrating how “skeptics’” science is being refuted, the fact is that deniers very seldom even attempt to produce any science. They typically merely attack the IPCC or Al Gore or Michael Mann or make political/religious attacks, such as the ones mention above. But, when they do, it is routinely and easily shown to be false. The very fact of the matter is that there is no science to support the claims of the denier crowd. None! Yes, the science really is settled and anyone who tells you differently is not telling you the truth. I even went so far as to offer to pay anyone $10,000 of my own money to anyone who could produce any such science and no one could, out of hundreds of submissions (many duplicates) could do so. And, unlike similar denier challenges (which inspired me to make my challenge), I posted all original submissions and showed why each was invalid. Many denies claim that it was rigged because I was the judge. Well, I’ve offered to pay if anyone can show how any of my decisions were invalid. They are right there for everyone to see. If it was rigged, it would be easy to show it, so why hasn't anyone done so? The offer still stands. You can see all submissions and my responses here.

Once again, we see Russell Cook has zero credibility.

Let’s continue. He next attacks the consensus. This is an area that is great concern to the denier community and that level of concern can be traced back to the Luntz memo from the George W. Bush administration entitled “The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America.” See the a copy of the entire memo here. http://www.motherjones.com/files/LuntzResearch_environment.pdf. Luntz stated (page 137, 7th page down) (emphasis original),

Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field.

You can see, Cook is sticking to the blueprint by claiming there is no consensus. But, it is real and you can read about it here, here and here, for starters. Notice how Cook uses his favorite tactic here – “It isn’t true until I say it’s true and I didn’t say it’s true, therefore it isn’t true.” You can tell by his language it infuriates him that there really is a consensus. This consensus has not only been confirmed with multiple studies, but has even been confirmed by deniers themselves. Read about it here
 
And, Cook continue with his zero credibility in the last paragraph, stating,

What Tom Harris attempts to do is make up for the lack of reporting by the mainstream media about the skeptic side of the issue. While the skeptic side doesn't call for the censorship of comments such as those coming from folks like Dave James.”


Oh, beautiful. One of the things I keep documenting is how often comments providing refuting documentation get flagged and deleted by the deniers. They censor so much you could describe it as a plague. If fact, you can’t voice any dissenting opinion at all on many of denier sites without it being deleted. So, Cook is being less than honest on that issue. 

[UPDATE: In Cook's posting about my 25 so-called errors, Cook stated in a comment:

Since I periodically look at Keating's blog as a matter of curiosity, I found his then-proposed 6/28/17 letter-to-the-editor (archived in original form here http://archive.is/Iid5o ), and I alerted a DNT editor to it as yet another potential opportunity to challenge people like Keating to prove their assertions. The editor replied to say Keating's publication of it at his blog violated the newspaper's requirement about having first-publication exclusivity to such pieces, and he asked Keating to delete his blog post, which Keating did.
In other words, Cook is admitting to trying to censor my letter. Fortunately, it didn't work. The Duluth News Tribune published my letter.]

Concerning Tom Harris, if Harris actually produced any valid science there wouldn’t be any comments showing his errors. I have documented Harris’ efforts to deceive and mislead the public with false logic, deception and outright lies. You can read all about Tom Harris here and see for yourself. Don’t take my word for it, let Harris speak for himself.

What we have seen in this comment is that Russell Cook has less than zero credibility. In fact, like his buddy Harris, he is a paid shill, taking money from the Heartland Institute to promote their anti-science agenda. One of the things Cook is obsessed about is Ross Gelbspan. Gelbspan was an accomplished reporter and won the Pulitzer prize while with the Boston Globe, but he has since retired. Today, he writes an occasional blog post. So, Cook is either obsessed with a retired guy or a blogger. Take your pick.

I’ve spent a lot of time on this guy, but it’s for a purpose. Russell Cook is representative of so many of the anti-science trolls that it’s useful to examine his nonsense so we can combat it wherever we see it.

In a future post, I’ll review Cook’s claim about my 25 errors. It’ll be fun.

Tom Harris Deceives About Ontario Electricity


Tom Harris continues his Trail of Deceit with a letter to the editor of the Moab Sun Times. In this letter, Harris states the Ontario electric rate has gone up over 300% and implies this was due to the cancellation of coal generation. Neither statement is true. You can read the letter here. Or, read my submitted response below.





The author of the August 3 letter, “In praise of Pruitt,” is trying to deceive the readers. The letter implies that the electricity rate in Ontario rose by over 300% because coal generation was banned, but this isn’t true or accurate. Global News, in Toronto, investigated the rates and found that, over the last 10 years, rates have gone up 70% for peak, 85% for mid-peak and 150% for off peak rates.  The average household electric bill went from $40.03 to $83.18 between 2006 and 2016 (not including taxes and fees), an average of about 108%.

Importantly, this rate increase was not due to canceling coal generation. The increase is attributed to infrastructure upgrades, privatization of the hydroelectric dam, and long-term contracts to the private sector. Interestingly, part of the increase is attributed to the politically-motivated cancellation of two gas-fired power plants, which would’ve lowered the rates. And, that’s coal’s real problem – there are cleaner, cheaper alternatives.

The only way coal can be affordable as a power source is if someone else pays for the pollution. Mercury pollution, coal sludge, sulfur dioxide leading to acid rain which destroys wildlife and lakes and streams, particulate pollution that causes lung disease and other health issues, CO2 leading to climate change. These are all problems associated with burning coal. And, they want someone else to pay for the damage.

The International Climate Science Coalition is a fossil fuel advocacy group and is heavily associated with climate changer denier organizations. The writer has a long employment record of working as an advocate for the fossil fuel and tobacco industries. His job is to place pieces in the news media undermining climate science and promoting fossil fuels, especially coal.

I am a professor of physics and have conducted research in planetary geophysics, including climate science, for over 25 years.

Dr. Christopher Keating

Friday, August 4, 2017

Tim Ball and Tom Harris Are Deceptive About the IPCC



Tim Ball and Tom Harris recently wrote an article claiming the IPCC can’t be trusted. Their line of reasoning is that the IPCC’s mandate has changed over time. Originally, the mandate was to review the science on climate change and has now become to review the science related to manmade climate change. This, they claim, makes it untrustworthy. By changing the mandate he claims the IPCC has now become biased, since it is therefore somehow beholden to find manmade climate change in order to ensure its own continued existence. If there’s no manmade climate change, they reason, the IPCC won’t be needed. So, they’ll ignore anything that doesn’t support what they want to find.

The principle problem with this claim is that it is deceptive. While the original mandate stated that the IPCC was to study all causes of climate change, it also made it perfectly clear the emphasis was manmade climate change. No specific item mentions any other cause. Apparently, the authors of this article didn’t think anyone would actually go back and read the original mandate to check on the accuracy of their statement. Go read the original mandate for yourself at http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/43/a43r053.htm. Meanwhile, let me quote for you:


“Concerned that certain human activities could change global climate patterns, threatening present and future generations with potentially severe economic and social consequences,

Noting with concern that the emerging evidence indicates that continued growth in atmospheric concentrations of "greenhouse" gases could produce global warming with an eventual rise in sea levels, the effects of which could be disastrous for mankind if timely steps are not taken at all levels,

Recognizing the need for additional research and scientific studies into all sources and causes of climate change,
.
.
.
6.   Urges Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and scientific institutions to treat climate change as a priority issue, to undertake and promote specific, co-operative action-oriented programmes and research so as to increase understanding on all sources and causes of climate change, including its regional aspects and specific time-frames as well as the cause and effect relationship of human activities and climate, and to contribute, as appropriate, with human and financial resources to efforts to protect the global climate;”


This is an example of what is known as ‘cherry picking,’ taking only what supports your predetermined conclusion and ignoring the rest. The article left out a considerable amount that clearly states the purpose of the IPCC was to study manmade climate change. In other words, the mandate did not change. So, we must ask, why did Ball and Harris say it did? The answer lies in examining their records.

Tim Ball is a doctor of historical geography. He is not a climatologist as is often claimed and was not a member of the Department of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg. There was no such department while he was there. He has never been a climate scientist and does not have any peer-reviewed papers on the subject. When Ball sued a paper for libel, the court documents stated, Ball "never held a reputation in the scientific community as a noted climatologist and authority on global warming."  Continuing, the courts also stated, "The Plaintiff's credentials and credibility as an expert on the issue of global warming have been repeatedly disparaged in the media,” and "The Plaintiff is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist."

But, that isn’t all. The co-author of this article is TomHarris, Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). This organization serves to promote the fossil fuel industry and is closely aligned with numerous organizations devoted to denying climate science. Harris himself has a long, and well documented, record of affiliations with the fossil fuel and tobacco industries. 

So, we can see the reason for this article. It is part of the effort to undermine climate science and prevent any actions from being taken to address the problem. The IPCC is their principle target because it’s the leading international organization leading the way in this effort. Of course Ball and Harris don’t want anyone to trust the IPCC.

If they started the article this poorly, it stands to reason there will be many other false or misleading statements and they did not disappoint in this regard. For instance, speaking of the IPCC, they state, “this means that policymakers, not scientists, lead the process” (emphasis original). This is a very misleading statement because the IPCC is NOT a scientific body and has never been one. The scientists are the people doing the research and publishing papers. The IPCC reviews these papers and produces a report reflecting that science. Again, the people on the IPCC may, or may not, be scientists because it is not a scientific body. In other words, it has ALWAYS been the case that policymakers lead the process of putting together the report. The scientists are responsible for doing the science.

Their next statement is even more misleading because they purposefully call the IPCC report “research” when they stated, “the supposed scientific consensus was reached before the research had even begun.” (Emphasis original.) The report is a review of the science and is not. What is really interesting about this statement is that it is attribute to RichardLindzen, another person with strong ties to the fossil fuel industry. Lindzen famously declared for years that he did not receive any funding for his research from the fossil fuel industry. But, what he failed to state was that he was receiving large payments from ExxonMobil for ‘consulting.’ The exact amount he received over the years is not clear, but some estimates have it going over a million dollars and he has admitted to receiving as much as $2500 for a day’s worth of work.

The pattern is definitely developing.

They continue, stating, “The fact is that in 1992 -- and still today -- we have no idea what GHG concentrations would lead to “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”” (Emphasis original.) Once again, this statement is, at the least, misleading. Even ExxonMobil admits it has known for decades manmade emissions were causing climate change. Esso (the ExxonMobil predecessor) scientist James Black published a paper, along with the Union of Concerned Scientists, that stated manmade emissions were causing climate change. In 1977, Dr. Black warned company executives of the danger of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases from the burning of fossil fuels and that these emissions were most likely changing the climate. So, Ball and Harris are misleading with their statement. We did, in fact, know in 1992 (and much earlier) that greenhouse gas emission would lead to dangerous climate change. I suppose they could quibble over the meaning of ‘dangerous’ and argue they weren’t being deceptive. Of course, any such argument would be deceptive by itself.

Let’s look at another statement. Referring to the IPCC statement that the report examines both natural and manmade causes of climate change, the pair state, “Following the UNFCCC lead, the IPCC reports exclude most natural variables and mechanisms. This is politically necessary so as to support the predetermined conclusion that human sources of carbon dioxide are causing dangerous climate change. This occurred even though carbon dioxide, from natural and anthropogenic sources combined, constitutes only 4% of atmospheric greenhouse gases.”

No, they are not telling the truth. Natural causes are examined in all scientific research. The problem is that, outside of a tremendous event (such as a meteorite impact or massive volcanic eruption) there are no natural causes that can change the climate as much and as quickly has been observed. All causes have been examined; it’s just that natural causes are not capable of producing what has been observed. Once again, they are misleading the reader.

Ultimately, it is highly appropriate they closed with the quote from Voltaire about defining your terms because that is how they take advantage of the reading public – they change the meaning of the terms and hope you won’t bother to check on them.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tom Harris' Latest Deception About Coal

Tom Harris, the fraud and paid shill of the fossil fuel industry, recently posted a letter to the editor in the Durango Herald, "N.M. lawmakers should question utilities’ coal exit."

Here is my response to this latest bit of deception:



I wish to respond to the letter of August 1, “N.M. lawmakers should question utilities’ coal exit” to inform the readers of the deceptions of the letter. The International Climate Science Coalition is not “non-partisan” as claimed. It is a fossil fuel advocacy group and is heavily associated with climate changer denier organizations. The writer has a long employment record of working as an advocate for the fossil fuel and tobacco industries. His job is to place pieces in the news media undermining climate science and promoting fossil fuels, especially coal.

Coal is called an “affordable supply of energy.” But, the only way coal can be affordable is if everyone else pays for the pollution. Mercury pollution, coal sludge, sulfur dioxide leading to acid rain which destroys wildlife and lakes and streams, particulate pollution that causes lung disease and other health issues, CO2 leading to climate change. These are all problems associated with burning coal. The only possible way for coal to be affordable is if someone else pays for the damage.

Meanwhile, jobs in renewable energy in New Mexico are booming with thousands of jobs already created in the state. The job market is expanding at double-digit rates, creating jobs for the people of New Mexico and increasing the tax revenue for the state. Strange how the fossil fuel advocate never mentioned that.

I am a professor of physics and have conducted research in planetary geophysics, including climate science, for over 25 years.

Dr. Christopher Keating

ISIS and Climate Change Viewed as World's Greatest Threats

An international poll, conducted between February and May of this year, asked 42,000 people in 38 different countries about what they viewed as the greatest threat from among eight threats. Choices were: ISIS, climate change, cyberattacks, global economy, refugees coming from Iraq and Syria and lastly Russia, America and China’s power and influence. On a worldwide basis, ISIS was the number one threat among 62% of respondents. Climate change came in second - at 61%! The third biggest perceive threat was cyberattacks and global economy tied at 51%. A drop of 10 percentage points.

In other words, the world views climate change to be essentially the same threat as a group of merciless thugs who commit unbelievable atrocities.

In the US, 74% viewed ISIS as the biggest threat. Climate change came in third at 56% (cyberattacks were second). So, a majority of Americans view climate change as one of the major threats to our society. And, if you view it as a threat, that means you have to view it as real.

This is surely a troubling signal to the fossil fuel industry and it's supporters. As it should be.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How Bad Will Climate Change Be?

There is quite a bit of debate concerning the effects of climate change and global warming. The anti-science group likes to claim there will be no effect and, even if there is, it will be good for us. After all, CO2 is plant food, right? Therefore, there'll be more plants and that means more crops. Good for everyone. Unfortunately, that logic is completely flawed and there is no sense discussing it here. I could do a long posting on just how wrong it is, but I'll merely refer you to this link, if you're interested in the topic. The fact is, according to studies, climate change is already causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people every year, is costing us over $1 trillion per year, and is lowering the standard of living worldwide. So, yes, there is no doubt about it - climate change is bad.

But, 'bad' is a relative term and encompasses a broad range, going from barely anything to making the world uninhabitable. What do we mean by 'bad'? There was a very interesting a well-written article that recently appeared in the magazine New York. The author, David Wallace-Wells, compared the effects of different temperatures increases, each of which is a possibility (albeit, diminishing), as compared to today's temperatures. Some of the topics discussed were:
  • Trillions of tons of methane gas trapped in the tundra is now beginning to be released and is 86 times more potent as a greenhouse gas, per volume, than CO2;
  • There is only a small chance that we will control our emissions enough to keep temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius; 
  • With only one exception, previous mass extinctions were caused by climate change and we are changing the climate at a much higher rate than seen in any of those events. Even the impact event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs did so by changing the climate;
  • The temperature is rising so high in some parts of the world that it is now dangerous, even deadly, to work for extended periods of time outside. Workers in some of the poorest regions are already exhibiting the effects of a slow heat death where you suffer cumulative effects over a period of time as opposed to a quick death from heat stroke or heat exhaustion;
  • There has been a 50-fold increase in the number of places experiencing dangerous heat levels since 1980. The five hottest summers since the year 1500 have all occurred since 2002;
  • Even if we meet the 2-degree target, many of the hottest places on Earth will become nearly uninhabitable. This number will, of course, increase as temperatures go even higher;
  • Food supplies will decrease at the same time the world population increases. There are already large parts of the planet with malnourished populations - about 800 million people worldwide;
  • Diseases will spread and there is a risk of deadly diseases which have been locked up in the polar ice of being released. While most of these diseases would not survive and don't present a risk, it is entirely possible some will and people have already died from diseases being released in this way;
  • Air pollution will get even worse. Forecasts are that approximately 2 billion people will be breathing air polluted beyond the 'safe' level by 2090;
  • 10,000 people are currently dying every day due to particulate air pollution, partly due to an increase in the wildfire season which has increased by 78 days since 1970;
  • Increased temperatures lead to increases in violence, including crime and warfare;
  • One Celsius degree of temperature increase costs the world economy 1.2 percent of the GDP. That would be $6.3 trillion per year, based on 2013 figures for the world's GDP;
  • The rate of sea level rise will increase; 
  • Ocean acidification will devastate ocean populations, threatening this critical food supply.

This article painted a grim picture. But, how accurate was it?

Basically, the science in the article is accurate and the writer has his facts straight. I can personally attest to the effect of working in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is brutal for even limited periods of time.

The other depictions of things as they are today are correct. But, that doesn't mean things will play out as a disaster. And, I don't mean to say the article paints a worst-case scenario, because it doesn't. Truthfully, it's a middle-of-the-road scenario. The extreme end is that we are doomed. One climate scientist, Dr. Guy McPherson, has been quoted as claiming the human race will be extinct by the year 2030. He maintains a blog on human extinction at Nature Bats Last. How likely is that scenario? In my opinion, practically zero. Just do the math.

The human population is currently (as of April 2017) about 7.5 billion. There are, currently, about 135 million births every year and around 56 million deaths, resulting in a net increase of about 79 million people per year. That's an increase of over 216,000 people every day.

Now, kill them all in the next 13 years. You would have to decrease the world population by an average in excess of 570 million people every year. That doesn't mean to kill off  that many because we have to get rid of the extra 79 million we're adding. To reduce the world population by 570 million this year, we would have to kill about 650 million people. In case you're wondering, that's an average of about 1.8 million people every day.  To put that into perspective, the Ebola epidemic caused worldwide panic. People were obsessed by the death toll and kept a running count. The total? 11,300 in 24 months. That's 470 people per month, fewer than 16 per day. To wipe us all out, we would need to kill 112,500 times that many every single day, day in and day out, for 13 years. I can't imagine a scenario where that could occur.

To put the size of the human population in perspective, imagine reducing the size of the population by 1 million people every single day. That is the size of a large city. It would still take over 20 years to kill us all at that rate. 

So, I am not concerned with human extinction. However, that does not mean we won't see a lot of human misery. I feel it is highly likely we will see a point in the coming decades where the population begins to decrease. This is based on the fact that so many people are already dying as a result of climate change and the factors responsible for killing people are getting continuously worse. That means the death rate will increase from the current 150,000 people per day to greater than 370,000 people per day. And, that is to merely reach the zero population growth mark. It would have to increase even more to achieve negative population growth. If my estimate is correct, then we'll see a lot of people dying in the years to come.


The New York article also discusses the idea of limiting our emissions to avoid temperature increases of 2 degrees Celsius. It appears we have already passed that point. Two independent studies published in Nature Climate Change this past week have shown we have locked in temperature increases exceeding the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Treaty. Here is a plain language article about these papers.

The first study (Less than 2◦ C warming by 2100 unlikely, by A.E. Raftery, et al.) used a country-by-country analysis to examine economic growth based on population predictions. They found there is a less than 5% chance that we can limit temperature increases to 2 degrees. The most likely increase, based on their analyses, is between 2 and 4.9 degrees with a median of 3.2 degrees. 

The second study (Committed warming inferred from observations, by Thorsten Mauritsen and Robert Pincus) used heat non-equilibrium and heat momentum to calculate we have already passed the point where we can achieve the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Treaty.

My take? After studying climate change for over 35 years and been involved with researching planetary geophysics for over 25 years, this is the way I see it playing out: Bad things are coming. Many people will die and that isn't even a forecast. Hundreds of thousands are dying every year due to climate change already. But, that number will increase in the coming decades. The quality of life will decrease for nearly everyone in the world. Places that are more affluent and less populated will suffer the least. The U.S. and Europe will do well. Canada will experience a flood of immigrants. Poor and heavily populated areas, especially those near the equator, will experience the worst. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, many countries in Africa and South America - these countries will bear the brunt of it.  

So, why don't we do something about the emissions? Because there is a well-funded group of people working hard to prevent any actions from being taken. They are paid by the fossil fuel industry to convince people that climate change isn't real and we don't need to do anything about it. And, large numbers of people believe them. Why would anyone believe these charlatans that can't produce even one iota of science to support their claims? If I knew the answer to that one I'd win the Nobel Prize. 

This topic has been discussed at great length. Climate change deniers aren't the only ones who simply reject the facts in favor of their pre-chosen beliefs. People who claim the Moon landings didn't occur, that 9/11 was a government conspiracy, the Sandy Hook shooting didn't occur, there was no Holocaust, evolution is false and the world was created in accordance with the Bible, there's an alien face on Mars, that vaccines cause autism, the world is flat. How many more are there? I remember having a discussion with someone who nearly got violent with me when I said the science showed conclusively that cigarette smoking was linked to lung disease. This person didn't even smoke but was very upset that I would state something contrary to what he wanted to believe in. Some how, the brain gets shorted-out and doesn't think properly on some issues any more. 

I read an article in Science News (which referenced the New York article) making the case that communicating 'gloom and doom' turns people off from the science and increases the numbers of people who deny climate change. The logic is that this causes them to feel there's nothing they can do about it, so why worry? I disagree very strongly with this line of reasoning. It does no good at all to communicate some Polly-Anna scenario or to not accurately inform the public of the facts. And, the facts are this: Things are bad and getting worse. We can't do anything about the 'bad.' That's locked in. If every human on the planet were to suddenly disappear, the amount of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere would continue to change the climate for centuries. But, we can address the 'getting worse' part. We can start reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce our emissions. Along the way, we might even find some things that might help the situation. 

But, we have to act in order to achieve that goal. Bad is coming. Worse doesn't have to.

 






http://www.ibtimes.com/what-caused-worst-mass-extinction-earths-history-not-what-you-think-2572585