Frontline responds to complaints about Oct 23 “Climate of Doubt”: Here, the Rebuttal to Frontline that PBS Ombudsman Won’t Put Online

“Frontline responds to complaints about Oct 23 “Climate of Doubt”: Here, the Rebuttal to Frontline that PBS Ombudsman Won’t Put Online” (2012-11-17). Anthony Watts want the world to know that Russell Cook (Dr.? Nope.) is pissed that the PBS Ombudsman won’t let him spiral off into vortex of yes but’s, replete with home-grown acronyms, over every dismissal of his complaints about PBS Frontline’s excoriating look at the politics of climate denialism, “Climate of Doubt”.

We were careful to base our reporting on the most credible and transparent sources we could find and verify. – sez the PBS Ombudsman

Monckton! Blogs! Fake think-tanks! Sez Russell Cook, in a tour de force demonstration of denialist Tourette syndrome.

I suppose I can understand Russell’s confusion. No doubt his experience at WUWT has taught him that internet forums are the natural home of delusional assertions and attention-seeking behavior.

Someone remind me: what’s the sound of one hand clapping?

27 thoughts on “Frontline responds to complaints about Oct 23 “Climate of Doubt”: Here, the Rebuttal to Frontline that PBS Ombudsman Won’t Put Online

  1. Yo, Anthony, et al? Let me call you a *waaaaahmbulance.* Reality sucks, doesn’t it?

    Deal with it, ya **kin’ crybaby.

  2. Three words, Ben, viz. Cook’s frothy protestations.

    Gish Gallop, Extraordinaire.

    That we–we = rational scientists and those not suffering from the *incandescent* hatred of reality’s left-leaning bias–are making this vacuous and entirely-ideology-driven nutters froth at the mouth… means we’re doing PRECISELY what we should be doing: banging the drum of scientific reality *constantly*, and in the face of the denialatis’ incessant exposition of bullshit, continuing to argue the SCIENCE, not the ideology.

    Carry on, fellow denier pisser-offers…:)

  3. Gish Gallop, I like that. A strawman itself, of course, as it seems you guys have yet to refute a single word I say about the origins and myriad red flags to be seen in the accusation that skeptics are in the pay of the fossil fuel industry. But, I repeat myself from prior Wotts comments and elsewhere.

    Speaking of tossing accusations of “attention-seeking behavior” at me, I was beginning to wonder about Ben’s MIA status starting back on 8/29, since he apparently missed a golden opportunity to hurl the accusation about my second WUWT guest post on “The OTHER problem with the Lewandowsky paper and similar ‘skeptic’ motivation analysis ….” http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/11/the-other-problem-with-the-lewandowsky-paper-and-similar-skeptic-motivation-analysis-core-premise-off-the-rails-about-fossil-fuel-industry-corruption-accusation/#more-70817 and the spiffy post where Watts reproduced ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/19/steven-schneiders-1992-argument-against-balance-in-science-reporting/ ) the UK “TallBloke” blog where that particular guy elevated my comments into the main body of his blog. [You really DO love attention, don't you? Sorry, but I think my time of concentrated attention to Watts has shown that everything he does is the same dumb-ass lie with the words slightly rearranged. I feel no need to dismantle everything Watts does, it's always the same. - Ben]

    From your couple of month-long blog gaps, I was beginning to think you didn’t love Watts anymore. Glad to see ya back, wish I could keep a better eye on all the blogs like yours, Tobis’, Romm’s, etc, but I’d have to hire a staff. Can’t afford to, the Exxon / Koch bros checks still don’t arrive like you guys claim they do. Maybe Richard Muller has been hogging ‘em all….

    ” … Monckton! Blogs! REAL think-tanks! Sez Russell Cook, which all happen to cite peer-reviewed science journal-published papers to make their assessments that AGW promoters have not conclusively proven AGW to be driven by human-induced CO2 … ” Fixed your sentence for ya. [Passive-aggressive much? - Ben]

    You make my point by leaving out those critical details. Critical, isn’t it, to keep on the efforts to make sure the public never catches the two sides engaging in what sounds every bit like extremely detailed, plausible-but-contradictory science conclusions. Because, you see, if any of the public DOES spot that, then they look at you and say, “why are you saying those skeptic scientists are crooks, while all your accusations look like guilt-by-association? Is that the best you can do? You can prove they took money to lie about the science, right?” [Yep. Yep. Yep. - Ben]

    BTW, love the new RealityDrop way ( http://realitydrop.org/about ) of dealing with skeptics. Think about it for a moment, Al Gore’s bunch does not apparently trust you guys to deal with ‘deniers’ well enough all by yourselves, he now wants you to cut ‘n paste what he wants you to say. You ok with that? Nobody tells me what to write, it’s all my own material. Weird how he and his group has so little faith in you that he has to write material for you.

    Glad to see the Twitter button back for popping in these comments through that system, too.

    [You're like the puppy that realized that she got extra attention whenever she peed in the living room. Bad learning Russell, bad learning. Why would anyone bother to "engage" you? It just leads to longer, more convoluted, petulant versions of the same fantasies. - Ben]

  4. Hi Ben,

    Is the statement below true or untrue? Could you point to a good debunking of it? Please do not focus on the source. The source does not matter. What matters is whether or not the statement is true or untrue. We already know your disdain for the source.

    Do you agree with the numbers? 0.08C “saving” by 2050. If not, then can you please tell us what you estimate the saving to be.

    Thanks.

    “Using assumptions based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports, if the U.S. as a whole stopped emitting all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions immediately, the ultimate impact on projected global temperature rise would be a reduction, or a “savings,” of approximately 0.08°C by the year 2050 and 0.17°C by the year 2100—amounts that are, for all intents and purposes, negligible.”
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/state_by_state.html

    [A homework assignment from Perfesser Smith! Pass. Although it has potential as a drinking game. - Ben]

    • Chris, that’s how much temps would decrease from *current* temps if we stopped emitting immediately; if we go business as usual, temps go up about 2C-4C. Knappenberger is misrepresenting the IPCC report. An immediate cessation of emissions would eliminate that 2C-4C rise by 2100. That’s a big impact.

      [Don't ruin the game! - Ben]

      • @Rob Murphy

        So for you the figure is around 1 to 2 Celsius saving over 50 years if the entire world ceases all emissions today? Just the US contribution is roughly 20%, so the US could only save 0.2 to 0.4 C of global warming over 50 years if it stops all emissions today. What is the impact of 0.4 Celsius? Is it really going to be that devastating?

        [You're crowing that it's too late and we'll never work together and you're eager to fiddle while Rome burns? Awesome argument. - Ben]

        • Rob’s figures indicate that Rome is not burning, nor is it going to burn anytime soon. 2-4 C is well within natural variability.

          But the whole 2-4 C is a straw-man anyhow, because it is based on model projections and we all know the flaws in the models.

          What I don’t understand is why you are so worried about such a small possible temperature rise. Why are you not just as worried about the larger and more probable possible temperature changes due to natural variability?

          Regards,
          Professor Smith ;-)

          [Natural variability! Flaws in the models! Polly wants a cracker! Do you really expect us to swallow your claim that AGW is the only environmental risk anyone thinks about? Eye-roll. - Ben]

        • “2-4 C is well within natural variability.”

          No it isn’t. Not for the ecosystems that have evolved over the last few million years.

          “But the whole 2-4 C is a straw-man anyhow, because it is based on model projections and we all know the flaws in the models.”

          You need to look up the definition of strawman, because you don’t know it yet.

          “What I don’t understand is why you are so worried about such a small possible temperature rise.”

          It’s a very large increase, not a small one. It hasn’t been that warm during the Holocene, that’s for sure. The rise doesn’t magically end in 2100 either.

          “Why are you not just as worried about the larger and more probable possible temperature changes due to natural variability?”

          Because there are no probable temperature changes due to natural variability remotely approaching 2-4C in the cards for the next hundred years. There hasn’t been for the last 10,000, why would we expect it in the next 100?

        • Chris, the difference between an ice age, with ice sheets extending deep into the US and Europe) and an interglacial, with ice sheets extending slightly into Canada and some northern parts of Europe, is 6 degrees.

          Or an even better example to show you what the difference of just a few degrees means: Greenland was completely ice-free in a world that had temperatures higher by just 2 degrees. That’s a 7 meter sea level rise. The only “good” thing is that the melt will not happen within a few decades. However, try to imagine the enormous energy required to melt so much ice. That’s what is in the atmosphere.

          The West-Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is a real dark horse: we know it is disintegrating. Its collapse is certain, the only question is when. History shows that such type of melting events can cause very rapid and sudden changes in climate (on a decade, perhaps even annual time scale). I’m not easily scared, but I really don’t want to be around when that happens.

        • @ Marco
          Greenland was completely ice-free in a world that had temperatures higher by just 2 degrees. That’s a 7 meter sea level rise. The only “good” thing is that the melt will not happen within a few decades.

          I’m pretty sure we don’t actually know for sure how fast such a melt can happen. Arguably, the faster it does happen, the sooner we can stop all this fencing with the obstructive deniers and start doing something constructive to try to resolve the crisis.

    • Rob Murphy wrote “Not for the ecosystems that have evolved over the last few million years.” but it looks as though temperature variations of this magnitude do occur over much shorter time periods than millions of years:
      http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png

      Looking at those graphs it looks as though natural variability causes very large temperature changes and that the current epoch of stability is rare.

      On average the planet has been much cooler than present and up to 3C warmer. Has there been a phase change in nature which would prevent the planet from falling to the more common average temperature of the past? What happened to life on the planet when the temperature was 3C warmer, 150Kyr ago? Was it devastating for life on the planet?

      [Yes, events that spanned tens of thousands of years or even longer and follow cyclic patterns are exactly the same as what we've seen in a few decades and is overwhelming those cyclic patterns. There's a difference between "life" and "lives". Go ask the extinct species how they feel about it. - Ben]

      • “but it looks as though temperature variations of this magnitude do occur over much shorter time periods than millions of years:”

        I didn’t say the changes happen in a few million years, I said they hadn’t been as warm (as it will be) in the last few million years. A 2C-4C warming in a few hundred years is certainly not “natural variability”.

        “On average the planet has been much cooler than present and up to 3C warmer.”

        And the world’s ecosystems were very different in both cases.

        “What happened to life on the planet when the temperature was 3C warmer, 150Kyr ago? Was it devastating for life on the planet?”

        Lots of extinctions, and lots of change in climate patterns, though that warming was a lot slower than the present warming (which will result in a warmer planet than the last interglacial at any rate). Also, there was no agriculture then and our ancestors were small in number and hunter gatherers. We have a vested interest in keeping the climate as stable as we can. The issue isn’t whether life will continue in a warmer word – it will. The issue is how will the current ecosystems – which we depend on – hold up. It gives me no comfort to know that in a million years or so a great deal of the species loss we see now will be replaced with new species.

      • Typical denier ignorance or deliberate misleading?

        “On average the planet has been much cooler than present and up to 3C warmer.”

        No it hasn’t (at least not in the past 150,000 years). Please at least look at and try and understand what you are posting. That graph you posted shows the temperature for the Antarctic, not global average.

        So typical of denier behaviour, they hope that the majority of people who read their nonsense will actually think they are being correct and honest. Hopefully by now the majority of intelligent people will see through these
        dishonest tactics.

        • What I posted was in response to Rob Murphy stating that the temperature had not varied much over millions of years. The past 150,000 years is very different to millions of years. The graph was posted to illustrate that over timescales shorter than millions of years there has been large variations.

          You are right, that plot is for Ant. So at least in Ant we can say that such large variations did occur. What caused those variations? Why did that not affect other parts of the planet?

          It was not a “dishonest tactic”.

          [Still, you're blithely conflating tens of thousands of years to decades. - Ben]

        • “What I posted was in response to Rob Murphy stating that the temperature had not varied much over millions of years.”

          I was saying that it hadn’t been as warm (as projections say we are headed) in millions of years and that the ecosystems that evolved over the last few million years are not adapted to such a warmer regime. I did not say temps had not varied much in the last few millions of years.

          It boggles the mind that someone would think that a temperature increase to temps not seen in millions of years – taking place in a few hundred years instead of over tens of thousands – would not cause widespread ecological disruption. Everything won’t die, and in time ( a million years?) a good deal of the lost species will be replaced by something else through speciation, but why should that far off recovery mean anything to those of us around now?

  5. So, poor denialati Russell Cook is not a happy camper, riding his dead horse the wrong way to the rest of the field. So, where does one send the lilies?

    The sad man has finally encountered a real skeptic moderator, not the usual ignorant of the laws of physics undereducated ‘Ersatz’ ones, from amongst Willard’s tiny group of fellow denialati.

    That is, the moderator at PBS, is an educated one, that knows the actual difference between pure fallacy science fiction gish gallop BS, which always defies the known laws of physics and thermodynamics and real science fact from the real world.

    Since Russell, provides absolute zero credible sources or reference material, to match his fictional claims, it is and will always remain, an insult to all intelligence, fallacy gish gallop.

    The polite comment about Russell, is nice fake astroturf crocodile tears.

    Reality has a liberal bias : – http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/Warming_Indicators_1024.jpg

    “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.” Winston Churchill

    • I’d of course argue the horse I ride is very much alive, in regard to the idea that AGW promoters have yet to prove “corrupt” industry funding prompted fabricated false science conclusions from skeptic scientists. Commenter “Heystoopid” only undermines his own credibility by claiming I don’t provide credible sources or reference material – anyone who chooses to actually read my material readily sees how I support what I say with extensive web links. And as is also so readily seen in my online letters at the PBS Ombudsman page, the NewsHour is collectively unable to answer the unbelievably simple question of why skeptic climate scientists are excluded from in-studio discussions with IPCC scientists. If they can prove skeptics are corrupt and unworthy of consideration, why do they not just say it outright, with irrefutable evidence, so that even you guys here at Wotts will be finally able to refute what I say on that very narrow topic?

      Regarding my “astroturf” tears, from Wikipedia, this definition: “Astroturfing refers to political, advertising or public relations campaigns that are designed to mask the sponsors of the message to give the appearance of coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant.”

      Prove I’m being paid to do what I do rather than being a ‘disinterested, grassroots participant’, and you have a very useful story on your hands. Fail to do so, and you’ve made an accusation you cannot back up, which causes your assorted friends to begin to wonder what other things you are not able to back up, and why you seem to have this deficiency.

      ["corrupt industry funding" like the Cato Institute's fake "ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States" last month?? - Ben]

      • After trying to talk with dozens of contrarians, it’s clear that almost all of them are unpaid. Funding seems unnecessary because their motivations are often tied to conspiratorial thinking, an intense desire to prove egghead scientists wrong, and a curious inability to recognize their own scientific incompetence.

        Just for the record, I’m a geophysicist studying GRACE satellite data, and I thought the PBS special “Climate of Doubt” painted a disturbingly accurate picture of the modern anti-science movement. Anyone who found it informative would also benefit from reading “Merchants of Doubt”. Russell Cook’s rant at WUWT was a fractally wrong Gish Gallop that shows once again how pointless engagement with contrarians is.

        Russell Cook, Anthony Watts, the Heartland Institute, etc: please stop spamming humanity with all this misinformation. It’s threatening the future of our civilization.

        [Hear, hear! - Ben]

      • “Nullius in verba”!

        Actually Russell, back in the real world of reality, of the 21st century, you are only fooling yourself with your gross errors of deliberate misinformation.

        “If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. -Speech at Clinton, Illinois, September 8, 1854.” -Abraham Lincoln

        Such is life.

  6. Response left to ‘Class Act’ post (Russell take note)

    Nah, there’s only one class act around here – in fact its a double act – Anthony and Dave Stealey/Smokey/Boehm!

    C’mon Anthony, own up to this blatent hypocrisy, confession is good for the soul, and who knows you may recover some of your tattered credibility and regain some respect.

    Heaven knows you’ve none until you do …

    • No Ben, this site appears to exist for the main purpose of bad mouthing WUWT, a sure sign that you think WUWT’s popularity needs to be countered.

      [I suppose in a way you're right. But I think of it as exposing Anthony's dishonesty and political obstruction. That, most certainly, needs to be countered. - Ben]

  7. So Watts reposts a piece by Walter Starck, that asserts, among other nonsense, that:

    The methodology used to construct the [Hockey Stick] graph involved the use of estimates of temperatures from a very small sample of tree growth rings from the Yamal Peninsula in far northern Siberia and ancient stunted pine trees from near the tree line in the High Sierras of California.

    Now ten minutes with Google and Starck would have discovered that the Yamal chronology (2002) did not appear anywhere in the hockey stick studies MBH98 and MBH99 (the clue is in the dates, Walter), but rather than do a bit of basic ‘journalism’, fact-checking and ‘research’ he instead destroys his credibility by lazily recycling a fallacy (among many others – you can only ‘fabricate’ a HS with random noise if you use highly unrealistic auto-correlated red noise, and even the the magnitude is about 1/10th the actual graph (and may well point down rather than up), and the illicitly obtained CRU mails do NOT reveal ‘ a concerted effort to come up with some means to deny the existence of the MWP’), because it suits his prejudices.

    I would say that Watts also flushed his credibility away by reposting this ferrago, but that would imply he had some credibility left.

  8. Fun to be had Fisking this Open Letter from 125 ‘scientists’

    Open letter to UN Secretary-General: Current scientific knowledge does not substantiate Ban Ki-Moon assertions on weather and climate, say 125 scientists

    A brief scan reveals that Richard Courtney has dusted off his comedy Doctorate, there’s the Iron Sun guy, Nasty Whatnot, The Viscount, Tim Ball, Piers Corbyn, Morner the Dowser, a brace of Grays and another of Idsos, Fred Singer and a LOT of Emeritii and (Ret) …

    [The Financial Post is a notoriously uncritical Canadian conduit for right-wing opinion. The "letter" is signed by a classic collection of axe-grinders, including "Doctor" Watts... - Ben]

  9. Pingback: An open letter to the U.N from climate skeptics | Wott's Up With That?

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