What you will find on this page: difficulty in addressing misinformation; how to deconstruct denial (video); Six Decades of Oil-Tobacco Nexus of Deception and Attacks on Science (video); New Website: Climate Feedback – for scientific referencing; over reliance on satellite data alone (video); publications; specific myth busting; Consensus Project; conservatism – points of view; what is really warming the worldexamples of misinformation (video); information & resource sites

Difficulty in addressing misinformation

science denial

Source: Skeptical Science

Skeptical Science: It’s self-evident that democratic societies should base their decisions on accurate information. On many issues, however, misinformation can become entrenched in parts of the community, particularly when vested interests are involved. Reducing the influence of misinformation is a difficult and complex challenge. A common misconception about myths is the notion that removing its influence is as simple as packing more information into people’s heads. This approach assumes that public misperceptions are due to a lack of knowledge and that the solution is more information – in science communication, it’s known as the “information deficit model”. But that model is wrong: people don’t process information as simply as a hard drive downloading data. Read More here 

Naomi Oreskes deconstructs Nick Minchin’s climate denial

YouTube published on Apr 23, 2012: Naomi Oreskes explains with great clarity the driving force behind climate denial – aversion to the political and economic implications of climate change.

Smoke and Fumes: Six Decades of Oil-Tobacco Nexus of Deception and Attacks on Science

20 July 2016, DESMOG, The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) today expanded its website SmokeandFumes.org, featuring a new video and more internal industry documents dating back to the 1950s that reveal the nexus between the oil and tobacco industries’ shared campaigns to undermine science to delay accountability and political action to curtail their deadly products. 

CIEL has uncovered new evidence showing that it was the work performed for the oil industry by PR firms (particularly Hill &Knowlton) that attracted the tobacco industry to follow suit — in contrast to the prevailing narrative that Big Oil deployed the Tobacco Playbook to ward off responsibility for climate change resulting from its fossil fuel pollution. Again and again we found both the PR firms and the researchers worked first for oil, then for tobacco,” said CIEL President Carroll Muffett in a statement. “It was a pedigree the tobacco companies recognized and sought out.” ExxonMobil’s excuse in the face of #ExxonKnew has, in part, relied on the defense that oil is not the new tobacco. At the end of the day, as Muffett points out in the video below, the final result is the same, despite who was first to devise the strategies of deception and attacking inconvenient science. The infamous “Doubt is our product” tobacco memo articulated the strategy most succinctly, but the whole package of deception, delay, and attacks on science have been shared, refined and endlessly deployed by both industries (and many others) since the 1950s. It reminds me of that old “I learned it by watching you” anti-drug PSA. You’re both still busted, tobacco and oil industries. It doesn’t matter who came first. Watch the video for the whole story, and check out SmokeandFumes.org for the incredible cache of internal documents uncovered by the Center for International Environmental Law. Read More here

JUNE 2016: New Website: Climate Feedback – A Scientific Reference to Reliable Information on Climate Change 

Today’s media climate leads to confusion: With so much information available online, trying to figure out which information is credible — and what is not — is a real challenge. When so much of what we read falls outside of our own expertise, how can we know which headlines and news articles are consistent with science? What if online coverage could be peer-reviewed? Using the Hypothesis annotation platform, our community of scientists go through a variety of online media articles and provide ‘feedback’ on the scientific accuracy of the information presented. Readers can view these annotations directly alongside the original texts and see exactly where the article’s information is consistent — or inconsistent — with scientific thinking and state-of-the-art knowledge in the field. Access website here

14 January 2016, Yale Connections, Experts Fault Reliance on Satellite Data Alone. Over-reliance on satellite data to the exclusion of other data can amount to ‘confirmation bias, say scientists urging analysis of numerous different data sets. 

This month’s “This is Not Cool” video focuses on an ongoing, and again festering, climate science controversy, the value and reliability of satellite-derived global temperatures. And of that data at the exclusion of – or as a surrogate for – other data. Independent videographer Peter Sinclair sought reactions of leading climate scientists to points made in a recent hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, chaired by Texas Republican Senator and presidential nominee hopeful Ted Cruz. “According to the satellite data, there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years,” the senator said.In the hearing, Senator Cruz emphasized that “The satellite data are the best data we have,” an often-echoed point made by those generally scornful of much of the so-called consensus climate science. Climate scientists Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth, Andrew Dessler, Carl Mears, and Ben Santer, David Titley, and others voice what they see as limitations or shortcomings of the satellite data. They point to a history of documented errors and mistakes that have often caused satellites to underestimate climate warming.Among these errors are a failure to account for “orbital decay,” changes measuring in the diurnal cycle, and faulty calibration of satellite sensors. Most of all, they discourage over-reliance on any single set of data and instead urge consideration of numerous authoritative data sets. Remote Sensing Systems scientist Carl Mears points to inherent problems in reviewing data only from a particular point in time, especially the often-chosen 1998 starting point, which was characterized by a strong El Niño. “If you start driving at the top of a hill, you’re going to go down, at least at the beginning,” says Mears. Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M says he sees in all this an example of “confirmation bias,” with climate contrarians often looking only at data that “tells them what they want to hear.” Read More here

25 August 2015, The Guardian, Here’s what happens when you try to replicate climate contrarian papers. A new paper finds common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus. Those who reject the 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warmingoften invoke Galileo as an example of when the scientific minority overturned the majority view. In reality, climate contrarians have almost nothing in common with Galileo, whose conclusions were based on empirical scientific evidence, supported by many scientific contemporaries, and persecuted by the religious-political establishment. Nevertheless, there’s a slim chance that the 2–3% minority is correct and the 97% climate consensus is wrong. To evaluate that possibility, a new paper published in the journal of Theoretical and Applied Climatology examines a selection of contrarian climate science research and attempts to replicate their results. The idea is that accurate scientific research should be replicable, and through replication we can also identify any methodological flaws in that research. The study also seeks to answer the question, why do these contrarian papers come to a different conclusion than 97% of the climate science literature? Read More here

Publications worth having a look at:

Specific Myths Info

If you are looking for a specific myth to debunk try here

Specific IPCC myth busting try here

PM Tony Abbott is listed on this site as a climate “misinformer” 

The Consensus Project

Consensus_Gap_medTHE CONSENSUS PROJECT measured the level of consensus in published, peer-reviewed climate research that humans are causing global warming. In the most comprehensive analysis to date, we analysed 21 years worth of peer-reviewed papers on “global warming” or “global climate change”. Among the 12,465 papers, we identified over 4,014 abstracts authored by 10,188 scientists that stated a position on human-caused global warming. Among those 4,014 abstracts, 97.1% endorse the consensus. Among the 10,188 scientists, 98.4% endorse the consensus. Read the full paper here. The overwhelming consensus is consistent with a number of other studies that have found similar results (follow the link below for more details). The Consensus Project is one indicator among many that there is a consensus of evidence and a consensus of scientists, all agreeing that humans are causing global warming. For excellent presentations of “Consensus” go here.

12 March 2015, Inside Climate News, Leaked Email Reveals Who’s Who List of Climate Denialists: A network of pundits and scientists is consulted about stopping release of “Merchants of Doubt,” a documentary film that exposes their work. In the months before the debut of the new documentary film “Merchants of Doubt,” long-time climate denialist Fred Singer contacted more than two dozen bloggers, public relations specialists and scientists asking for help in derailing the documentary’s release.”Can I sue for damages?” Singer asked in an email last October. “Can we get an injunction against the documentary?” Read More here

Conservatism & climate science – points of view

2014, Issues in Science & Technology, Objections to liberal environmental orthodoxy have less to do with the specifics of the research or the economic interests of the fossil fuel industry than with fundamental questions about hubris and democratic values. It is not news to say that climate change has become the most protracted science and policy controversy of all time. If one dates the beginning of climate change as a top tier public issue from the Congressional hearings and media attention during the summer of 1988, shortly after which the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was set in motion with virtually unanimous international participation, it is hard to think of another policy issue that has gone on for a generation with the arguments—and the policy strategy—essentially unchanged as if stuck in a Groundhog Day loop, and with so little progress being made relative to the goals and scale of the problem as set out. Even other areas of persistent scientific and policy controversy—such as chemical risk and genetically modified organisms—generally show some movement toward consensus or policy equilibrium out of which progress is made. There has always been ideological and interest group division about environmental issues, but the issue of climate change has become a matter of straight partisan division with Republicans now almost unanimously hostile to the climate science community and opposed to all proposed greenhouse gas emissions regulation. Beyond climate, Republicans have become almost wholly disengaged from the entire domain of environmental issues. Read More here

11 June 2015, The Hill, Timothy Cama: Inhofe: Climate change fight really about global control: Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told a conference of global warming skeptics Thursday that the fight against climate change is really about global control with little accountability. Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and an outspoken climate skeptic, said he agreed with former French President Jacques Chirac’s statement that global warming “is the first component of authentic global governance.” “The United Nations is the reason that this all came along. We all know that,” Inhofe told attendees at a conference organized by the Heartland Institute, the top climate skeptic think tank. “They want independence. They don’t want to be accountable to anybody, to the United States or any other country,” he said, explaining that global climate change policies would give the United Nations its own funding source and make it unaccountable to its member countries. Inhofe said that the U.N.’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol is “about leveling the playing field for big business worldwide,” and if bureaucrats control carbon emissions, “you control life.” The Heartland Institute, along with the Heritage Foundation, gave Inhofe the Political Leadership on Climate Change Award for his work against environmental policies. Read More here

28 November 2011, The Nation, Naomi Klein: Denialists are dead wrong about the science. But they understand something the left still doesn’t get about the revolutionary meaning of climate change. When powerful ideologies are challenged by hard evidence from the real world, they rarely die off completely. Rather, they become cultlike and marginal. A few true believers always remain to tell one another that the problem wasn’t with the ideology; it was the weakness of leaders who did not apply the rules with sufficient rigor. We have these types on the Stalinist left, and they exist as well on the neo-Nazi right. By this point in history, free-market fundamentalists should be exiled to a similarly marginal status, left to fondle their copies of Free to Choose and Atlas Shrugged in obscurity. They are saved from this fate only because their ideas about minimal government, no matter how demonstrably at war with reality, remain so profitable to the world’s billionaires that they are kept fed and clothed in think tanks by the likes of Charles and David Koch, and ExxonMobil. Time is too short to allow our divisions to keep us from building the kind of coalitions that will safeguard life on earth. The ecological movement will get nowhere unless it recognizes the overlapping crises facing our society. This points to the limits of theories like “cultural cognition.” The deniers are doing more than protecting their cultural worldview—they are protecting powerful interests that stand to gain from muddying the waters of the climate debate. The ties between the deniers and those interests are well known and well documented. Heartland has received more than $1 million from ExxonMobil together with foundations linked to the Koch brothers and Richard Mellon Scaife (possibly much more, but the think tank has stopped publishing its donors’ names, claiming the information was distracting from the “merits of our positions”). Read more here

What is really warming the world?

June 2015, Bloomberg, Skeptics of man-made climate change offer various natural causes to explain why the Earth has warmed 1.4 degrees (F) since 1880. But can these account for the planet’s rising temperature? Access this interactive link to see how different factors both natural and industrial contribute to global warming based on findings from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies 
Uncertainty Handbook COIN6 July 2015, COIN (UK) Uncertainty Handbook: Have you ever struggled with the communication of climate change uncertainties? Are you frustrated by climate sceptics using uncertainty – inherent in any area of complex science – as a justification for delaying policy responses? Then our new handbook (a collaboration between Dr Adam Corner, Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Dr Mary Philips and Olga Roberts) is for you. Download the handbook to learn more about 12 practical and easy-to apply principles for smarter communication about climate change uncertainties. Access handbook here

Examples of misinformation

Powerful coal, oil, and gas interests are trying to confuse us all about global warming and renewable energy. Not with facts or reasoned argument — but with disinformation. In the above interactive slideshow, UCS reveals the tactics used by the fossil fuel industry to spread disinformation and delay action on climate change — the very same tactics used by Big Tobacco for years to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking. Source: Union of concerned Scientists

 

Following are prime examples of how deniers manipulate and misinform. It is a lot of smokes and mirrors; cherry picking; the “snarking syndrome” (say it three times and it’s true); rehashing old outdated data/information. 

A couple of years ago I investigated some of the most commonly recycled arguments that resurface in mainstream media whenever an opportunity presents. The basis of my investigations were the 10 warming myths that Andrew Bolt consistently recycles. My findings were:

  • He basically cherry-picked, every time. i.e. he chose what he wanted to validate his own views and either forgot to mention other information within the same press release/report or slightly changed a few words, or he puts forward isolated disparate information and labels it “anti-climate change”– such as record temperatures – this relates to weather not climate – it is a red herring.
  • Also following through in later articles from him, he has neglected to update prior information even when it came from the same sources. (I gather he felt that such sources were “worthy” of consideration, at some point, so I have updated the information from the SAME sources he has highlighted.)
  • When you Google specific phrases he has used, the exact same references come up from a variety of websites with a variety of dates stretching into 2011. i.e. the same information is regurgitated over and over as “new” e.g. Crude Oil. It is difficult to tell where the original text has come from. 
  • He has used out of date information that was proven inaccurate (by the same scientists involved) and failed to use updated information or failed to correct this oversight in further columns. 

To access my detailed findings see pdf: Bolts list of myths clarified

Remember: Always go back to the source and do your own fact finding if you think you are being fed some snark! Here are some more examples:

31 March 2014, Forbes, The IPCC’s Latest Report Deliberately Excludes And Misrepresents Important Climate Science: This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is releasing its latest report, the “Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report.” Like its past reports, this one predicts apocalyptic consequences if mankind fails to give the UN the power to tax and regulate fossil fuels and subsidize and mandate the use of alternative fuels. But happily, an international group of scientists I have been privileged to work with has conducted an independent review of IPCC’s past and new reports, along with the climate science they deliberately exclude or misrepresent. Read More here

Key Information & Resource Sites

Skeptical Science: Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation: Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn’t what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?

Climate DenialThis is George Marshall’s blog that explores the topic of the psychology of climate change denial – with observations and anecdotes about our weird and disturbed response to the problem. It seeks to answer a question that has puzzled me for years: why, when the evidence is so strong, and so many agree that this is our greatest problem, are we doing so little about climate change? George is the founder of COIN above. 

 DeSmog Blog ProjectA Canada based and began in January 2006 and quickly became the world’s number one source for accurate, fact based information regarding global warming misinformation campaigns. If you’re looking for information on noted climate change skeptics, or on the use of PR techniques and spin by politicians, scientists, and in the media, this is the place to go. They encourage using their media centre to full advantage for your own reporting. To access their media centre go here 

Scientific Feedbacks:Is this article consistent with the latest thinking and knowledge in science?”
“Would experts in this field endorse the main message of this article?” 
These are the types of questions our “feedbacks” are designed to answer. If the feedback is positive, you can generally assume the information you’re reading is of high credibility. If it’s negative, however, you may want to read with extra care and attention — some of the information contained and conclusions reached are not consistent with science.