TDB Today: through the looking glass into the world of climate denial

In my post this week at The Daily BlogInvestigating climate change deniers and their spin against global warming — I take a look at the PR campaign being run against action on climate change and one of their most important tactics, creating a smokescreen to hide the reality of climate change:

The resulting exchanges provide an object lesson in life through the looking-glass, that alternative world where warming isn’t happening, climate scientists are colluding in a giant hoax, and the poor old free market is being threatened by gangs of rampant watermelons — great wagon loads of fruit against freedom, leeks against liberty, and carrots against capitalism.

As seen on blogs everywhere, all the time, produced by the willing foot soldiers of climate denial.

71 thoughts on “TDB Today: through the looking glass into the world of climate denial”

  1. Off-topic, perhaps, [so I moved it to a more relevant post… 😉 GR] but here’s a very interesting Edward Snowden leak on the extent to which governments, via their “security’ agencies, manipulate online discourse:

    …these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.

    Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.

    To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums…

    Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.

    1. Not really OT. I recognise quite a bit of it although the honey trap does not appear to be applicable to climate deception.. A psychological trick not made explicit in the document goes like this : make accusations so the “warmists” are put on the defensive – then the psuedo sceptic controls the agenda. Accuse opponents of the very things the denialist is exhibiting so they have to justify themselves. This may be called diversion although I have called it mirroring. Jimmy.t has made a fair bit of use of this.

  2. Woo-hoo, bring on the honey traps!

    The documents show Kiwi spooks were briefed on setting honey traps and internet “dirty tricks” to “control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp” online discourse.

    GCSB agents – part of the Five Eyes intelligence network – were briefed by counterparts from the ultra-secret Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group.

    A slide-show presentation, called The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations, was given at a top secret spy conference in 2012.

    It outlined sex and dirty tricks cyber operations used by JTRIG, a unit of the British signals intelligence agency GCHQ, which focused on cyber forensics, espionage and covert operations. GCHQ described the purpose of the unit as “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world”, including “information ops (influence or disruption)”.

    According to the slides, JTRIG conducted “honey traps”, sent computer viruses, deleted the online presence of targets and engaged in cyber-attacks on the “hacktivist” collective Anonymous.

    One carried the title “Cyber offensive session: pushing the boundaries and action against hacktivism” revealing the agency was going after online political activists.

      1. Sorry about that. It was the Daily Caller. Not a pleasant experience but you need to see what is going on. I was involved with an exchange that was much worse than Jimmy T I was going to ask is he had had a lobotomy but he would not have remembered anyway.

        1. The comments section to this hot tweet is eye opening, mind blowing, and depressing as well!

          It appears almost the whole of WA have their heads deep in the sand.. Perth is after all mostly built on sand.
          As bill says.. we live in the age of stupid.
          I found the locals regard for lawns and gardens there somewhat fascinating. New lawns were being laid, shrubs and trees planted,etc. in the height of a drought! Watering was everywhere in the evenings and running down the street. You would think that there was an abundance. Denial takes many forms. “Keep calm and carry on” .. may be popular on T-shirts but sometimes you have to stop and think and do something different.

          1. Moore was an early member of Greenpeace, and left in 1985.
            He was involved with the anti-whaling, anti-nuclear testing and anti-sealing campaigns. He was also President of Greenpeace Canada


            According to the Wikipedia article cited, “Moore was quickly accepted into the inner circle on the basis of his scientific background, his reputation [as an environmental activist], and his ability to inject practical, no-nonsense insights into the discussions”

            This is also described in his book “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout”. He makes no illusion that he is still involved with Greenpeace.

            He claims that he left Greenpeace when it became an organisation that became over-politised and left its science based roots.

            He may well be a paid lobbyist by the nuclear industry, but I hardly see that is a problem if he is transparent about it. Many industries employ environmental companies as lobbyists to represent their case.

            Greenpeace today, naturally want to distance themselves from Moore as he is openly hostile towards them. However, the rather weak hatchet job on the Greenpeace website doesn’t really do much justice, in my view.

            1. Unfortunately Moore seems happy to present himself, or allow himself to be presented as a “co-founder” of Greenpeace, when he clearly wasn’t. If he said he was an “early member” or “former president of GP Canada” there would be no complaint.

              However, CV inflation does seem to crop up an awful lot amongst those arguing for inaction (cf Tim Ball).

            2. As usual AndyS gets it all wrong:

              He claims that he left Greenpeace when it became an organisation that became over-politised and left its science based roots.

              Moore is the one who left his science based roots and became a PR shill for polluting industries. Most of science funded by Greenpeace is as good as any conducted by Universities or Institutions, in fact they usually contract out to those same places.

              Here is a good comment on Moore’s ethics and standards:


            3. The sentence I wrote was this.
              He claims that he left Greenpeace when it became an organisation that became over-politised and left its science based roots.

              So how does this make me wrong, when I am merely quoting his point of view?

              [Pointless snark snipped. GR]

            4. I guess it doesn’t make you wrong, it only shows your gullibility and refusal to actually double check what dis-informers such as Moore say and seek out the truth.

            5. How can I be “gullible” by stating what he claims in his book? I don’t have to agree with it to state it, so I?

            6. So tell me Ian, what is “the truth” with regard to GMOs?

              I understand that there any many points of view on this issue.
              Mark Lynas, for example, ran an anti-GMO campaign some years ago, and has since changed his position, and thinks that the use of GMO can fight “climate change” (not sure how)

              Just because Greenpeace are anti-GMO and anti-nuclear doesn’t make this the only valid world view.

              If you are anti-big corporation, then you should take a look at who the big wind and solar energy companies are

            7. Alright, I’m dumb enough to ask – why the golliwog? Anything beyond playing the junior-primary provocateur?

            8. To answer Bill’s question, “Mr Golly” (as he is now known) is a hand-knitted soft toy bought from a small craft shop in the village of Dunsandel which is 30 mins south of Christchurch NZ.

            9. There is a lot to say about the “truth” or otherwise about GMOs and their promotion but this would be off topic on this thread. If Gareth wants a discussion on the real truth about GMOs he can start a new thread and I would be happy to participate.

            10. Yes: GMOs are way off topic on this thread and almost any other at this climate blog.

              I will say this though: if you consider yourself rational – with views based on the facts of the matter – you should not pick and choose where you apply that rationality. Facts is facts and can sometimes be uncomfortable. You have to live with that, whether it be climate science or genome manipulation.

  3. Apple CEO Tim Cook has put climate change deniers in their place:

    There’s no room for climate deniers at Apple, CEO Tim Cook said Friday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

    The National Center for Public Policy Research, a D.C.-based conservative think thank, arrived at the meeting demanding that the board not pursue any environmental initiatives that hurt the company’s bottom line. The group’s proposal would have required Apple to disclose the costs of such initiatives and to be more transparent about its relationship with “certain trade associations and business organizations promoting the amorphous concept of environmental sustainability”.

    Cook’s response was priceless: ”We do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive,” he told the group. “We want to leave the world better than we found it.”

    And if the NCPPR wasn’t happy with that, he went on, they could just leave. “If you want me to do things only for [return on investment] reasons,” he said, “you should get out of this stock.”


    1. Cook’s comments have enraged the faithful at µWatts. There’s much spluttering about selling Apple shares, refusing to buy Apple products, and general rudery about Apple business practices. No doubt Apple’s share price will slump and product sales go into a tailspin. I must remember to use my iPad, iPhone and iMac to keep an eye on things… 😉

    2. Yes that is a fascinating story! I am sure that Apple has done well for its brand in general by reminding the public that not all of their actions are aiding the financial bottom line. We need more and more businesses who understand that protection of shareholders values in the long run will demand good citizenship and promotion of a sustainable future = sustainable demand for their products.

      Now the next thing Apple might need to do in order to polish up their image would be to pay taxes like their humble customers instead of coming under investigation for evading taxes to the tune of $74Billion US…

      It would be interesting to see if they would then be also (publicly) attacked by right wing zealot nutcases such as this NCPPR babyface who piped up at the Apple meeting….

    3. On reading some of the µWatts comments I must admit that some commentators have a point about the wastefulness of this (Apple) marketing machine.
      Much seems to be engineered for profit optimization such as changing cable and charger connections so that one has to purchase new accessory gear all the time. Plus the real power requirements of running Apple are not their HQ in Cupertino but their factories (outsourced) in China, where indeed dirty coal is firing the furnaces.
      In the end Apple is a massive consumption driving tax avoiding (if not evading) marketing giant with probably much less regard for the environment than what it is given credit for. Nevertheless good for the CEO to send the flat earthers to where they belong….

    4. Our esteemed former Telegraph Blogger and good friend of Sir Paul Nurse…

      [Snipped – Delingpole rants are not a contribution to rational debate: he counts as link spam. GR]

      1. Hi Andy, how are you coping in New Brighton with the AGW-intensifiied flooding?

        Or does your denial-of-reality bubble extend to keeping your feet dry?

        Just askin’….

            1. Rob, if you really want to know the intricate details of my life, we still have the house in ChCh and the phone is in our name, house rented out to a friend. The house was paid out in full by our insurance as a total loss, though it is still liveable

              As far as I know, our house is not underwater and has in fact never flooded in 15 years.

              The worst affected areas are in the Flockton basin where the ground has subsided by 40cm after the quake, thus causing the water to pool and flood the streets and homes.

              The flooding has also been exacerbated by the damaged storm water infrastructure.

              If anyone has any data on the storm intensity and its historical context, I would be interested to see that.
              In South Canterbury, we had a small amount of rain and no wind to speak of, so I presume that the storm was localised to the coast

            2. Andy, check out NIWA’s Historic Weather Index at

              If you filter for South Island rainfall events, you will find there were 5 recorded in the 100 years from 1878 – 1978.

              This increased to 19 in the 30 years from 1980 – 2010.

              I wonder what might be causing such a marked increase – basic physics, perhaps?

              this equation shows that saturation water vapor pressure changes approximately exponentially with T.

              In practical terms, this equation determines that the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere increases by about 7% for every 1°C rise in temperature.


            3. “I wonder what might be causing such a marked increase ?”

              This phrase on the NIWA page might be relevant:

              “The information has been collated from newspaper reports, journals, books and databases kindly provided by various organisations and individuals.”

  4. I do give quite a lot of talks on climate change and I come across very few deniers, say about 2%, the majority of people fully understand and a proportion don’t care. This is completely different to what you see on the internet where deniers overwhelm most sites. Climate change is not a big subject in the media and so it is easy for a small number of people to post denial messages on almost every site internationally and it also explains why they will never listen to explanations, just like Jimmy t, but pursue false reasoning and false reports.
    I know that there have been reports on this for some time but I am beginning to realise that the internet does not reflect real life at all and can be easily manipulated.

  5. Given that outright deniers are a small proportion of the general population I wonder why that is not reflected more in the way people vote.

    You would expect political parties advocating conservation, energy efficiency and environmentalist policies to do better in general elections than is usually the case.

  6. I guess most politicians concentrate on making money and jobs for the voters and climate change is not good news. The Greens push it but only get 10-15% of the vote. Disaster always make the news but you can’t undo climate change so politicians pontificate and sound concerned but there is not much they can do to turn back the tide.

  7. In Auckland recently, noticed in a bookshop that climate ignoramus Leighton Smith has an autobiography out (Behind The Microphone) – it has a chapter called “The Warming Con”. Didn’t browse it, as I didn’t want to upset my digestion.

  8. There were reports some time ago that the journalists at Fox News were required to post comments on climate change sites using a variety of identities. If you look at the deniers comments they follow a very set pattern of comments as though they are not given a lot of thought but just trotting out the same stereotype responses. I was thinking about the Daley Caller which is owned and run by a right wing billionaire to promote right wing views. Knowing how hard it is to launch and produce a successful magazine how do they make it look successful. I think the journalists employed on the paper post the comments to make it look as though there is a lot of traffic. The Daily Caller is a crap magazine and rightly would not be read by anyone but all those employed have well paid jobs and who cares if a billionaire parts with a few million to keep it running.
    Just a thought. I can’t stop trying to work out the nuts and bolts of something just as though I was still at work.

  9. Sadly, AndyS, your head seems to be as firmly buried in the sand as ever.

    Clearly, no evidence, no matter how compelling, will convince you that AGW is real, even as you clasp to your bosom any flimsy denier meme, no matter how contradictory.

    So, has the maddening drone of the wind turbines near your new home got to you yet, and is your lawn littered with bird choppings?

    1. If you want to present a database based on newspaper clippings that storms are becoming more intense then so be it.

      It is not actually very high on the list of priorities right now. The in-laws are fighting EQC over land compensation, and they are currently looking at facing an almost total loss on their property

      There is no drone of wind turbines where I live. We have the Waitaki hydro scheme on our doorstep, which provides a very large percentage of NZ’s energy, all beautifully renewable and low emissions.

      1. Newspaper clippings….
        Yea, really sorry. NIWA lost the automated recording computer that did the accurate rainfall record keeping for much of the time from 1878 until the modern times…. They unfortunately therefore had to rely on other records such as those on paper… newspaper at times as it seems…. 😉

        And what a good bunch of straw you can harvest from that for the building of your mans or the stuffing of the head of that golliwog figure….

        1. No I agree Thomas, multiple converging newspaper clippings are suggesting that life in Christchurch is no longer sustainable

          Just as well we have been paid out and can live somewhere more favourable, at least for the time being.

          Unless, of course, we get hounded out by newspaper clippings

          1. Yes it would seem that in some suburbs the conditions may well have passed the point beyond which habitation there is becoming a proposition with too many negatives for too little positives.
            Plus with SLR taking its path over the century to come, things are unlikely to get any better in the long run from a flooding perspective. With say 1m SLR in 100 years (conservative estimates), where will some of the Eastern Suburbs be on each and every king tide?
            Taking the losses now and bailing – as you and others have done – is perhaps indeed the better option for these areas. But other areas I am sure will find another plateau of stability going forward, unless of cause more tremors turn up from below.

            1. From p7, as cited by Andy:

              Research since the last IPCC report (2007) suggests that a reasonable future sea level projection for New Zealand planning purposes is 1 m by 2100, with a plausible upper range of 2 m. These sea level rise values are in agreement with international advice as summarised in Table 2-2.

              i.e. Thomas is on the money

            2. It is a shame that the graph doesn’t match the text then

              I wonder what the point of including a 2008 graph that doesn’t support the rest of the report is? Perhaps to fill up the page?

            3. There are a few issues I have with the T&T report, with respect to the projections

              (1) The 2008 MfE graph (Figure 2-1) shows a range of likely sea level rises between 0.2 and 0.8 m in 2100
              (2) Later in the text, they suggest rises of 1m are likely and 2m cannot be ruled out. The 1m “likely” exceeds the worst case scenario of the 2008 report.
              (3) No explanation, physical or otherwise, is presented to explain this large increase of expected sea level rise
              (4) The large increase in sea level rise projections runs counter to the lower estimates of climate sensitivity that have emerged during this time
              (5) No probability distributions are provided for these projections, so we have no idea which scenario is more likely

            4. The large increase in sea level rise projections runs counter to the lower estimates of climate sensitivity that have emerged during this time

              This is it in a nut shell for andy… low climate sensitivity… well andy it ain’t so.
              nice if it was – but it’s not. 🙁
              and if we continue to pour CO2 into the atmosphere at the rate we are right now – we can expect at least 3 degrees warming by the end of this century – which will make the current 2 m projected SLR a “wouldn’t that be nice” scenario.

            5. Macro,
              The lower levels of sensitivity I refer you to the Lewis and Crok meta study which presumably has been debunked already

              Nevertheless, the question if how an extreme upper bound in 2008 can become a conservative estimate in 2014 remains.

            6. For you it remains a mystery – but for anyone else who has been following the research closely it is not.

              Lewis and Crok! lol “independent climate scientist” Nic Lewis and “freelance science writer” Marcel Crok. yeah that’s peer reviewed science. Meanwhile, AR5) gave a “likely” range of 1.5C to 4.5C but did not provide a “best estimate”. Forget the 1.5C we are already at 0.8C and rising, and at 400ppm not yet near the 540ppm of double CO2 levels.

            7. Macro, the Crok Lewis study is not a peer reviewed paper, but Lewis has coauthored peer reviewed papers! including one with leading experts in climate sensitivity. So I think “independent climate scientist” is a reasonable handle.

              The issues around CS are discussed in the study anyway.

              However, the issue around sea level remains regardless. Between 2008 and 2014 there was a major revision of sea level projections upwards. This did get a bit of airtime on TV in nz when the RSNZ paper was published, but I never heard what factors resulted in this.

            8. Andy, you are up to your old tricks again of dragging people into wasting their time correcting your purposefully made false assertions, straw man arguments and other ‘tactics’ employed by the carousel of visitors from the ‘dark side’ to this blog. I guess you drew the short straw this time round to have your Golliwog figurine pummeled…. did the Jimmy sock puppet need a break?

              Anyway, the report (T&T Christchurch SLR) has a reference section. Pages 77 ff.
              If you want to immerse yourself deeper into the reasons for the findings of this (and presumably other reports) on the projections of future SLR then this is where you’d make a good start.

              You state that the graph of the Mfe was not matching the text. You need to put your spectacles on: The graph ends at about 2095 or so. The T&T report gives its opinion on a 100 year time interval, taking it to 2115. The T&T recommendation “For the purposes of this report, a future sea level
              projection of 1.0 m by 2115 (100 year planning time frame) is used
              ” is entirely in line with the graph and the rate of rise at the end of the century and the end of the Mfe graph. Where is your problem?

              If you want to immerse yourself in Probability Distributions, perhaps Real Climate has some ideas for you:
              and especially:

            9. Thomas, the reason I am commenting here is that Gareth closed off comments at TDB because the threading was stuffed. So I am trying to make these comments in good faith

              You may be able to argue that you can extrapolate the MfE graph out to 100 year timeframe and infer that a 1 metre sea level rise is possible.

              The issue that I have is that you claim that a one metre sea level rise is “conservative”, when in fact it is at the highest end of the range shown in the graph.

              For these sea level rises to occur within 100 years, the average rate of rise would have to increase something like 10 fold over the current levels.

              This doesn’t seem like a very conservative view to me.

              However, these arguments notwithstanding, there is still some serious planning that needs to be undertaken in Christchurch, and there are other reasons than just SLR that suggests a migration westwards would be in the best interest of the city. One reason is that the land quality is better to the west, being formed from river stones rather than the silt that caused so much liquefaction problems during the quakes.

            10. Andy, we totally agree (occasionally we do!) that serious planing needs to put in place for CC and a move westward to higher ground would by all means seem the only plausible option for the most affected suburbs and SLR is just one (but a rather convincing one in my mind) argument amongst others. All else would require costly flood defense engineering with a questionable long term prognoses.

              The 1m SLR by the end of the Century is conservative (i.e. ignores the higher predictions with a higher uncertainty). But if you look at the range of possible scenarios in the T&T report (P 8) then you will see that other planning authorities factor values in the 1 to 2m range into their considerations and they have reasons for doing so.

              SKS (I know you hate that source, but toughen up…) has a good compilation:
              It would seem that current SLR measurements (satellite) are trending at the very top edge of IPCC projections for the past 20 years and the trend is rising sharply.

              Further: With the advent of Fracking and now the specter of in-situ Coal gassing (burning coal seems in situ to extract the gas) it remains very plausible that we will track at not only the Business as Usual model but perhaps worse, in our CO2 emissions.

              Anyway, this is not going to convince you but perhaps passer-byes that 1m SLR by 2100 is indeed a conservative estimate. So when planing your Billion Dollar city future limiting our imagination to 1m will prove to be foolish. Who wants to move a city AGAIN in the next 100 years anyway? So why don’t we think ahead a bit further, our children will be thankful! and plan for the SLR of 2200 or beyond?

            11. It is easy make statements like “move a city” but this is a bit more tricky than just upping sticks and moving somewhere else.

              There is a lot of money invested in residential and commercial property across the city.
              One way is to forcibly acquire land – which has happened in some cases via the Red Zone process.

              Also, the building codes have changed quite significantly and now one is required to have much higher foundations. If we had chosen to rebuild on our coastal section, the insurance company would have paid out around an extra $100k for the additional height required.

              If you plan to run down suburbs by not investing in infrastructure and public works, then you are creating some potential social problems for the future. For example, I know of several written-off properties that have been bought “as-is” and subsequently rented out at the high rents that are currently being attracted in ChCh
              In 10 or 15 years, these suburbs might look pretty run down and will attract lower socio-economic demographics who maybe cannot afford to do up these houses. There will be little incentive to rebuild as the compliance costs are skyrocketing.

              It’s a pretty tricky situation all round.

          2. Notice the standard “denier dodge” from andyS – rather than discuss the reasons for the increase in extreme rainfall events (a topic he himself raised), he quickly changes the subject to the habitability of Christchurch.

            If anyone has any data on the storm intensity and its historical context, I would be interested to see that.

            Yeah, right, too much data, let me out of here!

            Pathetic, but predictable.

            1. Too much data? You mean a few newspaper clippings, surely

              I guess if I need to “accept the science” it might take my mind of the day to day details of dealing with EQC etc .

              I am not sure how reaching this higher plane of consciousness will improve my life, however.

        2. Thomas, it matters not to me whether we accept your “science” or not

          We all accept that NZ’s second biggest city is dead and anyone still living there is a fool

  10. The New Zealand government, in common with many other countries chooses the A1B Scenario for CO2 emmissions which is a nice middle of the road approach. The fact that we are way above the worst case scenario which is A1F1 means that councils are using the wrong figures. I was expecting governments to revise their figures after the latest IPCC report. but it may take a couple of years before they do that. I was rather hoping that the IPCC would add a couple of ‘extra even worse case scenarios’ so that modern reality would be in the mid range of the options. That might have been a bit too frightening for the newspapers.
    Its not helped that Gerry Brownlee is a denier and is unlikely to seek professional advice from New Zealand’s excellent climate scientists.

    1. Thanks Bob, that is a great resource,
      I will show it to all the people who are locked into uninsurable properties in Christchurch, who have lost their entire life savings.

      I am sure your predictions that you have 100% certainty will drive them over the edge, literally in some cases
      Perhaps you might find this enjoyable in some way. I hope so.

      1. Yep, let’s keep talking about Christchurch, or anything, really, just so long as it’s not the topic of this blog…

        Poor Andy, even the sand he’s stuck his head into is getting hot!

  11. Leighton Smiths chapter on climate change opens with a quote from a sceptical climate scientist, some Japanese fellow cant remember the name. To Leighton this means there is no “consensus”. He doesnt want to know that several published studies show about 95% agreement on climate change.

    Forget NZs rainfall data controversies and look at the bigger picture. Numerous countries are recording increasing rainfall. Of course they could all be wrong. I mean all the studies linking lung cancer and smoking could be wrong as well. There are many flying pink pigs in this world.

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