Climate Change Morons Dissected

Hot Earth

It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here

My policy with regard to climate-denying morons on Twitter is usually to steer clear. Trying to discuss science with adults whose level of science understanding wouldn’t even win them a GCSE (UK 16-year-old qualification), and within 140 characters, seems a little pointless. But for some reason I did engage today… well, it’s warm and sunny (for a change) in London, and I felt generous. The conversation went very much as you’d expect, and rather than waste the rest of my day in Twitter shouting, I decided it would be easier to deal with the issues in a blog post, and help educate these poor folks at the same time.

Here’s a wonderful starter from @DixieSportsman: if you believe in climate-change, you’re guilty of  “child-like naïveté” (look, he’s got all the accents in it n everything)!

To be honest, I’m happy to share in the “naïveté” of climate scientists, rather than join the “hard-headed reality” of those who believe propaganda pumped out by the fossil-fuels industry. To join the party, check out the wonderful New Scientist guide for the perplexed, which pretty much answers every nonsensical climate change-denial myth. In fact, if you’re going to engage with climate morons on Twitter, at least insist they read this before wasting time repeating myths that were discredited years ago.

Next, we find one of the many common climate myths, repeated by @ndgc12dx. This is one of the most frustrating things about dealing with science-illiterate morons who think they understand science. All they need to do is go and read a book. Or even Google! But they’d rather repeat their favourite myth – in this case, claiming that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today:

First of all, note the use of “Historians”. What he actually means is “climate scientists”, which is weird, because he doesn’t seem to believe anything climate scientists say. He’s wrong anyway: the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the previous and subsequent centuries, but cooler than today. Here’s a page with a nice graph showing that current temperatures are warmer than they’ve been for at least 2000 years (including, of course, the Medieval Warm Period).

Next, @ndgc12dx entertains us with the fascinating information that there’s “very little CO2″ in the atmosphere:

Now, “very little” is a relative thing. I could offer to anally fist @ndgc12dx “very little”. Like, for only five minutes. Now, if @ndgc12dx lives for 80 years, the time I spend anally fisting him is less than one eight-millionth of his entire life, or to put it another way, around one hundred-thousandth of one percent! Which is very little indeed, so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind the fisting at all, or perhaps even notice.

For a more scientific comparison, consider this: a typical dose of the hallucinogen LSD (around 100 micrograms) is around one-hundred-billionth the weight of a typical man (a far smaller proportion than CO2 in the atmosphere). By @ndgc12dx’s logic, taking a regular dose of LSD will have no effect on him whatsoever. I suggest he goes and tries it out.

Back to CO2: this increased from around 280 parts-per-million (ppm) in pre-industrial times to around 392ppm in 2011, representing a 40% increase just in the past couple of centuries. 40% is a large increase, but in @ndgc12dx’s terms, it’s an increase from one very small number to a different very small number. The issue @ndgc12dx is failing to understand is that small things can, and often do, have big effects. Almost all climate models show that around 450ppm is a level beyond which life on the planet will change drastically for humans and many other species (and the increase from 392ppm to 450ppm is very small indeed).

On the same subject, he displays an appalling grasp of mathematics in the next tweet:

The CO2 proportion in the atmosphere is rising around 2ppm at the moment, which equates to an increase of around 1.5% over three years, not .005% – he seems to be calculating the increase as a proportion of the total atmosphere rather than the proportion of CO2. As we saw above, he thinks (wrongly) that small changes are insignificant. And he repeats the ignorance here:

Because 0.03% is a small number to a moron. You can’t buy 0.03% of an egg can you? Well then.

Then we come to a moronic old favourite, again from @ndgc12dx:

Firstly, he’s getting “proof” confused with “evidence” – a sure sign that his science education was strangled at birth. This claim is one of the most moronic climate-denial statements possible, as the “greenhouse effect” link between warming and atmospheric CO2 has been well-known for a long time. To quote from New Scientist:

We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas because it absorbs and emits certain frequencies of infrared radiation. Basic physics tells us that gases with this property trap heat radiating from the Earth, that the planet would be a lot colder if this effect was not real and that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere will trap even more heat.

As they say, the Greenhouse Effect is just basic physics – denying it is akin to denying gravity.

Finally we return to an old climate myth, repeated by one of our favourite tweeters:

This is a straw man argument: it claims (falsely) that people who believe in man-made climate change don’t believe in other climate change. This is hugely moronic, largely because it’s not true. Anyone who has studied the climate to any level at all will know that it has been changing forever. The climate changes continuously for many reasons, one of which is the presence/absence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We know that when CO2 levels were much higher, tens of millions of years ago, the climate was warmer. Land was covered by immense forests, and as they died, they grew on top of old dead forests, one layer after another. Bit by bit, carbon was trapped in the ground as “dead forest”, and the climate cooled. Then along came humans, who started extracting “dead forest” from the ground and burning it, thus restoring more CO2 to the atmosphere. The correct name for “dead forest” of course is “fossil fuel”.

The funniest part of this argument (that the climate has always been changing) is that it relies on the work and expertise of climate scientists; the same people who climate morons love to ignore when they warn us to stop burning fossil fuels.

17 thoughts on “Climate Change Morons Dissected

  1. Yes, I love the fact that climate denialists try to use half-digested, half vomited-up chunks of information from the work of climate scientists to claim that climate scientists don’t know what they’re doing.

  2. I am Glad you taught the morons some science and maths. Even My little 9 year old brother understands climate change, oh and he knows what ‘fossil fuels’ are lol
    People need to understand that forest fires can be naturally started by lighting, this does not mean that fires cannot be started by a careless camper. I personally believe that the process has been accelerated by human activities. If anyone wants to learn about climate change watch this, highly recommended by my little brother:

  3. A couple of years ago I spent a few months “debating” with the denizens of the Daily mail website, just for the hell of it. I learned a lot. The main thing I learned is that we can engage in defending climate science against their questions until the Sun becomes a red giant.

    Defence is no good.
    We have to attack.

    The hypothesis of the deniers who are not totally ignorant is that climate is that climate sensitivity is low. They cannot deny that the CO2 we have pumped out commits the planet to a 1*C rise when equilibrium happens, because that is textbook physics. The debate is over the next 2-3+*C rise coming from positive feedbacks.

    They have next to no robust evidence for negative feedbacks, just some qualitiative burble about clouds. They also have no answer to the many independent lines of evidence that point towards a climate sensitivity of about 3*C.

    To make CS more user friendly I have presented it the Three Babies Test, here:http://greenerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/climate-sensitivity-three-babies-test.html

    Hope this is helpful.

  4. Wow, you sure put those morons in their place, that’s for sure.

    Um, but I can’t help wondering, how have these climate change morons have beaten all you alarmist morons so badly?

    Just askin’.

    • klem: Every single science body in the world (I’ll repeat that in case you missed it: Every Single Science Body In The World) accepts the truth of man-made global warming, as does almost every government and most political parties (of course, the Republicans are a proud exception to that, but look at all the lovely oil money they receive). So who’s losing?

  5. I remember the Smoke of Pittsburgh and the smogs. The worry then was about the blocking of the Sun and a cooling of the climate.Your very informative article still is not proof to this Moron of what is really going on with the Earth’s Climate.Changing of course but higher carbon release?So many variables both natural and man made.Not a criticism just my interest and views,much more to this issue.

  6. jzjessez

    The New Scientist site that MW links to is good, or you might find my page of FAQs more accessible: http://greenerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/climate-change-debate-faqs.html

    This page takes you to the essence: http://greenerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/is-climate-change-man-made.html
    Look at the pink/grey graphs half way down, and you’ll see that we simply cannot account for recent changes if we take human greenhouse gases out of the calculations.

    Hope this helps.
    Richard

  7. Dear Moronwatch

    So who’s losing? Um, that would be you.

    Just watch for the terrific success which comes out of the Rio+20 conference that is happening right now. For example, almost no major leaders plan to attend, almost no journalists are there, it is getting almost no media coverage, indigenous people from all over the world are protesting the UN’s REDD environmental fraud plan, hell even Al Gore is avoiding it like the plague (and he’ll do anything for a buck). All over the world, wind and solar subsidies are drying up, environmental regulations are being watered down, people are NOT buying electric cars by the trainload, and coal is making a big come back.

    So who’s losing again? You’ve already lost.

    cheers

    • klem – flaunting your ignorance isn’t helping your case. The scientific case for climate change was only made solid in the late-80s. a quarter-century may seem long to you and I, but a huge amount has been achieved in that time. Sure, progress could have been better, but the oil companies slowed things down by pouring huge amounts of cash into propaganda to confuse morons. It may have fooled you, but scientists and decision-makers aren’t fooled.

      Who’s losing? I was just reading about the beautiful state of Montana which is losing much of its farmland through climate change. Since it’s a myth, why don’t you go buy some farmland in Montana? It’s very cheap I hear. Montana’s Glacier National Park had 150+ glaciers when it was found by pioneers, now it has 35, and in 20 years it will have none. It’ll have to change its name, I guess. Same is happening all over the world. Last week’s Economist (a magazine for literate people – you may not have heard of it) documented the undeniable melting of the Arctic ice. You remind me of the people in the 1990s who believed the tobacco industry propaganda about cancer (even though the link was known in the 1950s). Thankfully, there are very few people as badly educated as you in positions of power. But it’s true, we’re moving too slowly, and far more needs to be done.

  8. Dear moronwatch

    If you are as scientifically literate as you imply, you’d know that glacial retreat and melting sea-ice are evidence of climate change only, they are not evidence that CO2 is the cause.

    But something suggests to me you aren’t as literate as you present yourself to be. I think it’s all of the emotional greenie talk attached to your remarks that give you away. It’s your tell.

    And hey Neil, your ‘we’re laughing at you – not with you’ comment was considered a good witticism way back when I was in junior high. I’ll bet you had to dig deep for that one. Lol!

    Keep up the great work people, you are entertaining.

    The climate alarmist faith is dead. Just sayin’.

    cheers

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