’24-carat bafflegab’

15 09 2009

George Monbiot has launched a renewed attack on the ‘Professor of denial’, Ian Plimer, and his ‘pseudoscientific gobble-degook’ . The suggested public ‘dual‘ between Monbiot and Plimer will not go ahead for reasons outlined here.

Monbiot compares climate change deniers with creationists who ‘never retract, never apologise, never explain, just raise the volume, keep moving and hope that people won’t notice the trail of broken claims in their wake.’

It takes 30 seconds to make a misleading scientific statement and 30 minutes to refute it. By machine-gunning their opponents with falsehoods, the deniers put scientists in an impossible position: either you seek to answer their claims, which can’t be done in the time available, or you let them pass, in which case the points appear to stand.

This raises an important question. Should climate change deniers be given a public platform from which they can lay claim to ‘science’? Further still, to what extent should environmental campaigners engage with denial discourse?

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Climate change denial

13 08 2009

The journalist George Monbiot has challenged climate change denialist, Professor Ian Plimer, to a ‘dual’. Monbiot has taken issue with a number of points made in Plimer’s book, Heaven and Earth, and seeks clarification on them in writing before a public debate begins. Here is a sample of points made in Plimer’s book that Monbiot, quite rightly, questions:

“the last two years of global cooling have erased nearly thirty years of temperature increase.”

“NASA now states that […] the warmest year was 1934.”

“the sea ice has expanded”

“If the current atmospheric CO2 content of 380 ppmv were doubled to 760 ppmv […] [a]n     increase of 0.5C is likely”

“About 98% of the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere is due to water vapour.”

“satellites and radiosondes show that there is no global warming.”

“The Hadley Centre in the UK has shown that warming stopped in 1998″

“Volcanoes produce more CO2 than the world’s cars and industries combined.”

“termite methane emissions are 20 times potent than human CO2 emissions”.

See here, for Monbiot’s questions in full.