Posted by: climatewonk | March 28, 2008

Mashey Paper — Attack on Consensus

A link from Rabett Run of Mashey’s paper posted on DeSmogBlog.

Here’s the abstract, but make sure to read the comments section on DeSmogBlog where one Vicount Moncton pops in to respond.

Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) – the idea that recent temperature rises are substantially caused by humans – is supported by a very strong scientific consensus. But for ideological or economic reasons some people are absolutely sure that it cannot be true, frequently attack it. They are often called contrarians or denialists as a result. They try to manufacture doubt on the consensus among the public, not by doing good science, but by applying PR techniques well-honed in fights over tobacco-disease linkage. These are amplified by widespread use of the Internet, which can quickly propagating nonsense faster than truth.
A recent, well-coordinated transatlantic attempt to attack the consensus included:

A not-very-good anti-consensus paper written in the UK by an NHS King’s College endocrinologist, Mr Klaus-Martin Schulte, not obviously qualified for this task,

of which much was posted by Viscount Christopher Monckton at a Washington, DC denialist website of Robert Ferguson, and publicized by Marc Morano of Senator James Inhofe’s staff.

The non-story then propagated rapidly and pervasively through the blogosphere.

This expanded further into personal harassment of a US researcher, Dr. Naomi Oreskes.
All this generated misleading publicity for a non-story that would astonish most climate scientists:
Google: less than half published scientists endorse global warming
􀃎 ~200,000 hits (as of 03/23/08), most created within a few days (at one point, was 1 million hits)
It added personal harassment of UCSD Professor Naomi Oreskes by Schulte, Monckton and Ferguson via intimidating demands, threats of lawsuits, and attack-by-press-release:
Google: researcher demands apology professional discourtesy essayist claimed climate consensus
􀃎 ~300 hits (at one point, was ~400 hits, not so many, but plenty for an even absurder non-story)



  1. It may be worth bearing in mind that DeSmogBlog has been funded in part at least by John Lefebvre, a convicted fraudster.

  2. That might concern me except the fact that:

    1. His sponsorship of DeSmogBlog is posted in public right there on the “About” page for everyone to read; and,

    2. It has no bearing on the facts of the matter of global warming.

    Ultimately, I’m not going to make my determination on the facts of the global warming case based on the support of one person but on the preponderance of evidence supported by the most prestigious science bodies and climate scientists.

  3. Tom’s got the new Heartland playbook, in which Internet gambling (can I type that here?) is painted as money laundering. But Tom, you should look at the previous editions (all of them, for years back). Heartland used to pose as a libertarian site, before they got the axe to use to attack the enemies of their fossil fuel funders — what used to be freedom to spend your own money is now money laundering. Who knew? Not you.

    Seriously, you should look this up. You’ll see, for example, this from the previous Heartland playbook on the subject:

    Why Prohibitions on Internet Gambling Won’t Work …

  4. Dr. Oreskes thrice publicly accused Mr. Schulte of having misrepresented her when he had not in fact done so, and when she had not read any draft of the paper she said had misrepresented her. This misconduct is severe. Her university has now invited her to apologize, and the matter of her continuing and inexplicable failure so to do is now on Governor Schwarzenneger’s desk, for he is a Regent of her university ex officio.

    Mr. Schulte’s excellent and much-cited paper shows that – to the extent that science may properly be done by consensus at all – the consensus has moved well away from alarmism about the extent to which increases in the concentration of a naturally-occurring trace gas in the Earth’s atmosphere is likely to reverse the global cooling trend of the past seven years.

    That cooling trend tends to falsify the hypothesis that climate sensitivity to anthropogenic enrichment of the atmosphere with heteroatomic gases is high. It is now becoming clear that the effect of greenhouse-gas enrichment on the atmosphere is very small, harmless, and likely to be beneficial. The climate scare is over, and those who continue to peddle it merely discredit themselves without any longer deluding anyone else.

  5. Viscount Monckton continues to spout nonsense, both technical and personal, and most of this is well-debunked elsewhere. See
    including Monckton’s effective confirmation of the doctor-patient relationship with Schulte.

    But the one about Naomi is really funny.

    Did UCSD invite her to apologize, or in any way take seriously Monckton/Schulte’s claims against her? Did these damage her career at UCSD?

    Well, actually, shortly after last Fall’s events, UCSD offered her a promotion to become Provost of UCSD’s Sixth School, a job that she started July 1.

    Who knows,

  6. Given that UCSD has promoted Naoimi Oreskes to be the provost of UCSD’s undergraduate Sixth College, Monckton’s unilateral declaration of victory is apparently hollow, self-serving, and in denial. As Oreskes herself said at the last graduation

    There’s a concrete example of this that I’ve observed in my own line of work. As Provost Moore said, I am a historian of science who has worked on the history of climate science. I have tried to understand how scientists understand our planet, and how they have come to the conclusion that it is warming because of our activities.

    As most of you know, some people have resisted this conclusion. It is hard to believe that our individual activities are of sufficient import to impact the entire planet. And it is a very big job to change the way we generate the energy that runs our entire economy. So some people, rather than accept the scientific evidence, have tried to deny it.

    Happily, this period of denial appears to be coming to a close. Unhappily, it is being replaced in some corners with a different argument—the argument that we have to be realistic. Changing the way we generate energy is just too big a task—they say. We cannot stop using fossil fuels–they say. We cannot ask people to change the way they live. And since we can’t stop global warming, we just have to get used to it.</blockquote

  7. The Viscount continues to invent silly fabrications.

    Not only did UCSD *not* invite Naomi to apologize, shortly after this dumb affair they offered her a promotion to Provost of the UCSD’s Sixth School, a position which she took up at the beginning of July.

    Note: the Viscount believes that if he writes a whole raft of wrong things, anything not challenged must be true, as opposed to not being worth wasting time over.

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