Portrait of a climate science denier: Piers Corbyn

Banksy I don't believe

Climate science deniers don’t need to convince you that they’re right. It’s enough for them to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt. Photo: paul nine-o/flickr.

I’ve got better things to do than write about climate science deniers.

I could schedule a proctological exam. Or listen to Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits enough times to memorize the words to “Can’t Smile Without You.” Or ask a teenage girl to explain why The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two will be the most awesome film made since Au revoir les enfants.

Yet, if you care about energy and the environment, it’s impossible to avoid the handiwork of climate science deniers online. I try not to get into it. But sometimes people who just know that climate change is a hoax are so persistent that I can’t ignore them. There comes a point when I’ve heard enough lies artfully stated often enough that I feel obliged to fight back.

Now it’s time to fight back.

And not just against all the trolls who get paid ten cents a post to fill the comment fields of blogs across the web with climate science-denier talking points.

The real culprits are the fake experts who provide these trolls with their ammo. These guys operate under the radar so they can avoid scrutiny. With the Earth frying before our eyes, it’s past time to start holding these shady characters responsible for the disinformation they spread with such self-assurance.

Piers, plowman of confusion

So, I offer for your consideration the case of British weather predictor Piers Corbyn. I’d never heard of him until a reader of Transition Voice, claiming that CO2 wasn’t making the climate warmer, posted a link to Corbyn’s Climate Realists website, which bills itself as “The Realists [sic] Take on Climate Change.”

Just to be clear, not being an actual climatologist, Corbyn cannot claim to be among the very few qualified climate scientists — the usual figure is one or two percent — who have expressed doubts about the scientific consensus that global warming is real, that it’s caused by humans releasing greenhouse gases and that it’s a grave danger to life on Earth.

Instead, though Corbyn affects a disheveled look that makes him appear to be some kind of college professor, this self-styled “astrophysicist” who may or may not have a PhD is actually a climate-science amateur with no academic qualification as a climatologist.

But along with a multitude of  weathercasters, physicists, engineers, attorneys and regular Joes, Corbyn presents himself as an expert qualified to critique the work of real climatologists who serve on peer-reviewed scientific bodies ranging from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the academies of science of every industrialized nation on Earth.

For many in today’s idiocratic media world, where anybody’s opinion is as valid as anybody else’s, Corbyn is as much of an expert as you need. It’s clear why Corbyn’s fake expertise is valued by village explainers, thinktankers, oil company shills and politicians alike who want to repeal climate science, when you see what he says about global warming, as quoted on Sourcewatch:

It’s nothing to do with mankind and those who say that are just trying to make money out of carbon trading and the like.

These things are dictated by solar activity and the moon.

It’s nothing to do with CO2. Those who say that have no evidence for it, there’s only evidence against. They are on a gravy train.

Ice is starting to increase again in the Arctic and it has been increasing for a long time in the Antarctic.

It’s ironic that Corbyn began his career as an activist for student representation on campus and housing rights and is also the brother of ultra-left Labor Party MP Jeremy Corbyn, who supported nuclear disarmament and opposed the Iraq War. You’d think Piers Corbyn would be just the kind of guy who would join up with UK climate activists against coal plants and new airport runways.

But perhaps by running Weather Action, a business that sells predictions of weather made months in advance based on meteorological records and solar activity, Corbyn came to join the ranks of weathermen who thought they knew better than the international scientific community about climate. Corbyn went on to appear in Martin Durkin’s 2007 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle and has continued to pose as an expert on climate to spread doubt through his own YouTube videos as well as occasional media appearances.


Piers Corbyn predicts a new ice age?

Corbyn’s supporters claim that his weather predictions are surprisingly accurate — for example, that Corbyn outguessed the British government’s Met Office that weather during the London Olympics would be rainy rather than sunny. But Corbyn enjoys less enthusiasm for his attempts to predict earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Entitled to his own facts

After living through the ten hottest years on record only to reach a summer of historic drought across much of the world, rapid glacier melt in Greenland, and the Mississippi River drying up in the US, you have to wonder how Corbyn can bear to look at himself in the mirror.

I was not able to immediately discover whether Corbyn receives any funding from fossil fuel companies, as many climate science deniers do. But not knowing his motives doesn’t excuse Corbyn’s lies.

Given the enormity of the climate crisis — top climatologists say the Earth has already reached dangerous tipping points that have locked in frightening levels of icecap melting, sea-level rise,  storms and even oxygen shortages — perhaps it’s time for those of us who care not only about future generations but about saving our own skin, to fight back against the lying liars like Corbyn who continue to confuse the public and give politicians an excuse to delay any meaningful action to cut greenhouse pollution.

Corbyn has been known to place bets on his weather predictions. And while it might be safe to go with his forecast for rain next Tuesday, it would be foolish to gamble that Corbyn and his ilk are right that the world can just go on burning all the coal and oil we want with abandon for decades to come. Future generations stand to lose a lot more than their shirts at that cosmic crap table.

Fortunately, at least in the US, public belief in climate change may finally be on the uptick after years of decline. Exposing the work of the fake experts who peddle doubt may help enough people to see the truth before it’s too late.

– Erik Curren, Transition Voice

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Comments

  1. AlecM says

    My Dear Erik, I went to Imperial College with Piers. He is an oddball, a unique individual but to attack him and by implication, the rest of us who were intensively selected for Scientific Education by the best teachers in the World at that time is to make a very big mistake.

    After Climategate I set out to reverse engineer the IPCC variety of climate science. It has been faked, 6 basic physics’ mistakes, 3 elementary.. To be fair, one of those, the belief in ‘back radiation’ comes from meteorology and they’re taught that fake physics.

    The net result is there can be no CO2-AGW, the positive feedback is obtained by a perpetual motion machine – 40^% increase in energy offset by imaginary cloud cooling so evaporation from the oceans is vastly exaggerated. Any professional engineer like me sees how it was done. Unfortunately too many scientists were fooled because you require detailed practical knowledge to work out it was always a fraud.

    So, leave Piers alone – he’s on the right track.

    • says

      Dear AlecM, Anybody whose college friends stand up for him years later certainly can’t be all bad. Dr/Mr (?) Corbyn might be a charming man in private life. But his public campaign to spread doubt about climate change does not deserve immunity from scrutiny any longer.

      I’m not sure if you’re a climatologist? I know that personally I am NOT qualified to dispute about findings in peer-reviewed climatology any more than I’m qualified to pilot a 747 or perform neurosurgery.

      But I am qualified enough to see that real climate scientists overwhelming agree that global warming is a threat to everything I love and to the future health of God’s creation.

      Corbyn is only on the right track if you don’t care about people suffering from climate chaos around the world today from Alaska to India to your own Great Britain. And Corbyn is on the right track if you discount the value of life itself to future generations to a level below the right of people today to have cheap dirty energy to drive our SUVs and run our iPods.

      Otherwise, if you care about the future of civilization and life on Earth, Corbyn is on a very wrong track. He should stick to forecasting weather and leave the climate to the real scientists.

    • Leslie Graham says

      What absolute gall to cite “climategate” – more properly know as “climategategate” since it has been repeatedly exposed as a “well funded and highly orchestrated smear campaign”.
      EIGHT seperate inquiries have completely and uttely vindicated the climate scietists that were intentionaly and shamefully attacked at the time and shown the disgusting and cowardly tactics and allegations of the denial industry and their corporate backers were a deliberate and cynical attempt to discredit the science.
      The whole climategategate scadal has completely backfired on the smear campaigners and shown the world the depths to which these shameless and immoral people and their hapless dupes will sink solely to preserve their profits for just a few more years at the expense of humanity.
      You should bear in mind that everything you write onlineis ON THE RECORD forever and could be used against you in any upcoming trials.
      Yeah – remember that.

  2. poisonman says

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…………….what a noob you are…….Don’t you work for a Solar Panel Company???? Would not trust a word that comes out your mouth………

  3. Michael A. Lewis, PhD says

    This is a most disappointing post that urges me to question everything else that appears on Transition Voice. The hyperbole that dominates this post displays a profound ignorance of global climate dynamics and the geologic record.

    Yes, global average surface temperature has increased over the past 12,000 years, and it has increased more rapidly in the past 200 years as global average surface temperature recovers to normal interglacial levels following the Little Ice Age. Look at the temperature records of the past 12,000 years to see the pattern. Look at the temperature records over the past four glacial periods to see the overall pattern of temperature rise, then fall to glacial advances, then recovery to present levels, then decline to the next glacial advance. We are now near the cusp, a short, relatively stable period in the transition between interglacial and glacial periods.

    And yes, human activity does affect climate. Deforestation, industrial agriculture, industrial emissions, including CO2 from burning fossil fuels, all affect local and regional climates in one way or another. However, they do not negate natural global climate variation on geologic scales.

    The question is not “Does human agency affect climate?” The only relevant question is: “Can human agency change the observed trends in global climate variation?”

    The answer is no, global climate cycles are far greater than human activity can influence to any appreciable degree. Only the slow turning of cosmic forces will stop the present temperature rise as the Earth once again begins its slow march to the next glacial advance.

    • says

      Michael,

      I notice you use your PhD. Is your degree in climatology? I have a PhD too — but it’s in English. So obviously I don’t use my knowledge of Hemingway to claim to be some kind of expert on climatology.

      If you are really a climatologist, I’d be interested to hear about your peer-reviewed research that questions the global scientific consensus that by now, human-caused climate change has overwhelmed any natural cycles? You must know that you’re not the first person to bring up this objection and that it has in fact, been refuted numerous, numerous, numerous times. Sigh. A nice discussion for a general audience can be found here: http://grist.org/climate-energy/global-warming-is-nothing-new/.

      But if you’re not a climate scientist, then I’d respectfully submit that your authority to debate global warming science is no greater than mine. And since mine is essentially zero, I’ll stick to what the real scientists have to say about climate. And they say global warming is mostly the fault of humans and that we can still slow it down and maybe even stop it if we act in time.

      Spreading misinformation and denial has already cost us precious time to save ourselves. We can’t afford to waste any more time on these silly denier debates. The science is settled well enough for us to act — we need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions and start doing things like planting trees to pull some carbon out of the atmosphere. And we need to start taking it seriously.

    • Frank Kling says

      Message for Michael A. Lewis, and let’s not forget, PhD.

      You strike me as the result of crossing a moron with a troll. Get a life and shove off.

    • Leslie Graham says

      “…Look at the temperature records of the past 12,000 years to see the pattern…”

      Yes – please do.
      Global temperatures had been in a slow DECLINE for the last 7,000 years and then suddenly began rising sharply about a century ago.
      Simple observably verifiable fact.
      If you are going to presume to lecture the rest of us at least get the schoolboy basics right first.

  4. ted says

    Piers certainly did NOT correctly forecast the Olympic weather but the MetOffice did!! Any suggestion that he did get it right comes from Piers and Piers alone. Piers said it would be a “deluge…during the entire Olympics period” It simply did not happen. He was wrong.

    The MetOffice had consistently forecast unsettled weather for the whole summer period. They were right. It has been rainy at times with some, albeit short lived, dry and sunny periods. Piers forecast continual cold and wet weather (this seems to me to be his default “forecast”). He failed to predict the warm spell the week before the Olympics then claimed his forecast for the opening ceremony of “major thunderflashes, torrential rain and large hail” was correct when just 0.2mm of rain fell on the evening; he described this brief and insignificant shower as a “torrential downpour” which “drenched” the audience!!!! He also lied and said the Metoffice had forecast dry weather that day. They hadn’t; they said there was a risk of showers. Again the Metoffice were spot on.

    • says

      Ted, thanks much for clarifying things. This sounds like good news for the Olympics, if bad news for Piers. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt at least as a weatherman, even if he has no business judging climate science.

  5. Franksw says

    Who cares where that 10cents comes from, antisceptic troll or anti-science alarmist, who cares as long as the money rolls in. Why I’d even start correcting such patently surreal science guff such as “earth is frying before our eyes” for that.

    Where do I sign up for that 10c , or did you just make that up for effect? And what does that say about the accuracy of the rest of the article, how much of that is just dreamt up as well.

  6. Franksw says

    I think you will find that Piers has taken on the characteristics of that former giant in the scientific world, Albert Einstein, who’s greatest gift to mankind was the mad scientist haircut.

  7. Michael A. Lewis, PhD says

    Hello Erik:

    I would appreciate a response to the content of my post, rather than an appeal to authority. Science is about data, methodology and verification, not the credentials of the investigator. Much of the misunderstanding of climate science in the general public is a result of just such an appeal to authority and an unwillingness to deal with the research rather than personalities.

    Since you asked, my Doctorate is in archaeology. My research is on human population movements in response to climate variation in the Siberian and Alaskan Arctic over the past 2,500 years. Although I am not primarily a climate scientist, I have studied climate science, used climate science in my research and conducted climate science investigations through the development of regional tree-ring chronologies in Siberia and Alaska.

    I have no more “authority to debate global warming (sic) science” than does anyone else in the field. Science is not about authority (see above).

    The “nice discussion” in “Grist,” of all places (not an accepted venue for scientific publication) is an ignorant bleat by a “Former musician, turned tree planter, turned software engineer.” The link for the graph included is broken, but I would not go to “Global Warming Art” for any definitive presentation of climate change data.

    Careful readers will note that I deny nothing about climate change. If you had read what I wrote and understood it, you would not have made the statement about “Spreading misinformation and denial.”

    Science is never settled. This statement speaks volumes of the depth of misunderstanding and science ignorance displayed on the Transition Voice web site. I’m disappointed. I’d had hoped for more from this movement.

    Please tell us how Transition Voice proposes to “cut our greenhouse gas emissions and start doing things like planting trees to pull some carbon out of the atmosphere” to a degree as to make any measurable difference in observed climate variation.

  8. says

    It’s clear that climate deniers think they’re being very clever when they try to “engage” someone about details of global warming science. But I’ve seen that trick too many times to fall for it, so you can go try it on somebody else. And you must be awfully impressed with your own powers of persuasion if you thought that one cranky climate-denying archaeologist would be convincing enough to make me dump the conclusions of international climate science?

    I’ve read Thomas Kuhn and I know that science progresses over time. On the other hand, that’s not an excuse for saying that we know never know anything. How could we make airplanes fly or build the Internet? Society has to act on the best information it has at any one time. In the case of global warming, uncertainty is just an excuse. It’s like the doubt that fake doctors used to spread about the connection between cancer and cigarettes. Indeed, there’s a well established link between cigarette-cancer deniers and global warming deniers. You don’t happen to get any grants from Altria, do you? If not, maybe you should try. They’re got a lot of dough, and they’re always looking for some friends with PhDs.

    As to the appeal to authority, bravo for just throwing it out the window! Ten thousand years of human civilization abolished by one brave climate-denying archaeologist. I guess we can all be free now to take our climate science from your fellow climate denier Larry the Cable Guy? Or Rush Limbaugh?

    But even if you’ve won me over to your radically idio-cratic philosophy of knowledge — and I’m as ready for a totally moronic world as anybody — there’s still the little problem of every scientist on Earth who probably won’t be so easily swayed to forget that whole expertise-and-peer-review business. Silly people, they still think that the rules of science are not the same as the rules of mud wrestling. Go figure?

    And since you don’t like authority, it’s no surprise that you don’t seem to care much for the authority of the written word over meaning either. I never claimed that Grist was scientific, but that it offered a good explanation for a popular audience. As someone clearly hostile to environmental protection, I can see how you’d prefer a cut-rate fossil-friendly medicine show like Piers’s site. But your argument that climate change has happened before and thus today’s global warming is natural and humans can’t do anything (or much) about it has been disproven again and again. Just Google it. And no, I’m not going to find it for you and then argue about that source too — that’s a dopey game that I just don’t have time for.

    Finally, your sad attempt at mockery makes me think you don’t care much about rhetoric either. Why don’t you go back and read Aristotle? Or take a freshman composition course? Oh, I forgot, you don’t care about authorities.

    Obviously, you know as well as I do that the way to cut greenhouse gases is to stop burning so much stuff (primarily fossil fuels) and also stop cutting down so many trees (rainforest, anyone?). It ain’t rocket science — even a literature guy like me can understand that. But if you’re a fan of Big Oil and Big Coal, then maybe conservation and renewables don’t sound like much fun compared to blasting off the tops of mountains in West Virginia, blowing out oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and tearing up much of Alberta?

    In that case, all I can say is, thank you for fracking!

    Honestly, Michael, I hear zero common sense (and less than zero compassion) in all your arguing and just a lot of ill-tempered attempts to score points against the other side. Well, dude, the other side is you. If you live on Earth and care about future generations, you’re not going to relish sea level rise, 100-year droughts or massive storms any more than the rest of us. Unless you’re being paid really well to spread denial, why keep fighting on the dark side? Join people who care about the future. C’mon, you know you want to…

    • Michael A. Lewis, PhD says

      Erik: The “details” denigrated in the above non-response response are what climate science is all about. If one cannot address those details, then one has nothing to say about climate variation.

      Again, I am disappointed in such a juvenile non-response. Perhaps one should have stopped with “I’ve got better things to do than write about climate science deniers.” and let it go at that.

      “the way to cut greenhouse gases is to stop burning so much stuff (primarily fossil fuels) and also stop cutting down so many trees (rainforest, anyone?).” This simplistic pronouncement is so facile that it avoids completely the original question. What is Mr. Curren doing to “stop burning stuff” and “stop cutting down so many trees?” Does Mr. Curren drive a car? Does Mr. Curren heat and cool his home? Does Mr. Curren buy products shipped from thousands of miles away?

      More to the point, does Mr. Curren grow his own food, live within walking or bicycling distance of work, organize a Free Table in his neighborhood, volunteer at local recycling co-ops, generate electricity with solar or wind, use gray water in the garden, avoid shopping at multi-national corporate stores, eat a vegetarian diet? These are the things that I do to “stop burning so much stuff” and “stop cutting down so many trees.”

      I am led to assume that young people, Erik Curren included, are ignorant of historical records, unable to critically evaluate a body of literature, incapable of rational thought and devoid of interest in all but the pronouncements of whichever trumped up authority figure shouts the loudest in a crowded forum. Was Mr. Curren the first in line to support the Bush Dynasty’s Gulf War I & II, or was he even old enough to know about the first illegal and immoral invasion of the sovereign state of Iraq in 1991? The drum beat for Global Warming bears a striking resemblance to the propaganda run-up to those imperialist outrages. But then, as the dearly departed Gore Vidal said, we live in the “United States of Amnesia.”

      Mr. Curren’s original post and each of his responses are wrong in every respect. Were he in my Arctic Dendroclimatology class, I would return his paper ungraded as totally inadequate, insufficiently researched and poorly conceived. Such failures of intelligent discourse only see the light of glowing phosphors due to the ubiquitous presence of unsupervised web site availability.

      In order to build a coherent picture of the world, one must do more than swallow and regurgitate the maunderings of every cretin who takes up cyberspace with a web site and an uninformed opinion. It takes experience, critical thinking, research, testing and verification. If one is not capable or willing to do these things then one must find another way to fill the lonely seconds between text messages.

      • says

        Michael — You flatter me — Actually, I’m 47. To answer your question, no, I don’t live in a cave and forage off roots and grubs. And as you can see, I use the internet.

        But it’s easy to find out what my family does to live more sustainably, since my wife and I have written about it many times in Transition Voice. Here’s just a bit of what we do at home: We’ve given up air travel and long vacations; we’ve started a community garden and we manage it fossil fuel free (I mow the lawn with a scythe!); we walk most places or take transit to get around; occasionally, we drive — but we sold our second car and now drive a single Prius that gets 50+ MPG; we get our dairy from raw milk delivered directly by a local farm; about half our food comes from our own gardens, farmstands or our local farmers market; I’m wicked cheap when it comes to heating and air-conditioning and we’ve done lots of energy efficiency retrofits. At work, my company installed what at the time were the two largest solar arrays in our state. Plus, we do lots of community education on the environment, food and energy.

        But personal purity is beside the point. The point is to do what one can as a citizen. And one’s household virtue should not be a qualification to speak out in public about ecological issues. Every citizen has a right to stand up for the Earth and to oppose those who would destroy it or would justify its destruction.

        Michael, you seem like an intelligent, if cranky guy. I hope you’ll use your powers for good rather than evil. If you have a short reply to this, we’ll entertain it. But otherwise I’ll consider this exchange closed.

        • Michael A. Lewis, PhD says

          Good for you and your wife for good works at home! This is what I was referring to, the specifics of how to stop burning fossil fuels and to stop cutting trees. Thank you!

          Yes, the power of the press is confined to those who own one.!

    • Michael A. Lewis, PhD says

      I did some research this morning, and now I understand Mr. Curren much better.

      As a practicing Buddhist/Episcopalean public relations/politician, Mr. Curren understandably has a faith-based approach to climate variation. That is, an inherent appeal to authority consistent with his belief system and choice of occupation. I had assumed that his Doctorate indicated a grounding in rational discourse, but, apparently advanced study in literature is not evidence-based, even in California.

      I also understand that Mr. Curren is sincere in his beliefs and his desire to bring about positive change. Buddhism sans the religious trappings is about evidence, self-discovery and enlightenment, after all. I’ve studied Buddhist and Taoist philosophy myself, and I find Taoism a particularly comfortable world view.

      I wish Mr. Curren the best in his Virginia community and in his various business ventures. However, I will not look to him for advice on climate variation.

      • says

        That’s low to attack a guy’s religion. But it’s even lower to attack his doctoral degree. It’s funny that you grouse about authority but throw your PhD around like it’s going to earn you an extra 10% off at Chick-fil-A. Anyway, it’s easy to “dig around” about me — it’s clear you just pulled up my bio on this website, about ten seconds worth of investigative work. I’m very open about my background…But I couldn’t find much about you, Dr. Lewis, except that your name comes up on several climate denier websites (always with the “PhD” — What’s THAT about?).

    • Leslie Graham says

      “….It’s clear that climate deniers think they’re being very clever when they try to “engage” someone about details of global warming science. But I’ve seen that trick too many times to fall for it, so you can go try it on somebody else….”

      It’s truly pathetic isn’t it? This ‘new breed’ of ‘concern trolls’.
      What irritates me the most is that they really think we are so stupid and gullible we can’t see straight through such obvious and crude tactics.
      A classic is the “I’m ‘concerned’ about wind turbines killing birds” when it’s perfectly obvious they don’t give a shit about anything except themselves and havn’t spent two minutes researching the subject or they would know that coal plants kill orders of magnitude more birds than do turnbines.
      They have to be THE most nauseating subsection of the denialist cult.
      Just sick.

  9. zedbrowv says

    Ahh…the tired tactics of the Scaremongers…
    “The science is settled” so cheap, so tawdry,
    so passe.
    Does one need a PhD to know 8th grade
    ‘scientific method’ ? goo.gl/licvb
    ‘Move along…move along, nothing to see
    here…’ ROFLMAO

    • says

      Science doesn’t work like talk radio, zedbrowv. Didn’t they teach you that in school? If not, maybe you need to go back and repeat eighth grade.

      Meanwhile, if you’re not scared of droughts, wildfires, melting permafrost and crazy storms like the derecho that recently hit the US Mid Atlantic states, then you must be a fool. Or if you pretend that you don’t care for money, then a scoundrel? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and vote for fool.

    • Leslie Graham says

      The basics of climate science ARE settled and have been for decades – half a century in some cases.
      Read “The CO2 theory of climate change” for example. Published in 1956.
      There is NO ‘debate’ about the basics of AGW in the scientific community and there hasn’t been for decades.
      You are being lied to by powerfull vested interest who don’t give a shit about you or anyonw else. They are playing you gullible dupes for fools. Very successfully.

  10. Auntiegrav says

    Wow. I go out of town for a couple of days and you start a war. Bravo, Erik!
    I will start by saying, “I didn’t go to college, I joined the Navy and got drunk on your tax dollars instead.”
    One of the things that provided was a lot of time to read and meet strange new people (and kill them).
    As I’ve learned and studied and made many many mistakes of perceptions, I’ve eventually developed a general sense of what a human being is.
    Nobody should be allowed to discuss human beings until they have some sense of what it is that defines a human being (as opposed to say, an orangutan).
    A human being is an ape-like creature that develops an imagined model of the universe in a special part of the brain. Upon physical maturity, the human moves itself (the id and ego) into the model universe and avoids the real universe at all costs.
    Primitive humans had a primitive model, with very thin boundaries between that model and the universe. So called “advanced” humans develop a very elaborate model (social, religious, technological, scientific and emotionally oriented) with very thick boundaries because their world is artificial and not connected to their food, risks, and effects except through a System of systems.
    Science is one large part of this discussion because it requires highly detailed models and measurements of data to be integrated through this thick membrane which separates our perceptions of the world not only from real dangers and needs, but from each other in our ability to share parts of our individual models (socializing).
    Culture and belief systems (as well as education) are devices that work best during development of the brain to create common areas of our models.
    The old saying “His mind is so open that his brains fell out” has some validity in this context. We all need some boundaries to establish who we are, or our id becomes blended with confused perceptions and has a hard time knowing what is important and what is ‘noise’.
    Science has created the opportunity for many people to have too much information for their model to manage and prioritize. Marketing’s primary goals are to first break down boundaries that keep people from buying things they don’t need (keep them from thinking logically about their future self’s resources) and second, to isolate people within their models so they are fearful and the only way they will feel in control is to be spending money in a way that the advertiser directs them to spend.
    Science and marketing, in other words, have combined to confuse us and separate us from the real universe and the naturally evolved ability to build communities and connect with our natural resources (our future). Arguing over who said what, or who has “authority” to say what in this type of scenario is futile and simply adds to the confusion.
    Step back, connect with your sense of real things and people who are connected with real things (sometimes this will be a scientist, sometimes a farmer, sometimes a child). Find those bits of data that fit these simple models and cooperatively build a new model of your own future. To base anything about our future on the elaborate, disconnected models of marketed news, religion, money and worst of all, “efficiency” is the very robotic behavior which feeds the System of systems. This evolutionary spike of human influence may be able to affect long-term climate or it may get wiped out by long-term climate and some fringe version of humanity might survive.
    We do know how to know things. We just don’t generally have the time to fully do so. We are too busy buying cars to drive to jobs to get money to buy cars to drive to the mall and buy TVs to tell us to get more money.
    Meanwhile, the rate at which the Earth is changing is going to determine whether we can adapt. By “we”, I mean the life forms that developed according to the real circumstances on a real planet with random risks and natural formations of conditions and living production of resources that are interdependent. Humans are not separate from this interdependence except inside our models of it. The insanity is apparent when we don’t know we are living inside the model or the real universe.
    Mathematics is a modeling tool. Climate science is a modeling tool. Meanwhile, the planet will do what it is going to do whether we figure out how to synchronize our models with the real planet or not. The difference is whether we can continue to keep living as an isolated species within a System of systems, or whether the changes in the planet will be too great for the System to still extract resources (keep us alive as modern humans) or fail to do so in any one of several ways that either depopulate humans, force us to drastically re-build our System of systems, or possibly even enter a positive feedback phase that wipes out everything dependent on a climate within the current range of stability.

    • says

      Look what you miss, Auntiegrav. Actually, I HATE arguing with climate deniers. I wrote this piece only out of desperation because I was fed up with their aggressive attempts to constantly spread their lies around the internet, including Transition Voice. Sometimes, you need to stand up to bullies.

      Anyway, as usual, you’ve taken a very philosophical and big picture view of the problem which I find far more interesting than rolling around in the gutter arguing over how to argue about global warming.

  11. Auntiegrav says

    It’s hard to keep the big picture in mind when the alligators are swimming through your home office. Easier to do when, like me, you have become a Fatalist (Think “Venus”, not “greenhouse”). Several years ago, when we were experiencing some extra wintery weather, people who knew my view would say the usual wisecracks, and I would explain to them that global warming means there is more energy in the atmosphere, especially the Arctic, and that means faster winds, bigger variations, and yes, sometimes it means more snow in Wisconsin. This year, it means a drought as the jet stream didn’t bring the usual fronts down far enough to produce the usual rain patterns. “El nino” is a simplistic response that doesn’t consider the full schedule of La nina/El nino over the past century. Any one particular event is a subset of several parameters in the real world, not necessarily reflected in the models. The stability of the petrohuman-friendly climate is dead. We just haven’t incorporated it into our models yet. We might when the extra actors are screaming for revolutions of food supplies, but by then, we probably won’t have the resources or social stability to support the System of systems that enables the supercomputer modeling in the first place.

  12. Bloomer says

    The deniers can say what they want, but anyone who has spent anytime on this earth can clearly see the Earth’s climate is indeed changing. Forest that been around for centuries are destroyed by mountain pine beetle in only a few decades. The receding ice of the Polar caps, Greenland and most of our glaciers are happening before our eyes. The warming and acidification of our oceans and the destruction of the coral reefs, again all in our modern times. I don’t buy the “its a natural occurrance” because these changes have occured in less then ones’ lifetime. Sorry no PhD here and I am not even much of a writer. I am just a person who looks at his environment with eyes wide open and can clearly see things are changing and things aren’t how they used to be.

    • says

      Unless you have some special motivation to deny it, such as getting paid to lie by oil companies or dogmatically sticking to a free-market ideology, the evidence for global warming could hardly be clearer, as you rightly point out.

      And unfortunately, this year’s droughts, wildfires, crazy storms are just the beginning. Given that, the only way I can describe consumers in today’s industrialized economies destroying the climate for generations yet to come is criminally negligent. Unless people today act to stop the destruction, future generations will surely curse us for our selfishness.

    • says

      Hi Tim, I’m glad you agree. Perhaps it won’t be necessary to expose professional liars like Piers now that Hurricane Sandy and other weird weather have made it clear that climate science denial has no future.

  13. Gordon B says

    A few points I think you’ve missed Mr Curren.

    1) Climate change and global warming are not the same thing.

    2) The climate of our once beautiful planet is cyclic in nature and will continue to be until the big ball of fire at the centre of our solar system is finally extinguished.

    3) The Uk Met office has finally admitted that global temperatures have not risen in 15 years. This was in the last month.

    4) Sandy was not a one off and the hurricanes that hit NJ and the Eastern Seaboard in the 50′s were much bigger.

    And 5) Mr Corbyn did correctly forecast the weather for the olympics, he was out by roughly 100miles and the English Channel/North of France bore the brunt of the weather he predicted. There was however massive rain throughout the entire opening weekend. As he says, his forecasts are 75%-80% accurate and when he gets it wrong he is always the first to admit it. He also correctly predicted the deluges that cost so many farmers massive amounts of money in the uk during “summer” 2012.

    You bang on about the forest fires and heat waves but what about the record breaking cold in eastern Europe, Far east, Alaska the past few winters?

    Don’t get me wrong, we are a virus on this planet and we are thoroughly destroying it inch by inch. Something needs to be done in that respect but there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop the climate changing as it is cyclic. Climate change is fact, Global warming is fraud. Many scientist totally disagree with agw, the ones that don’t have an agenda that is.

  14. says

    Gordon, though I’m not eager to spend more time answering the usual objections from climate science deniers, at least I appreciate your restrained tone.

    I’m not going to argue science, since I’m not a climatologist (and I’m guessing that you’re not either). What I do know is that I haven’t heard that any of the authorities whom the world recognizes to talk about climate science have revoked their previous warnings about global warming/climate change. For example, the UK Met Office: “The ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1998 (as of July 2011). 2010 saw a relatively strong La Niña, but globally was still one of the warmest years on record.” (See http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-change/guide/faq).

    Unless you’re paid to do so by big oil or coal companies, there’s no future in spreading misinformation about climate science. Global warming is real, today’s warming is caused mostly by humans and we can slow it by cutting greenhouse emissions, as the Met Office also affirms: “On present evidence, global warming could be slowed if emissions of methane and carbon dioxide were reduced. The main artificial sources of these gases are (a) for methane – agriculture, emissions from landfill sites and natural gas and (b) for carbon dioxide – the burning of fossil fuels, cutting down and burning trees. This may seem to be something that only governments or large organisations can tackle, but the individual can also contribute significantly by, for example, not using a car unnecessarily and recycling.”

    Climate change is a huge man-made threat to civilization. To say otherwise is irresponsible and dishonest.

    • Gordon B says

      Thank you for the reply Erik. Firstly, whilst I do not hold any qualification in climatology, I have been studying the subject avidly for many years and have come to various conclusions. I also have several friends who are climate scientists, from various different scientific backgrounds, governmental and private and whilst there are a couple of them who agree with Anthropogenic Global Warming the majority completely refute the fact. Every figure, graph and chart that has appeared over the past 20 years in support of AGW is heavily flawed. Take the figures for Global temperature themselves. More and more sensing devices and facilities have been installed worldwide but the main problem is that the majority of them have been placed within throwing distance of man made heatsinks. This will naturally give higher figures, no? Put it this way if you wanted to measure the average temperature in your kitchen whilst you were boiling the kettle, would you put the thermometer in the kettle?
      For the past 300 years we have have been slowly coming out of a “little ice age” and for the past 16 years the global temperatures have flatlined. There have been many periods throughout the life of this once beautiful planet when it has been completely ice free as well as periods when the Northern Hemisphere has been completely covered.
      The point is, you say “Unless you’re paid to do so by big oil or coal companies, there’s no future in spreading misinformation about climate science”, if this is the case then one can only assume that you yourself must be in the employment of said corporations as spreading misinformation is exactly what you are doing. If you are not a climatologist then you yourself cannot state “facts” as what you are actually doing is stating your beliefs and you are totally entitled to have them but I think you will find that there is a large number of scientists who emphatically disagree. Granted, Co2 may have a small effect on temperature but it is 100% not the cause of climate change, particularly as climate and temperature are two very different things.
      Again I would like to point out that I hate what we as a race have done to this planet with our hunger for fuel and produce, tearing down vast areas of rainforest, building on every square inch of land (particularly natural floodplains) , pumping noxious gases out left right and centre, killing off all of our animal neighbours, etc. etc. Looking at Climate Science from a logical and unbiased view point and taking into consideration the MILLIONS of years of changing climate to date not just the past 150, what we are experiencing is a natural cycle. There will be many more, both hot and cold. What we need to do is exactly as you say, stop our raping, mutilating and poisoning of Mother Earth, not because of Anthropogenic Global Warming but because its the right thing to do. Wrapping it up with any sort of agenda is the wrong thing to do. This is my belief, and you are entirely entitled to your own but do not state your beliefs as matter of fact as, like you say, you are not a climatologist but an outside observer like myself, relying on scientists to guide you in the right direction. Human nature is to blindly follow the person who waves the stick the hardest and shouts the loudest and in our current economic climate this would be the ones with the most money (oil/fuel companies, bankers, etc). This begs the question “What have these companies/corporations got to gain from turning up the heat on AGW?” (pardon the pun).
      Peace. G.

      • says

        With all due respect, it doesn’t really matter what you and I think about climatology. Many attorneys, MBAs, politicians, engineers and even chemists and physicists may dispute climate science. But that doesn’t matter either, since science has a process which involves qualified experts using the scientific method — not average Joes shooting from the hip.

        As to your friends who are “climate scientists,” they must be among the 1%-2% of climatologists who doubt that climate change is real, dangerous, and mostly caused by humans. And a number that small doesn’t represent a dispute, but merely a distraction.

        Meanwhile, every academy of science of every major govt on Earth — including the US, the UK, the EU, Russia, China, India — agrees with those 98% of qualified climatologists that global warming is dangerous and that humans must cut our GHGs or face worldwide disaster.

        You seem like a nice guy, so it’s hard for me to understand why you’d want to peddle misinformation that the scientific community has so overwhelmingly rejected. I would think you could find something better to do!

  15. Neil says

    Climate change believers are like flat earthers, just following a trend ‘proven’ by ‘scientists’. Isnt it true that these scientists have also proved the big bang and evolution yet Erik calls the earth ‘gods creation’, presumably in 6 days.
    I am not saying Piers is any more reliable than the met office but using weather forecasts to attack him as a ‘denier’, another in vogue label, is disingenuous. Thats what happened to Galileo when the church wanted to silence him for unorthodox views. History will be the only proof of how the world was taken in by ‘scientists’ peddling governmental propaganda. The main reason the sceptics and non conformers are not heard so much is because the establishment wants to promote climate change and the media and mouthpiece scientists take their money and favours.

  16. says

    Stick with it Erik as the truth needs to be put out there.

    Crikey, the deniers are like a fart in a lift, they seem to linger longer than is pleasant or necessary.

    The no warming for the last 15 years trope is a fallacy because of two realated things;
    1. When talking about climate the maths limits the time scale to 20 years minimum and the better period to assess is 30 years, why? so you can filter the warming or cooling signal from the noise of ElNinioa’s, LaNinias, AMDOs and solar cycle variations et c. The climatologists know, understand and allow for these things, in fact we could be forgiven for thinking that this is their speciality!
    2. Scientist like to use the concept of statistical significance and due to the signal to noise ratio in the climate data you cannot show significance for a small change over a short period BUT a small warming signal is still present in the data but not with enough mathematical confidence to be called significant.

    In general the problem of CO2 in the atmosphere has been under consideration for many decades and there was enough information by the 1950′s to realise that burning fossilised hydrocarbons was a recipe for disaster but there was no money in stopping doing so and a lot of money for those with the mining and drilling rights.
    It is ironic that deniers accuse the climatologists of feeding on a gravy train when the real big money is so obviously with the polluters but joined up thinking is apparently beyond the ignorati.

    • says

      Malcolm, Sorry to take so long to thank you for your kind words! And you keep up the good word spreading the truth on climate. It will take all of us to fight the efforts of liars and misinformers paid to spread confusion by fossil fuel interests and their allies in the Axis of Oil.

  17. Evan Jones says

    > Erik Curren said on August 21, 2012 at 12:37 am
    > It’s clear that climate deniers think they’re being very clever when they try to “engage” someone
    > about details of global warming science.

    Dear Erik
    I fear that the the world’s Climate Scientists spend too much time in darkened rooms, peering at hypothetical models on computer screens and not enough time in the Great Outdoors, appreciating the grandeur of nature.

    Our planet’s atmosphere currently contains 0.04% CO2. That’s four hundreths of one percent. There are valid arguments that a gas in such a small proportion cannot have an observable effect on the thermodynamics of our planet’s atmosphere.

    I spent half my working life drilling oil wells, an activity which can be looked upon as a journey with a drill bit, back though the history of our ancestors.

    “There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm — about 18 times higher than today.”

    In fact, one could make a case that we should have a government subsidy that *encourages* activities which *increase* levels of atmospheric CO2.

    ” The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm. According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming.”
    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

    You don’t need to journey back into the Earth’s past to figure the thermodynamic significance of a gas in the concentration of four hundreths of one percent. Simple observations of Mother Nature in action will show you how much 0.04% impacts anything.

    The average farmer seems to have better a sense of atmospheric thermodynamics (e.g. the weather) than our Climate Scientists are demonstrating with their computer models.

    regards

    Evan Jones

    P.S . Peak Oil is real: the last 12 month period when the world’s rigs found as much oil as the world used, was the year 1985. Since then, we use more and more of these finite reserves. Guess what? It doesn’t matter; because substitutes replace oil in near perfect accordance with price.

    • says

      Evan, Thanks for quoting my comment, as it will save me the effort of repeating it here. Since I’m not a climatologist (and I suspect that you are not either), then I’ll stick with what all the world’s academies of science have to say, that climate change is happening now at a much faster rate than in the past, that it’s very dangerous, and that it’s mostly caused by humans burning fossil fuels and ripping down forests.

      I am glad that we at least agree on the existence of peak oil. But I’m afraid I don’t share your optimism about the marketplace finding replacements based on demand. The Earth’s carbon stash was a one-time gift to humanity and once we’ve burned as much of it as we can feasibly get to, even with today’s enhanced technology, then that carbon stash is gone.

      I don’t see nukes or nanotechnology or zero point energy — many of which are little more than perpetual motion schemes — or even valid renewables like solar and wind replacing more than a small percent of the quadrillion BTUs in energy that the world uses every year. And in a few years after fracking plays and tar sands are played out, the price of oil, coal and gas will start to go up again, and then the whole world will just have to adapt to using less and less energy as time goes on.

      So if we don’t want a big shock, we better start preparing now with Plan B.

  18. Rhys says

    Eik, you go on a great deal about science but then you also mention God. The fact that you believe in God proves that you do not consider ‘evidence’ to be of importance and Therefore you are unable to discern between facts and bullshit.

  19. nick says

    I was just wondering if you have any idea as to why Britain has not had a decent hot summer month since june 2006,why much of Britain is shivering in April, and why is 1998 the hottest year on record? That was 15 years ago !! The world has not got warmer since 1998 !!

    • says

      You climate science deniers must all have the same talking points because I keep hearing this one about the earth not getting hotter in the last 10 or 15 years. Well, you should go back and edit your hymnal before you sing this tune again, since it’s just not true. See what NASA says, for example:

      By Nasa’s records, that makes 2012 the ninth hottest year on record globally. NOAA’s data set put it at the 10th hottest year. The agencies use different methods to analyse data. In both cases, scientists said the 2012 global temperature records further consolidate a pattern of global warming. Each year of the 21st century has ranked among the 14 hottest since record keeping began in 1880. “One more year of numbers isn’t in itself significant,” Nasa climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said. “What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it’s warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”

  20. kevin king says

    I could schedule a proctological exam. Or listen ..
    Or get an MSc in a hard science, just like Mr. Corbyn did. But then this takes at least 5 years of very hard work without any money…not to mention the 2 or 3 years beforehand necessary to acquire the basic mathematics etc. I guess you chose to listen to Barry Manilow then. Judging by the intellectual paucity of this article it certainly seems to have paid off:)

    • says

      An MSc? I’m sorry, call me a snob, but I expect my climate experts to have a PhD. In climatology no less. Like they do on the IPCC. Otherwise, you’ve got as much qualification to talk about climate science as a lawyer or a stockbroker. Which is to say, none.

  21. says

    Is this thread still going? In April 2012 I was concerned about the drought in England at that time and I had been annoyed about the Climate Change Levy which is a tax on high energy users such as the company I work for. Anyway, I got to hear about Corbyn’s climate change denial and wondered if it had any credibility.

    So, over May to October 2012 I purchased his forecasts and prepared a spreadsheet of his forecasts versus actual weather in as scientfic a manner as I could. It struck me how nobody in the Piers Corbyn debate had done this to the same level of detail. Since then I’ve set up a website to show this (and other stuff), http://www.themaverickman.com

    As you can read on my website I believe Piers really does have an affirmative ability to produce weather forecasts significantly greater than chance. Whether he’s right about the climate is not something my analysis could comment on but I do not believe Corbyn should be dismissed outright just because he doesn’t conform to the established way of thinking.

    So, as is often the case with any highly-opinionated subject area, there is a truth to be had that lies somewhere between the Corbyn worshippers and the Corbyn deniers. That last thing we need is “Corbyn Denialism” if he really is on to something. I get the impression that whilst climate change deniers want Corbyn to be right, the same is true of his opponents who will do anything to critisise him in case he ever manages to upset their present position. I just want to know the truth, and that’s why I did the analysis. Anyway, please have a read of my analysis and let me know what you think. I haven’t put a blog on my site as I haven’t got time to be replying to statements.
    Thank s

  22. barrie singleton says

    I saw POSITIVE mention of peer review. The Church of Science was founded on peer review.
    The Christian Church turns to the Bible for validation; Church of Science to PR.

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