Exposing Climate Denialism – A Guide to Tactics and Tall Tales [UPDATED]

Filed in Uncategorized by on February 13, 2010 0 Comments

The climate denialist industry has been practicing the art of deception with regard to the status of climate science, just as they did for the tobacco industry when they were paying the bills.  They have a standard set of old, many times disproven, gems that they pull off the dusty shelf (ignoring the fact that they have already been shown to be lies), but are quick to create new lies at every opportunity.  In addition to the many other sources online, over the last year or so I have written quite a few articles demonstrating the tactics and the tall tales – the lies – that the denialists like to employ.  This article brings many of them together for easy access, and each contains many links for further support and detail.  I’ll add new ones as I write more.


Global Warming Denialists – The Art of Deception: Some of the basic tactics employed by denialists to intentionally deceive the public, including calling global warming “only a theory,” misquoting scientists, and invoking the name of Al Gore.

“Scientific” Debate on Gather: A favorite tactic of denialists is to claim that commenters never attack the science of the denialists.  Except the denialists don’t actually provide any valid science, and nothing they say has ever proven to be true.  Which is why you can’t debate science with people who don’t even understand basic scientific principles.

Climate Denialism – The Art of Harassment and Stalking: Climate denialists, or denialist wannabes, don’t like being called for their illogical and inaccurate statements.  They also seem to have rather fragile egos.  This leads to stalking behaviors and harassment.

House Republicans Deny the Science: If you’re a Republican politician these days, it appears all you have to do is just deny the science.  That way you don’t have to take responsibility for honestly debating the policy options to deal with that science.  Simple, right.  Meanwhile, China passes the USA in development of renewable energy.

The “Kitchen Sink” Strategy: When one falsehood is debunked, just switch to the next one rather than defending it. That way you can make it seem like there is lots of evidence, when in fact there are just lots of already debunked lies.

How Denialists Use Front Groups: Denialists like to cite groups with “sciencey-sounding” names.  Except all are run by non-scientists who have never done any climate research and are funded by ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the free market lobbying groups.  It’s pretty easy to see what is fact and what is fraud by looking at which types of organizations say it is fact (scientific organizations) or fraud (oil and coal corporations and industry groups).  Denialists don’t just use front groups, they have orchestrated a long list of denying science whenever it is inconvenient to their corporate profits, as Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway demonstrate in their book “Merchants of Doubt.”

Independent Climate Skeptics? (and with full comments): Denialists like to claim that there are hundreds, no thousands, no “Billions and Billions” of climate scientists who disagree with the consensus.  Not really. Most denialists are not even scientists or haven’t done any climate research.  The very few who have are all associated with non-science free market lobbying groups.  A rather odd association for a scientist.  Of course, lately some of these climate skeptics have been admitting that 1) human activity is largely responsible for global warming, and 2) they are paid by the oil industry to advocate on their behalf.

Creating FakeGates: One of the hallmarks of the denialist lobbying industry is false outrage.  They have a tendency to take minor issues and claim it totally invalidates more than 200 years of science.  Starting with what they called climategate (see the fake email claims below) they went hog wild and started making up a new “Gate” whenever someone sneezed.  All of these were fake.  In fact, most media venues that passed along the denialist disinformation have now retracted their articles and admonished the lack of journalistic integrity of the “reporters.”  But denialists will still mime the “FakeGate” of choice with no regard for fact.  They even repeat the same false charges long after all scientists have been completely exonerated.

Holding Fake “International Climate Conferences”: A common strategy is to hold conferences to “reveal new science.” Except the conferences are filled with free market lobbyists and others that have never done any climate research. The few actual climate scientists are the same ones we see over and over (see Independent Climate Skeptics above).

Writing Fake Headlines: What happens when your denialist blog auto-compiler picks up an article that doesn’t fit your narrative? Well, write a fake headline that says the opposite of the article, then tag a contrarian article to the end to make it look like the conclusion is different.  Clever (but dishonest).

Touting Fake “Experts” and Grasping for Straws: Why calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.  Heck, a lot of denialist wannabes can’t even tell the difference between who are scientists and who are free market lobbying group spokespeople.  For that matter, they can’t even tell the difference between scientific organizations and free market lobbying group organizations.

When someone posts proof that the denialist has lied, denialists have taken to simply deleting it.

Blaming Al Gore: One of the most desperate, and most commonly used, tactics of denialists is to blame Al Gore and “Al Gore’s Theories” as if he suddenly invented global warming with his Oscar-winning movie “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006.  I guess they can simply ignore the 50 years of scientific research that scientists have done, that is, the same research that Al Gore consulted to produce the movie.  Can we say “time warp?”

Deny, deny, deny: All of this, of course, without ever offering any legitimate argument for what is causing global warming if it isn’t CO2 and other greenhouse gases.  If that fails, just become abusive and harass the scientists.

A case study in climate denialism – Irrelevancy, irrationality, and illogic: Most times denialists don’t even make sense.  And they seem to have no hesitancy in proving it. Irrelevant comments not related to the post, abusive commenting tactics like cut-and-pasting web pages into a comment (usually without attribution or any attempt to explain it), and then shear obnoxiousness.  Persuasive? I think not.

Say it like you mean it: When all else fails, employ Climate Denialist Rule 23: If you say it with certainty it must be right! Right? Yes, folks, you can say the most absurd things and as long as you say it with absolute certainty there will be people who think it sounds just fine.  That is, until they look closer at what is actually being said.

Creating straw men: The denialist industry and their ideological hangers-on like to create straw men.  That is, they create completely irrelevant false choices and false analogies that don’t make any sense logically or factually. It’s like saying “suppose the Earth was an octagonal-shaped flat surface, the I could say that Mars is yellow.”

How do you identify a climate denialist?  Well, if you think the planet has been cooling, then you might be a climate denailst (a la Jeff Foxworthy).  Yes, our old friend and comedian Jeff Foxworthy has inspired a series of “If you think xxx, then you might be a climate denialist nuggets that will make you think of Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign!”

Specific Lies Debunked

NASA says climate sensitivity is nothing to worry about…well, except that it doesn’t say that at all.  But that is what a non-scientist blogger said after doing a back of the envelope calculation based solely on reading a one-page press release and not even the paper itself.  But hey, it said what the denialist industry wanted to hear, so they dutifully plastered it all over the internet.

The Planet Hasn’t Warmed for the Last Decade: A common recent ploy was to cherry pick the only possible two dates within the natural variability that give the denialists the curve they want to see.  All the rest of the data just gets ignored “it’s inconvenient.” And even after even more recent data clearly demonstrate the planet continues to warm, keep denying it.

Lying About What Phil Jones Said in a Recent Interview: The latest denialist lie is to create a fake quote to misrepresent both the state of the science and the words of climate scientist Phil Jones.  Apparently denialists can’t help themselves.

Lying About what NASA Climate Scientist Andrew Lacis Said in His IPCC Critique: Denialists resurrected an old 2005 critique by Lacis of any early draft of the 2007 IPCC report – and claimed the opposite of what he said.  Lacis corrects their lies at the link.

The Fake “Trick” Graphs: More cherry picking, this time taking a few words out of context and creating an entire story line with no basis in reality.  Oh yeah, and go ahead and ignore all that other data too.

The Email Edition and The CRU Responds: First, hack one of the major climate research facilities, steal more than 1000 emails, then cherry pick a handful of emails and extrapolate some dodgy wording into a global climate conspiracy spanning a half century and thousands of researchers around the world.  It defies logic, and honesty.

And don’t forget, continuing to cite the fake email controversy even though Phil Jones was exonerated and all other scientists were found to have done nothing untoward.  Instead it was determined that the whole thing was a case of more denialist lying about the emails.  Still.

And when Michael Mann is also completely exonerated – again – the denialists continue to attack him and complain that it was a whitewash. This despite the fact that it has already been proven the denialists lying in the first place.  So why not just double down and keep lying.

Lying about the ice loss/gain in Antarctic: Though when you read denialist posts they state that the recent increase in sea ice in the Antarctic is “proof” that climate change doesn’t exist (ignoring all that factual stuff).

A Collection of Denialist Lies: More lies than you can shake a stick at – and all from the comments to just one article! Lot’s of links to real data.

Dissecting False Denialist Claims and Intentional Misunderstanding, Misinterpretation, and Misrepresentation: How illogical and jumbled thoughts (a term I used with hesitation) are thrown together to present a mishmash of self-contradictory claims.

Lying about the UK Royal Society Updated Position: The UK Royal Society (Britain’s Academy of Sciences) is updating its 2007 position statement on climate change. The update is due to be published sometime in the summer of 2010, but by late May the denialists were already mischaracterizing it as “accepting climate change skepticism.” Needless to say, that isn’t exactly true.

Exploiting fourth grade girls to saturate the blogosphere with lies: You got it. Not only did they suggest that a ten year old’s fourth grade project would be enough to disprove global warming, but they punked the girl and even sent her a fake award and letter saying she won a non-existent National Science Fair. Even to the point of invoking Al Gore as one of the judges in order to ensure it got distributed to every denialist blog in the world based on their hatred of Al Gore. They actually used a ten year old in their cynical lies. The ultimate in shameful.

© David K, 2008-2011

Note that this article is now located in a group called “Exposing Climate Denialism – A Guide to Tactics and Tall Tales,” located at climatelies.gather.com.  Please join the group and set settings to receive new articles when they are posted.  The group also includes an archive of past pasts.

For those interested in knowing the truth about climate change, please check out my group The Truth About Global Warming at climatetruth.gather.com.


About the Author ()

If you want to reach me, try here: http://www.davidjkent-writer.comAnd here: http://hotwhitesnow.wordpress.com/David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, published by Sterling Publishers and available

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