ACCORDING to those who define popular culture, prominent sceptics like myself deny the reality of climate change. It’s a convenient argument for the activist, and its repeated in a survey I just received today from academic Raymond Orr, University of Melbourne. According to the preamble to the survey, prominent sceptics like myself “are doubtful that climate change is occurring”. The first question then includes the following statements:
Q1 How would you describe your climate change beliefs:
a. I don’t believe climate change is occurring
c. I don’t believe we can know climate change is occurring
d. I believe in climate change but don’t believe it is caused by humans
e. I believe in climate change but don’t believe government should address climate change
f. I believe in climate change but don’t think there is anything we can do about it
If the survey is intended to characterize the position of prominent sceptics like myself, then a more useful set of first statements might include:
Q1 How would you describe your climate change beliefs:
a. I don’t believe climate change is occurring
b. I believe climate change is occurring, and is predominantly natural in origin
c. I believe climate change is occurring, and is predominantly anthropogenic in origin
Following is the text of the email from Dr Orr follows, and also my reply:
Dear Ms. Marohasy,
My name is Raymond Orr and my colleague Anne Kallies had contacted you at the end of last year regarding the possibility of your participating in a short study on climate change attitudes. We had intended to conduct the survey in person but have moved to an online format. If you are still willing, your participating would be very much appreciated and would only take between 10-15 minutes. Your participation is kept entirely confidential.
The project is comparative research project on climate change attitudes conducted with my colleague Professor Robyn Eckersley from the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. The purpose of the study is to identify and compare how much variability exists in the attitudes of prominent people in Australia and the United States who publicly identify as climate sceptics. A more detailed explanation of the project is provided in the attached Plain Language Statement.
I am writing to seek your permission to participate in the study because you are a prominent person in Australia who has publicly questioned the science of climate change or the need for action on climate change.
Participation is entirely voluntary and you will be free to withdraw at any stage. Your anonymity will be completely protected and you will be entitled to receive, upon request, any published research or conference papers resulting from the study. The study has been approved by the University of Melbourne’s Human Research Ethics Committee.
Participation in the study will require you to sort a series of statements according to how much you agree with them (technically known as a Q-sort) and answering short follow up questions. The survey is online and can be found by clicking on or pasting this link [redacted].
If you have any questions about the project then please do not hesitate to contact Dr Raymond Orr [redacted]. Thank you in advance for your participation.
Raymond Orr, PhD, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
Thank you for your email. I had been prepared to participate in your survey, but in the first question you show a total ignorance of what is disputed in the science, and the position of prominent sceptics.
There is no denial that climate change is part and parcel of life on earth. It is always occurring. Indeed, we are about 10,000 years into the Holocene warm period, and about 150 years out of a mini-ice age. I know of no prominent sceptic in Australia or America who denies such realities. Indeed most take a great interest in the history of climate change both in geological time, and from the tree rings, and more recent instrumental record.
Indeed, can you send me the name/details of any one prominent sceptic in Australia or the US who denies that the climate changes and/or shows no interest in measurement of the same?
At issue is the extent of the human contribution to the observable late 20thy Century warming in places like Australia, and whether we have catastrophic global warming. My position, like that of most sceptics, is that the recent warming in Australia unremarkable. Furthermore, we are more likely to attribute it to nature causes as detailed in the attached scientific publication by Nicola Scafetta from the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics.
The abstract reads: “We investigate whether or not the decadal and multi-decadal climate oscillations have an astronomical origin. Several global surface temperature records since 1850 and records deduced from the orbits of the planets present very similar power spectra. Eleven frequencies with period between 5 and 100 years closely correspond in the two records. Among them, large climate oscillations with peak-to-trough amplitude of about 0.1 and 0.251C, and periods of about 20 and 60 years, respectively, are synchronized to the orbital periods of Jupiter and Saturn. Schwabe and Hale solar cycles are also visible in the temperature records. A 9.1-year cycle is synchronized to the Moon’s orbital cycles. A phenomenological model based on these astronomical cycles can be used to well reconstruct the temperature oscillations since 1850 and to make partial forecasts for the 21st century. It is found that at least 60% of the global warming observed since 1970 has been induced by the combined effect of the above natural climate oscillations. The partial forecast indicates that climate may stabilize or cool until 2030–2040. Possible physical mechanisms are qualitatively discussed with an emphasis on the phenomenon of collective synchronization of coupled oscillators.”
Yet the pre-amble/background to the survey, that includes the statement that skeptics “are doubtful that climate change is occurring”, suggests prominent sceptics like myself and Nicola Scafetta deny such a reality.
The first question in the questionaire then reiterates this nonsense.
It is disappointing that such a prominent university could be so ignorance of the real position of those it purports to characterize.
Jennifer Marohasy, PhD
Allan Taylor says
The academics who worry about climate change tend to be quite hopeless about the subject and are best ignored. The problem is the media just laps up their confusion and propagates their nonsense because the media is lacking in scientific logic. The media’s top priority is to promote left-wing propaganda.
Don D'Cruz says
Don’t give them any info. It will just be turned into some sort of abusive critique.
One of the major problems I see is that many of those proposing a predominantly anthropogenic cause also confuse (deliberately or otherwise) the terms “climate change” and “global warming”, not to mention the very loose usage of the word carbon.
This general confusion about terminology makes it hard to even begin a sensible discussion about climate change. When I say I am a skeptic I mean I am skeptical about the degree of anthropogenic input to climate change.
That doesn’t mean I don’t support greener energy (it can’t hurt and may help) and it certainly doesn’t mean I deny the volumes of evidence that show climate change has ALWAYS occurred on Earth.
We need to be far more specific about our terminology and our beliefs.
Glen Michel says
A fair enough response Jen.For the life of me how can a social scientist comprehend what the sceptical viewpoint is when confirmation bias on their part precludes any such thing.They would like to compartmentalise just like Cook and Lewandowski. I can only add that I sometimes associate with academics in the “soft sciences” from our local university and are totally ignorant of any of the pertinent science surrounding this issue,Sad.
Warren McLaughlin says
I totally agree Jennifer; when the issue theme was ‘Global Warming’ sceptics said NO, the climate is always changing. When the temperature plateau’ed the term Global Warming became passe and warmists made the issue “Climate Change”. The opening gambit in this survey is an attempt to limit all sceptics to inadequate expressions of the nature of climate variation. Your alternative questions resolve this. I hope you are able to have the questionnaire changed.
Glen Michel says
Raymond is a regular contributor at “the conversation “- a site not known for its tolerance of opinions even slightly “right” of centre.A good question for Ray would be howcomeso many people who erstwhile believed in AGW have changed their minds and their reasons for doing so..
Belief is for religion and null hypothesis is for science. The survey showed Mr. Orr’s lack of knowledge in the opening question.
Frederick Colbourne says
Readers interested in the full Scafetta paper will find it here:
Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications
J. of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 2010
My response to Raymond Orr would be a lot more curt. I would have said…”You are an academic AGW brainwashed true believer who needs enlightenment”
I’d then advise him to take a look at my comments to a Mr Doug Cotton at the PSI site….where I start talking to him quite amiably about here…
Have further conversation with him here…(one way)
But then finally lose it with him here…
I would then have sent a carbon of this to all his associates and to anybody else one could think of at the Melbourne University , Jennifer.
Kind regards as usual….good to see you up and about
It is disappointing but not shocking that a professor of of Social and Political Sciences characterises climate skeptics in such a way.
I can only assume that he and his colleagues start their research with clippings from the popular left wing press.
What I want to know is how can you identify prominent Australian and US climate skeptics without apparently having a clue as to what such prominent people think.
The alternative to believing Dr Orr and his colleagues are completely incompetent or oblivious to reality, is that they were deliberately setting out to reinforce a negative view of climate skeptics as ‘science deniers’.
For the sake of their integrity, I hope the former is true rather than the latter. But either way, it tells us a great deal about the climate alarmist supporters.
It is incredibly disappointing.
My greatest disappointment is that there is no meaningful way to hold these people accountable for publicly misrepresenting and misleading.
As a topical analogy…quite correctly….Woolworths was rapidly and very soundly held accountable for using the Anzac tradition inappropriately and they were forced to publicly withdraw and publicly apologise for what they had done.
There are many so called ‘independent authorities’, especially associated with NRM, who publicly state absolute crap based on highly questionable assumptions and they are not held accountable for using historical information inappropriately.
If anyone does try to hold them to account …what happens?
It is not just disappointing… the behaviour is downright childish and disgraceful.
Peter spinks says
Hi Jen. I recently listened to a podcast by an ‘academic’ substantiating his argument using the 98% of scientists meme. After this period of time, and the number of papers/articles etc that have thoroughly debunked this fraudulent figure, it beggars belief that those in the ‘soft’ science fields are so unread and dishonest. unless the questionair is totally re-written, I suggest, as you have, dumping it into the bin.
You response, however, just illustrates good manners.
Exactly Peter Spinks.
Just like Woolworths were…these people are engaged in self promotion and inappropriately using information to do so.
However…Woolworths were held accountable and when they could not justify their behaviour as NOT being self promotion and hence an inappropriate use of the ANZAC tradition they withdrew the comments/advertising/PR & etc and were forced to take ownership and repair the problem.
Yet we are still forever presented with that 97% consensus nonsense with no way to hold anyone accountable for it.
Tom Biegler says
I am quite a noisy commentator on the energy scene, would probably be called a ‘climate sceptic’ (which I am not) by many, and agree that the questionnaire is simplistic. Take my case. I would describe myself as follows: “I accept that additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ought to affect its greenhouse properties (the physics is now classical), I am less sure that we know by how much, I am certain that some people react to the prospect of climate change with greater pessimism than others and hence exaggerate the risks they perceive, I am sure that most public opinion on what can be done to reduce emissions is naive or plain wrong, and I am fairly sure that the people who are most confident in advocating solutions to the climate problem don’t know what they are talking about, mainly because they are not technologists or engineers. I confess that, if asked what I think can be done to combat climate change without upsetting pretty much everyone on the planet (they won’t like either the actions or the consequences), I have to say I don’t know”. In summary, I fear that no mass questionnaire could possibly capture these nuances.
@ Tom Beigler
Get yourself enlightened Tom….by reading what I’ve said further up this thread.
Or you you can just go straight here if you like…..
John Turner says
I suggest that if you are a sceptic about climate change and /or global warming you should read at least Chapter 2 of Professor Mary Wood’s book, Nature’s Trust.
Chapter 2 contains reams of evidence that Potus George W Bush, and the oil cronies he appointed to various protection type authorities, with-held evidence, deliberately cultivated doubt, and even changed technical reports to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry.
The whole book is worth reading.
@ John Turner
You’ve been reading too much political tripe in books John. I suppose you’ve also read “Merchants of Doubt” too…the ravings of an AGW deluded woman who sees smoking Lindzens under her bed. Conspiratorial garbage. Prof Wood’s book would be exactly the same..except fossil fuel conspiratorial tripe. So it’s tobacco, oil, …Anything else John?
Tom Biegler says
Thanks Mack, I really appreciate your helpful hints. However I was probably there before you and have been reading Roy Spencer’s website for about 8 years. It is useful because one can see clearly that he is a peer-reviewed, published climate scientist. Trouble is, Mack, there are lots of other peer-reviewed climate scientists who don’t agree with him, and my climate science isn’t good enough (yours seems to be – what exactly are your qualifications?) for me to simply accept Roy ahead of the rest. One thing about Roy Spencer that gave me a bit of a jolt. He is a creationist. Now, I am a tolerant fellow, Roy can believe what he likes, and religion and science are said to be able to co-exist (though not in my mind). It just leaves me with a niggling doubt. Anyway, that’s not really relevant to what I said above. Just read it again carefully and you might decide that even Roy Spencer could agree with it. Then have a look at the American Institute of Physics website on the subject of greenhouse gases http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm. Those clever physicists! They’re hard to argue with. What’s more, in there you will see mention of Arrhenius, who was the founder of physical chemistry, my own discipline. I could hardly argue against that hero of science. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, whether you like it or not.
@ Tom Biegler
Sorry Tom , but there is no such thing as a “greenhouse gas” whether you like it or not..
Roy Spencer is a “lukewarmer”. . He’s classified as that on Anthony Watt’s site, WUWT, in that column on the right side of his blog. If Anthony Watts were to classify himself on his own blog, he would be right there next to Spencer. I myself am of the opinion that both these individuals just wear their AGW belief-stance on their sleeves to preserve the AGW arguement and hence their blogs. Unfortunately these lukewarmers say that there is a “greenhouse” effect, but are then very reticent to swallow all the IPCC AGW bullshit (,you believe in), that is directly associated with this belief.. Quite apart from the real fact that these lukewarmers who don’t accept the figures and conclusions of the IPCC …are now left bereft of numbers themselves to substantiate their stance., Sort of just floating around in no-mans land with more or less “science speculation”…like saying “I’ll have just a little bit ot “greenhouse” effect, thankyou. But sorry, I can’t provide you the numbers for my wee bit of “greenhouse” effect.”
So I’m not in the Roy Spencer- Anthony Watts sector Tom. Don’t confuse me with them.
You link me to the American Institute of Physics, Tom . Sorry , an appeal to learned authority doesn’t wash with me anymore. The American Institute of Physics , like all the rest of the institutes of science, have made a mistake in the incoming solar radiation,( amongst a whole lot of other deceptive, incorrect, artificially concocted crap)
As I say…you need to get yourself enlightened. You need to read a little bit of science yourself before you bother to respond to me further.
You can do this right here at Jennifers place…a little special bit of science…
right here…read it chronologically…see you in a couple of days.
Even Debbie is there too Tom.
Fanatics are as fanatics do. The climate obsessed academics are some of the most fanatic of all.
Excellent response, Jennifer. Please keep up the good work.
Why does a rational discussion basedon a clear point of discussion- the failure of academics to even perceive the issue well enough to make a competent survey- attract wack jobs from both sides of this?
Jennifer, if you do get the courtesy of a reply to your response to Raymond Orr, please share it with us.
Martin Clark says
To me, this is further evidence supporting my belief that there is now almost no one left who has the faintest idea how to design a survey. As a recent (and therefore dangerous) graduate student back in the early 1970s I would have been flogged for producing a survey as incompetent as that above.
I recently tried to complete a survey (allegedly) by Price Waterhouse Cooper for Woolworths Australia. Blatant bias (as above), inadequate options, desperately faulty logic ….
I offered to fix it for them for a modest charge of $100 per hour. No reply to date.
But you correctly assume that a survey of should be designed to survey the considered opinions of those being surveyed and/or why they have reached those conclusions.
When they are ‘surveying the attitudes of prominent people……..’ that should indeed be the basis of the survey.
Seems that along with an urge to self promote, designers of surveys like this one assume they already know what people are thinking and why they are thinking it?
This surveyor seems likely to be from the Cook/Lewandowsky academic world: Not actually interested in dsicussion or research, but highly devoted to appearing to be so.
By the way, if you read the site linked to by the pingback, you will get a good introduction to an interesting and and well presented point of view.
That’s a name I must remember to forget.
I agree Hunter.
They are not at all interested in genuine engagement.
They have quite simply lost the plot.
It becomes amusing when they then publicly sook that nobody treats them with the respect that they think they deserve.
I think they may not understand that respect is earned?
Christine Hyde says
Where are the arguments that show that CO2 insulates in direct relationship to its proportion of the atmosphere? It is a trace gas. Warmist arguments seem to be post hoc ergo propter hoc.
Just posted this on Jo Nova’s blog, so thought I’d include it here.
Just reading this Calvo et al 2007 study. This just highlights the nonsense peddled by the MSM, extremists and most govts around the world.
The study found that temps over SE OZ are 2c cooler today than at anytime during the last 12,000 years. Prof De Deckker was part of this study and they used his Murray Canyons core work to find that as the temps cooled to the present day this area has seen a reduction in rainfall as well.
For how much longer can this CAGW con and fraud persist? Of course the PAGES 2K study found that Antarctica was warmer than today from 141AD to 1250AD and a 30 year warmer spike from 1671 to 1700.
Just in case Jennifer is not aware of this latest study into global temps and adjustments.
Good catch. How to sell the new paradigm when so much noise and emotional faith fuels the status quo?
This is probably the most important change in satellite data measurement for UAH since 1979. UAH and RSS now both show over 18 years of no warming and remember RSS shows no statistically significant warming for 26 years.( McKitrick)
If UAH also shows no SS warming for 26 years this should make some of the extremists shudder. So where is their CAGW?
Here is Roy Spencer’s link. http://www.drroyspencer.com/2015/04/version-6-0-of-the-uah-temperature-dataset-released-new-lt-trend-0-11-cdecade/#comments
And here is a brief version from Bob Tisdale at WUWT.
Tom, over at The Lukewarmer’s Way blog
has a very interesting post challenging skeptics to communicate better:
Tom’s challenge reminds me of Jennifer’s comment about new paradigms: We will not see reasonable stands on climate issues gain the widest acceptance until there is a compelling and credible new way to look at climate.
I just wonder how many cars & houses are being paid for from gullible union member funds. These people can’t all get away with the “I was young & naive” excuse used by Dillard.
And Happy Mothers Day to all the Mothers Down Under!