Climate-denier's Bible is a pack of lies


58 Responses to “Climate-denier's Bible is a pack of lies”

  1. Ernunnos says:

    Climate denier? Someone’s denying that we have climate?

    When you have to stoop to silly pejoratives like that, you lose automatically.

  2. Ugly Canuck says:

    Ernunnus: “Winning”and “losing” don’t apply to science.

    Those concepts work with sport and war: in general, only in a competitive context. The search for knowledge is co-operative.

    Americans make all of life a competition: they suborn all other values into the values of fighting, of warfare.
    Why is that, precisely?
    Who benefits from that way of looking at the world?
    We are free to adopt other ways of looking….

  3. Michael McNeil says:

    Friel also gets tripped up by the recent revelation that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relied for its assertion about Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035 on an off-the-cuff (since retracted) comment, not a rigorous study. Friel criticizes Lomborg for saying they would disappear by the end of this century, arguing that he should have accepted the IPCC’s date of 2035. Oops.

    Lomborg is actually being too credulous of AGW in picking his end of the century date for the disappearance of all the Himalayan glaciers. As a review article in the prestigious scientific journal Nature just a month back (21 Jan. 2010 issue, p. 276) points out — though “many of the more than 45,000 glaciers in the Himalayan and Tibetan region are losing mass,” however “given the observed rate of decline so far, many experts doubt that even small glaciers will melt completely by the end of the century” — much less all of them by 2100, not to speak of by 2035.

  4. DOuglas3 says:

    So — the fact that Bjørn Lomborg’s “infamous climate-change-denying book” does not deny that climate-change is happening (and in fact asserts and provides ample support that it is)–

    Does that count as “overkill” “sloppiness” or “duplicity”?

  5. Notary Sojac says:

    Inclined Plane’s comments are exactly on point.

    It’s one thing to say “science clearly shows the Earth is warming” in the same sense of saying “science shows that some dinosaurs had feathers” or “science shows that Pluto is not a planet”.

    It’s quite another to say that “science clearly shows that the Earth is warming, and therefore we must immediately redesign the economy of every nation and the lifestyle of every household”.

    Such an extraordinary demand requires extraordinary proof that the proposed action is both necessary and sufficient. To prove simply that the Earth is fractionally warmer than it was a century or two ago does not meet that test.

  6. Ugly Canuck says:

    Notary: Strawman: who’s suggesting what you are suggesting, with those absolute and sweeping adjectives?
    “Immediately redeign the economy”:the economy is not “designed” by anybody.
    And nobody is “demanding” anything. (Except the US Government, of the Government of Iran.)

    And many if not most people’s lifstyles won’t be affected- after all, 50% of the world’s population has never made a phone call, much less own an internal-combustion engine.
    We’ve only been burning fossil fuels for a mere century and a half!

    “Every nation and every household”: no, just for energy-hogs like the US Canada and Australia, and similar others. You know, the ones who enthusiastically embraced fossil fuels in the early 20th century because it made warfare so much more efficient.

    Best to do nothing at all, eh?

    • dculberson says:

      “(Except the US Government, of the Government of Iran.)”

      You know, Canuck, this is what really bothers me about your posts. No matter what you’re posting about, you have to throw in these non sequiturs making jabs at the US and/or its government. Why? It undermines anything else you have to say. It makes for a lousy comment and a lousy argument. Anyone whose opinion might have persuaded or reinforced is now put off due to an unrelated point.

  7. Ugly Canuck says:

    One more word for you, Notary:”runaway”.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This review and its comments are a sad example of the problem that AGW proponents have in trying to convince people. Most people who are trying to evaluate the evidence have neither the expertise nor facts to evaluate the the truth, falsity, or limitations of AGW.

    Of course, this is the situation that we all find ourselves in almost all of life’s decisions.

    Imagine yourself trying to choose among, say, room air conditioners. Brand A’s salesman makes a painstaking, thorough presentation of the how the product works, making firm, but rather modest case for itself. Brand B’s salesman makes much, much stronger claims for the product, and in a less-detailed, clear-cut, much more confident manner.

    You’re set to buy Brand B, but then you see that Brand B is going to cost a lot more money, a whole lot more money. You hesitate, do some more research, and discover that a lot–not all, but a significant amount–of Brand B’s claims have been exposed as fraudulent.

    You decide to give Brand A a second shot. The salesperson, in the same painstaking, detailed way, makes what to you, with your limited knowledge, pretty effective, but of course, you don’t really know, so you go back to Brand B’s salesperson.

    Brand B’s salesperson is dismissive, condescending, insulting, and suspicious. People that would buy Brand A are “deniers,” “frauds”, and “infamous.” Along the way, the salesperson insults your country, “America is IMO a de facto military state,” and your religion, “Every so-called “Bible” is a pack of lies.”

    Which air conditioner are you buying?

    • Hmpf says:


      So, Anon @48. Am I getting this right: there’s roughly the same number of scientists, of roughly the same credibility and level of professional standing in the scientific community, on both sides of the argument? And the sole difference between the two sides that a layperson could possibly discern is that group A, let’s call them ‘the skeptics’, are meek and careful and make detailed, well-referenced, but unspectacular, scientifically sound arguments, and thus tend to be ignored (we all know the media just keeps ignoring Lomborg, right?), whereas group B, let’s call them ‘the proponents’, are boisterous and spectacular, beloved by the media and whatnot, but also insulting etc. Oh, and they (unlike the meticulous and careful group A) are also rather sloppy. Since both groups are about the same size and have about the same level of credibility, the only reason group B has come to dominate the ‘mainstream’ of the discipline is the fact that it tends to be composed of overbearing personality types.

      Oh, and the only *effective* difference in the courses of action which groups A and B respectively propose is that group B’s proposal will be more expensive. There is no significant possibility that there is an actual issue here that might deserve throwing money at; nor a chance that group A’s proposal might in the long run cost far more money than group B’s; nor a chance that group B’s proposal might not actually cost all that much money, and have many non-monetary benefits on the side. And certainly not the slightest chance at all that we might actually be in a planetary emergency (as the majority of group B claim.)

      Is that really what the world looks like from where you stand? … Really?

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmpf: It’s exactly what the world LOOKS like, not necessarily what it is. This is how people evaluate and way evidence when they make decisions about matters which they don’t know enough to make a fully informed decision, which for all people is almost all of the time. People look for what they do know about, what they can evaluate.

        I’ll give you a perfect example. There was an article in last Sunday’s NYT biz section by an economist from Cornell named Robert H Frank. To cite his two most outrageous claims, he said there was a chance, I think it was 3% of temperaturs increasing 14 degrees in the next 100 years, and a 10% (I think) of 12 degrees; 8 degrees was a sure thing. All that was required was $2.60 a gallon increase in the price of gasoline.

        14 degrees? 12 degrees? Are you kidding me? And all that will cost to fix is a $2.60 gallon gas tax? Which won’t have any affect on the economy? I can’t think of any surer way to destroy any hope of action on AGW than such outrageous claims.

        • Hmpf says:

          @Anon #57: Well, if that is what the world looks like to people, then firstly, what confuses me is how this issue, out of all scientific issues, became one on which people feel that an entire science is not to be trusted. Because for the situation to look like you suggest it looks to laypeople, those laypeople have to dismiss basically an entire discipline. The situation really is not ‘one guy says A and one guy says B’, but rather, ‘an entire discipline of science overhwelmingly says A, and a few, very few individuals say B’.

          And, call me a sheeple, but dismissing an entire discipline of science just strikes me as entirely irrational. I mean, if your doctor tells you you have cancer and need some unpleasant but possibly life-saving treatment, *most* people would still take his advice on that, right? Sure, there’s a small minority who’d rather have their cancer treated by, I dunno, acupuncture or whatnot, but that’s a very small minority. The vast majority would tend to trust the doctor at least to some degree (while still allowing for the fact that he’s just human and like every human being and human endeavour not perfect).

          So why is that attitude, which seems reasonable to most people when applied to the not-exactly-exact science of medicine suddenly seen as so unreasonable when applied to climate science?

          Secondly, the example you cite comes from an *economist*. Notice something? … An economist is not a climate scientist. So… why does a quotation from an economist impact the credibility of climate science? And if it is true that anything that anybody completely unrelated to climate science says about the climate impacts public perception of the credibility of that science so badly that people decide to just not believe *anything* they’re told about the climate anymore, then climate science really is in an unwinnable situation. Because there’s no way serious climate scientists could control the entire climate discourse to stop every unqualified comment from non-scientists etc.

          Thirdly, the numbers that economist cites for the prospective warming are actually not that far off. Note that he gives a relatively low probability for the higher estimates, too. These numbers may be slightly exaggerated if you take as the last authoritative statement something like the last IPCC report, but the fact of the matter is that prognoses have been getting steadily (and very quickly) worse since that report. So… given that the physical situation of the planet actually *is* really, really serious (at least according to the science that has been studying said situation for many decades), how are we to talk about that matter? Because apparently openly noting the seriousness of the situation automatically gets dismissed as ridiculous exaggeration.

          Fourthly, that example you cite does not really demonstrate the previously claimed arrogant attitude of mainstream climate scientists, because a) it’s not a climate scientist at all, and b) it doesn’t seem all that arrogant, either. The only part of your (if it was you, that is) previous argument that it somewhat supports is the claim of sloppiness – but again, that guy is not a climate scientist, so if he’s sloppy with his numbers (and I’m not sure he is, not having any precise numbers on hand myself, at the moment), you can’t really blame climate science for that. (BTW, even if he were a climate scientist, you couldn’t really accuse the entire discipline of sloppiness that easily. He’d still be just one individual in a very large group of people.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    I can think a supposedly scholarly work on climate change that contained highly misleading statements based on extremely dubious citations, but funnily enough I don’t remember seeing the headline “Climate alarmists’s bible is a pack of lies”.

    Ah well, at least the IPCC report avoids the truely shocking lies, like using “Figure 10.6.1″ in place of “Section 10.6.1″.

  10. Ugly Canuck says:

    Here’s a little something from 2000 years ago: seems apt to me.

    Yes indeed: something for everyone.

  11. Freddybear says:

    I’ll have the roasted baby with the mushroom gravy, and a side of baby carrots.

  12. Tristan Eldtritch says:

    Using an expression as semantically inaccurate as “climate-denier” is bloody Orwellian. Why not go the whole hog, and call people who disagree with you “truth-deniers”?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Using an expression as semantically inaccurate as “climate-denier” is bloody Orwellian. Why not go the whole hog, and call people who disagree with you “truth-deniers”?

      Calling someone Orwellian is bloody, well, Orwellian. Why not go the whole hog and call people who disagree with you “baby-eaters”?

      • garnet says:

        Tristan denounced a tactic; the phrase “climate denier” is intended to denigrate human beings. The difference is worth noting.

      • Tristan Eldtritch says:

        Repeating virtually verbatim what somebody says to you is bloody unimaginative! Nor does it address in any logical way the issue being raised. If you understand “Orwellian” in this context to mean a use of language for propandangistic purposes, ie to misrepresent someone’s actual position so as to make it appear manifestly wrong if not utterly impossible, then I don’t understand how pointing this out can be seen as “Orwellian” in the same sense. Perhaps you mean “Orwellian” in the sense of Mr. Orwell himself, pointing out the dangers of this kind of linguistic abuse. That would seem about right. What any of this has to do with baby-eating eludes me.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          If you understand “Orwellian” in this context to mean a use of language for propandangistic purposes

          As in using the word “Orwellian” as a sinister epithet rather than making an actual argument to support your point? Technically, that’s not so much propagandistic as it is meme-tastic and lazylicious.

          • Tristan Eldtritch says:

            Dude, my argument is pretty plain: the term “climate-denier” doesn’t describe anybody’s position. Nobody denies the existence of the climate (hence, it is akin to calling someone a “truth-denier” or a “nose-on-your-face-denier”) Furthermore, after misrepresenting the person’s basic position, the use of the word denier is clearly meant to further denigrate the oponents postition by means of assocation with holocaust denial, which is a complete stretch via the same kind of lazily extreme logic with which you evoke baby-eating. I’m making a point about the positions being advanced here, simply about how rational debate should be conducted. Thats using language to pre-emptively denigrate some body’s position, or name calling. That’s my argument. I’m not saying its correct. You have yet to advance an argument, unless you consider the invocation of bady eating, and the use of vapid expressions like “meme-tastic” and “lazylicious” to be an argument.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            the use of the word denier is clearly meant to further denigrate the oponents postition by means of assocation with holocaust denial, which is a complete stretch via the same kind of lazily extreme logic with which you evoke baby-eating.

            Whereas the use of the word Orwellian isn’t meant to imply that people who make fun of denialists ARE EXACTLY THE SAME as the apparatus of the totalitarian state. I’m merely suggesting that you apply the same standards to yourself as you’re applying to other people. Or we can just laugh at you for your use of unintentional irony. Your choice.

          • Tristan Eldtritch says:

            When people use terms like “Orwellian” or “Ballardian”, or whatever, they surely mean similar to, or partaking of the quality of, not EXACTLY THE SAME AS. If you thought I was equating you with an actual totalitarian state, then you were perhaps overstating your own significance.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, it sounds as if you’re helping the author split very fine hairs.

    While perfectly valid, you’re not really furthering the argument. Instead, you’ll only feed the perception that global warming proponents are nitpicking at legitimately skeptical views on the subject.

    I personally believe that global warming is real. Even if it isn’t, changing our energy-usage/production habits makes tons of sense. But this type of oblique, technical attack against the opposition only serves to make you look as petty and ideological as the other side, which you deride openly.

  14. Stooge says:

    Friel may have done some painstaking investigating, but for me it’s Sharon Begley’s work that deserves the plaudits: I can’t remember the last time I read a book review that was so well-researched.

  15. elguapo8 says:

    Weak sauce compared to the fraud going on over at East Anglia.

  16. Anonymous says:

    “pattern of nonexistent footnoted support for assertions in the text.”

    I see this all the time in science papers. An assertion is made and there’s a footnote accompanying it. The paper it references says nothing to support the assertion made at all.

  17. stanleyk says:

    Cory used a rather strident headline for a review that takes a different tone and doesn’t seem to justify the headline; indeed it doesn’t seem to be trying to do so. It’s almost as though they just don’t go together. It seems like some of the posters here are assuming that since the review doesn’t support the headline, the headline must be unsupported in the broader sense, i.e. that if the headline was accurate Cory would have delivered the justification, so the headline must not be accurate.

    I would like to caution that that is not necessarily so. The substitution of a study about the Larsen A area’s absence during much of the Holocene to lead readers to believe that the Larsen B breakup is part of a long-term ongoing event–when in fact Larsen B was stable for a good 10000 years until quite recently–is a pretty nasty lie. It would not take many such maneuvers to make a “pack” of lies.

  18. pukool says:

    This is the “climate-denier”.

    Lomborg: “there’s billions of people who will be severely affected by climate change”

    53 seconds in.

  19. wellington says:

    “Climate-denier’s Bible”?
    “Bjørn Lomborg’s infamous climate-change-denying book”?

    What? You have not read the critiqued book or anything else by Lomborg.

    Anyone who did knows that Lomborg is not a “climate change denier”.

    Even his opponents know that Lomborg believes that anthropogenic global warming is happening and repeats it every single time. That’s the point! He makes the activists angry because uses a cost/benefit analysis and argues that there are better uses for the money than the miniscule impact it will have on climate.

    The “denier” label is politically motivated but it has an underlying meaning: It describes people who don’t believe that there is significant anthropogenic global warming. Not Lomborg.

    Do English words and terms have any meaning, anymore?

  20. andygates says:

    This is the difference beween academic and popular publishing: bogus references in pop-sci aren’t checked; in academic papers, they’d mostly be caught in peer review.

    Because we’re used to trusting references (from academia), their presence lends an air of truthiness whether or not they’re actually valid.

  21. InclinedPlane says:

    Firstly, the tag-line here doesn’t seem backed up even by the excerpt. The excerpt seems to paint this book as a worthy criticism of Lomborg’s but gives the impression that the work is compromised by other faults.

    Also, Lomborg is not a “climate-denier” he believes in man-made global warming, his arguments are that global warming isn’t happening as fast as some claim, the consequences of global warming will not be as serious as some claim, and that there are better ways to handle those consequences than in trying to avoid CO2 production.

    If this is the level of discourse that passes for good-enough nowadays in the climate change debate it’s no wonder that so many people have been turned off by such widespread catastrophic global warming fanaticism and zealotry.

    This head-line might as well have read “Climate-witch floats, and is therefore a duck!”

    P.S. Take every defense of the despicable actions revealed via the CRU email leaks and apply it to Bjorn Lomborg and his work and he comes out smelling saintly in comparison.

  22. Ugly Canuck says:

    Notary: I’m not blind to the good things, you know.
    And the mistakes of previous generations in adapting the technology of fossil fuels on such a complete and thorough scale without first obtaining “extraordinary proof” of the benefits of its adoption argues against both the necessity of such before taking action now to correct their mistake, and for the notion that “designing the economy” is even possible: what we argue for is a carbon tax. How people respond to that would be their own choice.

    As to the world’s problems, America seems to be the one invading other countries, obstructing climate-change agreements, and “leaving the military option on the table” (ie threatening the use of force), the last time that I checked the news.

  23. Anonymous says:

    A handful of incriminating e-mails among thousands is really much worse than half the references in a widely-quoted book being misleading? Especially since the people involved in them were generally denounced by the scientific community, and Lomborg as far as I know has not been?

    Even this blog post, calling Lomborg’s work lies, is happy to quote the bit about Friel making mistakes and being petty too. That doesn’t seem particularly unfair to me.

  24. Anonymous says:

    “Weak sauce compared to the fraud going on over at East Anglia.”

    You mean this fraud?

    or are you referring to a different one which hasn’t been thoroughly debunked?

  25. glaborous immolate says:

    Lomborg’s response seems pretty credible to me.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The reason that Lomborg is continually called a “climate denier” or “denialist” is that the most ardent believers in catastrophic AGW tend to be the ones writing about him. (I would say that anyone who sees AGW as producing worse disasters than the Plague is an “ardent believer in catastrophic AGW.”)

    Folks who see this doom ahead see it because they see mankind as essentially a despoiler, and AGW is the inescapable consequence of our acts. It is a conviction based less on physics than it is on something like sin. We have been consuming and producing and enjoying and reveling and… somehow we must even up the scale. Time to pay our debt to the planet, or the poor, or other species. If we somehow proved that AGW is not happening, they would still want the same measures taken. Austerity and penance is the prescription, no matter what the diagnosis.

    Lomborg drives them nuts precisely because he doesn’t argue against AGW’s existence. He argues directly against what they hold dear, and that is the reformation of modern life along a more austere and humble line.

  27. wellington says:

    “Climate-denier’s Bible”?
    “Bjørn Lomborg’s infamous climate-change-denying book”?

    What? You have not read the critiqued book or anything else by Lomborg.

    Anyone who did knows that Lomborg is not a “climate change denier”.

    Even his opponents know that Lomborg believes that anthropogenic global warming is happening and repeats it every single time. That’s the point! He makes the activists angry because he uses a cost/benefit analysis and argues that there are better uses for the money than the miniscule impact it will have on climate.

    The “denier” label may be stupid and politically motivated but it has an underlying meaning: It describes people who don’t believe that there is significant anthropogenic global warming. Not Lomborg.

    Do English words and terms have any meaning for you, anymore? Whatever you believe, you are doing it disservice.

  28. sic transit gloria C.F.A. says:

    This doesn’t seem to be as revelatory as Newsweek is making it out to be. The Wikipedia article on Lomborg has plenty of info on his deceptions and the ongoing pissing match about them.

  29. Chris Tucker says:


    Eric S. Raymond, is that YOU hiding behind such a Freudian Slip of a pseudonym?

  30. Ugly Canuck says:

    The US Gov has started some major wars recently. And they really put their support behind the petro-economy for the past 90 years. And they have gone out of their way to help out the US “wealth class” – at the expense of every body else on the planet.
    The US gov is attacking ( and it has been doing so since 1979) its own people, IMHO, to keep them “up” for the wars it has planned.
    Why else has your prison pop been skyrocketing, while the average pay packet declines? During an unprecedented increase in productivity! For thirty years!!

    America is IMO a de facto military state. That isn’t going top change, until people see what’s in front of them.

    • Notary Sojac says:


      It sounds as if you may have a hard time seeing the issue of climate change research in its own right, as opposed to being just one of the myriad ways in which you believe America has fracked up the planet.

      I doubt that there’s enough room on this thread to cover them all, so have a good week, and keep your stick on the ice, OK?

  31. Marcel says:

    And the debunker will be debunked and so on and so forth.

    Meanwhile, in my personal perspective dependend reality, trees are being cut to keep this game of scientific Pong going.

  32. pukool says:

    Nice strawman fallacy in the headline.

    Lomborg’s POV isn’t much different than that of the Superfreakonomics authors who also believe AGW is happening, yet were ridiculed on this blog because their assessment of the risk and possible solutions didn’t agree with your worldview and could not be tolerated.

    Does this website look like that of a “climate-denier”?

  33. Pantograph says:

    Rearranging the punctuation makes for a better headline:

    Climate-deniers: Bible is a pack of lies

  34. Viadd says:

    From the article:
    Lomborg told me he included the three [references that disagree with the point Lomborg was making, in addition to the two that support his point] to criticize them, but a reader flipping to the endnotes might get the impression that they supported his claim.

    So the complaint is that Lomborg discusses both sides of the issue, including cites to research in question? And that a careless reader might think that every reference in the back of the book has to be in agreement?

  35. Ugly Canuck says:

    Every so-called “Bible” is a pack of lies.

    I have no faith in faith.

  36. AGC says:

    Academic publishing is in the gutter at the moment. Data is massaged and little peer review.

    What needs to change in the journal system? People should have to post their data and sources in a more accessible way. Otherwise scientist just face being more technicians than researchers.

  37. Ugly Canuck says:

    AGC: BS -there’s nothing wrong with the Journal system.
    Certainly not so much as to justify introducing the level of meta-political control you are advocating.

    Controversy in science? Quel horreur!!

    Remember how the US Governement deep-sixed ALL marijuana research whatsoever in the 80′s?
    They would dearly like to do so with climate science, too.

    But fossil fuels are toxic to use on large scales: we do not need another century and a half of burning oil & coal for our internal-combustion engines to figure that out.

    But a fat fat gravy train is running out of steam, and the passengers are in denial.

  38. Megazoid says:

    I refuse to believe climate change is either man-made or accelerating at any particularly alarming rate. Why should I have to give up my 7 litre V8 Hummer with Amazonian Rosewood & Snow Leopard skin interior. I’ll have you know I run this little beauty on the tears of poor people, which are carbon neutered or something. These bloody hippy radicals and crackpot scientists just need to shut the HELL uP! I have important lifestyle choices to make, and no socialist terrorist pedo-scientilologist is going to tell me how to live my life!!

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