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Stop pandering to the modern flat earthers

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, September 1st, 2009 - 62 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

ACT as part of its coalition agreement, and probably as a result of their funders conditions, forced a review of the Emissions Trading Scheme last year. The review has concluded that the science is valid and chosen to go with the IPCC 4th report as a basis. This is of course extremely conservative and doesn’t reflect the ongoing research. But the difficulty in educating politicians about how the world works means that this is a reasonable result.

At the end of this rather expensive process, which deferred or stopped required investment in planting and capital investment, the select committee came back with the precisely the same positions as it started with.

National wants to get the taxpayers to subsidize polluters for no apparent reason. One would have to ask exactly how much political funding is supporting that.

Act still prefers the denialist approach it borrowed from the flat earth society. Indeed it appears to have avoided sending people to the select committee in case they accidentally learned some science by osmosis.

The Greens and Maori party would both prefer a stronger ETS than the one that will go through by default unless NACT repeals it.

Who knows (or cares) what Peter Dunne wants.

Labour will pretty much go with the current ETS, but will tinker around the edges. Personally I’d prefer that they’d tinker more towards the Green position.

National is currently saying that they have the cold-war MAD option of repealing the ETS, which they could probably do with the Act’s flat-earth support. However this would result in the polluters not paying at all, and the taxpayers paying the whole whack. Somehow I don’t think that having to raise taxes to pay for Kyoto will go down well with their constituency. Leaving the Kyoto agreement would simply result in our exports going down the toilet.

Their best option for National is the one offered by Labour. Charles Chauvel says

This is a golden opportunity to reach a broad consensus and take New Zealand’s ETS design off the political battlefield once and for all. We hope National will seize that opportunity. If they do, Labour is ready and willing to work with them.

This would also mean that the last nine months spent rehearing evidence on the ETS already traversed last year by Parliament would not be a total waste of time.

However, Labour would not support amendments that contain massive uncosted subsidies to polluters under the guise of harmonisation with Australia’s proposed ETS. Nor could we support price caps that would further devastate new forestry planting.

National needs to stop getting wagged around by the flat-earthers at Act and settle down to a responsible bargaining position with reasonably rational parties for the benefit of all Kiwi’s. It would mean that emitters pay for the cost of their emissions, and tax-payers don’t subsidize them.

While I think that the resulting ETS is clearly inadequate for the task ahead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, government will have at finally started to take action after decades of inadequate responses.

62 comments on “Stop pandering to the modern flat earthers ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    My first post as Standardista, back in March this year, was a bit of a damp squib. Zero comments. Not a great start, but looking back, slightly prescient.

    Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Charles Chauvel made public on Friday[back in March] an offer from Labour and the Greens to vote with National to ensure that a viable ETS scheme is implemented.

    Credit must go to Chauvel for keeping this initiative alive. With the ETS Select Committee report a total failure (go checkout the usually measured Rod Oram absolutely shredding it on NatRad this morning), and without the assured coalition numbers to pass new legislation, National is now dependent on Labour (and hopefully the Greens) to achieve a grand coalition, bi-partisan result, based on the existing ETS that Labour put in place last year.

    The pressure now goes onto Chauvel and Smith to hammer out a credible result.

    • lprent 1.1

      My first post as Standardista, back in March this year, was a bit of a damp squib. Zero comments.

      That often happens with new posters

    • lprent 1.2

      The MAD option that the Nats have been pushing today of repealing the ETS is simply stupid. Quite simply it would be too destructive to not have something in place because we as a country have to pay anyway under Kyoto.

      Next thing I’m sure we will have a few Nat MP’s saying that we should withdraw from Kyoto. That is also stupid in a small trading nation. The trade barriers that would be raised against us would kill our exports – especially for farm products.

      The nett effect is that National are in the hard place of having to do some government with no easy choices. It will be interesting to see if they are able to hack it.

    • r0b 1.3

      It was a prescient post. And many of your comments are works of art that should be posts!

    • Gooner 1.4

      No one with even half a brain listens to Rod Oram.

  2. BLiP 2

    Most ACT and National Ltd Ministers will have to look-up “osmosis”.

    • r0b 2.1

      No need. It’s obviously “science” so you can ignore it.

      • burt 2.1.1

        Well rOb, that’s how they developed the hockey stick you are saying is real. You do still stand by it don’t you?

        • BLiP 2.1.1.1

          If only Rodney Hide could even remotely concerned himself with an understanding of how hemispherical mean temperature over the last 1000 years is measured. But, hey, why go to that trouble when there’s a dollar to be made, eh?

        • burt 2.1.1.2

          A dollar to be made… Yes I think Al Gore made a fortune selling lies. Now remind me again how all the computer models couldn’t simulate what has actually been happening over the last few decades… Oh that’s right – we don’t need to worry about the science do we. The effect of the sun is minuscule on climate and it’s all about CO2… Yes of course, where do I pay my taxes and how soon can we elect a watermelon govt to save the planet.

          Oh and BLiP, you responded to my question of rOb asking if he still stands by the hockey stick so I assume you are still following on faith rather than science as well ?

          One more thing BliP, why did Gore fail to mention that the earth was warmer in medieval times than it is now? Was it an inconvenient truth to acknowledge that little issue ?

          • NickS 2.1.1.2.1

            Don’t have teh time to note how many way’s Burt is wrong, but here’s a useful link for sanity-checking Burt’s sillyness;
            http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php

            At least till I find some time to wield the cluebat.

          • lprent 2.1.1.2.2

            The computer models have been pretty damn accurate, and getting more so all of the time.. As new data comes in, it is incorporated. For instance the effects of the ocean acidification actual data on the carbonate storage.

            What are you talking about?

            I suspect that one of your usual misinterpretations is about to show up. Something like expecting nice simple linear data. This isn’t physics with their nice simple models like blackbody radiation.

            Climate is a a chaotic system with cyclic inputs that kind of simplicity doesn’t happen in. In particular if you’d care to consider the effects of insolation with a 11 year sunspot cycle perhaps? Or have you forgotten that greenhouse gases are a retentive system. If they don’t get the energy in because the sun is heading down the sunspot cycle, then the apparent temperatures will not increase. However if you look at temperatures at the same time in the sunspot cycle, there is a whole different (and increasing) story…

            Please engage your brain…

          • Quoth the Raven 2.1.1.2.3

            I would ask burt if he thinks the sun has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect, but there’s no point. And burt, why should we care what dick like Al Gore says in some popular science trash doco? Stop using Al Gore in your CCD arguments no one cares about him. I’ve already said on this site before how people like Al Gore do a lot of damge to the environmentalist movement. Burt here’s a link for you from a journal something CCDs are singularly incapable of doing: Global warming: a review of this mostly settled issue
            Quote;

            The MWP occurred between 1100 and 1300 when Europe
            and the North Atlantic were relatively warm. The LIA followed between 1500 and 1900 when they were abnormally cold. Indeed, if we can believe historic records from Europe, which told of warm weather crops being grown far north of where they have not grown until recently. Indeed the MWP for Europe might have been as warm as the present. But was this warming and subsequent cooling global or even hemispheric at such large amplitude? Figure 3.2 shows a representative sample of proxy reproductions of Northern Hemisphere temperature (there are many others) as well as temperature inversions from boreholes (see OR). Although they differ in some details, they all agree that the MWP was not as warm as today.

            and another:

            Two recent studies (von Storch et al. 2004, 2006; Moberg et al. 2005) have been cited by critics as showing that the hockey stick is in error and so question the source of current warmth. In reality, if read carefully, both these two efforts actually give strong support the AGHG hypothesis. The first is a modeling study. In those papers von Storch et al. use a model from the Max Plank Institute, ECHO-G, to reconstruct temperatures over the past 1,000 years. The model result is subjected to differing amounts of numerical noise and a synthetic proxy temperature reconstruction is made for varying amounts of noise. The results show that, if subjected to the type and amount of noise as involved in the hockey stick proxies, the depth of the LIA is greatly reduced and agrees well with the hockey stick result when the actual answer is that the LIA was significantly cooler than Mann et al. said it was. The modeled coolness of the LIA agrees more closely with that of boreholes (see discussion in below).

            and

            While the models need continued improvement in these areas, comparison with observations of both present and paleo-climates suggests that a sensitivity to doubling CO2 is likely between 2 and 3C. Second, showing that no other forcing is able to
            cause the observed warming. This is harder to do because as the adage says, ‘‘absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.” However, the role of the sun, so
            important in earlier warmings and coolings, is far less effective in the past 25 years during the largest warming but no increases in solar activity. Thus, as IPCC (2007)
            makes clear, we are now very certain that the observed warming especially in the last 25 years is due mostly to human emissions of GHGs.

            and from the conclusion:

            And so the period of debate over human effect on climate is over. There now will ensure a perhaps larger, more controversial debate about how society should respond. Here, science can assist, but these decisions involve other a more human side which is our view of ourselves and that or the rest of living things on the planet. The great challenge of the next decade then, is to come to robust agreements on how to reduce the human effect on the planet.

  3. Irascible 3

    If I recall the 2008 party political advertising correctly the NACT expert,highly qualified climate scientist, is Rodney Hide who boasted that he had obtained qualifications in climatology and environmental science, had studied and published(?) papers that proved that the climate change / global warming data was inaccurate and therefore merely scare-mongering by the self interested socialist parties.
    On his expert opinion on climate change he concluded that it followed that voters should vote NACT to save the planet.
    At least on this matter Rodney appears to have a consistent set of moral principles unlike his “principles” on the removal of ratepayers’ rights in determining the direction of their communities and cities.

  4. Rakaia George 4

    This would be the IPCC Fourth Report who’s summary was published six months ahead of the science is was supposedly based on, and which makes much of the ice-core data which shows a historical correlation between CO2 and global temperature? Data which better laboratory techniques now show that temperature rise precedes CO2 rises by about 800 years…

    captcha: UNWANTED..wow.

    • Maynard J 4.1

      I have not heard that, but there are some sites I stay away from, and for good reason… Tell me, what happened the last time an unprecedented anount of CO2 was released into the atmosphere in such a short length of time as to be unprecedented?

    • Ari 4.2

      Rakaia: Temperature drives CO2 release and CO2 release drives temperature. One of the hints that this situation is different and it’s man-made is actually that it’s the CO2 release that’s driving the temperature increase this time rather than the other way around, which is what tends to happen in the natural temperature cycles.

      So no, you’ve not done a very good job of discrediting the science.

      edit: Huh, apparently we’re not allowed to use subscript tags. 🙁

    • lprent 4.3

      One of the standard myths beloved by that crap journo and even worse author Wishart. You’ll find it as one of the myths at RealClimate.org.

      Do some work and find the myth busting article.

    • Clarke 4.4

      I wouldn’t want to cloud your views with actual facts, George – and I notice you haven’t provided any supporting links to justify your assertions – but this article from Ars Technica might help, as it provides the scientific background. Check the graph at the bottom of the page, which shows the correlation between CO2 levels and temperature.

      Got that? Seen the graph? Then read the text below:

      To give an example from the climate debate, take the graph shown above, which follows both carbon dioxide levels and temperatures through several glacial cycles. A pro-climate change, one-way hash argument would note that the two always change in synchrony, hence CO2-driven climate change. The anti- equivalent would note that, if you look carefully, the temperatures start to rise ahead of the CO2 at the end of a glacial cycle, hence greenhouse gasses have nothing to do with it.

      As it turns out, both the intuitive arguments are wrong. The regular glacial cycles are triggered by equally regular wobbles in the Earth’s axis relative to the plane of its orbit. Although these wobbles, called Milankovitch cycles, don’t change the total amount of sunlight hitting the Earth, they do change its distribution. That alone is enough to cause regional climate change, but not enough to drop the global temperature by several degrees.

      That happens because the Milankovitch cycles set off feedback mechanisms that enhance their effect. Ice expands near the poles and reflects more sunlight back into space, for example. And, separately, atmospheric CO2 levels start to drop, which accentuates the drop in temperatures. To exit the glacial cycle, both processes need to reverse; changes in the distribution of sunlight can start to change the planet, but we wouldn’t reach the temperatures we’re currently enjoying in this interglacial if it weren’t accompanied by feedbacks, including elevated greenhouse gas levels.

      So, the simple and wrong arguments take one sentence each; the detailed-but-correct one takes three paragraphs—and still required a lot of simplifications. The details generally support the scientific understanding that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations can force the climate, but certainly don’t do so in a straightforward manner.

      Short version: You have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Sam Vilain 4.4.1

        A reference from the Third Assessment Report seems appropriate:

        The Vostok record of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic climate is consistent with a view of the climate system in which CO2 concentration changes amplify orbitally-induced climate changes on glacial/inter-glacial time-scales (Shackleton, 2000). Changes during the present inter-glacial (until the start of the anthropogenic CO2 rise) have been small by comparison. Although complete explanations for these changes in the past are lacking, high-resolution ice core records establish that the human-induced increase of atmospheric CO2 over the past century is at least an order of magnitude faster than has occurred during the preceeding 20,000 years.

      • Rakaia George 4.4.2

        Short version: You have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Well if we’re getting into qualifications-waving…I’m a Physicist by training and I do understand the significance of absorbtion spectra.

        What I struggle with as a (dictionary definition) sceptic is the vested interests apparent on both sides of this argument. As far I can can see as an open-minded (if devil’s advocate-playing) floating voter is where to find actual independent analysis…

        • Clarke 4.4.2.1

          As far I can can see as an open-minded (if devil’s advocate-playing) floating voter is where to find actual independent analysis

          Huh? Are you really asserting that in all the tens of millions of person-hours that have gone into the analysis of climate change since (at least) the 1980s there isn’t a single piece of unbiased scientific assessment? Are you really suggesting that every single scientist who has ever considered this subject has had an axe to grind from day one?

          • lprent 4.4.2.1.1

            It was part of the course material for me in 1978. Then it was a likely hypothesis because no-one had much data on basics like decade long ocean temperature sequences, how much permafrost peat bogs there were, etc etc…

  5. RedLogix 5

    Data which better laboratory techniques now show that temperature rise precedes CO2 rises by about 800 years

    No, that effect has been well known for quite some time now. The real science is a lot more complex (as is usually the way with earth sciences) than the superficial data might initially suggest.

    Still the trouble is I would have to explain it, and I guess in your world ‘explaining is loosing’… so I’ll leave it up to you to do your own homework (the answer is out there if you want to find it).

    • Andrei 5.1

      The real science is a lot more complex (as is usually the way with earth sciences) than the superficial data might initially suggest.

      Indeed so, way too complex for people like the lamentable Charles Chauvel to comprehend and yet he is cited as an authority on this post.

      • lprent 5.1.1

        No he is cited as a politician… I’m uncomplimentary to all politicians when it comes to science – just more so to flat-earthers like Act ones.

        As someone trained in earth sciences I don’t have a lot of hope for anyone not trained in the discipline as being able to understand exactly how complex the systems can be – including most scientists from other disciplines. Trying to explain some coastal processes to a chemist is like hammering nails into Australian ironwood – a forlorn hope.

        Idiots who frequent tbr (like you or that dickhead Wishart) are pointless to talk to because they refuse to do any significant work at all. They cite without understanding.

        At least Chauvel attempts to look at the issues rather than retreating into the navel like Hide appears to have done.

        • Andrei 5.1.1.1

          As someone trained in earth sciences I don’t have a lot of hope for anyone not trained in the discipline as being able to understand exactly how complex the systems can be including most scientists from other disciplines.

          Do you know how ridiculous that sounds coming from someone who doesn’t no the difference between OSMOSIS and THERMOHALINE circulation?

          I pissed myself laughing when I read that comment but was to kind to show you up then but this exceptionally silly post with it pompous title ” “Stop pandering to the modern flat earthers’ changed my mind.

          What you get a C- in geography 101?

          • The Voice of Reason 5.1.1.1.1

            How about some simpler words, Andrei. How do you spell know? Or too?

          • NickS 5.1.1.1.2

            It’s funny, but it’s just a terminology mix up, which is nothing compared to failing to grasp the very basic science around why CO2 is a green house gas.

            As many deniers constantly do.

            Something so simple, even a lowly biology student such as myself understands it.

            @Iprent

            Trying to explain some coastal processes to a chemist is like hammering nails into Australian ironwood a forlorn hope.

            There’s your problem, try biologists next time =P

            /flashbacks to food-webs, evolutionary biology and protein biochem…

            • Andrei 5.1.1.1.2.1

              It’s funny, but it’s just a terminology mix up, which is nothing compared to failing to grasp the very basic science around why CO2 is a green house gas.

              So you will elucidate and enlighten us all on how the Equipartition Theorem relates to the heat capacity of the carbon dioxide molecule, including quantum effects.

              Go for it chummy – its very basic science after all should be a breeze.

            • BLiP 5.1.1.1.2.2

              Andrei

              You must have been Gordon Shumway’s co-pilot on the trip from Melmac if you reckon that’s basic science.

              What ever conclusion you have reached will have to include that we are looking at a catastrophe.

            • Quoth the Raven 5.1.1.1.2.3

              Andrei – Why don’t you provide a link to a peer-reviewed journal article (don’t worry I could most probably get access) that explores this.
              Put aside climate change for a moment I’ll ask you what does the greenhouse effect do to our climate as is and how does this sit with what you’re trying to get at?

            • NickS 5.1.1.1.2.4

              @Andrei

              Basic Science; descriptions of top level phenomena that don’t go into the underpinning’s of a particular phenomena, such as CO2 absorbs infrared photons and re-radiates them, thus increasing the given temperature of a given gas system when controlling for pressure and radiation amounts. Or in my case mutation + natural selection = evoluition, vs pluralist synthesis, which involves population biology, understandings of gene regulation + biochemistry, drift, speciation and ecology etc.

              Thus Equipartition Theorem is clearly not basic science, it’s a branch of statistical thermodynamics that’s used to model the real-world behaviours of gases, and requires a good deal of background in the mathematics and technical terminology to understand. Meaning calling it basic science is a bit like calling protein kinetics “basic science”, something that most biochemistry students would raise an eyebrow at.

              Then again, you’re not noted for being particularly science literate.

              Also, reply to this post please.

            • Andrei 5.1.1.1.2.5

              Put aside climate change for a moment I’ll ask you what does the greenhouse effect do to our climate as is and how does this sit with what you’re trying to get at?

              The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon which makes our planet habitable. Without it the days would be very hot and the nights very very cold. It is extremely important to our wellbeing.

              The major “greenhouse gas” in our atmosphere is water vapor.

              In areas where the atmospheric water vapor concerntration is low, such as deserts or even Central Otago on frosty nights the drop in temperature when the Sun goes down is quite evident demonstrating to any observant person the important role this gas plays in moderating the temperature.

            • Quoth the Raven 5.1.1.1.2.6

              Andrei – Yes, and carbon dioxide is also a greenhouse gas. You didn’t manage to relate it to the “equipartition theorem” and “the heat capacity of the carbon dioxide molecule” did you nor did you provide a link to a journal article.

            • NickS 5.1.1.1.2.7

              Blessed be the Real Climate Wiki, for Nick can’t be bothered looking up old forum posts;
              http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=Water_vapor_accounts_for_almost_all_of_the_greenhouse_effect

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.3

            Well I should probably let Lynn speak for himself, but osmosis (the generation of a pressure/density/ionic gradient across a semi-permeable membrane) is simply a special case of thermo haline circulation (the generation of a flow due to an temperature/ionic/density gradient in the open ocean). In other words the two are essentially the same thing, although the term osmosis is correctly used only when a semi-permeable membrane is present.

            Interestingly 30 years ago I recall the word osmosis mentioned quite frequently is various science courses, whereas the more general term ‘thermo-haline circulation’ seems to have gotten a higher profile in only in recent years as the Great Ocean Conveyor currents have been properly mapped.

            • lprent 5.1.1.1.3.1

              …probably let Lynn speak for himself….

              Go for it. I seldom have much time to blog at present *sigh*. I think this is the first post I’ve had time for in the last few weeks.

              The main reason I’m on here so much at present is because I wound up with time to put in and test mod_limitipconn. That will restrict the bloody search bots in how many tcp connections they open at once. Since this server went up I’ve had to throttle the number of possible connections down to virtually nothing to stop them blowing all of the RAM. That slowed the whole site big time. One of the stupid bots opened over 256 connections simultaneously when I was looking in the logs.

              So at present I’m retuning the site to a more acceptable speed. Easiest way to be all over the site actively managing it. Does mean a few site unavailable when I restart it for the next round..

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.4

            This jogs an interesting memory. In my early 20’s I spent some time working as a field assistant for a friend doing his PhD in Geology in Dusky Sound. On one of our trips in we had an especially pleasant and dry run of weather, almost three weeks of no heavy rain.

            We finished up that trip at the only bit of civilisation in the whole area, the old hut at the head of the Sound in Supper Cove. The next day we took the dinghy that used to be there for a fishing trip out of the cove and down the Sound a few km. (Mainly to get a break from the sandflies.) It was a truly stunning and beautiful day. The water was so clear we could easily see the bottom and even ‘pick’ the blue cod we wanted to catch as they wandered about the bottom blindly scenting our bait.

            After a while we noticed something I’ve never seen before or since; some distance below the surface was a shimmering layer in the water… and once you had spotted it… very noticeable. It turned out to be the haline interface layer, between the cold saline ocean water underlying a very distinct layer of warmer fresh water from the Seaforth River. Normally this fresh water had very poor visibility because the intense organic tannic acids from the forests would render the water almost black.

            The layer of fresh water and layer of saline water have different index’s of refraction (ie the speed of light is a little different), and this caused a slight ‘mirror’ effect at the depth where the two layers met.

            But on this fine day the sun penetrated right down 20-30m or more and you could see it. At one point I dived in was startled at how fresh the upper layer was…. and then like magic I could reach down through the shimmering into this frigid pool of heavy salty water. It was so cold I couldn’t bear putting my whole body into it, but I remember sort of reaching down with my face and ‘tasting’ it.

          • lprent 5.1.1.1.5

            What you get a C- in geography 101

            I see that Redlogix has already answered on what osmosis is. I was referring to the biological process – well at least I hope that politicians are biological.

            Never did do geography past 5th form. Perhaps you should look up what is involved in earth science courses as you seem to be somewhat more vacant on that area than even your usual level of dimness.

      • RedLogix 5.1.2

        yet he is cited as an authority on this post.

        If you are trying to suggest that he is being ‘cited’ (a term usually used in a science context) as a research authority on climate change, then you are plain wrong.

        He was quoted as Labour’s Climate Change spokesman, and an authority on what the NZ Labour Party’s position on this issue is.

      • Gooner 5.1.3

        Ha ha ha. Perfect retort Andrei.

        Lprent will listen to Labour politicians on this issue but no others.

        • lprent 5.1.3.1

          I would if they said anything interesting.

          Nick Smith has been waving around a economic paper about the ETS targets that proves exactly the opposite to what he claims, as Keith Ng had fun pointing out.

          Rodney Hide states that he hasn’t seen any conclusive proof of global warming and subsequently makes it clear that he’d need to see it happening (ie getting washed away) to prove it to him. In other words he is stying that there is no proof that would satisfy him before it is too late to do much about it. It is a pity that he doesn’t apply the same logic to Act’s economic policies – which appear to have not worked in the medium term anywhere.

          At least Labour, the Greens, and the Maori party appear to have read more than their navels.

  6. Quoth the Raven 6

    Here’s an actual journal article that may interst some people here: Ecology, politics and policy.

    • lprent 6.1

      Excellent article…

      BTW: annoying in the bloody double column format. Great in the printed page – pain in pdf in a laptop with height deprivation -1600×900

  7. Rex Widerstrom 7

    Who knows (or cares) what Peter Dunne wants.

    Awww that’s a bit unfair, when he’s spent decades making it so clear and simple, and then you pretend not to understand.

    Baubles, a fancy title, a salary significantly in excess of anything he could hope to earn if paid on the basis of his talent and ability in the private sector, and nice diplomatic sinecure when it’s all over.

    And as for osmosis, well that’s what occurs when the hair product meets the quiff.

  8. Tom Semmens 8

    Maybe the standard could take a stand and simply start deleting posts that are from climate change deniers. They are a cult, beyond reason. They run around the internet recylcing the same, constantly debunked talking points and spraying virtual graffiti around blog comments in an ongoing effort to distract, shout down, and derail rational discussion on what to do. Tolerance is one thing, but it has gone beyond that. Now it is just a cult, whose fanatics are well past their use-by date.

    I say delete any and all posts that are simply the repeating of debunked climate change talking points or sonspiracy theories.

    • sk 8.1

      Tom, you have a point. The Weimar Republic was undone by the Brown Shirts. The deniers are the modern equivalent. Distract. Bully. Intimidate. The internet and blogs have given this lot the best platform since the 1930’s.

      Changing tack, a striking article in today’s Guardian:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/sep/01/sermilik-fjord-greenland-global-warming

    • lprent 8.2

      Nah – they’re often too much fun.

      I’ve generally given up arguing with them if they recycle one of the usual bullshit lines. I just advise them forcefully to bug off and do some research at one of several sites, and usually suggest that they learn some science. But occasionally one comes up with a new argument that I don’t know the answer to immediately. That usually results in me or others discovering some new aspect of the debate looking up the elegant debunking they get on climate change sites like realclimate et al.

      The most hilarious ones are the ones that come up with some ‘the models are wrong’ micro-prediction. Then I usually have a leisurely sweep along the lines of ‘the models are always wrong – in detail, that is why they are models’. Usually it results in me asking how they can think of science as being exact. Then telling them if they want certainty they should try religion for that level of faith .It doesn’t have peer reviews and a research base is not required – faith is the main requirement.

      Some people seem to be unable to cope with the inherent uncertainty that permeates scientific thinking from quantum physics to weather systems.

      Of course if they act like a troll the sysop instincts cut in, so we don’t get too many really tiresome ones here. Live with the ones who can survive on the site.

      • sk 8.2.1

        You are right, but the terrifying thought is that if National ditch the ETS, then they are winning the policy debate in NZ . .. .

    • BLiP 8.3

      I share the same frustration you feel about the denialists but prefer the current policy here at The Standard of letting through those that can articulate an argument, however flawed. My frustration is eased when watching them getting slapped around and looking for trends in their arguments so as to identify where their information is coming from.

      Tell me Iprent – Warning: blog bunny question – do your sysop stats give an indication of what sites are searched while people are here, or, can you tell what sites they have come from to get here? Are there any apparent trends you can pick?

      • Rex Widerstrom 8.3.1

        I second that BLiP. The day The Standard starts deleting something someone says simply because they disagree with it is the day it lives up to all the frothing hyperbole about “c*mm*e censorship” that gets sprayed around. And the day I stop coming here (not that I expect that’ll make a difference – in fact Lynn might even sharpen his virtual red pencil in glee 😉 )

        Secondly, as a climate change agnostic (as I admitted a few days back, I had to ditch maths in Year 10 because I’m virtually numerically dyslexic, thus stuff concerning numbers needs very careful reading which I simply don’t have time for at present) I find the “for Dummies” approach taken by Lynn and others very enlightening.

        • lprent 8.3.1.1

          We ban for bad behavior generally in line with the policy. There have been occasions when people have been banned or moderated for being tiresome bores. But that is because a moderator got sick to death of reading their comments. Happens when you have to read as many as we do.

          As you know, we don’t ban on opinion except in the cases where people make offensive, unsupported, repetitive, and outright stupid comments. That is pretty much defined as trolling. It is subject to an evolution by over-reaction that we’re happy to provide. It improves the population commenting on net by restricting the idiots to talking to each other – eg the sewer.

          I’ve never even considered banning you. Hell I don’t even leave big black notes on your comments unless you’re talking to me and I’m on one of those machines with limited javascript and therefore no reply functionality.

          Always happy to help with my old science knowledge…

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