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The 32-Step Lifecycle Of Climate Alarms

As further evidence of divine sense of humor, Arctic sea ice extent is back to average exactly as new research indicates much of the recent decline is “not a direct result of global warming“.

One may be forgiven to think that reports about the opening up of most of the Arctic to ice-free summer navigation might have been premature.

Hasn’t this script been read to us before? Yes it has: about the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro, the terrifying future hurricane seasons in the North Atlantic, the upcoming extinction of (often, drowning) polar bears, the slowing down to a crawl of the Gulf Stream, the warming-sea death of coral reefs.

But there is no need to be fooled any longer. Just keep yourself aware of the 32-step lifecycle of a climate alarm, especially if linked about Anthropogenic Global Warming (as they all nowadays are):

  1. Researchers make a barely-tamed if not completely wild claim in a scientific journal: if human GHG emissions were to continue apace, there could be dire consequences to “whatever”
  2. The claim appears in a press release by the lead author’s institution, alongside even wilder claims that were not scientifically printable but are spread around anyway
  3. Most major (and minor) news media engage in churnalism, i.e. they repeat the press release as-is with little consideration for critical thinking, just in case it may ruin the story
  4. Other editors decide the alleged consequences are not dire enough and order a further spicing up of the story
  5. George Monbiot tells us in his blog how bad he feels about “whatever”, with the help of a relevant anecdote possibly involving flowers
  6. On the basis of the above, environmental movements issue more press releases, and e-mail campaigns materialize at once, raising the alarm about “whatever” on the basis of (of course!) the “latest scientific research”
  7. The environmentalists’ press releases are fed to the newsmedia to pummel the public with another salvo of alarmism
  8. The claims percolate through the web and reach alarmist blogs. Once again, the story is repeated with not a hint of reasoning and not a shadow of doubt
  9. People start speculating how could skeptics ever live in the knowledge that “whatever” is going to be destroyed by AGW
  10. More serious places like the Nature blogs, the BBC Science News pages and NationalGeographic.com can’t help publishing about the latest claims, substituting critical thinking for a barrage of links to external, strictly-alarmist sites
  11. Suddenly, the news get populated of fear-inducing “evidence” that confirm the original claim was way too tame, and “things are worse than we thought”. Articles are accompanied by pictures of polar bears
  12. Wikipedia’s entries about “whatever” and climate change are updated
  13. An article by Bill McKibben is printed in well-known generalist magazines describing exactly how bad things are going to be for “whatever”, in case we don’t all mend our ways. News-gathered “evidence” is included, explaining that in the future we will hear “more of the same” kind of reporting
  14. In due course, people including scientists interested in discovering what is real about climate change and what is not, they start to notice that the alarms and claims are not based on strong scientific evidence, at least not as strong as claimed
  15. Somebody posts a blog or comment highlighting how, tucked away in the original article’s and press release’s full texts and unbeknownst to most churnalists and alarmist bloggers, there were very clear caveats, indicating: (a) results as “preliminary”, (b) data as “insufficient” and (c) “more studies” as “needed”
  16. These doubts percolate through the web and reach skeptical blogs, where they are repeated in a storm of criticism against the alarmists and (alas!) the original researchers themselves
  17. James Delingpole posts a blog making fun of George Monbiot
  18. Many alarmist blogs reply to any kind of doubt by denouncing a giant conspiracy by evil fossil-fuel corporations paying tens of millions of dollars to fund skeptical blogs
  19. Unanswered, doubts remain
  20. Miraculously, a new post in “Skeptical Science” demonstrates how anything (anything!) a skeptic ever thinks is wrong, as shown in the published literature
  21. A blog appears on RealClimate rebutting the doubts with rather unwise statements that, taken literally, might be used to undermine AGW alarmism
  22. Where the best scientists are involved, a new scientific paper gets published, highlighting which issues are most important to figure out, and asking for more funding as results are preliminary, data is insufficient and more studies are needed
  23. For some reason, the now-established fact that the original claims have been shown incorrect and/or premature does not appear in the news media and alarmist blogs (“climategate” notwithstanding)
  24. On DotEarth, Andrew Revkin posts a blog stating that things are not as clear-cut as they seem, skeptics and believers are both wrong, but AGW is real nevertheless and remains so independently from the claims about “whatever”
  25. Joe Romm preaches again to the converted, wondering aloud why Revkin is not toeing the alarmist line
  26. A couple of years pass…the “evidence” reported by the news disappear as all data indicate a return to “average conditions”
  27. Vicky Pope tells the media that we should not be looking for climate evidence in a record covering just a few years
  28. Nobody has the courage to publish an article or blog saying how sorry they are about having raised a demonstrably baseless alarm
  29. The online alarmist debate ignores that all and oscillates between “how can skeptics face the risk of the destruction of ‘whatever’ being right, and they wrong?” and “when can we have our climate dictatorship please”
  30. Wikipedia’s entries about “whatever” and climate change are not updated
  31. In the meanwhile, due to the law of diminishing returns and the fact that nobody can see any clear AGW climatic effect anywhere, the general public grows a little more weary of alarmism
  32. It’s time for a new article where researchers make a barely-tamed if not completely wild claim in a scientific journal: if human GHG emissions were to continue apace, there could be dire consequences to “whatever else”

In all likelihood, the above is happening right now about ocean acidification. Somebody, please make a reality TV show out of this comedy.

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  1. Robert Plauser
    2010/06/14 at 13:27

    Did anyone who isn’t a sycophant of yours tell you how boring your posts are.
    you should spend your time learning some climate science mate, instead of waving your CV around. But then again clowns like you, Bozo, are good at flouncing around to your own idiosyncratic fantasies.

    • 2010/06/14 at 13:36

      thank you Robert, for spending your valuable time in this productive manner.

  2. Steven Sullivan
    2010/04/11 at 01:46

    You left off the step where your blog misrepresents the truth, all the while claiming to be above the fray.

    • 2010/04/11 at 22:58

      thank you Steven. Indeed I did leave that bit off. What would I do without readers like you.

  3. Aaron
    2010/04/10 at 00:06

    VERY well-written! Love it! Perfect!

  4. Will Delson
    2010/04/06 at 15:45

    I think you also missed the step where they compare their new models runs against their old and proclaim that it’s much worse than they originally thought. This has the great benefit of looping back around to step 1; effectively getting twice the alarm from the same claim.

  5. 2010/04/06 at 11:16

    You missed a bit – somewhere in there the lawmakers get involved to exact more taxation and enact more societal control. They just love scares that percolate through society so that they can hitch a lift on it to put out spin and propaganda and effect ‘change’. This is a ratchet: when the “whatever” is exposed as a scare, and the propaganda is quietly mothballed, the draconian measures remain in place.

    We have the politicization of science as well – the government tries to get scientists to support them in their dirty work of ‘change’. For example, UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, gave a pep talk to the Royal Society on January 12 this year, giving them a slap on the back, and looking for some payback in the guise of science in the service of his neo-Marxist politics. The RS has, under President Martin Rees, just become a crude advocacy group and arm of government propaganda and ‘diplomacy’. It gives the government the necessary scientific ‘gravitas’ and ‘authority’ to underpin and drive home its lying agenda.

    “…the Royal Society’s history is also closely interwoven with that of the British Government…The Society has long enjoyed strong ties to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office…
    …today, a defining feature of our world is the tendency towards imbalance and asymmetry, mirroring the world of Quantum Mechanics. Think of…the damaging positive feedback loops that are driving runaway climate change…in the new world of foreign policy – ungoverned spaces, the diplomatic equivalent of black holes, and non state actors, the quarks of diplomacy – are the biggest challenge and in some ways the biggest change makers…
    First, scientific progress can achieve breakthroughs that diplomacy cannot match. The development of commercially viable Carbon Capture and Storage mechanisms, or advances in the technology for low-carbon vehicles can have a major impact on our ability to forge the green revolution we need to avoid climate change…Second, science can help forge consensus where there is political division…Third, is science’s power to shift debates and catalyse political action. This is critical if we are to protect and promote global public goods for future generations, as climate change illustrates…Just as science can support diplomacy, so too must diplomacy support science…I want to pay tribute to Martin Rees and his staff for the enormous contribution they have made to science diplomacy…through the establishment…of regular meetings between the G8+5 Science Academies which helped shift the political debate on climate change…
    It is with these two disciplines – science and politics – that I want to end. Because the future of the planet depends above all on politics…Politics and science need to come closer together…The frustrations of the climate change talks show how far we have to go. Here the science is overwhelming. It really is a consensus…the biggest inter-disciplinary leap we need is across the boundaries of politics and science. We need you… I hope this anniversary opens eyes not just to how far science has come, but what we can do together in the future.”

    As usual, Miliband talks like an idiot (his references to quantum mechanics, black holes and quarks are simply moronic), but I’m sure they all lapped it up at the RS, and are now an even more dedicated tool in the hands of corrupt government. Let’s face it, Mike Hulme at UEA drank the Kool-Aid on this years ago.

  1. 2010/04/10 at 22:51
  2. 2010/04/08 at 15:24

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