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ABC Climate Zombie Myths and Fantasy Strawmen. Who’s feeding the trolls?

Skeptics are now the brain-eating undead from Haitian Cult Voodoo. Just more namecalling in lieu of science. The ABC has become the US Weekly,  TVWeek, or OK! of national policy, filled with inane clickbait animations, fictional stories and fantasy myths.

Looks like it’s projection again

Here’s a guy who believes that we control storms, floods and droughts with solar panels and wind turbines. The only climate zombie that needs hosing down is all his. He’s the one saying that the type of milk you drink, or your funeral service are to blame for random stuff like spotted quoll fertility, shark attacks, or tornadoes. Go vegan to save the planet!

Poor Nick Kilvert is so badly trained he can’t figure out why ideas like “CO2 feeds plants” just won’t die. The mystery of how the truth keeps coming back (despite their best efforts). So this weekend he put out a handy condescending guide of strawmen and mythical myths for beleaguered believers who are lost for answers to skeptical scientists. The man’s cult-like belief is so obvious, the real question we need to ask our elected MP’s is why are we funding an journalistic organization which has staff who are so incompetent, and who clearly work as ideological partisan activists? After writing an article like this, could anyone argue that Kilvert is capable of dispassionate investigative research on this topic? Kilvert, with a Bachelor of Applied Science and Honours in Ecology, apparently thinks Nobel Laureates, NASA Astronauts, Professors of Atmospheric physics are brain sucking zombie deniers, involved in a big fossil funded conspiracy.

This is the same guy who wrote climate fiction: Life at 0.5 degrees hotter: imagining an apocalypse by 2040 where 2,000 km of Barrier Reef dies and jellyfish rule the world, and where gardens are dead, err, because our rainfall increased, yeah?

This is a man making his own tin foil hat:

Have you got climate zombies? We debunk the myths that refuse to die

 Nick Kilvert

They might pop up in your social media feed, or manifest in comments under climate change news online. They might even appear at your Christmas lunch. And they’re rife in some media outlets — they often come out after dark.

They’re the cases against climate science that were buried years ago, yet somehow, refuse to die. “It’s the Milankovitch cycles”, “CO2 is good for plants anyway”, “What have the scientists ever done for us?”

You might have even been infected yourself. It’s no surprise really, a multi-billion dollar campaign funded by the likes of Donors Trust, Donors Capital Fund, Koch-affiliated foundations, and parts of the fossil fuel industry has been animating these damned corpses since the ’80s.

So consider this your own handy guide for killing the undead. Or at least a shield for deflecting their relentless pursuit of brains.

Good luck out there.

#1 CO2 doesn’t cause warming

Strawman. None of the serious skeptical scientists or main commentators say this. Kilvert couldn’t quote skeptics here because there’s no one to quote.

CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it absorbs infrared. The question is whether the clouds, humidity and jet streams amplify this warming or neutralize it. Believers assume these feedbacks are positive, put that in their models then, lo, their models tell them the feedbacks are positive. The miracle! Skeptics look at all the data (before it’s adjusted) and find that feedbacks are negative. The hot spot is the key fingerprint of feedback and it’s missing. The warming has happened before and the runaway greenhouse didn’t happen. Skeptics point out that the CO2 effect is saturated already, and water is a far more important as a greenhouse gas –– and even the IPCC agrees.

Kilvert either hasn’t done any research or is working to mislead ABC readers. Which is it? Lazy or dishonest?

#2 It’s Milankovitch cycles

Another strawman. The skeptics he debunks are imaginary creatures he has invented. The largest skeptical site in Australia (this one) has over 3 million words on it and “Milankovich” gets barely three times, none of them by me. Clearly it’s an important plank … not.

#3 There’s been a 5? 10? 20? year pause in warming

Denial again? Hans von Storch, the head of the IPCC, and other climate scientists all admitted there was a pause — they call it the global warming hiatus. They admitted the models didn’t predict it.

Flashback to 2013 when Rajendra Pachauri admited the pause had lasted 17 years:

In 2008 NOAA said that pauses of 15 years or more didn’t fit with climate simulations (so if it went longer, the models would be wrong). Likewise James Hansen was caught in ClimateGate saying that ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’ When the pause got a bit longer still, Ben Santer said in a paper it really was 17 years we needed to see. That was 2011.

The IPCC says: there is low confidence in quantifying the role of forcing trend in causing the surface-warming hiatus…. {WG1 8.5; WG1 Box 9.2}

Kilvert says: “This little doozy has gone a bit quiet in the past few years, though it ate quite a few brains in the early 2000s and again in 2012/13.”

He thinks 1998 is in tenth place, but that’s only in hyper-adjusted data changed with secret adjustments. The best satellite system in the world reports that year as number 2, and shows the obvious, unarguable pause. All the major datasets once showed a pause, til they were adjusted. At the same time as the pause, sea levels slowed, hurricanes paused,  deny deny deny, eh?

Deny this:

UAH, Global Temperatures, data 2018. The pause, global warming hiatus. Graph.

Anyone with an eyeball can see the pause. UAH Satellite global data, June 2019.

Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. The pause is still a problem, even though it stopped. The models were wrong, and no wonder. They are missing key forcings like solar magnetic, solar spectral changes and the solar wind.

#4 It’s a natural cycle, man

Apparently it’s not natural because 250 million years ago CO2 rose fast and caused the Permian Extinction. Kilvert argues that all past changes were slower than this one. Since we know warmer temperatures cause CO2 to rise about 800 years later, it takes some magical thinking to assert that any scientist can show CO2 rose before temperatures 250,000,000 years ago. Show us your error bars.

Riddle me this: we’ve got 800,000 years of ice cores, and modern satellites circling the Earth 24 hours a day, but the only proof that CO2 causes rapid warming comes from a quarter of a billion years ago?

#5 Plants grow better with more CO2 anyway

Another myth that isn’t.  Plants grow faster, handle drought better, need less water and increase their yields by 15 to 30%. Market gardeners pay money to pump CO2 into their greenhouses. Maybe they are all wasting their money? Arid regions of the world are 11% greener, mostly thanks to CO2. Luckily farmers don’t rely on the ABC to give them useful information.

CO2 is not just important to plants is often the rate limiting step. New research shows that the impending climate disaster puts the world in danger of growing too much corn and soy. People won’t know what starving is!

Any nutritional deficiencies are so minor they can be solved by adding two chickpeas to each cup of rice.

#6 It was warmer during the Medieval Warm Period

Skeptics can name hundreds of peer reviewed studies from every continent showing it was as warm or warmer. Believers say that these are just localities, but can’t name continents that were colder at the same time. They “know” it was cooler 1,000 years ago because their models say so, and because junk science graphs look like Hockeysticks — but only if they use tree rings for 2,000 years then throw them away and use thermometers near airports instead. The Hockeystick graph has all the skill of a random number generator but fake scientists are still defending it. Fake journalists are letting them get away with it.

Put some modern trees into the hockeystick and it falls apart. Shall we say “Hide that decline“?

#7 But the world’s been colder before when CO2 levels were higher

Another mythical myth.  I’ll just quote Kilvert: “Actually CO2 has been at higher levels than today, when temperatures were much cooler.” Kilvert debunks himself.

#8 Climate science is a conspiracy of the ‘elites’

Strawman #3. No conspiracy needed or claimed when there’s $1.5 Trillion in incentives, plus rampant namecalling, bullying, sacking, more sacking, and generally nasty petty behaviour exactly like the sort that Kilvert displays. What scientist wants to be  blackballed,   terminated, punished, vilified and pursued in court with deep pockets willing to waste half a million dollars?

Who’s denying that $1,500 million dollars buys a lot of confirmation bias? Not skeptics. See: Climate Money.

Kilvert sys: “The reality is that not acting on climate change will punish the poor. The IPCC predicts millions will be displaced if warming hits 2 degrees.”

The reality is that acting on climate change is already killing the poor, and the IPCC can’t predict anything except for getting lucky on Arctic ice and the refugees didn’t seek refuge because their islands growing.

#9 CO2 has historically followed, not caused warming

 Another myth that’s hard to break because it’s true. Skeptics cite the Vostok Ice Cores, Kilvert cites Al Gore.

He goes on to quote a couple of scientists who just declare the positive feedbacks to be real. Kilvert doesn’t ask them to name actual examples of where they demonstrate this mythical amplification in the ice cores. Where are those papers? If there is amplification, if CO2 is the defining “force”, why is it so hard to find examples of it?

See: Where is the evidence for the dangerous positive feedback in the Vostok Ice Cores? Where is Carbon’s “major effect” in the ice core data.

#10 Climate scientists are only in it for the money

Kilvert appears to be saying that climate sensitivity is 3.3C because mining engineers are paid more than climate scientists.

This is no accident. With climate scientists inept modeling skills, which mining company would employ them?

The mining engineers and geologists are mostly skeptics. Why? They can add up. Their jobs depend on getting it right.  Climate Scientists jobs depend on getting the “right” answer. If engineers and geologists don’t find the oil, gold or gas, they get sacked. If climate scientists don’t find a “climate crisis” they lose their job. They’re just mining for different things…

The truth is that B Grade graduates of ecological degrees can’t get better paid work than “in climate science”. They get rock star status, two week round-the-world UN junkets every year, no journalist asks them hard questions, and besides, if they don’t toe the line, they get sacked.

Cowardice everywhere

The ABC can take the punters money but it can’t allow taxpayers to comment, lest inept, unresearched activism like Kilvert’s gets torn to pieces on their own site.

Likewise Kilvert can’t risk naming large skeptical websites either. Despite skeptics being stupid tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists, apparently Kilvert is too scared his readers might find out that he doesn’t know what skeptics say, doesn’t have any real answers, and is debunking strawmen and mythical myths.

And why has the ABC sunk to posting nauseating repeat animations, as if their website is run by teenage boys? Even tabloid news is above that. This is inane mocking, not a scientific argument. And that’s exactly the point. This ABC article is not there to educate, to discuss science, or explain national policy. It appears to be there to tell readers what opinions they are permitted to have — to warn them how they’ll be treated if they ask the wrong question. The flicker-repeats are the type of images used by teenage clickbait-minds looking for easy things to go trolling on to score points to boost their low self-esteem.

Apparently, the ABC aren’t writing for national policy makers any more, they’re feeding the trolls. Well, send ’em on over…

h/t David B, Pat, George, Todd H, Travis T. Jones, BillinOz, bemused.

9.6 out of 10 based on 113 ratings