Saturday, December 3, 2011

Peter Hadfield Examines The Science of Climate Change

Since my interest is sharing what climatologists have to explain to us {as opposed to the crazy-making over at WUWT} - allow me to introduce a man that does a superb job of explaining what real scientists have been learning about our planet and the climate upon which all of us depend.  At the end of Mr. Hadfield's article is a list of Potholer54's "Climate Change" series along with links.

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Originally I intended to reproduce a couple excepts from an article by Peter Hadfield concerning his YouTube channel "Potholer54".  Yet, after a half dozen read-throughs and minor cuts, I find I don’t want to chop it up any more since he’s done an excellent job of weaving the strands of his story into a coherent whole.  Cutting one paragraph does injustice to the paragraphs before and after said cut.  

It's an insightful assessment of today's science education vs media-megaphone driven discussion landscape.


So you have this friend who just doesn't seem to get global warming. Showing him pictures of polar bears stranded on icebergs generates no sympathy. He is unmoved by computer images of New York under water. Could he really be a right-wing crackpot, unwilling to face the fact that the Earth is doomed?

Well maybe not. After questioning and listening to hundreds of climate change "sceptics," I have found that not all are conspiracy theorists or religious fundamentalists. Many are keen to learn about the science of climate change, but they have been learning about it from rather dubious sources.

So {September, 2008} I began a series of videos on YouTube to explain the science, and rebut urban myths that spin round the internet and end up on the opinion pages of the Daily Express and the Wall Street Journal. {...}

{...} It means looking at the science – not scary and unrealistic images of submerged cities. It means accepting the fact that Al Gore is not always right, and he should not be defended when he's wrong. It means acknowledging that while sceptics like Christopher Monckton and Martin Durkin  fabricate a lot of their facts, many environmental activists tend to exaggerate theirs.

Of course, the evidence clearly shows that the climate is changing, largely because of man-made gases. And the consequences are likely to be dire. But  exaggerating them – and being caught out – is not the way to gain public understanding or trust. As a science journalist {...}

{...} I do not call them climate "deniers", which presupposes there is some irrefutable truth they are denying. But neither are they truly sceptics. They learn climate science the same way many schoolchildren learn about sex – from other kids. The only difference in the internet age is that the playground got bigger.

Without question they unsceptically believe dubious sources like Fox News, the Daily Express and amateur blogs. A parade of scientists (never mind if they have degrees in microbiology or metallurgy) tell them that ocean cycles are responsible for global warming, or that there is no warming at all, or that even if there is there is nothing to worry about.

Spend just a few days in this bizarre world of disinformation and it is hard to understand how the audience could not come to the conclusion that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax. And if it is a hoax, the next obvious conclusion is that climate scientists must be either stupid or in it for the money. Deconstructing all this spurious guff, one myth at a time, means checking it back to its source, finding the errors, and then pitting it against proper research studies. No need for condescension, insult, or appeals to emotion.

Environmental activists who have subscribed to the channel also began to change their minds about climate change, but for a different reason. They learned that some tenets of the environmental movement are not founded on solid science. {...}

Science is science because the knowledge we acquire comes from experimentation and observation, not guesswork, belief and hearsay. {...} 

was a correspondent for New Scientist for 14 years, 
and contributed regularly to the BBC's Science in Action 
and ABC's (Australia) The Science Show.


Potholer54's Climate Change series

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The following video is actually about Creationists and how they approach scientific inquiry, however since AGW deniers, {such as those featured at WUWT and those displayed by his fans}, use the same avoidance and other vacuous debate tactics committed to avoiding facing genuine facts.  It's worth a listen:


 And since I'm at it, here is an interesting collection examining The Lord's prognostications and tactics:

Monckton bunkum Part 5 -- What, MORE errors, my lord?


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