Saturday, July 5, 2014

Discussion with Pete Ridley #1

{edited Saturday evening}

Recently I've exchanged a couple emails with Pete Ridley, our unlikely connection is on account of mutual blogging regarding that fraud John O'Sullivan, though I haven't taken the time to become acquainted with the particulars of their feud.

[Ridley has reminded me that we had actually met earlier, in the comments section - ]

In any event, though Ridley and I agree on our contempt for O'Sullivan, Ridley doesn't accept the scientific consensus among climate experts regarding global warming and what's driving it. 

Not sure why, but lately he's taken to counseling me on the errors of my supposedly gullible scientific establishment loving ways.  In the process I've been pulled into a discussion at, that has in turn motivated me to use a couple quotes as a vehicle to highlight some of the dishonest tactics used by such folks.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Ridley writes: In November 2013 you (CC) opined that " .. Colorado experienced its most extreme weather event in recent memory between Sept. 9 and 15.  .. resulting in massive flooding .. Predictably, folks are asking: Is this related to man-made global warming?  That a question that is both easy and tough to answer.  Our climate system is a global heat-distribution engine .. our land, atmosphere, and the oceans have indisputably warmed .. our atmosphere’s moisture content has been measurably increasing.  Given such geophysical realities, it is self-evident that all extreme weather events contain elements of this newly energized climate system.  And that much more of the same must be expected. So in that sense, the answer is easy: Yes .. " (see: 
That's a lot of conviction from someone with no more than lay understanding of the subject. Despite your efforts in that article to give the impression of a sound understanding of the processes and drivers of the different global climates you demonstrated that your understanding is very limited. {Pete "tells" me I'm wrong, but doesn't show us by confronting my specific claims with contra-evidence.  What's up with that?  
A)   Our climate system is a global heat-distribution engine .. our land, atmosphere, and the oceans … B)   have indisputably warmed … C)   our atmosphere’s moisture content has been measurably increasing.  }
Let me give you an example.
You claimed " .. one result of our society “salting” our atmosphere with greenhouse gases is that the atmosphere’s insulating ability has increased .. More greenhouse gas molecules means catching more heat, so the planet warms.  Since the industrial revolution, society has increased that greenhouse-gas component by about a third, causing the Earth to retain more heat within our climate system than it used to .. ". 
That is pseudoscientific gobbledegook . . .  "
Pete Ridley
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Pete, just calling it "gobbledegook" doesn't make it so. 
It's a simpled-down version for sure - but I think you'd be hard pressed to show what Dr. Barrett would dispute in my admittedly simplistic description.

Does the term "salting" confuse you? 
Do you disagree with the concept of GHGs as an "insulation medium"?
Do you disagree with the description of "Earth retaining more heat"?

Please do justify your ridicule of my description.
~ ~ ~ 

Why resent that I'm familiar with the topic, after all I've been interested in our planet's climate system since about 1970/71 - it stands to reason I understand the basics fairly well.  I also keep getting better at recognizing the difference between a solid argument and one with obvious holes in it and so far the denialist crowd has yet to come up with any rational coherent explanations, and trust me I've investigated many claims as this blog's archive will attest.

The contrarian's entire strategy is based on feeding confusion, misrepresenting the data, attacking scientists and other messengers, all buttressed by an ideologically driven ironclad refusal to accept credible data they don't like. 

Always drawing the discussion away from actually looking at what's going on within our global heat distribution engine and it's implications for humanity's near and distant future. 

I contend contrarian folks act like they couldn't care less about learning - not wanting to know and stalling pro-active action is all their strategy is about. Sadly that Denial Machine will continue winning the political contest and we will continue doing nothing to change - allowing accumulating compounding interest and Earth's geophysical processes to steam roll our complex global society.

Incidentally, about that key component of Earth's insulation against freezing space (read greenhouse gases), here's what's happening to it: 

Pumphandle 2012: Time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide

That's a lot of extra insulation in a very, very short space of time.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Ridley writes:"After reading (and understanding) it you should be able to recognise what Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) plots such as those produced by the MODTRAN tool tell us ( "

Pete, how do those plots conflict with my simple description? 

Besides, reading a couple books on a topic may make one familiar with the topic, but grasping the outlines is a far cry from being in a position to pass judgement on the inner-working of full-time practicing experts!  Still that's what contrarians keep tossing out, with their presumptions to knowing better than full time experts.

Time and time again your type believes it's OK to judge complex questions such as ModTran output - stuff that contains complexities and nuances light years beyond our understanding - even if you've read ModTran101.  

That's why we have full-time working experts in our complex society… denying the community of experts seems hubris writ large and an invitation to chaotic collapse !
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

As for our global heat distribution engine though it's infinitely complex, it does follow basic easily learned fundamentals.  Here's a wonderful video that gives a nice introduction to the immense interconnected global climate system.  It covers a bit more than climate, although think about it... isn't climate related to everything in our lives in one way or another?

Earth From Space HD 1080p / Nova

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Ridley also disputes that anything abnormal is going on in the Arctic using the argument that because climate changed in the past, we should ignore current human driven warming.  But, the evidence say something quite different.

Amount of old ice in Arctic, 1987-2013

Of course Ridley also neglects to tell his audience that over the past ten thousand years Earth has been in a 'climate optimum' where climate swings have stayed within moderate bounds, as opposed to previous radical swings - it's this very 'climate optimum' that allowed complex society to develop {think about that as you look at the CO2 concentration graph shared above}.

Yet Ridley and other contrarians counsel disregard, if not contempt, for how this climate engine operates and how humanity is impacting it.  Even pretending that society can withstand any changes forced on us.

A student of our planet would want to know about the causes of earlier changes and how those relate to the current situation and how humanity's impact is superimposing itself upon those "natural" background patterns.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

You can bet denialists howl and denigrate all of these sources, but that makes me wonder about what's going on in their head when every rational source is seen as an enemy?

   The Discovery of Global Warming   
A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change. 
This Website created by Spencer Weart supplements his much shorter book, which tells the history of climate change research as a single story. On this Website you will find a more complete history in dozens of essays on separate topics, occasionally updated.

If you want basic facts about climate change, or detailed current technical information, you might do better using the links page. But if you want to use history to really understand it all...
  • You can print out individual essays using PDF files. These files are for the February 2014 version and will not include more recent updates.
  • You can Search the entire text.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This is the first in a series of 28 informative climate science education videos geared for intelligent interested non-science types.  They are produced by Peter Hadfield who does a good clean job of explaining himself.

1. Climate Change -- the scientific debate

Uploaded on Sep 21, 2008A basic look at how climate scientists infer that man-made carbon gases are changing the climate, and how this view is contradicted by other climate scientists who are skeptics.
Peter Hadfield is a former science correspondent with an interest in reporting the facts, not the media hype.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ has become the premier repository of climate studies and information geared toward explaining that science to the student and lay-person in a clear concise manner.  Their articles are followed by excellent on-point discussions that sometimes teach as much as the articles themselves.

Their viewership and recognition from within the professional community attest to SkS's serious approach to explaining the science and they always link back to original sources so that further investigation can be simplified.  

These are reasons why SkS has become the butt end of vicious attacks and dirty tricks including getting broken into and having personal information stolen and shared with malicious intent.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Another excellent resource is listening to climate scientists giving public talks - one of my favorite venues is UCTV - Perspectives on Ocean Sciences, but YouTube seems to be up-loading more college lectures every day.  Over at Citizenschallenge I feature a few, such as a most interesting 1982 talk by Dr. McCracken regarding the then current state of understand, {also Dr. Parmesan and Dr. Emanuel talks among others}.

The above are good entry level sources for solid scientific information.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Pete Ridley said...

Hi Peter,


I'm pleased that you decided to post cherry-picked extracts from those E-mails of ours because, although I was eager to get some of the points out in the open for public scrutiny, I regard one-to-one exchanges as Private and Confidential unless otherwise agreed between the two individuals on specific items. I now feel at liberty to discuss our exchanges on my blog but will not do what you did and only post the bits that I choose. Instead I will also supplement my comments with the entire set of E-mails so that others can check the full context and make their own judgements about how truthfully you and I use our cherry-picked extracts.

You may not have noticed that I have done that on my own blog with regard to E-mail exchanges with John O'Sullivan and the band of "Slayers" in his blogging group Principia Scientific International, in whom we have a mutual interest. The reason that I do so is because merely cherry-picking and offering a personal interpretation often completely distorts real events.

Let me give you a prime example.

Anyone reading only your comment " .. Not sure why, but lately he's taken to counseling me on the errors of my supposedly gullible scientific establishment loving ways. In the process I've been pulled into a discussion at .. " might mistakenly believe that it was I who made the initial contact which dragged you unwillingly into debate.

As you know full-well, you were NOT “pulled into a discussion”, YOU INITIATED IT. It was you who made the first contact by posting a comment on my blog ( It was only AFTER your initial contact that we started exchanging E-mails. You can't have just made that misleading comment of yours here because you had simply forgotten, because it was only 5 days ago. It must appear to any fair-minded person that you deliberately distorted the facts in order to get across a misleading message. It's call being dishonest Peter.

Pete Ridley said...


I’ll get started drafting my “SpotlightON – a Citizenschallenge” but I may have to “bleep”-out parts of your first E-mail to me on 3rd July. That was in response to my first E-mail to you in which I advised you of my two RESPONSES to your own comment. People will be able to judge for themselves the extent to which either of us was counselling the other about gullibility. My only reference to gullibility was in response to your question about John O’Sullivan “How does someone who commits so many demonstrable lies, keep getting away with it?”, when I said “People hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe. It's known as being gullible – or dishonest!”.

In my E-mail of 4th July I commented on the dishonesty from both sides of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) debate, referencing specifically scientists and politicians. You illustrate beautifully that this dishonesty has permeated right down to the level of lay debaters such as we are.

You complain bitterly about how I refer to some of your CACC-supporting claims as pseudoscientific gobbledegook and I’m not going to spend much time reacting to that but here is one example. You claimed about our atmosphere that “ .. Since the industrial revolution, society has increased that greenhouse-gas component by about a third .. ”. I repeat, that is pseudoscientific gobbledegook and you can find out why by looking here ( and here (

If you don’t understand the point that I’m making then ask a scientist such as Dr. Jack Barrett ( While you are at it spend some time reading the excellent articles that he and Professor David Bellamy provide. They are targeted at lay people like thee and me.

Best regards, Pete Ridley

citizenschallenge said...

Let your party begin.

Regard comments re. Dr. Barrett if you would take the time to try and read my words, you will see that I asked YOU how you perceived my comments being disputed by Dr.Barret.

Your turn

citizenschallenge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
citizenschallenge said...

Pete R,
Regarding: " I regard one-to-one exchanges as Private and Confidential unless otherwise agreed between the two individuals on specific items. "
~ ~ ~

Your emails linked to your 'shenanigans' blog and comments about me - feigned indignation that I broke some implied "confidential" in our correspondence is laughable.

I do keep respected email exchanges confidential - and there are plenty - but you (or anyone) sending me emails filled with the usual misrepresentations and attention diverting-bullshit, {particularly if you're already blogging about it} you can consider yourself disqualified from any such consideration.
~ ~ ~

As for your indignation at my "cherry-picking" I prefer to call it "highlights", since I don't have the time to do a line-by-line review of your emails -- point by interesting point review is plenty enough and already consuming too much of my precious time.

{had to fix those dang typos}

Pete Ridley said...

Hi Peter,

I refer your readers to my comment which I copy here, although I suspect that as for my previous comment, you'll decline to post my comments here.


You really are struggling with this “greenhouse effect” physics, aren’t you. If you look carefully at the pie-charts (NOT graphs) to which I linked, which purport to depict atmospheric composition and the different contributors to the greenhouse-gas component, you ought to recognise that there is a very important greenhouse gas missing!! Any scientist involved in the CACC issue, such as Dr. Jack Barrett or Professor David Bellamy, would spot it immediately but, like me, you are only a layman. I made it easy for you by providing a second link to an article which talks about this very important missing component but it looks as though I have to go even further to educate you. Try this link ( where you will not only see that same diagram depicting “Atmospheric Composition” but also a significant reference to that all-important missing greenhouse-gas, water vapour.

Maybe now you will understand why I referred to your original comment about “ .. society has increased that greenhouse-gas component .. ” being pseudoscientific gobbledegook. Perhaps also you will understand why I get the impression that all you can do is parrot what CACC-supporters tell you rather than do your own “due diligence” research.

Pete Ridley said...


You say that “ .. our unlikely connection is on account of mutual blogging regarding that fraud John O'Sullivan, though I haven't taken the time to become acquainted with the particulars of their feud .. ”. Are you just confused or is this another of your disingenuous comments? My records show that our first exchanges were back in 2012 and had NOTHING to do with John O’Sullivan. They concerned Dr. Iain Stewart's campaigning to support the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) hypothesis and its relevance to the CACC-supporting BBC’s claims to impartiality. You had previously claimed that you “ .. do like hearing both sides of a story .. ” so on 16th November 2012 in my comment on your article “BBC Earth The Climate Wars - Dr. Iain Stewart, in 3 parts” ( I gave you another side to Dr. Stewart’s claims in that BBC series. You started off your hasty response to my comment by accusing me of being disingenuous. As I responded then “ .. Maybe 'tis you who is being disingenuous?! .. ”.

I don’t recall being aware of your blog prior to that or exchanging opinions with you again until February this year when someone linked from your article “Principia Scientific Int'l versus Dr. Michael Mann” ( to my blog. On 25th July 2012 when you posted that article and linked to my blog I had just added sub-section 2.1 “PSI’s CEO and Legal Consultant John O’Sullivan" to my top article “SpotlightON – Principia Scientific International”. In your article you had said “ .. At Pete Ridley is doing a fine job of examining the details of PSI's beautifully worded 'mission statement' compared to the reality of what they do .. ” but I am not aware that we had exchanged any opinions about John O’Sullivan prior to my comment on 24th February 2014.

Claiming that you “ .. haven't taken the time to become acquainted with the particulars of their feud .. ” sits uncomfortably alongside your comment on 28th January 2014 “ .. As for my silent pal John O'Sullivan .. check out: .. ”. You obviously HAD taken time to acquaint yourself with articles on my blog involving John O’Sullivan!!

Something that puzzles me is why you included that piece about the other John O’Sullivan, one-time editor of the National Review. Were you just confused, trying in some way to be clever or trying to mislead others? As long ago as July 2012 you were clearly aware of Andrew Skolnick’s comment “ .. O'Sullivan claims .. to be a science writer with major articles published around the world including in National Review .. None of that is true. He is an utterly shameless humbug .. ” (

In my opinion it is prudent for anyone reading your CACC-supporting blog articles, comments and other communications to check and double check what you claim to be facts. As I said in my previous comment about the dishonesty from both sides of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) debate, you illustrate beautifully that this dishonesty has permeated right down to the level of lay debaters such as we are.

Best regards, Pete

citizenschallenge said...

Ridley writes: "although I suspect that as for my previous comment, you'll decline to post my comments here."
~ ~ ~
What are you talking about?
Your comments are right up there, one and two.
Right ? YES or NO please...

citizenschallenge said...

For what it's worth I've responded to Ridley last two comments over at
"Discussion with Pete Ridley #2"

Pete Ridley said...

Hi Pete,

I apologise for thinking that you were into censorship when in fact it was simply that you took what to me is rather a long time taking my comments out of moderation. I'll be more patient next time.

Best regards, Pete