Sunday, August 21, 2016

#3 Dunlap, Jacques - History of Climate Science Denial, Trends over time

This is the third installment of Dunlap, Jacques' (2013) study of the history of our dysfunctional public climate science education dialogue.  They focused on the influence of "conservative think tanks (CTTs) on the output of "skeptical" book publications and this section deals with Trends Over Time.

Here are facts about why out and out lying has been allowed to became the mainstay of the Republican climate science contrarian PR strategy   Facts that it would be good for younger activists to be aware of.  Given that the study has a CCA License I've decided to Repost the complete text in a few installments.  It will be a valuable addition to my collection of resources for the serious student of the attack on science.  I thank Riley Dunlap and Peter Jacques for the opportunity to Repost their impressive work.

Since this begins with one of the disinformation pioneers Sherwood Idso I follow with excerpts and links to a number of eye-opener articles about the Idso family cottage industry and how they misrepresent serious science. 

February 23, 2011
Hockey Stick Own Goal | By Dana Nuccitelli
April 30 2011
Medieval Project Gone Wrong | By Höskuldur Búi Jónsson
April 9, 2014
Climate Investigations Center: 
Craig Idso and Heartland Institute Climate Change Denial “NIPCC” Report | By Connor Gibson
July 10, 2016
Bankrupt Coal Miner Peabody Energy Paid Climate Denialist to Write Greenhouse Gas Reports | By Graham Readfearn
May 1, 2013
Consider the Source: 
ALEC scientist says ‘enriching’ the atmosphere with CO2 is good for tomatoes | Posted by John Adams
December 4, 2009
No. 8: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (A.K.A. The Idso Family) | By Josh Harkinson
August 19, 2008
More for the annals of climate misinformation | Posted by Olive Heffernan

#3 Trends Over Time

The American Behavioral Scientist
Climate Change Denial Books and 
Conservative Think Tanks
Exploring the Connection 

Copyright © 2013 SAGE PublicationsThis is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Am Behav Sci. 2013 Jun; 57(6): 699–731.
Conservative Think Tanks (CTTs)

Trends Over Time

As apparent in Figure 1, the first denial volume, Sherwood Idso’s Carbon Dioxide: Friend or Foe, appeared in 1982, well before AGW had achieved a prominent place on the nation’s agenda. Highlighting the benefits of carbon dioxide, Idso took issue with early climate science that suggested increasing levels of carbon dioxide could produce deleterious effects. 

The remaining 107 books began appearing in 1989, the year after AGW became a highly visible issue in the United States and the IPCC was established, with 4 coming out that year.

They were followed by 19 denial books published in the 1990s, 13 of them in the last half of that decade, reflecting a relatively slow but steady growth in their rate of publication. Another 15 appeared during the first half of the next decade, followed by a veritable explosion of 54 in the second half (especially 2007 to 2009), making a total of 69 from 2000 to 2009. Another 15 came out in 2010, yielding the total of 108 we are examining.

Climate change denial books by year.

Many factors influence the writing and timing of books, and we can only speculate on the trend we have just described. There is a slow growth in the number of books appearing before the December 1997 meeting on the Kyoto Protocol,4 then a relatively stable period of modest production (from one to five books a year) for the following decade, followed by the very rapid increase in the number of denial books per year beginning in 2007. 

There are several factors that likely stimulated the accelerated production of denial books starting in 2007: The release of Al Gore’s (2006) An Inconvenient Truth in both video and book form the prior year and the enormous publicity it received, culminating in the video receiving the 2007 Academy Award for best documentary; Gore and the IPCC receiving the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize; publication of the IPCC’s fourth Assessment Report claiming “unequivocal” evidence of global warming, and attributing it primarily to increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations; consideration of climate change legislation in Congress, particularly the Warner-Lieberman Bill in the Senate and then the Waxman-Markey Bill in the House; and a notable rise in public concern about global warming (Brulle, Carmichael, & Jenkins, 2012).

The rising salience of global warming in the eyes of the public and the growing pressure for ameliorative policy action stimulated those skeptical of AGW and opposed to carbon emission reduction policies to step up their efforts to deny the reality and seriousness of AGW. 

One manifestation of this increased sense of urgency is the accelerating appearance of books critiquing climate science, attacking Gore and climate scientists, and arguing against the need for carbon emission reductions. 

Other manifestations include conservative elites and media becoming major vehicles for climate change denial, making it a virtual litmus test for Republican political candidates and adding it to the “culture wars” (joining God, gays, guns, and abortion) in the eyes of conservative laypeople—particularly those attracted to the Tea Party (Hoffman, 2012; Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, & Hmielowski, 2011; McCright & Dunlap, 2011).

Such diffusion of climate change denial from the core sectors of the conservative movement, especially think tanks, is reflected in an interesting development concerning the denial books: a rapid growth in self-published volumes.5 

Specifically, 33 of the books under examination were published by individuals on their own or via a “vanity press,” but 30 of them have appeared since 2000—with 26 coming out between 2007 and 2010! This development has influenced the relationship between denial books and CTTs, as we see next.   (to be continued)


From Idso’s "CO2Science" blog’s own lofty statement at

“Clearly, one should not believe what we at CO2 Science or anyone else says about carbon dioxide and global change without carefully examining the reasoning behind, and the evidence for, our and their declarations, which makes questions about funding rather moot." 

{Consider their crafty twist of wording.  They are presenting “evidence” and then categorize the collective work of tens of thousands of scientists as “declarations” - the presumptuousness is astounding.  But than you know con-artists need to start big and keep pushing hard.}

"It is self-evident, for example, that one need not know from whence a person's or organization's funding comes in order to evaluate the reasonableness of what they say, if - and this is a very important qualification - one carefully studies the writings of people on both sides of the issue.”

{One also doesn't make a habit of misrepresenting what scientists are reporting.  Unfortunately a look through the following makes clear}

February 23, 2011

by Dana Nuccittelli

In this post we continue our Prudent Path Week theme, and the examination of the two documents the "skeptics" referenced in their recent letter to Congress — 'Carbon Dioxide and Earth's Future: Pursuing the Prudent Path' and the NIPCC report.  Specifically, we examine a major contradiction between the two reports regarding a key factor in climate science - climate sensitivity.

Medieval vs. Current Global Temperature 
In their Prudent Path document, Craig and Sherwood Idso argue that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was at least as hot as today:

"it was just as warm as, or even warmer than, it has been recently during both the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods"

Informal Idsos 

The document spends several pages qualitatively discussing various temperature proxy data sets from various isolated geographic locations — one of the main pursuits of the Idsos' website  The only response this endeavor warrants is the suggestion that if the Idsos would like to attempt to use this data to demonstrate that the MWP was hotter than today, they should perform a quantitative assessment — combine these proxies into either a northern hemisphere or global data set, estimate the average temperature, and submit their results to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.  Over a dozen such millennial northern hemisphere reconstructions have been peer-reviewed, and all agree that current temperatures are hotter than during the MWP peak.

Ljungqvist (2010) 

The document also relies fairly heavily on one such millennial northern hemisphere reconstruction — Ljungqvist (2010) — which the Idsos refer to as a "stellar effort". However, this reconstruction is not substantially different from the many other millennial northern hemisphere temperature reconstructions, as Ljungqvist himself states in his paper: …

Skeptic Climate Sensitivity Contradiction

A quick perusal through the Skeptical Science rebuttal database makes it clear that "skeptic" arguments often contradict each other.  Perhaps the worst contradiction of them all are the conflicting claims that the MWP was hotter than today, and that climate sensitivity is low.

Skepticism Requires Low Climate Sensitivity …

Hot MWP Means High Sensitivity

On the most important issue for climate "skeptics" — climate sensitivity — the two documents cited in the "skeptic" letter to Congress contradict each other by a factor of ten. 

The True Prudent Path …     LINK

30 April 2011

by Höskuldur Búi Jónsson

With regularity, you might hear skeptics mentioning a website called CO2 Science and its Medieval Project.  It is a front for a research center called Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and their goal is to distribute:

"…factual reports and sound commentary on new developments in the world-wide scientific quest to determine the climatic and biological consequences of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content."

The website is run by the Idso family (Craig, Sherwood, Keith and Julene).

Medieval Project

Interaction for healthy skeptics?
For people with healthy skepticism these interactive maps are quite good. It is crucial that those maps are viewed with a critical mind. On Skeptical Science (as opposed to Science Skeptical Blog) we have looked before at common graphical tricks used to exaggerate the Medieval Warm Period, which include the following: …

CO2 Non-Science

On CO2 Science the problem is not just the way they pick the graphs, but how they change them and interpret them. 

Both CO2 Science and its sister site Science Skeptical Blog use various methods or tricks to make the case for a global warm period during the medieval times. As can be seen with a critical look at the original papers and graphs, their conclusions don't hold water. In those pages we have a large collection of articles about paleoclimate, and we can't trust their conclusion or the graphs that we see because of many misrepresentations.
The story is half-told by pointing at a large set of data. Some scientists have actually used some of this data to make comparisons between current warming and the past (Mann et al 2008):
Figure 7: The new hockey stick (Mann et al. 2008). Temperature proxies for the last 1800 years. The red line shows direct measurements and various indirect measurements (ISPs) are in different colors.
Further reading
Other reviews of CO2 Science and its false interpretations can be found at Climate Shift, on Kevin Oxford and Climate Feedback  LINK

April 9, 2014

Climate Investigations Center: Craig Idso and Heartland Institute Climate Change Denial “NIPCC” Report
By Connor Gibson

Background briefing, April 2014
Craig Idso: “Climate change is good for you”

This week the Heartland Institute will release another chapter of its NIPCC, the “not the IPCC” document that will tell you the opposite of the main message that’s been coming from the prestigious IPCC, namely that climate change is a threat to security, food and mankind and especially a threat to the world's poor, along with ecosystems worldwide including coral reefs, polar regions, and the wildlife and myriad of creatures these ecosystems support.

Heartland Institute on the other hand, in its NIPCC “Climate Change Reconsidered II: the Biological Impacts” document, will say that climate change is good for the world, will have a net benefit for both plants and human health. This is the latest line run by right wing think tanks like Heartland, the coal industry’s ACCCE coalition, Peabody Coal, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and echoed across the blogosphere by climate deniers.

This set of messaging and all 'reports' to back this line, all appear to be coming from one organization, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and specifically from its chairman and former president, Craig Idso, one of the NIPCC’s lead authors, who has been arguing the same “C02 is beneficial” line for nearly 20 years, along with his father, Sherwood Idso.

Craig Idso, his father Sherwood B. Idso, and brother Keith Idso, founded Arizona-based organization in 1998.

The Center's claimed mission is to “separate reality from rhetoric in the emotionally-charged debate that swirls around the subject of carbon dioxide and global change.” Its main publication is CO2 Science, a weekly magazine that features articles questioning the science verifying man-made climate change and its impacts.

In 2012, leaked documents from the Heartland Institute revealed that they were paying Craig Idso $11,600 a month for his NIPCC work.  We do not know how much Idso has been paid since that time, or prior.

The organization’s total funding peaked in 2009 at $1.5 million a year. Funders have included ExxonMobil (total, $100,000 since 1998), Donors Trust, Sarah Scaife Foundation and a number of other right wing funders. See Conservative Transparency for a recent (but not full) breakdown. The Center's IRS 990’s are here at Citizen Audit.    LINK

July 10, 2016

Bankrupt Coal Miner Peabody Energy Paid Climate Denialist to Write Greenhouse Gas Reports
Graham Readfearn,, DeSmogBlog Report

A research center that has produced scores of reports dismissing the dangers of human-caused climate change was being paid by coal company Peabody Energy to produce reports about its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CSCDGC) is revealed as having historical financial ties to Peabody in the coal company's bankruptcy papers.
A DeSmog investigation has also uncovered undisclosed financial links between the center, run by veteran climate science denialist Craig Idso, and another contrarian group, the Science and Public Policy Institute.

Dr Idso, the chairman and founder of CSCDGC, has written many reports claiming that extra carbon dioxide is a benefit to the planet, while ignoring or downplaying the many negatives.

His work was used in a flawed report from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity -- a grouping of coal miners, transporters and burners -- which argued greenhouse gas emissions were a large net financial benefit to society. 

Other reports from the center include "The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment", "Problems with Model Predictions of Species Extinctions" and "Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: Boon or Bane of the Biosphere?"

Idso's brother Keith and father Sherwood are the only personnel listed on the center's website. A 2009 Mother Jones article described the Idsos as the "von Trapp family of climate science denial."

Craig Idso has been a regular speaker at Heartland Institute climate science denial conferences and was a driving force behind the organisation's Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports designed to challenged the UN's IPCC.  In December 2014 Idso appeared as a speaker at a conference organized by ALEC -- the conservative corporate bill mill which faced a corporate exodus over its climate science denial.

Ties to SPPI …

Idso a Peabody Director of Environmental Science

In a 2014 radio interview, Idso was asked if he had "any ties to any energy companies." He responded: "No I don't, actually."
In a statement to DeSmog, Idso said he had been hired by Peabody to develop the company's response to the Department of Energy's Voluntary Greenhouse Gas reporting program.

Idso was appointed Peabody's director of environmental science in 2001. He said he left the company the following year but continued to work as a consultant "for a few more years" to prepare annual reports as part of the greenhouse gas reporting program. …   LINK

MAY 1, 2013

Consider the Source: ALEC scientist says ‘enriching’ the atmosphere with CO2 is good for tomatoes  | Posted by John Adams

… Craig Idso is a member of a prominent family of global warming skeptics. In 2009 Mother Jones dubbed the Idso claim “the von Trapp family of climate change denial.”

Idso’s father, Sherwood Idso, in 1980 published a paper in Science concluding that doubling the planet’s CO2 concentration wouldn’t have a major impact on the global temperature, and thus “we should not be too quick to limit our options in the selection of future energy alternatives.”

Sherwood Idso and his colleagues at Arizona State University's Office of Climatology, which was headed by leading climate change skeptic Robert Balling, received more than $1 million in research funding from oil, coal, and utility interests.

In 1990, Sherwood Idso coauthored a paper with Balling funded by a coal mining company entitled "Greenhouse Cooling.”

Craig Idso launched the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change in 1998. He also worked as the director for environmental science at Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company. …”  LINK

December 4, 2009

No. 8: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (A.K.A. The Idso Family)
Meet the 12 loudest members of the chorus claiming that global warming is a joke and that CO2 emissions are actually good for you.
Josh Harkinson

The Idso clan is the von Trapp family of climate change denial. In 1980, paterfamilias Sherwood Idso, a self-described "bio-climatologist," published a paper in Science concluding that doubling the world's carbon dioxide concentration wouldn't change the planet's temperature all that much. In years that followed, Idso and his colleagues at Arizona State University's Office of Climatology received more than $1 million in research funding from oil, coal, and utility interests. In 1990, he coauthored a paper funded by a coal mining company, titled "Greenhouse Cooling."

In 1998, Idso's son Craig founded the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and began publishing CO2 Science, an online digest of climate change skepticism. He subsequently earned his PhD in geography from ASU under the tutelage of climate skeptic Robert Balling, then the director of its climatology program. 

In the early 2000s, Idso was director of environmental science at Peabody Energy, the world's largest privately owned coal company. After Peabody laid him off, he began aggressively fundraising for the center, whose budget increased from just north of $30,000 in 2004 to more than $1 million last year. Since 2006, the center has mounted a spirited defense of carbon dioxide using everything from ancient tree-ring data to elementary-school science experiments. … LINK

August 19, 2008

Posted by Olive Heffernan

I’m all for a website that distills climate science papers into something easily understood by the general public, especially if it avoids the hype and hysteria all too often employed by headline news.

Such is the claim of CO2 Science, a weekly newsletter published by the not for profit Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, with issues that include editorials, book and media reviews, and mini-reviews of the recent peer-reviewed literature.

But rather than its promise of “separating reality from rhetoric in the emotionally-charged debate that swirls around the subject of carbon dioxide and global change”, on the contrary CO2 Science twists the most recent science, ever so subtly, to suggest that there is no link between carbon dioxide levels and climate change.

For a case in point, check out the feature entitled “Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week”. This showcases records of temperature or environmental changes during the Medieval Warm Period (aka the Medieval Climate Anomaly). The conclusion is that if the MWP was warmer than present – still debated – obviously CO2 isn’t driving current warming. There is even a list of 576 scientists who have found evidence for the MWP – the thinly veiled conclusion being that they agree that an increase in CO2 isn’t behind the recent climate change.

FYI scientists – if you’ve ever compiled a climate record for the past 2,000 years, your name is probably there. These folks are thorough.

However, the most insidious feature of the website are the mini-reviews, where the editors (presumably the board) kindly reinterpret your results for you (beware of this in the MWP tracker as well). Here is their recent description of a 2007 Science paper by Stott et al: … LINK

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