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Climate disagreements: do PR firms matter?

Off-topic: Sheldon, Leonard, and Penny have tripled their income to $1 million per TBBT episode. Wow but probably deserved.
Climatedepot.com has picked a story of the day, an article in the Guardian
World's top PR companies rule out working with climate deniers
written by Suzanne Goldenberg and Nishad Karim. The title is dramatic, including the Holocaust-resembling expletive that similar inkspillers enjoy using, but if you read the article and even if you trust it, you will see that the content doesn't match the title. I know that you expect this discrepancy under any article signed by "Suzanne Goldenberg" (I am not aware of an honest article that this "lady" would have ever written) but I am just making sure that you don't forget about it.

Numerous PR companies, including the world's largest independently-owned P.R. company called Edelman (in the U.S.), indicated that they're fine with helping clients who are climate realists.

At any rate, I think that
  1. we have been drowning in the ocean of climate alarmist lies whose significant portion was produced or managed by P.R. firms
  2. it seems that this expensive attempt to brainwash the public isn't really working.
While the outrageous lies and demagogy supporting the climate hysteria is what is making many of us upset, we seem to think that this junk doesn't really matter. It means that the P.R. firms that are collaborating on this climate hysterical propaganda are both dishonest and parasitic because they're not really helping their clients.

Equally seriously, these companies are full of – often young and naive – people who actually believe the alarmist junk that they help to spread. Various people without education or rudimentary understanding of science. People – and yes, with an overrepresentation of women – who don't seem to care about the validity of the content and the quality control but who spend a lot of time how to convey a message so that someone will sleep with you and that will influence the message.

That's nice but it isn't really helpful to the jerks who want to spread the climate hysteria. More importantly, it's explicitly harmful to the economy, the human civilization, and even its ethical foundations such as the independence of science, the impartial evaluation of the facts, and the freedom of speech.

Many of the P.R. companies are doing some work whose usefulness for anyone isn't really being verified. They work as charities; the employees are recipient of the donations. I believe that the message is often being invented by the P.R. employees themselves – who are either uneducated or trained in humanities (which is almost the same thing when it comes to understanding of the climate) – and they are being paid so much money that they don't need to care whether they're hired sufficiently often to make living or whether their approach to the work is working.

The people who have a vested interest in the survival (or revival) of the climate hysteria seem to unambiguously believe Joseph Goebbels' propositions about the need to repeat lies in order to turn them into the truth. But is this strategy really working? I think that the surveys indicate that it is not working. Climate alarmists are wasting lots of money by paying for these useless (for them) and often counterproductive (even for them) campaigns.

Unfortunately, they still have lots of money left so the public will have to drown in this cesspool of alarmist excrements covered by a thick layer of P.R. deodorants for a few more years. But isn't it time for everyone to notice that despite the thick layer of P.R. deodorants, a huge fraction – and perhaps a majority – of the civilized world is simply not buying or devouring this šit?

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snail feedback (54) :

reader lukelea said...

The wisdom of crowds, maybe?

reader Curious George said...

World's top PR companies are not cheap. Alarmists clearly have a lot of money. They must be in pockets of the Big Oil.

reader Kimmo Rouvari said...

Eventually ongoing climate hype melts away. Ok, it might cost a bundle of money but so will every future hype as well. Make some popcorn and enjoy the show ;-)

reader Honza said...

Most of the religious concepts around the world are minimally counter-intuitive, and minimally counter-intuitive concepts are more memorable than other types of concepts.
But the stress is on the word minimally. And the PR agencies apparently forgot that. You have to be almost right, and they are simply totally wrong.

Also, you say: "Many of the P.R. companies are doing some work whose usefulness for anyone isn't really being verified." I would argue that the work they do is useful for somebody, at the minimum for THEMSELVES. They do get payed (somebody pays them, gives them donations), and that's what counts.
Is their strategy working? You bet. They are still getting billions of $ every month. So on the practical level, it is great. If the top alarmists will get fired today and will not get employed ever again in their life, they will still do fine. And even if they were right (about climate), nothing significant would happen in their lifetime. And tehy do not care about the "useful idiots" helping them for free. ;-)

reader Honza said...

Yes they are, but better yet, they are in pockets of governments! (Who do get a lot of money from oil products, often more than Big Oil themselves.) In some countries the tax is more than 50% of price of gasoline, in USA still around 18 %, and profit margin well below 5 %. So really, the true Bog Oil is the government.

reader John Archer said...

I think Darwin needs a helping hand here and that a suitable predator should to be introduced into this overly cosy PR eco-niche to control its population and reduce its harmful effects. You know, something sustainable.

I was thinking a few specimens of Homo Breivikus—enough to maintain a healthy pack at least—would be ideal.

reader Rasmus Hammar said...

Slightly off topic but since you sometimes write about Climatology you must find these things interesting. What do you find most interesting?

reader ny-ktahn said...

Some climate guy shared a fun message that had this little thing as part of content "This e-mail message and any attachment thereto is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the recipient or reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail communication in error, please notify us immediately by sending a reply e-mail message to the sender. Please delete the original message from your system. Thank you." fcuk we all read it

reader Edwin Steiner said...

To promote the likes of a psychopathic mass murderer who killed dozens of helpless children as something "healthy" is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

reader br said...

As someone relatively new to this blog, I have been catching up on the discussions. Still a long way to go! I was just starting to like the breath of fresh air, but have to disagree totally on the climate issues. Having written my own simulations (incoming solar radiation, absorption spectra, line-by-line radiative transfer, albedo effects, gas concentrations, feedback effects, ocean stratification...), it has become very clear to me that CO2 and H2O concentrations determine present temperature, and that increasing CO2 increases that temperature on the order of K (as opposed to say, mK). Everything I've simulated agrees with the 'alarmist' viewpoint - I think we should be alarmed! While I don't have a GCM, I guess that Lubos doesn't either. So why the strong opinion?

reader John Archer said...

Oh, I know.

That's what I thought when al beeb was rooting for mass-killer Bliar, and today when it's rooting for ISIS, Hamas and the Ukrainian 'government'.

'Disgusting' is now in vogue don'tcha know. You might say it's all the rage.

And this is considered perfectly 'acceptable' by those yoomanity-loving "Right on, man!" moralisers and ecofanatics:
Kiddies! Do what teacher 'suggests', OR ELSE.

You gotta lighten up and go with flow!

reader Richard Warren said...

If you see any be sure and let me know about it.

reader Gene Day said...

Because the global temperature increase is both minor and beneficial. The CO2 increase itself is much more beneficial in that photosynthesis is enhanced and drought resistance of plants in increased.
I challenge you to name a single harm coming from the increasing CO2 concentration.

reader br said...

The greater harm comes from warming - sea level rise in my mind is one of the hardest to mitigate, though extreme weather (droughts and floods) will also be a tough challenge. Lesser harm is ocean acidification. Without the atmosphere, the Earth would be around 254 K, while it is measured at around 287 K, so there is already a 33 K warming (this is not minor!) due to historically present 'greenhouse gases', and the physics for this is well known. Adding more greenhouse gases will increase the 33 K value further. That a large amount of heat has been sunk into the oceans in the last ten years is no consolation - that will make itself felt as the currents shift.

reader Kimmo Rouvari said...

I agree, what Breivik did is something very very wrong and disgusting.

reader John Archer said...

Does your model give those same signature hotspots high in the tropical troposphere as the konsensus-team models do, and does it reproduce the 17-year (or whatever) hiatus in global temperature increase?

Do you have an opinion on Nir Shaviv's take on the effect of cosmic rays on cloud nucleation and his view that the forcings assumed by the konsensus team are consequently rather on the high side, that they don't take it into account — the effect of clouds being the "dominant uncertainty in global circulation models"? It probably has something to do with their albedo, but you've got a handle on that, right?

Will you have your model peer-reviewed, or is just for settling the science personally?

Must rush. There's a bloke down the pub tonight selling guaranteed winning lottery tickets at half price. Gotta go!

reader John Archer said...

Well, I suppose it had to go somewhere. The deep ocean seems a pretty good idea. It's gonna be hard to find down there so lots more funding and career opportunities for the annointed. Whoopee! Brilliant!

reader Rehbock said...

Without the atmosphere?

The thing about climate is that it always changes. The "climate science" supporting what you say frequently changes.

The thing about life is it adapts. Not sure that sea level changes aren't beneficial. Provides employment. Netherlands has held back centuries the sea and made themselves a bundle on tourism and trade.

reader Curious George said...

I am extremely interested. Would you mind sharing your code?

reader Richard Warren said...

Personally, without being a GCM (or even knowing what that is), I have a strong opinion against global warming alarmists because they (at least those advocates who get the most publicity) have shown themselves to be disingenuous, self-righteous, condescending bullies who (to all appearances) are a part of or allied with forces that represent the atavistic collectivist tendencies of mankind, and whose policies have done, and continue to do, enormous damage to the well being of every person on Earth.
That being said, I would appreciate it if you could point to some transparent source or sources that you think might convince an open minded person (purely hypothetical of course) that the concept of global temperature has any real meaning, that it is increasing, that people are causing that increase, that there is sound reason to think that the effects of that increase will be negative, that the measures put forth to fight global warming would not be futile, and that the net "cost" of those negative effects will not be less that the costs of those measures. It would be good if the "authors" are not obviously self interested. Having lived through the last half of the 20th century, and the beginning of the 21st, and having studied a good bit of the history of the preceding decades, and having some first hand knowledge of how governments do things, I admit to a certain bias against governmental sources of information.

reader Gene Day said...

I hope you don’t have visions of becoming a scientist ,br.
1) The increasing CO2 has had no measurable effect on sea levels and it is possible that it never will. Complete cessation of fossil-fuel burning would cause untold human suffering and the seas in the year 2100 would still be within eight inches (more likely four inches) of the level that will happen if we do absolutely nothing about the increasing CO2.
2) There is zero evidence that the slight decrease in ocean alkalinity has caused or will cause any harm whatsoever.
3) If we had no atmosphere you state that the average global temperature would be 254 deg K = -19 deg C = - 2 deg F. It’s still pretty cold even with the atmosphere and more CO2 is a good thing! BRRRRR.
You have a lot to learn.

reader Gene Day said...

Your questions are good ones and your skepticism is fully warranted. I could answer all of your questions as could our host but let me just say that global temperature has meaning only if you take a global average (of the lower troposphere). Terrestrial temperature measurements, of course, are not global and one has to be very circumspect in dealing with them. It is likely that human activities are contributing but the contribution is small and, no doubt, a good thing. Most of all, though, the cost of fighting GW would be horrendous and the benefit zero or even negative. On the whole, increasing CO2 is a good thing; it benefits us all.
I don’t necessarily share your bias against governmental sources of information despite the fact that much of our “climate science” is self-serving and government funded. One has to be skeptical of all sources and demand proper rigor irrespective of the source.
You are a thoughtful man, Richard, and it would be good to hear more from you on TRF. I am sure that you would be most welcome here.

reader Gene Day said...

Shaviv is a first-rate scientist. You will do well to take him seriously.

reader Honza said...

To your point 2 (you are right there) - most of people is clueless enough to overlook this - increased level of CO2 (at any reasonable concentration within hundreds of ppm) has practically no chance to cause measurable drop in alkalinity (Calculation is not that difficult. It will never make it acidic either.), but mixing sea water with some pure water at pH 7 or lower (as in rain, or rain water runoff) can bring down the pH quite substantially. Consequently, any creature which can withstand rain does not really have to worry about CO2 level increase. ;-)

reader Avraham rosenblum said...

There are several problems with computer modeling. See A Skeptic's Guide to Computer Models
J. D. Sterman.

Also the formulas can can skip infinities. This last problem in one I learned about in some linear algebra course but it was not mentioned by Sternman.

reader Avraham rosenblum said...

Any model is only as good as its

reader br said...

"Will you have your model peer-reviewed, or is just for settling the science personally?"
It is for settling the science personally. I am always open to new information and read both sides of any argument. So for example, Lockwood and Froehlich argued against Naviv. Then Naviv responded (I see Lubos even has it on this very blog, in 2007!). And so it goes. Of course we would like to know, and measure, all factors in climate change, so let's keep going.

reader br said...

Of course, but it has physics in it, rather than just a random opinion!

reader John Archer said...

I fully agree. Listening to Nir Shaviv is like taking a breath of fresh air.

But I'm not sure if you haven't misunderstood me. Your second sentence would be better worded as "One will do well to take him seriously" which I most certainly do. As it stands one might easily get the impression from it that you think I don't.

'You' is often substituted for 'one' in conversational English with no misleading or harmful effects and is therefore generally unproblematic for all but the most punctilious about grammar. However, in this case, especially as it is used in a direct reply, it could be very misleading indeed.

I would be very grateful if you would amend your comment accordingly.

reader br said...

" I would appreciate it if you could point to some transparent source or sources that you think might convince an open minded person"

I like this website: http://www.skepticalscience.com/

Any objections?

"that the measures put forth to fight global warming would not be futile"
that's a tough one, I don't have a strong opinion on it, but do think it would be a mistake just to ignore it and think "everything is going to be ok". Nature doesn't care about human inconvenience, so we have to take care of ourselves!

reader br said...

" Our oceans and our lands are quite safe, as a whole."
How do you know?

reader br said...

"You have a lot to learn."
And am willing to do so! Fortunately I am a scientist already (though not in climatology ;) ), so can handle whatever you throw at me.
I see you make a lot of predictions. What are they based on?

reader br said...

"The thing about climate is that it always changes"
Sure, but this is a physics blog, so I guess we all agree that there are reasons for things happening? It is not just some random thing, right?

reader br said...

" The deep ocean seems a pretty good idea"

Not just an idea, it has been found already:

reader John Archer said...

Fair enough. Each must judge for himself, however he goes about it.

Changing the subject slightly. Do you have any concerns about the probity of those in the alarmist camp?

reader br said...

"increased level of CO2 ... has practically no chance to cause measurable drop in alkalinity"

What do you make of:
"The [present] fossil fuel acidification is much faster than natural changes, and so the acid spike will be more intense than the earth has seen in at least 800,000 years."

reader br said...

I do wonder whether climate sensitivity is lower than the 'consensus' view. However, it is also clear to me (from a physics point of view) that atmospheric CO2 increases surface temperature, and is already a significant contributor to our 'baseline' temperature. Therefore I think it worse to say 'don't worry about emitting CO2, it doesn't make much difference' than to say 'watch out! we know CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it may increase T by another 3 K!'. I agree we may need a bit more time to refine the numbers, I'll give it another 5 years to see which way things go.

reader br said...

"There are several problems with computer modelling."
of course, and it is good to know the limitations and keep updating them as new information comes in. Yet how else can one get a reason based prediction into uncharted territory?

reader br said...

As I always try to read both sides of an argument, I found the following link, which seems like the other side to the one Shaviv is presenting. It even includes quite a bit of the same data, but comes to the opposite conclusion!


reader John Archer said...

How much store should one place in these 'ocean+' models and how much do the apparent correlations indicate cause and effect?

The fact that, for example, unlike the GCM model forecasts, there is no observed 'signature' tropical tropospheric hotspot, and that their treatment of the effect clouds is controversial doesn't exactly fill one with confidence in these modellers' creations.

Without getting deeply involved oneself it's hard to know if these fellows don't just keep tweaking things until they get the results they want and then stop. I've had similar reservations, though far less intense, about modelling in a completely unrelated field in which I have experience so I've seen the pathology before. But here, given their past performance and all their blustering, they've lost lost any credibility they might have had as far as I'm concerned.

QUOTE (from your link):
"...which seems to support the modeling" [My emphasis]

Right. That's that then. Case closed. Let's go to lunch. Meanwhile we'll tell the politicos they can continue to turn the world upside down to save the planet.

reader br said...

"It sounds as if yours is merely a very simple 'cardboard-cutout' model"
to which I would agree. Knowing those limitations, I would not put my neck out to say "therefore the climate sensitivity is X". On the other hand I have heard arguments ranging from "CO2 is such a small fraction of the atmosphere it couldn't possibly make a difference" to "CO2 absorption is saturated, so adding more couldn't possibly make a difference", to which I can reply that neither argument is the case. All the sub-parts I have looked at agree with what the GCMs say, so that raises my confidence in them, but I agree that there may be effects left out, or glossed over, that may still be important. The most important number I find is that we already know there is a 33 K 'greenhouse effect', so therefore that *is* important.

reader Avraham rosenblum said...

I can only answer that I think everyone should read that essay by Sterman. Sure computer modeling is a great tool--and C2 does absorb heat..But still that essay points out problems that I think people should be aware of.

reader RAF III said...

Please stop feeding the troll. For the children!

reader Brute said...

PR companies are in business to make money.

Green institutions have oodles of it and are willing to throw it away.

End of story.

reader br said...

I presume this is aimed at me. My position is that I am willing to do the work, read all sides and update my probabilities consistently with everything I know. Can't ask for more than that, I guess. For example, I just found and had a good read of http://motls.blogspot.ie/2010/03/john-cook-skeptical-science.html . So now I know a bit more about Lubos' position and the general 'atmosphere' of this blog. I'm glad he agrees that a doubling of CO2 gives a 'bare' forcing of about 1.2 K, we can go from there, hopefully in a civil manner :)

reader RAF III said...

Pretentious? Moi?

reader papertiger0 said...

who don't seem to care about the validity of the content and the quality control but who spend a lot of time how to convey a message so that someone will sleep with you and that will influence the message.

Could you elaborate on this part? It sounds like you are saying Greenpeace is providing Al Gore with massage therapists.

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, first of all, I don't think that Greenpeace is a P.R. firm, and my statement was about P.R. firms, not environmentalist NGOs. But frankly, it could have been about both, I think. So I think that a general claim similar to yours often holds both for Greenpeace *and* P.R. firms. But they're really sleeping with others as well, in order to spread... the message. Sleeping just with the preacher does no good in spreading his... I don't mean just sexually transmitted diseases but also the propaganda which is usually sicker than the STDs.

reader Alice Cheshire said...

I would hardly call "Skeptical Science" a good source of scientific information. It's mostly an activist site and some of the writers have been guilty of very, very poor "research". It is good if you want to understand those who advocate's position, but don't expect science or impartiality from the site.
Try Scienceofdoom. This site discusses science and not politics.

reader Alice Cheshire said...

The ocean is basic and will remain so due to buffering. I cannot find any sources that claim ocean pH will drop below 7. Also, using "twice as fast" is a method of detracting from the actual small change that occurs. If one actually looked at all biological processes, there are millions that at time progress twice as fast as they did before. It's completely meaningless and designed to frighten.

reader RAF III said...

Come on Alice - get with the program.

reader John Archer said...


Are you suggesting br is deploying tar babies here?

Surely not!


reader RAF III said...

Of course I'm not suggesting such a thing. I'm stating it.

reader Paulo Paiva said...

Hi, Lubos, IF you want to know about Dugin, this debate is fundamental. I hope you find it informative: http://debateolavodugin.blogspot.com.br/.