Mad Mel’s list of sceptical ‘climate-related scientists’


1:45 pm - December 8th 2009

by Unity    


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If the furore surrounding the hacking of a webmail server at UEA’s Climate Research Unit has achieved anything at all it’s been to push the issue of scientific probity and integrity firmly into the spotlight. By far the most damning, but still unproven, allegation levelled at the CRU’s scientists is that they deliberated distorted and manipulated the evidence to shore up AGW theory and, on the basis that I’m entirely in agreement with the proposition that distortion and manipulation of evidence is a bad thing I think it only fair that we apply that same standard to some of the arguments put forward by some self-styled AGW ‘sceptics’.

Oh, screw it – we’re not talking about genuine sceptics here, we talking about Mad Mel, who’s used her blog at the Spectator to direct yet another signature rant at the BBC (as recommended by Iain Dale) because it neglected to put up a complete fruit-loop against Ed Miliband on the Today programme.
She goes on to state that:

This was just yet more anti-scientific ignorance and ideological propaganda. There is no such ‘overwhelming consensus’ of scientists; more than 700 of the most distinguished climate-related scientists are on record expressing deep scepticism of AGW. Is Miliband saying therefore that these eminent scientists are themselves ‘profoundly irresponsible’? Does Miliband even know they exist?

She’s most likely referring here to a list of allegedly sceptical scientists compiled by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma/Exxon-Mobil) who, just from his biography on Wikipedia, looks to be a bigoted wackaloon after Mad Mel’s own heart. He loves God, Israel, torturing Iraqi prisoners and his campaign contributions from the oil, gas and energy industries – in 2002 he received more oil and gas contributions than anyone other than Texas senator John Cornyn – and he hates immigrants, gays and genuine climate scientists.

Inhofe was, until the Democrats took control of Congress, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and he remains the ranking minority member on that committee. Its from that position that he published an initial list of 400 scientists that he identified as AGW ‘sceptics’, a list that since expanded on twice, raising the number of alleged sceptics to, first, 650 and more recently to around 700.

It’s this list that Mad Mel is referring to as containing ‘more than 700 of the most distinguished climate-related scientists’ and, as you might well imagine, it’s mostly a complete crock of shit.

In July, this year, the Center for Inquiry, an independent US-based organisation that is committed to defending scientific integrity published a first-order analysis of the 687 people listed in the ‘Inhofe list’ as of January 2009. It found that:

–          Slightly under 10% of the individuals on the list could actually be identified as climate scientists.

–          Around 15% of those listed had actually published in the recognisable refereed [peer reviewed] literature on subjects related to climate science

–          Around 80% had no refereed publication record on climate science whatsoever – and

–          Around 4% were on record as favouring the current IPCC-2007 consensus and should not, therefore, have been included on the list.

It appears that the main method used by Inhofe to compile his list has been that of quote-mining articles from newspapers and blogs for anything that sounds vague sceptical so, as you might well imagine, there are several documented cases of bona fide climate scientists who’ve found themselves added to list on the strength of comments taken entire of context or because of published misrepresentations of the work, views and opinions.

Only three of the individuals on the Inhofe list are among the 618 listed authors of the IPCC Working Group 1 report for AR4 (2007). Of these only one, John Christy, is actually a sceptic. The other two, Erich Roeckner and Oliver Fraunfeld make the list due to the quote-mining methods used in its creation.

Perhaps the prime example of deliberately misleading quote-mining on the list relates to Dr Joanne Simpson, a former NASA atmospheric scientist who is quoted by Inhofe as having said:

Since I am no longer affiliated with any organisation nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly … As a scientist I remain sceptical.

Ellipsis alert! There’s something missing from that quotation, and that something turns out to be this:

What should we as a nation do? Decisions have to be made on incomplete information. In this case, we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC because if we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable. But as a scientist I remain skeptical.

Remember, manipulating the evidence is a bad thing.

The list also contains some fine examples of resume inflation and it fair share of creationists, including Chris Allen, a TV weatherman at a Fox affiliate in Kentucky who has no college-level qualifications and Prof, Edward Blick of the University of Oklahoma.

For more background information on the Inhofer list, there’s a good selection of links provided by Greenfyre, including a list of sceptical economists, many of whom appear to share Inhofe’s taste for petrodollars.

I have, however, saved the best until last.

While I was looking through the full list I came across a name that would mean little or nothing to the mostly American bloggers who’ve been investigating the Inhofe list but which will be so much more familiar to LC’s largely British audience…

…because there, on the list of “more than 700 of the most distinguished climate-related scientists are on record expressing deep scepticism of AGW” I found the very well known horticulturalist, BBC TV gardener and occasional chat show host Alan Titchmarsh.

Seriously, I am not joking here… he is genuinely on the Inhofe list of ‘scientists’ who are also, allegedly, AGW sceptics, the one that Mad Mel claims is made up of ‘distinguished climate-related scientists’.

You couldn’t make it up, and I’m not.

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About the author
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Reader comments


Thanks, I was trying to Google something on this and getting nowhere. You’ve saved me some angst…

Before the estimable Mr Titchmarsh’s judgment is questioned, here’s his website
(http://www.alantitchmarsh.com/index.htm?ac=CDZRG-Q)

‘Climate change bringing drier summers & wetter winters have heightened the extreme weather conditions.’

Not written by him, but by his ‘regional reporter’ Shirley, but surely he’d have exercised editorial rights had he been a sceptic.

Philips describes Ed Miniblair as a “zealot”.

Anything else reckon that if someone Mel disagreed with had used the word “zealot”, she’d have accused them of anti-semitism?

Could someone hazard a guess as to the number of articles or poster who try to undermine what Melanie Phillips has to say?

Is there anyone at Liberal Conspiracy who hasn’t had a go? It amuses me how you seem to live off here every appearance / comment.

Okay, the article that got Titchmarsh on the list is this one – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/3668379/Back-to-nature.html – and his specific comments were:

‘I wish we could grow up about it,’ he says. ‘I’m sure we are contributing to global warming, and we must do all we can to reduce that, but our climate has always changed. The Romans had vineyards in Yorkshire. We’re all on this bandwagon of ‘Ban the 4×4 in Fulham’. Why didn’t we have global warming during the Industrial Revolution? In those days you couldn’t have seen across the street for all the carbon emissions and the crap coming out of the chimneys.’ He pauses for breath, then smiles. ‘Sorry, bit of a tirade there.’

Surely he worries that global warming may threaten some of the species in his series. But this doesn’t seem to bother him too much. ‘We’ll lose some, we’ll gain others,’ he says. ‘Wildlife is remarkably tenacious. Nature always copes.’

@3

What can I say… with such a rich vein of stupidity on offer it would be remiss of us not to mine it from time to time,

Unity re: Comment 6,

More like every two to three days.

Such regularity makes you sound like shcool children complaining about teacher.

Kojak,

I disagree. Melanie Philips is, god help us, an influential voice in the media. Rapid rebuttal is the only way to do with this sort of stuff.

That’s Professor Titchmarsh to you.

Could someone hazard a guess as to the number of articles or poster who try to undermine what Melanie Phillips has to say?

Cos otherwise the sad tits like you who invariably turn up to accuse LC of Mad Mel obsession would have nothing to do.

“This was just yet more anti-scientific ignorance and ideological propaganda”

Mad Mel is projecting again.

The Right is reverting to it’s old habits of burglary, and criminal theft to try to make it’s point. Just like Watergate we now have climate gate.

And with the news that a climate research centre has been broken into in Canada we can see, just like Watergate this is being orchestrated by powerful, wealthy elites who want noting to stop their greed.

The fact that Mad Mel and all the other suspects are nothing more than stenographers for their wealthy corporate masters is no surprise.

Don’t go into the comments of you value your sanity.

My favourite (possibly ever), after spouting some anti-scientifi claptrap…

“Nobody tells me that, apart from the Devil’s Kitchen.”

What is interesting about this is how the Conservatives have sold out to the loons and the mad people.

The Conservative base is now as wing nut and stupid as the base of the Republican party. The party of Churchill has become the party of Dale and Clarkson and Mel.

I have never believed a word call me Dave says and I think if he wins, all science matters will have to be run past the anti science Mad Mels of this world.

By the way Mel, when are you going to apologise for causing an increase in measles through your idiot ranting about science?

By the way Mel, when are you going to apologise for causing an increase in measles through your idiot ranting about science?

This is a very good answer to Kojak’s question @4.

All this distracts from the real climate swindle which is carbon trading.

Number of posts in November: 160

Number about Melanie Philips: 2

Perhaps one of two more might mention her but it’s hardly worth your time coming here saying “leave her alone!” “you’re obsessed!”.

Sir, I put it to you, that you are, in fact, the one who is obsessed.

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Now I’ve cluttered this thread up nicely I would like to say I agree with Derek Wall, but I think carbon credit trading are the least worst, most possible alternative.

I’m far less pleased than Krugman is but it is at least a start.

A Carbon tax would be lovely, but I think its unlikely to get everyone involved and there is already a catch-all anti-tax lobby even larger than the anti-AGW lobby which I’m not sure we have time and resources to tackle too.

Alan Titchmarsh? That nice, gentle… gardener?

Honestly, just when you think these people cannot get any more desperate and ridiculous. That is hilarious.

Left Outside re: Comment 16,

Kind of you to cut and paste and highlght the named topics.

“Perhaps one of two more might mention her but it’s hardly worth your time coming here saying “leave her alone!” “you’re obsessed!”.”

‘One or two’ is an underestimate on a grand scale – worthy of a UEA email.
As you appear to have the time to identify the named posts could you go through all the others to see how often her name is mentioned – that way you will see where the obsession resides ……… here at Liberal Conspiracy.

Google suggests that ~2% of LibCon pages mention Melanie Phillips.

Kojak, I’ve provided the link, all you have to do is open each post press ctrl+f “mel” and ignore any references to Homelessness or Melanin.

Careful, Left Outside: doing such things as actually looking at the facts before declaring fatwas on the left might blow Kojak’s very vulnerable mind.

You do seem somewhat obsessed with Mel. And can I point you to a good argument as to precisely why we shouldn’t ignore the climate change sceptics.

http://www.the-vibe.co.uk/2009/12/08/bensnook/what-the-climate-scientists-arent-telling-us-never-trust-a-scientist/

21 + 22 + 23,

And just when I am being accused of being obsessed with Melanie Phillips up pops yet another Liberal Conspiracy article linking to her articles:

http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2009/12/09/class-war-quiz/

It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

How come you don’t single out Peter Hitchens? Isn’t he scary enough?

DG @ 23, I liked that link you did. That’s how I feel. I too am skeptical about climate change, because I’m not an expert. Just like I am skeptical about a lot of things. NATO’s invasion plans for Iraq and Afghanistan left me feeling skeptical, as were plans for surges in troop numbers in those countries.
I hope everyone was skepital about Paul Bremer and Donald Rumsfeld from day one.

George Monbiot is a real turn off for me.

”Clive James isn’t a climate change sceptic, he’s a sucker – but this may be the reason.
My fiercest opponents on global warming tend to be in their 60s and 70s. This offers a fascinating, if chilling, insight into human psychology”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/02/climate-change-denial-clive-james

” I too am skeptical about climate change, because I’m not an expert. Just like I am skeptical about a lot of things. NATO’s invasion plans for Iraq and Afghanistan left me feeling skeptical, as were plans for surges in troop numbers in those countries.”

Except the architechts of the Iraq and Afghansitan wars have also been very influential in the “climate change sceptism” camp. The neo-cons and the corporations that support them are exactly the ones who have spent decades and billions of dollars in promoting the “do nothing, its all made up” view on GW. So logically your skepticism about the figures in the bush administration should cause you to be skeptical of their views on AGW.

BTW – I too am skeptical about chest infections, because I am not an expert. So when I had a bad chest, I decided that rather than consult several doctors and do something about it, I’d consult the internet – who told me chest infections were a lie dreamed up by governments looking for an excuse to tax me.

I am now dead. Good job Hell has wi fi eh?

I would certainly be skeptical about neo-con opinion on climate change too. Very much so. I tried reading a couple of books, but the science got too heavy. It seems you have to know everything about the earth and the solar system and how everything reacts with everything else, that it all gets too complicated.
But my skeptism is more about what we should do about it, and the individual led anti-consumer ”politics” that is put out to promote being concerned about your personal carbon footprint.
And so, another thread on this website is titled ”Concern about climate change ‘highest ever’ ”.
Most people understand this stuff like they understand the Lisbon Treaty on Europe.

I’m in an all night internert cafe in Kuala Lumpur right know. 50 brand new Samsung computors and the air conditioning on 24/7 so cold that I have to wear my jacket when I’m in here. It fills up with young people playing the very latest computor games and drinking soft drinks from the fridge.
Outside many businesses and street cafes are open 24 hours too. There is a 24 hour 7-11 shop on nearly ever corner, and everything comes in disposable bottles and packaging. In my hotel I had to ask them to turn the air conditioner down as it was too cold.
Same on some on the buses or in the cinema. You walk about in light clothing because its hot outside, then inside it’s too cold.
Maybe George Monbiot needs to come over and lecture them.

So my skepticism is more, that back in England when you hear some event like the Glastonbury festival, going on about how they are using ”locally sourced” cooking fat to power some of their generators and biodegradable tent pegs and such, when it makes no difference what so ever. It’s just boring.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Ged Robinson

    RT @libcon: :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  2. Tim Ireland

    RT @davorg: RT @antonvowl: You must read this all the way to the end. Kaboom! http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  3. Brendan O'Connell

    Liberal Conspiracy » Mad Mel’s list of sceptical ‘climate-related scientists’ http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  4. Bristle KRS

    RT @antonvowl: You must read this all the way to the end. Kaboom! http://bit.ly/85AHy8 « Titchmarsh FTW!

  5. J-P Stacey

    Melanie Phillips likes the list of #climatechange "skeptics"… but who's on it? Read to the end. http://bit.ly/85AHy8 (via @antonvowl)

  6. samedney

    RT @jpstacey: Melanie Phillips likes the list of #climatechange "skeptics"… but who's on it? Read to the end. http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  7. Catherine Neilan

    hehehe what a tit(chmarsh) http://tinyurl.com/yer7oeb

  8. JamieSW

    RT @libcon: :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  9. Richard Wilson

    RT @bloggerheads: RT @libcon :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  10. Richard Wilson

    Melanie Philips denounces Ed Miliband for not taking Inhofe's dodgy 'climate expert' list seriously: http://bit.ly/85AHy8 (via @libcon)

  11. Richard Wilson

    More toxic pseudo-journalism from the Spectator: http://bit.ly/4HbV1Y – Nice take-down from @libcon here: http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  12. marisa faizul

    RT @jamiesw: RT @libcon: :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  13. Pete Cooper

    RT Melanie Phillips likes the list of climate change "skeptics"… but who's on it? Read to the end. http://bit.ly/85AHy8 (@jpstacey et al)

  14. David Smith

    RT @antonvowl: You must read this all the way to the end. Kaboom! http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  15. Matt Sellwood

    RT @libcon :: Melanie Phillip's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  16. Nicholas Stewart

    #LiberalConspiracy Mad Mel’s list of sceptical ‘climate-related scientists’ http://tinyurl.com/yer7oeb

  17. Paul Evans

    Have a look? Mad Mel’s list of sceptical ‘climate-related scientists’ http://url4.eu/teMW

  18. Tim Holmes

    RT @libcon: :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  19. Convenient Lies

    RT @libcon: :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  20. Liberal Conspiracy

    :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  21. antonvowl

    You must read this all the way to the end. Kaboom! http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  22. Tim Ireland

    RT @libcon :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  23. topsy_top20k_en

    :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  24. Dave Cross

    RT @antonvowl: You must read this all the way to the end. Kaboom! http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  25. Lawrence Mills

    RT @libcon :: Mad Mel's list of sceptical 'climate-related scientists' http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  26. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by libcon: :: Mad Mel’s list of sceptical ‘climate-related scientists’ http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  27. Martin Burns

    Ah, there's a name for it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger (via http://bit.ly/85AHy8 @bloggerheads @antonvowl)

  28. Martin Burns

    Ah, there's a name for it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger (via http://bit.ly/85AHy8 @bloggerheads @antonvowl @libcon)

  29. Sim-O

    RT @antonvowl: You must read this all the way to the end. Kaboom! http://bit.ly/85AHy8 <-excellent piece

  30. Sim-O

    @kevolutionary Mel Phillips list of sceptical climate change deniers, it's gotta nice punchline http://is.gd/5gk1z

  31. NRG

    RT: @antonvowl You must read this all the way to the end. Kaboom! http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  32. Jonathan Treadway

    The venerable Alan Titchmarsh is included on the list of sceptical climate change scientists http://tiny.cc/hgX8J

  33. Slightly more on the Global Warming fury « Freethinking Economist

    […] Liberal Conspiracy do a great job disassembling one of those “lists of 700 scientists being shamefully ignored by the grand conspiracy to fool us into cycling everywhere”.  Why exactly does Mel believe all this stuff?  What is it about thinking that we are about to be overrun by Islamists that also gives a person really definite views on the molecular properties and climate-affecting characteristics of certain carbon-based consequences of economic activity? […]

  34. maya kalev

    Liberal Conspiracy » Mad Mel’s list of sceptical ‘climate-related scientists’ http://bit.ly/85AHy8

  35. Class, narratives and Jim Inhofe on climate change « Though Cowards Flinch

    […] very small minority of scientists disagree, though many of these have nothing to do with climate-change disciplines. Vociferous members of the commentariat also disagree – no one is […]

  36. Duncan Stott

    To everyone saying Alan Titchmarsh isn't substantial: he's actually a distinguished climate scientist! http://bit.ly/b2OzCt

  37. Alex Hartley-Revolve

    RT @DuncanStott: To everyone saying Alan Titchmarsh isn't substantial: he's actually a distinguished climate scientist! http://bit.ly/b2OzCt

  38. Simon Charles S

    @LandscapeMan @EWGardens http://bit.ly/hCbVSW 11:44 in





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