Monthly Archives: September 2014

Does Climate Nuremberg have a rival?

If you thought CN was the only player in its space, good news: it appears we may have company. That’s right. It looks as though another blog is providing equally serious, equally credible analysis for readers who are just as concerned about climate change as you, if not more so. No spin, no bullshit and definitely no irony.

It’s called HotWhopper. We recommend you go there, read it and believe everything it says—that’s how correct it is.

Here’s a quick foretaste of just how literally you can trust “Sou,” the genius behind HotWhopper. Let me quote her almost preternaturally perceptive account of the Q & A session following Dr Mann’s lecture in Bristol:

[T]he questions weren’t bad, but not as hard-hitting as Michael Mann or some in the audience would have liked. In particular, there didn’t seem to be any questions from fake sceptics, which was probably a disappointment to Michael Mann and the organisers.

UPDATE For the information of the small handful of CN readers who never took High Medieval French, a sou is a unit of currency equal to 12 deniers.

How to debate anti-climate people

1. Don’t.

Science is all about debate.

Science welcomes debate! Without debating, there is no science. Science is debate.

On the other hand, nobody actually means this.

When graciously declining an invitation to debate, a gentleman scientist always explains:

Debating deniers would be like mudwrestling with pigs.

(They’d win, you could get seriously hurt—pigs are pretty strong!—and you’d just end up humiliated, bemerded and bawling a stream of excuses for losing to an opponent that, let’s be frank, is somewhat dirty and subhuman.)

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Scared Witless: The New Science Site that Gets the Communication Right

In a recent post we broke the news that a heroic band of scientists was finally making Australia proud. I’m talking about the Scared Scientists, of course.

Sadly, a number of readers have questioned whether it actually takes courage to have the courage to admit you’re scared of climate change.

Er, yes. Yes it does. The great medieval figure Edward “Ed” Stark explained this better than any science communicator could:

Bran thought about it.
‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.

Speaking of historical dramas, my thirteen-year-old thinks he’s getting the 300 box set for his birthday tomorrow. But I reckon he’ll be stoked when he opens his actual present: a donation in his name to the Scared Scientists!

(The ScS team has finally listened to the demands of ordinary climate mums and dads around the country and added a PayPal button on every single page of their site.)

Denialists are already chuckling at the small numbers of the Scared—and missing the point, as usual.

The Scientists may be just eight—for now—but as my teenager might say, “Are they not therefore so much the more fully sick than that pretty-boy Leonidas, who needed 299 mates to help him lose a fight? To a bunch of Bronze Age illiterates?”

With scientists increasingly convinced that climate change could be even more decisive for Western civilization than Thermopylae, the names of Flannery, Steffen, England, Perkins, Hughes, Ajani, Macreadie and Murray have already inscribed themselves in immortality.

Win or (god forbid) lose, we who survive will remember them.

Besides, standing up for the consensus has always been lonely work.

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No, Winter is Not Coming

An open letter to J.R.R. Martin and the makers of HBO’s Game of Thrones

Dear Sers,

You’ll never find a bigger fan of your awesome period drama, A Game of Thrones.

I’ve downloaded just about every episode. GoT has become a fixture in the Keyes household, where we’re already halfway through Season 4—and itching to see Tyrion get what’s coming to him!

Of course, we all want to protect our kids from the more horrific aspects of the real world. (It’s only human.) But they have to learn about English history somewhere, and I’ve always said the best place is the home, where it’s safe to ask questions. So we have a rule at our house: if you’re old enough for kindergarten you’re old enough for Monday-night family hour in the computer room.

That’s why it’s so sad when Game of Thrones gets the science wrong.

‘Winter is Coming,’ really?!

That’s how you say ‘Fake Future News’ in just three words.

Climate parenting is tricky at the best of times, but the last thing any of us need is a bawling 4-year-old who demands to be reassured that No, sweetheart, a resumption of geohistorically normal conditions (or quote-unquote ‘reglaciation’) is not coming.


Some of you may even be climate parents yourselves!

We, the climate community, respectfully hope you will work with us, not against us. Together, there’s no reason we can’t get the science and the events of the Wars of the Roses right.

Of course, I appreciate that it’s no small thing to correct a catchphrase central to your intellectual property. So I’ve taken the liberty of debunking the objections I expect you have, as follows.

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Latest climate concern study: Climate change worry to impact 1 in 2 countries by 2050

Results of the newest computer modeling, to be published in next month’s Nature, warn that half the nations on Earth will contain someone negatively affected by climate-change thoughts by mid-century.

To date, the worst impacts of climate science on global consciousness have failed to materialize as predicted.

But while scientists can’t say what’s causing our current period of climate calmness, they’ve always known it’s just temporary.

The new paper finally provides hard, empirical vindication of this. Based on a computer simulation of the vagaries of human beliefs, attitudes and intellectual fashions, it envisions global climate equanimity running out even sooner than expected.

For once, the authors quip in their conclusion, it’s better than we thought.

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For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback

One of the more amusing things about running Climate Nuremberg is the sheer number of conspiracy theories to which it’s given rise among certain—shall we say—elements of the blogosphere.

Apparently the website’s name—the first thing that popped into my head in the Bavarian hotel room where I happened to start blogging—is anything from a cunning attempt to throw my critics off the scent of my IP address to a sinister allusion to World War II (yes, really—don’t ask).

Things got especially bizarre when, during another climate-related European travel commitment, I made the innocent mistake of experimenting with the tagline, “Musings from Germany on climate, science and climate science.”

Invention! Identity fraud! Spoofing! Call the WordPress Abuse Hotline!

(An oversight on the part of my research assistant—who failed to update the tagline once I got back to my Sydney office—probably reinforced the impression among impressionable folk that I was somehow being disingenuous about my whereabouts.)

I should probably thank everyone who’s shared their conjectures about my motives online. It’s all data, and data is good. A colleague of mine, well known in the climate psychology world, is putting the finishing touches on a fascinating paper about all this. I won’t reveal his name, because the poor guy has already had to uproot his family once to get away from vicious ad hominem assaults on his data and methods. It would be a shame if the same pursuers forced him and his young family to start the lengthy climate refugee process all over again just when they were beginning to settle in to their new identities in Bristol, UK. Let’s just call him “Steve.” Suffice it to say that when “Stephan’s” analysis comes out, a number of people may not like what the science has to say. And isn’t that the mark of all good science?

The difference between conspiracists and scientists can be summed up in one word, but I prefer to use a whole sentence.

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