Many Skeptics Are Just As Bad As Alarmists

I am trying to explain the most basic concepts of science related to the climate debate here, and am getting an incredible amount of push back from some skeptics. This doesn’t bode well for winning the debate.

Ignorance and arrogance from some makes our side look arrogant and ignorant.

About stevengoddard

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50 Responses to Many Skeptics Are Just As Bad As Alarmists

  1. Mike Haseler says:

    The difference between sceptics and alarmists is that sceptics agree to disagree, whereas alarmists are disagreeable unless you agree.

    • omanuel says:

      All of us are much more alike than we are different. Climategate emails:

      1. Exposed ignorance and arrogance on one side of the climate debate

      2. A trail of deceit leading back to unreported CHAOS and FEAR in AUG-SEPT 1945 just before formation of the UN in OCT 1945.

      Item #2 completely changed the nature of the debated issue from:

      1. Just Earth’s climate, to
      2. Integrity of science and
      3. Governance of humanity.

      Steven aka Tony has wisely pointed out that we are in danger of losing the debate if we adopt the selfish ignorance and arrogance of our opponents.

      I agree.

    • David A says:

      ?, well also alarmist all agree to agree on one thing, that leaves every other possible explanation open to skeptics, rational and not so rational Skeptics can never be so united as conformist. However, and I think Tony’s message is, we can agree that the cimate models are wrong wrong wrong, and the IPCC projections of harm to the bio-sphere based on the wrong models are likewise, wrong. In CAGW theory the the C is completely wrong, the G and the W is far less then the IPCC models, and the A is debatable, and does not over ride the null hypothesis.

      Politically, this should be our focus. The nuances of thermodynamics is of academic interest, but not relevant to the political discussion, or winning the battle.

      • I’m using their models and their data to pummel them. Skeptics who interfere (including some of the best known ones) completely piss me off.

        • squid2112 says:

          So, perhaps you should consider continuing to pummel them with their own data and leave the rest of the conversations alone, instead of intentionally stirring the proverbial hornets nests just to get some sort of self gratification from the ensuing conflicts, which you continue to fuel with your rudeness and arrogance.

        • squid2112 says:

          ie: You’re losing credibility .. quickly

        • Squid,

          Don’t go away mad. Just go away.

        • squid2112 says:

          Not mad Tony .. not in the slightest .. Actually I am conducting a social engineering experiment, and so far it is fitting the model perfectly. I’m just going to continue to observe, but I am relatively certain of the final outcome. It has a very high probability at this point. We’ll see…


        • nickreality65 says:

          I agree w/ Squid. Your data assaults are great, stay on target, use the force!

        • I’m going to start banning idiots soon.,

  2. The knife of unquestioned belief (in one’s pet “basic concepts”, of science or any other field of endeavor) cuts both ways. The fact, which everyone, it appears to me, ignores (at their individually-arrived-at leisure) is that there is no valid climate science (since an understanding of the stable Standard Atmosphere was tossed aside in favor of “radiative forcings”), and no competent climate scientists:

    Continuing Vain Climate Debates

  3. omanuel says:

    The world cannot be divided neatly into good guys and bad guys.

    “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    “Any person in a rage of anger is at that moment insane.”

    There is therefore the potential in each one of us to become another Adolf Hitler or Mother Theresa.

    The battle against evil is therefore a personal battle against the selfishness that is in each of us.

  4. Wizzum says:

    Ignorant and arrogant you say: Hmmmf I don’t know what you mean and don’t care anyway!

    There 🙂

  5. PJ London says:

    Maybe you are not explaining it very well or providing the source and rationale for your positions.
    Even from an expert such as you as a source, I do not take things on faith.

  6. squid2112 says:

    Perhaps a reflection into some of your responses may paint a picture, one that you may not want to recognize. That dang mirror can be a bugger Tony. Can’t it…

  7. nickreality65 says:

    Well, you’ve got the arrogant side well covered.

  8. Andy DC says:

    What we need to always remember is that alarmists are altering data and lying thru their teeth. So much, so blatantly and in so many different ways that it is beyond despicable.

    We can disagree on some points of science, but we should never lose sight of what unites us.

  9. DedaEda says:

    Sorry to say, but there is a bit of a seige mentality here, which is a pitty, because Steve/Tony is doing such a great and invaluable job. There is a possibility that real reason for being “pissed off” is not the “idiots”, but you just don’t take time to read and thik about what others are writing. Remember the most ot the people who are here do so because they value your work. Calling them idiots and banning them does not do our cause any good

    • Gail Combs says:


      Also reasonable discussions even if you think the other guy is a pig headed idiot serves to clarify points for the silent fence sitters who ar our real audience.

      I learned a heck of a lot from the long debates over at WUWT where no one had the exact same view point. I also changed my mind several times as new data came in.

      On the IR radiation and CO2, I found the lecture by Dr. Happer to be the most informative especially when it added real world experimental data to what Galloping Camel and Dr Brown (Duke Univ) has written shortly before.


      …While I am a physicist, I am not a climate scientist. My field is quantum electro-optics; I have been building lasers since 1970 for fun and profit…

      The main absorption lines for CO2 that relate to the capture of thermal IR from the Earth’s surface are in the 4 and 15 micron bands. The corresponding frequencies are 75 and 20 Tera-Hertz. The periods are 0.013 and 0.050 femto-seconds.

      As you correctly point out, these periods are shorter than the mean time between molecular collisions by at least seven orders of magnitude. However, a molecule cannot emit a photon unless it has first been raised to an “excited state”. The lifetime of these excited states is typically measured in micro-seconds or milli-seconds.

      If left undisturbed, excited atoms or molecules will eventually give up their excess energy via radiative transitions to lower energy states or via collisions with other molecules. When total pressure is low, radiative transfer dominates so the outgoing radiation is absorbed by CO2 (or water vapor) is re-radiated isotropically. This means that half of the outgoing radiation is returned to the surface exactly as claimed by Trenberth & Co.

      In the troposphere the mean time between collisions is quite short (~200 pico-seconds) so most of the outgoing IR radiation absorbed by complex molecules will be lost in collisions before a photon can be radiated. This means that in the lower atmosphere it makes no difference whether the energy is transfered by radiation or by convection. In either case the energy is retained in the troposphere.</b.

      The go onto Dr Robert Brown, a physicist at Duke University.

      The question is, “What is the absorption cross-section for a 15 micron photon”. That’s the effective surface area intercepted by each CO_2 molecule. It is large enough that the mean free path of LWIR photons in the pressure-broadened absorption bands of CO_2 in the lower atmosphere is order of a meter. That means that LWIR photons — whatever their “size” — with frequencies in the band go no more than a meter or few before they are absorbed by a CO_2 molecule.

      The lifetime of the excited state(s) is much longer than the mean free time between molecular collisions between the CO_2 molecule and the (usually nitrogen or oxygen or argon) other molecules in the surrounding gas. That means that the radiative energy absorbed by the molecule is almost never resonantly re-emitted, it is transferred to the surrounding gas, warming not just the CO_2 but the oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor, argon as well as the other CO_2 molecules around. Periodically CO_2 is thermally excited in-band by just such a collision and radiates energy away, but it is not like an elastic scattering process such as occurs in specular reflection within clouds. In band/thermal radiative energy gradually diffuses upwards, with the mean free path of the photons increasing the higher one goes, until it starts to equal the remaining depth of the atmosphere and photons emitted “up” have a good chance of escaping, cooling the molecules (on average) that emit them. It takes order of 100s of absorptions and emissions for radiation to diffuse upward to escape, and there is an almost equal probability that radiation will diffuse downward (especially from the lower levels) where we observe it as back-radiation/greenhouse radiative forcing of the surface.

      Even this is oversimplified. Because of pressure broadening, molecules close to the ground emit photons “in the wings” at frequencies that less broadened molecules at higher altitudes/lower pressures are nearly transparent to. That means that there is a steady CO_2-mediated “leakage” even from lower altitudes directly to space from the edges of the monotonically decreasing-with-height absorptive bandwidth. It also means that there is a MAJOR change in atmospheric absorptivity/emissivity with simple high and low pressure centers as they move around, as well as a modulation of the size of the emission-wing “hole”.

      Grant Petty’s book can walk you through much of the physics.

      And finally you have Dr.Happer who, using actual real world data, chops down the calculated: ” pressure broadening, molecules close to the ground emit photons “in the wings” at frequencies that less broadened molecules at higher altitudes/lower pressures are nearly transparent to.”

      The take away from his UNC lecture (9/2014) was the CO2 ‘modeling’ is a mish-mash of theoretical equations and experimentally derived data. Where the Climate alarmists missed the boat is in using equations for ‘line broadening’ aka the ‘wings’ where the current CO2 absorption ( at 400 ppm) is supposedly taking place. These equations produce results that do not match up to the experimental data. The lines are not as broad as theory would have it,
      Slide 22: Lorentzian line shape nor Voigt line shapes are correct in the far wings!

      This was the point of the lecture. Why was the theory wrong?

      Since the experimental data shows less broadening this flattens the exponential curve and essentially lowers the ‘Climate Sensitivity’ of CO2 for a doubling to 800 ppm to less than 1C===> 0C

      At the lecture Dr. Will Happer did agree with what Dr Brown and GallopingCamel said about the time to radiate being about ten times slower than the time to the next collision in the troposphere. Dr Happer in his lecture also answered my question about where CO2 energy is radiated instead of being handed off via collision. Experimental data shows barely any radiation at 11 KM and that radiating is in the stratosphere ~ 47 KM above the surface. Seems the ‘Sky Dragon Slayers’ are not as wrong as everyone tries to say they are. CO2 IS radiating far above the surface and not at the surface.

      David Burton put up an audio and slides of Dr Happer’s presentation at this. link

      SLIDES: link
      Slides 22, 42, 43 and 44 are the critical slides.

      You can get useful background for the physics in these comments from WIKI .
      Mössbauer effect (recoil energy lost during absorption <===CRITICAL)

      The Pound–Rebka experiment (VERY IMPORTANT because gases are moving randomly and in random directions)

      …The test is based on the following principle: When an atom transits from an excited state to a base state, it emits a photon with a specific frequency and energy. When an atom of the same species in its base state encounters a photon with that same frequency and energy, it will absorb that photon and transit to the excited state. If the photon’s frequency and energy is different by even a little, the atom cannot absorb it (this is the basis of quantum theory). When the photon travels through a gravitational field, its frequency and therefore its energy will change due to the gravitational redshift. As a result, the receiving atom cannot absorb it. But if the emitting atom moves with just the right speed relative to the receiving atom the resulting doppler shift cancels out the gravitational shift and the receiving atom can absorb the photon….

      Motional narrowing

      Voigt effect

      • Happer’s point is interesting, but doesn’t have any impact on what we have been discussing here. GHG’s are radiating LW radiation downwards in his model, just like other models.

        • Gail Combs says:

          The point is the radiating downward at least for CO2 does not happen until 11 KM up in the atmosphere and really isn’t radiating until the energy reaches the stratosphere ~ 47 KM above the surface. That is where the photon pin ball game starts.

          The other point is Dr Brown’s that all the CO2 window radiation from the surface is absorbed by the CO2 within the first couple of meters.

          Taking a wild A$$ guess I don’t think you would see much of that radiation within the CO2 window returning to the surface to ‘warm the earth’ instead it is warming the atmosphere in the troposphere area via collision whether the photon originates from the earth’s surface or is from downward radiation.

          To me this is a very significant point especially since it makes the violation of the 2nd law argument weaker since the re-radiation is not warming the solid surface it was originally emitted from but instead is warming the cooler air above in much the same way that conduction does.

          Cooling of the air vs sand in a desert when the sun is blocked shows the air is colder than the sand.

        • There are large amounts of IR radiating downwards to the surface.

        • David A says:

          Yes, and here we get into ??? from, in my case a layman, and they have zero to do with the political battle. I never bring up the above points Gale makes with, or on a skeptical site, like the guardian, where my rational peer reviewed comments are on permanent moderation, or any other pro CAGW site.

          That being said, this “Dr. Will Happer did agree with what Dr. Brown and GallopingCamel said about the time to radiate being about ten times slower than the time to the next collision in the troposphere” is cause to me to question, How much of the isotropic redirection of energy,which happens with GHG molecules towards the surface, from energy “conducted” to GHG molecules from NON GHG molecules, or from radiation of LWIR from the surface as the IPCC explains? Clearly GHGs both cool and warm. If they receive conducted energy from non GHG molecules, which in the atmosphere can only lose their energy to space by back conducting to the surface, and they send that energy
          to space, then they are cooling; as they are decreasing the residence time of said energy if it had instead conducted to a non GHG molecule.

          Steve McIntyre long ago called for an engineering like explanation of the GH affect, and I think we are simply not there yet. How much of the energy additional CO2 molecules radiate at altitude comes from conducted / convected / evaporative-condensed at altitude
          non-GHG molecules ? Also, at todays mean atmospheric T, how much of the additional
          heat of back radiation is used up in evaporation and an accelerated hydrological cycle, and in increased clouds, mitigating the increased heat? I do not know if these numbers are known, and in the climate models, but I expect not.

      • PeterMG says:

        I’m pleased you have bought this to the table. I have been digesting some of this since April this year when I was first made aware of it. As I have repeatedly pointed out the science is moving on and in ten years time we will all have grown up and learnt how to describe what is happening in the atmosphere in far more intelligent terms than some do today.

  10. Mike Mellor says:

    I’m with Steve. The Sky Dragon people who say there is no Greenhouse Effect and temperature is purely a function of atmospheric pressure somehow forget to explain why the Arctic regions are so cold and why it gets cold at night.

    • Gail Combs says:

      You forgot the other effects of water.
      1. Clouds reflecting energy
      2. Latent heat of evaporation
      3. The oceans as giant hot water bottles storing energy gained during the day.

      I am of the “It were the Sun and Water that done it Gov'” crowd as the main climate regulators. CO2 esp at 400 ppm is a flea on the rump of the water buffalo in the room.

      • No one forgot anything. I am discussing one specific topic, and want to remain on topic here.

      • Gail Combs says:

        Steve, I was replying to Mike Mellor about his comment on the Slayers.

        • Gail

          There are a few people here who insist that there is no greenhouse effect. I am trying to clear that mess up now, rather than solve the larger problems of science.

        • PeterMG says:

          Steve/Tony you are not reading carefully what people say. I for one have always qualified what I say about the “greenhouse effect” very carefully by saying that the greenhouse effect as espoused by the IPCC is false and non-existent in effect. I further say that we should not use the term “greenhouse effect” for the numerous other theories that abound (including yours) as it only serves to strengthen the alarmists. And in the main what you say about water most including myself do not wholly disagree with.

          But you spoil all this with your dismissal of the huge amount of other science that is only now coming to light as many scientist that have hither to been cowered into either remaining quiet or openly supporting severely flawed science are now more confident in presenting alternative explanations that in the main make far more sense than the theory that the temperature in the lower atmosphere is reliant only on IR Back radiation. You are doing exactly what the alarmists do by calling us idiots and threatening to ban us. This is greatly devaluing the otherwise excellent work you do.

          I once upon a time would visit maybe 100 plus “climate sites” in a week in my search for the facts. Over the course of 15 years I have pruned that back to about 10 (none of the originals are on my list) of which yours is one. You both entertain and inform something that is rarely found. But this recent nonsense will see me and I suspect many others drift away due to your reluctance to allow a free and open discussion where anything can be bought to the table.

          Do you only want those that slavishly agree with you to comment here? There is no such thing as settled science. Climate models have failed spectacularly to predict the future and we have seen how they can’t even hind cast. And it is NOT just down to an over emphasis on CO2 and underemphasise on water vapour. It’s my opinion that climate models miss the point entirely. Time will tell who is correct, and in the mean time you have to decide who you want to visit your blog and help spread the word. Insulting us is not going to help anyone other than provide entertainment for the alarmists.

  11. Goodmongo says:

    Steve, please explain something to me. First off I believe that the GHG effect is real, that AGW is real and that the climate changes. But I believe that AGW is very small at under 1-2% and the GHG effect is minor when compared to all other effects. What I’m confused by is your position on how important or strong GHG and AGW are actually impacting climate change on a global scale. I’m not interested in reading about how it modified night time temps in some desert but instead on it’s global impact.

    • The greenhouse effect is large, but due almost entirely to H2O, rather than CO2.

      • davidswuk says:

        H2o is a substance and not GHG

        tell him again Gail!!
        and again!

        • davidswuk says:

          “of substance” rather.

        • Gail Combs says:

          the point I was making is that H2O is not ‘just a GHG’ but has other large impacts on the climate and that confounds the picture when some one uses H2O as an example of a GHG.

          It is a piece of deception I have seen used by warmists time and again and I really hate it.. They point to a tropical rain forest and a desert and say SEE that is the GHG effect and people think that will be the same degree of effect for CO2 when it is a deception because:
          1. H20 is 4% in the atmosphere vs 400 ppm.
          2. H2O intercepts a lot more radiation than CO2 does.
          3. The latent heat of vaporization.
          4. The rapid transport of heat to the tropopause by thunderstorms.
          5. The effect of clouds
          6. And if you are near a large body of water you get the modifying effect known as “the Lake Effect”

          What each effect contributes I do not know, worse the effects are not constant and more important the IPCC Climastrologists don’t know so they just fake it.

  12. knukles says:

    I have a new name for the manipulation of climate/weather data:


  13. emsnews says:

    Yes, the Greenhouse effect is quite strong otherwise we would be more like Mars or Antarctica.

    The colder it is, the less moisture in the air any moisture turns into ‘diamond dust’ as the H2O freezes and falls while THERE ARE NO CLOUDS AT ALL.

    I have lived in -50 F and seen this, in the sunshine, the crystalized H2O looks quite pretty but it hurts to breathe without a face mask!

  14. catweazle666 says:

    Many Skeptics Are Just As Bad As Alarmists

    Are you absolutely sure they really are genuine skeptics, and not AGW alarmist agents provocateurs deliberately attempting to destroy the credibility of your very important work on nefarious climate data adjustment by dragging you into a totally irrelevant clown dance AKA Post Modern Mamba, which by definition you cannot possibly win?

    Be careful Steve, you have made some very powerful enemies, so watch your six!

    • omanuel says:

      I agree. Good point. Extreme care is now needed.

      More than anyone else, Steven has documented deception coming from federal research agencies.

      The problem is orders-of-magnitude bigger than anyone imagined when Climstegate emails first surfaced five years ago.

  15. davidswuk says:

    Water is what rocks our boat Gail…………………….

  16. This site is generally full of vague unscientific nonsense, as well as a lot of politics and philosophy that should have been abandoned in junior high school. NOT “Real Science” by any stretch of the imagination.

    • catweazle666 says:

      Oh look, another crackpot with vague, unsubstantiated insults that wouldn’t recognise ‘real science” if it ran under its bridge and bit it on the snout.


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