Deniers love to tell their funders that they need money for shiny new projects that are definitely going to change things, but in the end all they have to offer is the same tired, misleading talking points.
For example, in response to a great piece by CBS’s Jeff Beradelli on how wildfires and extreme weather are worsened by global warming, Heartland trotted out the usual cherry-picked denials at their new-ish climaterealism website where they link to a mainstream media outlet’s climate coverage and claim that their own shoddy materials actually debunk it.
How misleading are their points? Well, to dispute the fact that warming means more wildfires, they point to a graph created by Anthony Watts that purports to show a massive decrease in wildfire acres burned in the last 100 years, with a huge spike in acreage burned in 1930. But when you go to the source of the data, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), it says: “Prior to 1983, sources of these figures are not known, or cannot be confirmed, and were not derived from the current situation reporting process. As a result the figures prior to 1983 should not be compared to later data.”
So Anthony Watts took data that “should not be compared to later data,” and did exactly that. And why shouldn’t he?
In a 2018 Carbon Brief post, NIFC spokesperson Randy Eardley said he “wouldn’t put any stock in [the pre-1983] numbers. To try and compare any of the more modern data to that earlier data is not accurate or appropriate, because we don’t have a good way to measure [earlier data]. Back then we didn’t have a reliable reporting system; for all I know those came from a variety of different sources that often double-counted figures. When you look at some of those years that add up to 60 or 70 million acres burned a lot of those acres have to be double counted two or three times. We didn’t have a system to estimate area burned until 1960, but it was really refined in 1983.”
In other words, the older data is unreliable and we’ve known that was the case for years.
Of course, in Watts's defense, it’s been a while since he's had any particularly new, original or worthwhile ideas, and it shows on his blog.
For example, last Friday, there was a guest post that claimed that until climate scientists can pass the “dirty dozen tests of global warming science” we shouldn’t use it to “sway policy.”
What are those questions? Basically just a list of things covered in a Climate Change 101 class, questions about what 1C of temperature rise means for sea level rise, ocean acidification, ice melt, precipitation, crop yields, and other things.
All questions that have been answered, and can likely be found in IPCC reports and other explanatory texts.
While the questions being asked weren't new, at least it was a new presentation. That wasn’t the case for another post at WUWT last week, where they simply reposted a 2012 letter from some former NASA scientists to then-administrator Charles Bolden Jr that was a joke even then.
But reposting an eight year old open letter from a few dozen retired NASA staffers is pretty much all they have to offer at this point.
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