One of our favorite rituals this time of year is to marvel at the collection of papers Kenneth Richard posts on NoTricksZone, claiming they represent a mortal blow to the consensus that burning fossil fuels causes climate change. This year, it’s “over 400” studies that supposedly “support a skeptical position on climate alarm,” and like every year, that’s a stretch, and even if it weren’t, it’d still be insufficient to call the basics into question.
But if you're unfamiliar with NoTricksZone, and are wondering if perhaps this list of studies is being published by a scientific organization as some sort of literature review, here’s a quick refresher. Past posts from the blog include scobby-doo-esque anti-renewable and alien planet conspiracy theories. It's the sort of place where losing a bet about warming only increases your conviction. It’s the sort of place that claims the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown didn’t reduce pollution levels in Europe based on a map of pollution levels... in 2015. It’s also the sort of place where, if you’re Dr. Willie Soon, you can accuse scientists talking about 2014 being the hottest year (at the time) of “prostituting science.” Ironic, because just two months later the New York Times reported Soon took a million dollars from the fossil fuel industry in exchange for his talents.
This is just the latest in a series of annual posts collecting supposed consensus-killers. For example, 2016’s list (published in early 2017) was a more robust 500 papers long, and even then was clearly using the same classic tactics of prior years: misrepresenting findings, overplaying potential conclusions, focusing on minutiae and cherry-picking quotes. All the usual cheap tricks. Even if they were all accurate though, as we pointed out then, the 500 papers carefully curated over the course of the year are just a drop in the bucket of the full body of science - just two days into 2017, there were already 3,550 “climate change” studies.
Later that same year, he assembled a new and suspect list of 58 papers, which were quickly reposted by James Delingpole. When contacted by Snopes to fact check the post and the list that clearly misrepresented the studies, Delingpole vowed to apologize if spreading Kenneth Richard’s list of papers claiming to debunk the consensus meant that he “lazily helped promulgate a lie.” Of course that is exactly what he did, as ClimateFeedback and Snopes showed, with even some study authors themselves saying they were misrepresented. (We never saw an apology from James, though.)
So yes, you could take a close look at the list of 400 papers from 2020 that supposedly cast doubt on some part of the carbon-climate connection. But just glancing at the five papers previewed — the best examples that Richard’s could find of the high-quality science rebutting alarmism — there's one (also highlighted by Steve Milloy) bearing the imprint of MDPI, a predatory, “scam journal” publisher.
Imagine spending all year scrounging around for studies, assembling 400 papers that you can spin as countering the other 80,000 or so published last year, and one of your top-five is from a scammy publishing house so lacking in integrity that one of its journals’ editors resigned en masse after being pressured to publish sub–standard papers.
We would say that maybe Paul’s counting on his audience not knowing that MDPI’s logo (like a tweet from Milloy) is more a mark of shame than pride, but at this point it’s clear that even if he knew, he wouldn’t care.
Year after year this is just an attempt to get someone a little more credible than James Delingpole to uncritically repost this and join in having “lazily helped promulgate a lie.”
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