#TiserTosh 8 June: Denialist letter

I’m only doing this because it’s good practice and I want to show other people just how easy (though time-consuming) it is to dismantle denialist tripe. The Advertiser, if it were a proper newspaper, would invite local climate scientists (Barry Brook seems like a good example) to have a right of reply when people who don’t know what the heck they are talking about come up with regurgitated denialist talking points. That wouldn’t be an infringement of anyone’s freedom of speech, just a newspaper acting responsibly on what is the central issue of the 21st century.

Here’s today’s drivel.

When computer modelling was used to predict average global temperature rises, sea level rises and ice extents, the real world decided not to take any notice.
Argument appears to be that the only evidence for climate change is computer modelling. Epic Fail.
So much that the opposite occurred: the world cooled, sea level stopped rising and ice extent stayed about the same.
World cooled? Um, no.
Sea levels stopped rising? Um, no.
Ice extent static? Um, no.

Now we are expected to believe Labor Government modelling that we will all be better off after the imposition of a carbon dioxide tax (The Advertiser, yesterday).
Will we be richer in the future? Unless you believe the economy will shrink, then we will. It’s interesting that the writer is worried about a carbon tax but seems NOT to be worried about the effect of a strong dollar on the non-mining portion of the Australian economy, something that is keeping Premiers and economists and lots of other people awake at night…
This is a tax where half goes to the Government, of which 10 per cent goes to the UN, and will have no measurable affect [sic] whatsoever on C02 levels.
10 percent goes to the UN? Um, citation please?
Effect, not affect. (Sorry, it’s the grammar snob in me).
And if C02 isn’t a problem, why are you worried – you’re just concern trolling.
Why would any Australian ever believe that we will each be thousands of dollars better off?
James Hein, Hackney

Why would any Australian ever believe that doing nothing is an option? Oh, because the newspapers keep publishing stupid fact-free letters, that’s why.

It probably took Mr Hein less than ten minutes to compose his letter. He certainly didn’t have to do any research (and it shows). Composing this reply has taken approximately 40 (including a computer freeze, probably in protest at its processing power being taken up with such a waste of electrons). This is an example of a gish gallop – it’s quick and easy to throw out a series of nonsense arguments, while rebutting them takes longer and is less fun for everyone.

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