2013 in Videos

December 29, 2013

I finished up the year with a bit of a bang – a piece on the climate denial, tobacco denial, and the anti-science movement – what a surprise to see the same cast of characters 2 decades apart.

This piece went viral after being tweeted by Rainn Wilson, famous as “Dwight” on “The Office” TV series.

The video has now had almost 110,000 views, making it my most popular to date. Still not in the same league as the gerbil playing piano, cute kitties sleeping, or any hot chick.
Pathetic as it is, I’ll take it.

Now just need to figure out how to get a slate of heavy twitter hitters to push these things every time.

rainnwill

Here are some more relevant vids from 2013. Tip to Deniers, always best to check the video playlist before you post some nonsense, because I’ve usually got it covered. This post will get you started, see the playlists on the right side bar.

My interview with Dr. Charles Miller, above,  from 2012′s AGU made for one of my favorite, if somewhat unnerving, videos.
There’s much more to say on this topic that will be covered in future vids.

After BBC blocked the original version of this “Weather Whiplash” video, due to content restrictions, I had to do a remake, above. Important info for understanding the new normal.
I also produced a “Pro and Con” piece with input from Dr. Jennifer Francis, and Dr. Kevin Trenberth, commenting on changes in the jet stream. Scientists generally agree that we are in new pattern of atmospheric circulation, but disagree on exactly why.

The interview I did with Dr. Alun Hubbard at Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, featured  an ice sheet researcher’s insights.

The Dark Snow Project trip to Greenland changed me as a person, and will always be, I’m sure, a peak experience for those on the team.

I have hours more footage that eventually make its way into videos.  So far, only rumors as to any return trip.

One of the year’s big stories was the timely demise of the “17 year pause” in global warming myth.
This video took that one on, just weeks before new research stuck a fork in it. I’ll be updating at some point.

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24 Responses to “2013 in Videos”


  1. You should change your name to Mr. Australia.

    Both of you have had your hottest day, month, season, 12-month period and hottest calendar year

    Have you thought about doing a full length documentary (ies)?

    Quoting JFK “Ask not what denial can do for you but what can denial do for the world!”


  2. I have been spreading this video with Jennifer Francis several times now.
    When living here at the Arctic Circle in north Sweden and ones more experiencing a very warm December, the warmest in part of Sweden in 50 years (!) it feels that this gives a good explanation of what is happening.

  3. NevenA Says:

    Great stuff, Peter. Keep ‘em coming.

  4. ubrew12 Says:

    Re: your first video (which is fantastic). Perhaps the behavior of Joe Barton and others is explainable: they did it for the money. However, I know staunch Republicans who believe these things, and far from getting paid to ‘modify’ their opinion, they pay INTO the system that supports these positions. They give to the Heartland Institute, they yell ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’, they invest in tobacco companies even today, and they do so willingly. This is the behavior I find troubling. Mind you, these people know that tobacco causes cancer. They are smart enough to know Global Warming is real. It doesn’t matter to them, or they have some higher purpose in mind. They take perverse thrill in supporting activities that are proven ruinous to the rest of us. Are they so Faux-News-propagandized that they will pay for further propaganda? Is supporting a tobacco company a form of patriotism to them? It’s all very puzzling, as it makes no sense.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      most people are decent. But there is a significant fraction of sociopaths out there.
      Many are attracted to the climate denial movement.
      Many a master’s thesis in that swamp.

    • jimbills Says:

      You’re hitting on some truths here. These people strongly believe they are the guard of “The American Way” – which is pretty much symbolized by a V8 Dodge Ram spreading waves as it crosses a creek, or a Steeler smashing a Raven in the end zone, or writing messages on bombs before the Iraq War.

      I cheer for Peter, because he’s doing great and important work, especially when it comes to fence-sitters and the misinformed but open-minded, but in general he’s facing fundamentally unreasonable people. They fully believe they are right, and a few facts aren’t going to get in the way. For every scientific study threatening the morality or sustainability of the high-octane lifestyle, they can invent dozens more supporting it.

      They’re spreading the Good News of Freedom and Capitalism – The American Way.

      A few dollars in Congress is a good thing to them – it’s greasing the wheels of the great system bringing cheap corn chips and plastic toys to the people. It’s warming their homes and keeping ‘Dancing with the Stars’ front and center.

      Anyone who would dare question the justification of The American Way is a dangerous subversive – a freeloading socialist tree hugger, and that’s that. A few hippy paid-off smarty pants scientists ain’t going to sway them.

      • fortranprog Says:

        Well said – I agree, but it is more than just the U.S, the mindset extends around the world in different politics and guises, but exactly the same sentiments. I was a fence sitter but now I have time and look more deeply into it, I realise there has been a massive cover up at what has been known since the days of Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenious. Good on Peter and keep the powerful work going in 2014.

        • jimbills Says:

          Sure, I agree. I focus on the U.S., because that’s where I’m from, but the mindset certainly exists in all regions of the globe to greater or lesser degrees. But here I’d say it’s a particularly virulent form, and I’d also say here and England are Ground Zero for its metastasization.

          Anyway, I know plenty of people who are thrilled to run their pickup’s engine all day to keep the inside cool while they are shopping. It’s a deeply American thing to them – even patriotic. They aren’t BAD people, many of them have a deep sense of morality and love for others, but they’re products and therefore supporters of a plastic and plasticizing culture.

          My anger comes out from time to time, and I have a deep well of it, but truly I wish everyone the best (even the unreasonable, ha ha) during the holidays and always. We are all in this together.

        • ubrew12 Says:

          ooh! A fellow fortran programmer!

      • greenman3610 Says:

        remember, you don’t have to convince the 14 percent, or whatever it is.
        There is a vast middle there that is quite concerned but have lacked good coherent information. Many are lurkers here, and I believe can benefit from
        the examples we see of warmed over, 90s vintage denial memes constantly begin recycled, and then shot down by sharp commenters in these threads.
        I hope that those commenters in turn, use those sharpened communication skills
        to effect change in their communities, whether real or virtual.
        We are in the middle of a sea change in public attitudes on climate, the hinge of history swung in 2012, and is still swinging, harder with each new unprecedented event. There are sensible people in ‘conservative” politics who get this.

        remember, I said “sensible”, not brave.

      • ubrew12 Says:

        “They’re spreading the Good News of Freedom and Capitalism”
        Lately (like, since 2008), when i hear the words ‘Free Market Capitalism’, I replace the word ‘Free’ with the word ‘Fake’. I believe in Market Capitalism, but there’s a reason the Stock Market hasn’t been ‘Free’ since 1932 (don’t believe me? Try some insider trading and see how long before the SEC throws you in jail). Consider events prior to 2008: almost the entire derivatives ‘market’ is not ‘Free’, its ‘FAKE’, it has no value, or if it does, its pennies on the dollar. Its purpose is to get pensioners to trade REAL EARNED value for vaporware (FAKE value). Yet it is ‘worth’ hundreds of trillions of ‘dollars’. And what’s the current value of the ‘Free’ American Stock Market? It’s whatever Ben Bernanke says it is. Currently, he makes up about $86 million dollars each month, of ‘FAKE’ money, and puts it into that market to float its value. So, the entire global recovery owes the ability of central bankers to make up FAKE value and inject it, by fiat, into the markets to float their value: the very ESSENCE of ‘fake-market capitalism’.

        In times of ‘fake-market capitalism’, fake markets abound. Consider the market in Iraqi WMD. We spent $3 trillion over there, lost 4,000 soldiers: what was the cost per WMD recovered? Or consider that Americans pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else, per person, yet get no value from the differential cost. So, that 100% markup that you and everybody else is paying for healthcare in the U.S.? Its a ‘fake market’, it buys you bupkis.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Perhaps a (not so) small point, but isn’t it $85 BILLION a month rather than $85 million? A little over $1 TRILLION a year?

          • ubrew12 Says:

            You are likely correct. The sorrier point at some point is: who is keeping score? Make it $85 trillion a month: the point is, the central banker can make up any number he wants! I’m not saying this is ‘wrong’. I’m just asking, what does that mean for those of us counting our “pennies”?

            When Mr Banks says “If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank…” who is he talking to??? The denizens of a ‘fake-market economy’ where trillions are made up out of whole cloth and given to the 1% owners of WallStreet so we can all pretend this construct is working?

          • dumboldguy Says:

            The $85 billion per month is not “LIKELY correct”, it IS correct. We are now up to QE4-5, and in the early stages of the recovery efforts, the figure was around $110 billion a month during QE1. The world economy is keeping score, bankers can’t make up “any number they want”, and you shouldn’t either—$85 TRILLION is the size of the WORLD economy for a whole YEAR. With respect, you need to read up on all this so that you don’t inadvertently “plant” misleading figures in folk’s heads..

            You ask “What does that mean for those of us counting our “pennies”?, and then show that you do understand with “a ‘fake-market economy’ where trillions are made up out of whole cloth and given to the 1% owners of Wall Street so we can all pretend this construct is working?”.

            To expand just a bit on that, we “penny watchers” are having our wealth and incomes bled off to the benefit of the plutocracy and corporate oligarchy, the same forces that drive climate denial. If we really want to address AGW, we need to deal with the fact that “the forces of evil and greed” have bought the political system and are using it to advance their own ends, not the greater good


        • All of this is summed up very nicely in this study:

          http://www.tullettprebon.com/Documents/strategyinsights/TPSI_009_Perfect_Storm_009.pdf

          This is a very powerful summary of where we are right now, and despite the fact it is written by an economist, it is extremely readable.

    • andrewfez Says:

      Whoever is giving up their own money to promote the tobacco industry is not a conservative. The tobacco industry puts a huge social burden on all tax payers in the form of Medicare/Medicaid money paid for the healthcare of smoking related illnesses, and puts a burden on private sector in the form of missed work due to these illnesses.

      I think what some insider folks are worried about are jobs and legacy: We could set up a deal with the fossil CEOs, etc. to pay them ‘loss of income’ compensation so that even if there was 100% renewable energy, they’d still get paid the same every year until they die. But I don’t think any of them would go for that. There’s no glory in that. There’s no ‘I was a major player in the biggest economy in the world and I shepherded x number of jobs at a legendary company in the energy sector. And none of ‘em want to be the guy in charge when their company starts contracting/deflating, especially if they’re still relatively young and hoping for future jobs.

      I imagine it’s quite exciting to be a CEO of a large company. A lot of the motivation at that point isn’t just money making, as you’re probably already rich; at some point adding an an 11th home to your personal assets gets boring, and you can’t spend enough time there anyway to make it feel like home. It’s about competing, strategizing, outsmarting your competition, winning, ‘succeeding’, ‘making a difference in the world’, and being well respected inside your field. You’re testing your mettle against other super competitive folks. If you’re Chevron, your enemy is Shell (or maybe not ‘enemy’, but ‘opposing team’). Shell poses a lot bigger threat to you in the short term than does renewable energy so most of your efforts go into trying to find the oil before they do, and trying to strike deals with the country that has the newly found oil before they do. You want their market share.

      Sure these energy sector folks are indifferent to climate change, but this position is more just a side effect than a malicious directive. I think it would be underestimating them just to say they’re doing it ‘for the money’.

      The politicians, on the other hand, are another story…

  5. Wes Says:

    You’re absolutely correct. Both Canada and Australia have full bore denier governments ripping out anything that looks like it might be good for the environment. Every time I get discouraged about the USA I just read some news from either of those countries. Such a shame, because I’ve very fond memories of the people I met in those places on my travels. None of whom were in politics, as you might surmise.

  6. Cy Halothrin Says:

    Reading all the above comments (which I agree with) about the denier culture is depressing. If it’s any consolation, outside of the English-speaking world AGW denialism is far less common. I live in Taiwan, and AGW deniers are thin on the ground here. Elsewhere in Asia, I don’t see much evidence of AGW denialism, except when English-speaking foreigners are writing propaganda letters-to-the-editor or op-ed pieces.

    Well, that’s the good news. Bad news is that, even when people understand the issue, they seldom do something about it. Most people are too busy just earning a living, and if they think about AGW at all, they just hope that “the government” will do something about it. Unfortunately, few people in government possess the necessary competence and motivation to act. Of course, the fact that “world leader” USA continues to do nothing about AGW tends to sap the willingness of other countries to get busy solving this issue. When you’ve got US senators standing up and denouncing AGW as a hoax and vigorously opposing CO2 emissions reductions, you can imagine the effect that has over here.


  7. […] December 30, 2013-by Peter Sinclair at Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]


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