$30,000 Challenge Submission – How it Started: John Coleman

I prefer money order…..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

In case there is any confusion this is my submission for the $10,000 prize. Thank you!

Response:

Before I begin I want to make a point of one thing about this video: John Coleman states, “There is no global warming.” The reason I want to point this out is because the deniers have gotten into rewriting history with the claim that no one is saying global warming does not exist. Of course, that is a silly claim to make and here is just one of probably hundreds, if not thousands,  of examples that could be found very easily. 

I have to say that I was so relieved to reach the end of the video. It had so many errors it was unpleasant to watch. It was absolutely terrible on the factual and scientific basis. It really was that bad.

He immediately begins his presentation with a lie. He states he is not associated with the fossil fuel industry and that is pure baloney. Take a look at this web page here. This shows that he is, in fact, associated with the Heartland Institute and he even stated in the video that he gave lectures at their anti-global warming conference (the ICCC). The significance of that is Heartland is heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry. What Coleman is saying is since the money goes through someone else’s hands before it gets to him, then he is not associated with fossil fuels ‘in any way.’ This is nothing but a lie. He knows where that funding comes from, he knows the conditions attached to the funding and he took the  money anyway. Anyone that has been reading my blog knows I have nothing but contempt for the Heartland Institute and anyone associated with it. Now, we know. John Coleman is associated with Heartland. That is all anyone really needs to know about him.

It took this guy all of just a couple of minutes to prove himself to be completely wrong. He starts out right from the beginning by comparing global warming to the “coldest winter the U.S. has had in 30 years.” This is a typical denier misdirection and it has been debunked so many times I am surprised that anyone even tries it any more. We are not talking about “man made U.S. warming,” the issue is “man made global warming.” So, where is the ‘globe’ in Mr. Coleman’s claims? The U.S. makes up less than 2% of the surface of the planet. But, wait! That 2% includes Alaska and the West Coast, which Mr. Coleman conveniently forgot to mention had record warm winters this last winter. What Mr. Coleman is doing is saying we should ignore warming in the rest of the planet because Chicago, IL had a bad winter.

But, it is even worse than that because Mr. Coleman himself showed how real global warming is with his very own statement – this was the coldest winter in 30 years. Why is it that this is the coldest winter in 30 years? What he is implying is that it has been warm for recent winters and 30 years ago winters like this were not all that unusual. In fact, that is exactly what the record shows, we use to have winters like this last one all the time. Please explain, Mr. Coleman, why did the winter weather change faster than at any point in all of recorded history? Why don’t we have winters like we did 30 years ago any more? I guess he just forgot to mention that fact.

And, what about the rest of the planet that Mr. Coleman forgot to mention? Siberia, the Arctic region, North Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia all had record warm periods the same time we were going through the polar vortex. Where are these regions in Mr. Coleman’s claims?

This is how NOAA was able to claim 2013 was the hottest year on record. That ‘pure silliness’ Mr. Coleman talks about just happens to include the 98% of the planet he conveniently left out of the discussion.

Then he goes on to talk about how he would be “terrified” if we were harming the planet (Is he really standing in front of a camera and implying we are doing nothing to harm the planet? Talk about a credibility problem!). Then he talks about how the solar system and galaxy are moving through space and how Earth has been here for 4.5 billion years and will be here for another 4.5 billion years. So what? What does any of that have to do with the issue of man made global warming? Is he trying to say the planet will stop moving through space if man made global warming is real? Is that his proof? We are still moving through space so man made global warming can’t possibly be real? No. Another denier misdirection. Fluffy talk only serves to confuse people and make them compliant to his message. Here are the facts – the movement of planet Earth through space is not in any way affected by man made global warming, and vice verse. They are two completely different, and unrelated, events.

Then, he states there have been natural variations in the climate in the past. True enough. But, then he says ‘Man made climate change is not going to happen.’ Amazing! He went from discussing natural variation in the past to a promise that not only is man made global warming not real, it will never be real. And, he did all of this without showing even one piece of evidence to support this claim or to, in any way, connect current warming to the natural cycles of the past. It has been shown that natural cycles do not account for the observed warming of today.

I think you can see why I made my challenge. This guy is just making one claim after another without any supporting scientific evidence. And, there are people out there that will believe him.

Let’s move on.

He states there has been no warming since 1998. This is the perfect example of cherry-picking. Mr. Coleman picked 1998 because it will support his preconceived conclusion. Why didn’t he pick 1999? Or, why not 1997? The reason is simple, he would get a very different result if he did. Take a look and see for yourself:

1998 is the large peak right next to the words “El Nino Warming.” Draw a line from there to the data points on the right and you see what Coleman and other paid deniers like to say, the line is flat. But, draw a line from the years before or after that peak and you see there is actually a steep slope to the line, indicating warming. Why did Mr. Coleman do this? He did it for the same reason all other deniers do it – to deceive people and fool them. The data is right there for you to see what he said is not true. Now, how do you feel about believing everything else he says?

Here’s another plot of the temperature record from the National Academy of Sciences.

But, Mr. Coleman continues to deceive by leaving out the biggest part of ‘global’ warming, the oceans. When included, the results are very different.We can see, global warming has not stopped. Why is Mr. Coleman leaving out all of this science? Maybe its because he wants to deceive people?

Let’s continue.

His next piece of misinformation is about climate models. He shows a plot showing model predictions compared to actual measurements and it makes the models look really bad. I have no idea of where he got this plot because this is what I find with a simple Internet search:

http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/image1.png

This particular plot comes from the IPCC AR5 report and shows the recorded data is going right through the middle of the model forecasts. Oh, by the way, they are the guys with the models. You would think they would know the performance of the models the best, but Mr. Colemand will tell you he knows them better than the people that developed them.

Now, let’s take a moment to discuss climate models. Climate science is not modeling. Models are mathematical representations of the real world data. The data exists, unchanged, no matter how accurate, or inaccurate, the models are. Models help us to understand, but they do not change reality. Any argument by deniers to criticize models is not only false, but irrelevant. Any model will not change the reality of global warming, one way or the other.

Mr. Coleman makes the astounding statement that pursuing climate change is harmful to the advancement of civilization. Talk about alarmism! Where are the facts to support this? He just makes a sweeping statement and expects everyone to accept it as fact. Of course, we have already seen several examples of just how bad Coleman’s credibility is, but let’s add to it. Studies have shown the opposite. The reality is that Americans are suffering greatly because of climate change. Our grocery bills are going up. Our utility bills are going up. Our insurance bills are going up. And that is just the beginning. Who is better off? The fossil fuel billionaires. But, we are getting off easy. Many people are getting it much worse. It is estimated in one study that global warming is costing the world economy over $1 trillion per year in GDP and nearly 400,000 deaths. That number does not include the people that are injured or made ill. Insurance companies are concerned about all of this and are encouraging governments to address global warming.

He mentions alternative energy sources graphene and thorium. Graphene is a form of carbon and is not a source of energy, although it can be used in energy storage devices. Thorium is a radioactive element and can be used as an energy source.

He then states, “How can you believe me?” Very simply, we can’t. Virtually every statement he has made so far in the video is not true. Mr. Coleman has already demonstrated by this time that he has no credibility. But, let’s not stop at this point. He continued, so I will too.

I found it interesting the way he make disparaging remarks about scientists at NOAA and NWS, but brags about being a TV meteorologist for 30 years. He stood in front of a TV and mouthed the words sent to him by those same scientists. Now, he says he’s smarter than all of them. Again, there is a credibility problem. 

He then goes into one of the most tired and debunked claims of deniers. In fact, this has been debunked so completely I have to think anytime I hear it the person saying it is intentionally lying. That claim is about natural cycles.

Yes, there have been natural cycles in the past. How do we know this? Because the research by those climate scientists he spoke so poorly of showed us. We know, thanks to the climate scientists, that the climate changes in natural cycles and we have a good record of it going back 800,000 years. This is important knowledge, but has nothing to do with what is going on today. When deniers make this claim they are leaving out the rest of the story, leaving it to the audience to fill in the blanks with the conclusion that today’s warming must be a natural cycle. Unfortunately, they never show any kind of natural mechanism that would explain this. In fact, when we examine the natural cycles occurring today, we find the natural cycle is for a cooling cycle, not a warming one. Why didn’t Mr. Coleman mention that bit of science? Maybe because it doesn’t support his preconceived conclusion or help his mission to deceive.

What I really found offensive is his terrible plot that he showed at about 7:33 into the movie (hard to believe we are only 7:33 into a 36 minute movie and have found so many errors already). The plot he shows has a huge bulge for the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and a little bulge for today. He even refers to the current bulge as the “little warming we have today” and then says it’s “no big deal.” But, a more accurate plot of the data shows something really different:

Image of last 2000 years
Source: NOAA

I am going to take a stand here and say that I firmly believe John Coleman deliberately lied in his video on this point and these plots are my proof. Compare the MWP in these plots, especially the middle plot to Coleman’s. The MWP is the little hump that occurs around 1000 AD. Then, compare today’s temperatures to his plot. You can see that today’s temperatures are greater than anything else in this plot and the particular ratio Coleman showed is not supported by the scientific data. His plot is a lie. And, Mr. Coleman, that’s the “hard, cold facts.”

Let’s show another example of his deceit – the Arctic sea ice. Here is a plot of the minimum extent (recorded in September) for the Arctic region:

Source: NSIDC

 Here is another one similar to what he showed (wonder why he blew through it so quickly?):

Source: NSIDC

The jumble of lines on the bottom is the annual ice extent for every year since (and including) the year 2000. The yellow line on top is the ice extent for the year 1980. What you can see is that at no time since 2000 has the Arctic sea ice extent even touched the 1980 extent. What this means is that there are places that would regularly ice over prior to 1980 and have not seen ANY ice since before the year 2000.  So, why does Mr. Coleman tell us that it isn’t happening? More credibility problems.

The issue of polar bears is the poster child of the whole issue and is irrelevant, but let’s talk about it.

The issue isn’t about the population of polar bears today, but what will happen in the future as the ice melts (see the paragraph above to see that the sea ice extent is going down). But, as it happens, we are already seeing stress in the bear population. No, they are not doing “just fine” as Mr. Coleman claims. Credibility again.

South Pole ice is at an all time high? No, it isn’t. Winter sea ice is increasing, just to all melt in the summer, but the land ice is certainly decreasing.  One more false statement by Mr. Coleman.

Sea level is rising? Yes, it certainly is. And, its getting much worse. By the way, can Mr. Coleman explain where this is coming from? The ice age glaciers melted thousands of years ago so they are not the source of increasing sea levels. Just one more little fact Mr. Coleman failed to address.

I think I have shown just how this video is an absolute falsehood, from beginning to end. but there is one more statement he made that I want to address. He stated we have not had a deadly heat wave since the 1950s. This is so offensive that I have to address it.

A heat wave in New York City in 1972 killed almost 900 people.

A heat wave in 1980 killed nearly 10,000 people in the United States from a heat wave.

A 1988 U.S. heat wave killed between 5,000 and 10,000 people, although some estimates go as high as 17,000.

A 1995 heat wave in Chicago, IL led to “many deaths.”

A 1999 heatwave resulted in over 500 deaths across the U.S.

But, this is just in the U.S., what about other countries?

In the heat wave of 2003 in Europe, between 46,000 and 70,000 people perished.

For Mr. Coleman to stand there and say that there have been no deadly heat waves since the 1950s is so offensive that it discredits everything he has to say (But, of course, he has no credibility remaining by this point anyway, so what’s the harm in one more lie?). And, let’s make sure we understand something, he started this video bragging about his credentials as a meteorologist! Are you going to believe that a meteorologist with over 30 years experience has no knowledge of these horrible heat waves and did not check his facts before making the video? I do not believe that for an instant. I believe he made his statement with deliberate intent to deceive.

There is a lot more I could say, in particular about his statements about Roger Revelle (read a less biased history on him here) and Fred Singer, but I think I’ve said enough. By the way, Fred Singer was reported to receive $5000 per month from the Heartland Institute. 

I will state categorically that it is my belief that Jack Coleman is deliberately lying in this video for the purpose to deceive people and is being paid, probably by the Heartland Institute. And, in his conduct, has validated my claim that anyone associated with the Heartland Institute has sacrificed all credibility.

In conclusion, this video failed to do anything to prove man made global warming is not real.

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