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NYC Conservative Climate Activists Message Board › Review of the Movie "Climate Hustle"

Review of the Movie "Climate Hustle"

user 2341848
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 296
Normally, when you buy a DVD, it begins with horrible threats from the FBI saying that you'll get 5 years in prison and a quarter million dollar fine for unauthorized public display. The copyright message on the DVD makes it clear that, as long as you don't charge money, there are no restrictions on showing it.

I recommend that environmentalists buy this DVD and show it, and stop the movie now and then and explain the many ways that it's wrong. It's very educational that way. Much of the public is not convinced about climate change, and if you want to be an activist on this issue, you should equip yourself with a knowledge of what the climate skeptics are saying.


The movie's first claim is that the "97% consensus" is, in fact, based on a single, flawed survey of 77 scientists, only 75 of whom answered the survey. This is a flat-out lie. There have been many, many surveys:
- Oreskes 2004 - 100%
- Doran 2009 - 97%
- Anderegg 2010 - 97%
- Cook 2013 - 97%
- Verheggen 2014 - 91%
- Stenhouse 2014 - 93%
- Carlton - 2015 - 97%

Usually, what happens is that if you start out with a broad survey of all technical people, you get a majority, and as you narrow the field down to people whose specialty is more and more relevant to climate science, the percentage agreeing goes up, until, when you get to actual climate scientists, the consensus is very high, and then if you get to climate scientists who have published recently, it's 97%.

Bear in mind that the consensus is on the statement "The Earth is warming and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the cause". It goes no further than that. That 97% does NOT agree about exactly how bad it will or won't get in the future, and they certainly don't all necessarily agree with every word said in the 1,500 page UN IPCC Report. It says NOTHING about the future, or what, if anything, should be done about the problem.

Some of these surveys are quite large. For example, a survey by John Cook looked at abstracts for 11,944 papers on the subject of climate change, of those, 66.4% expressed no opinion (probably because they assumed it was obvious and wanted to talk about other things), while 32.6% supported the statement, 0.7% rejected the statement, and 0.3% were unsure. 32.6 / (32.6 + 0.7 + 0.3) is 97%.


The movie points out that greenhouse gases (GHG's) are a small fraction of the gas in the atmosphere. But they're the only RELEVANT portion. Gases that don't absorb much infrared don't trap heat, and don't figure into the equation. The movie also points out that most of the GHG's in the atmosphere are water vapor, which is true, but the climate scientists have been taking that into account in their climate models all along. As the Earth warms due to our CO2 emissions, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere increases and traps more heat, making the situation worse. Water vapor AMPLIFIES the effect of human-emitted GHG emissions.

The movie shows Princeton physicist Dr. William Happer, who is a famous climate skeptic, saying to the senate that "CO2 is not a poison", and that "CO2 levels were above 1000 ppm (parts per million) for most of Earth's history and sometimes much higher than that. The Earth was just fine in those times.".

Saying "The Earth was just fine" is spectacularly asinine. "The Earth" would be "just fine" after a nuclear war, PEOPLE, on the other hand, wouldn't be doing so well.

The navy has done a lot of research on CO2 toxicity to see how much CO2 submarine crews can handle. They found that above 1000 ppm, human IQ starts to decrease. So at very high levels of CO2, we wouldn't "be just fine", we'd be getting dumber and dumber. So he's totally wrong saying that CO2 is "not a poison".

Happer is right that, if you go back many millions of years, CO2 levels were way higher than now most of the time. And during most of those times, the Earth was way warmer and there were no glaciers in the mountains or ice at the poles, and sea level was dozens of feet higher than it is now. Of course, "the Earth would be just fine", it doesn't give a darn, but sea level dozens of feet higher would have quite an impact on the billions of humans living near coasts.
user 2341848
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 297
They then show former Greenpeace founder and current climate skeptic Dr. Patrick Moore saying that "... the fact that there was an ice age when CO2 levels were 10 times their current levels contradicts CO2 as the driver of climate change". And while he's saying that, they show a picture of woolly mammoths walking through the snow.

Reality check. There NEVER was an ice age with woolly mammoths walking around with CO2 levels at 10 times current levels.

Here's what happened: 450 million years ago, CO2 levels were higher (probably more like 6 times, rather than 10 times, as high as now) and there were, for a short time, some glaciers. Geologists can tell from rocks if glaciers happened, and how long ago it was. But 450 million years is a LONG TIME AGO. There were no woolly mammoths, or mammals for that matter. This was WAY before dinosaurs. In fact, it was over 100 million years before there were reptiles, for crying out loud. It was after the Cambrian Explosion, so there wouldn't been some variety of plants, and jellyfish, and sponges. And at that time, the sun was 4% dimmer. All that CO2 in the atmosphere was the only thing keeping the planet from turning into a complete ice ball.


Dr. Patrick Moore continues on to say that while CO2 and temperature are correlated in the long term, prior to human history, usually temperature would start to rise before CO2 would rise. This is actually true. The planet would start to warm because the axis wobbled or the orbit changed, and then, because the solubility of CO2 in water decreases as temperature rises, some CO2 gets flushed out the ocean. But what he didn't mention is that, after this initial shift, the increasing CO2 coming out of the ocean drives the temperature up further.

But if you look at the last 200 years, CO2 levels went up long before the temperature started to rise, and in fact the pH of the oceans has been decreasing, meaning that there is MORE, not LESS, CO2 in the water. Recent warming is driven by increased levels of human-emitted GHG's.


They then show Nobel Prize winner Dr. Ivar Glaver talking in 2012. His Nobel prize was for semiconductor-related work done over 50 years before that speech, and he really has no qualifications relevant to climate science. He currently works as a science advisor for the Libertarian climate skeptic think tank The Heartland Institute, which also has a track record of denying that smoking causes lung cancer.

Here's a quote from that speech (that they chose not to include in Climate Hustle) "I am not really terribly interested in global warming. Like most physicists I don't think much about it. But in 2008 I was in a panel here about global warming and I had to learn something about it. And I spent a day or so - half a day maybe on Google, and I was horrified by what I learned. And I'm going to try to explain to you why that was the case.".
user 2341848
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 298
Marc Morano, the movie's emcee, then starts listing other factors that might influence the planet's temperature.

First, he lists the sun. Actually, since humans have been advanced enough to directly measure the strength of sunlight, the strength of the sun has varied by less than 2 parts in a thousand. Furthermore, for the last several decades, which includes the time we've experienced warming, solar radiation has been either holding constant or decreasing.

Heating due to increased solar radiation predicts equal at all levels of the atmosphere, with more warming at daytime than at nighttime.

Heating due to increased GHG's predicts more warming of the lower atmosphere, cooling of the upper atmosphere, with more warming at night than during the day.

What we observe is the latter: more warming of the lower atmosphere, cooling of the upper atmosphere, with more warming at night than during the day. So it's not the sun.

He mentions methane. Climate scientists are concerned about methane, there's much less of it that there is of CO2, but it's a more powerful GHG. If you do the math, it's responsible for less of the warming so far than CO2, but it's a pretty close second, and something we have to be concerned about and keep an eye on. Saying "Methane is a problem, so we should ignore CO2." doesn't make sense.

Secondly, he lists volcanoes. That's wrong. It's not hard to figure out how much gases of what type are emitted from volcanoes, scientists have done it, and the GHG's from volcanoes are a tiny fraction of what humans are emitting by burning fossil fuels.

He lists cosmic rays. I don't see any reason to believe the level of cosmic radiation has been changing, or is anywhere near enough to cause significant heat.

He lists "solar system impacts". Does he mean meteors? If we'd had any meteor impacts big enough to affect the climate in the last few decades, I think I wouldn't heard about it.

He goes on to list a bunch of ridiculous factors which I don't think he really believes are significant. But it's clear what his game is. His game is to argue that "The climate system is complex, it's too hard to understand, and we don't know for certain." because he assumes that "We don't know." means we take no action whatsoever, and continue to burn fossil fuels to our heart's content.

If someone says "Your house is burning down, you'd better evacuate." do you answer "Not so fast. How can you be sure?"? There are big risks involved in doing nothing. There is some burden of proof that should be faced by people who are arguing that there is no emergency. And you can't meet any burden of proof whatsoever if your tactic is confusing the issue, dismissing evidence, and creating a climate of doubt.
user 2341848
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 299
Climate scientist Patrick J Michaels comes on. His book "Lukewarming", which I've read, accepts that the Earth is warming due to human emissions of fossil fuels, so technically, he's in the "97%", but his projections are that there will be so little warming in the future that no effort to reduce GHG emissions is justified. He works for the Libertarian CATO think tank (Libertarians are the people most politically opposed to the sort of actions necessary to fight climate change). In this movie (and in his book) he claims that most of the other climate scientists have been projecting way more warming than has occurred. If you read books by other climate scientists, like Michael Mann's "Dire Predictions", they say that the warming that occurred was within the range predicted by most of their climate models. So its his word against theirs.
One thing that is relevant is two weather patterns, "El-Nino" and "La-Nina". When the prevailing winds in the Pacific Ocean blow one way, it's an El-Nino year and we get a hot year, if the winds blow in the opposite direction, we get an La-Nina year and it's a cold year. 1998 was a whopping-hot, record breaking El-Nino year, which was followed by a decade of relatively cool La-Nina years. Climate models don't predict whether future years will be El-Nino's or La-Nina's, so during the first decade of the century, the AVERAGE climate model prediction was predicting higher temperatures than observed, but the amount of warming was still within the error range. During this time, climate skeptics would cherry pick 1998 as the starting point and claim "warming has stopped", or that there is "a pause" in global warming. 2010 broke the 1998 record, and there have been a couple of years since then that broke the 2010 record by a pretty wide margin, but climate skeptics have ignored that annoying little fact and just kept up the habit of claiming "warming has stopped". In a recent article Michaels wrote in the Wall Street Journal, Michaels claimed that "warming has stopped" "if you ignore the record breaking El-Nino years 2015 and 2016". He doesn't explain why he gets to ignore the El-Nino's but base his claims on the La-Nina's.
Michaels goes on to claim that there have been unjustified "adjustments" to the official temperature record to exaggerate warming. I don't think he's in a position to talk, when he throws out the El-Nino years while keeping the LLa-Nina years. It is necessary to make adjustments to ground-based measurements, for example if a building is built next to an old measuring station, putting it into the shade. The fact that adjustments occur doesn't mean that they're dishonest. From what I'm able to tell, adjusted ground based measurements are not far off from less adjusted satellite based measurements, and both observe warming.
So Michaels says the other climate scientists are lying, while they say he's lying.

A scientist from Penn State comes on and says it's "suspicious" that "the kink in the graph" of temperature over the last couple of thousand years "coincides with the change in the way measurements were made". The change in the way measurements were made coincides with the invention of the thermometer, which, on that timescale, is about the same time we really increased our burning of fossil fuels. I don't see what's so "suspicious" about that.

The movie then goes into a segment about how tribal and mean climate activists are toward climate skeptics. While I agree that the debate has become very tribal, very hostile, and that is something everybody should try to avoid, Marc Morano, the emcee of the film, is hardly in a position to point fingers -- he was, at one point, publicizing email addresses of climate scientists he disagreed with so that they would, and did, get anonymous death threats from the public. Christopher Monckton, who is introduced in the movie as "Lord Monckton" complains about how cruel it is that people tell him that he is not a Lord. It's hard to feel sorry for this flim-flam man -- the fact is, he is not, and never was, a Lord. But he goes around calling himself "Lord Monckton", and the House of Lords actually issued a "cease and desist" letter to Monckton in 2011 telling him that he is not a Lord, but this 2016 movie goes on calling him one.

There is a website, "Skeptical Science", which has in-depth answers to hundreds of climate-skeptic arguments. https://skepticalscie...­
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