By James Delingpole Last updated: July 23rd, 2013
Unless you're a reader of the Guardian Environment's recently added section "Sacrifice your children to Mother Gaia. It's the only way!", you'll probably never have heard of the man who co-edits it, Dana Nuccitelli. But you'll certainly be familiar with his most famous bogus statistical artefact: the one he created with fellow climate alarmist John Cook to prove that 97 per cent of climate scientists really DO believe in global warming.
The claim has been roundly debunked. Apart from the problems with its statistical methodology, its findings are essentially meaningless. As Ben Pile points out in this characteristically measured, thoughtful piece,
"Nuccitelli’s survey results are either the result of a comprehensive failure to understand the climate debate, or an attempt to divide it in such a way as to frame the result for political ends."
Indeed, adds Pile, they represent:
"a cartoonish polarisation of positions within the climate debate."
How so? Well, as (climate sceptical) Bishop Hill once asked on Twitter: "Isn't everyone in the 97 per cent? I am." When the question was repeated at the Bishop's website by Met Office's Richard Betts, almost all those present agreed that they were. I would have done too, depending, of course, on precisely how you interpret the "consensus position" that "humans are causing global warming."
Well of course they are. Even if it's only down to the Urban Heat Island effect or the methane from beef cattle, humans almost certainly have an influence on climate. But so what? It always astonishes me when I see climate alarmists – even nice, well-meaning ones like Richard Betts – get all excited about this, as if somehow it represents a sudden concession by sceptics to the cause of warmism. If the alarmists spent any time paying attention to Watts Up With That, Bishop Hill or any of the myriad other sceptical websites out there, they would realise that this is what we've always thought. Our beef with the alarmists is not over the issue "Do humans contribute to climate change?" It's over "Do humanssignificantly contribute to climate chnage?" "Is there any evidence that this climate change is catastrophic or unprecedented?" "Do we need to do anything about it?" "Can we do anything about it?" "And are we sure that the cures currently being proposed aren't worse than the problem they're supposed to solve?"
But see, here we go again: here I am getting bogged down in a tedious and irrelevant non-argument of the kind the Warmists are always setting up in order to distract lay readers from more pertinent issues: like the fact that wind farms are just crap; that the evidence for catastrophic man-made global warming just hasn't materialised; that the polar bears aren't endangered; and so on.
Props to Dana Nuccitelli – he is, like his fellow climate activist Bob Ward – an absolute master of this straw man distraction technique. The term for it is "Clown Dancing" and Nuccitelli is the veritable Coco-and-Ronald-McDonald-in-a-sticky-embrace-with-Nureyev of the coulroterpsichorean art.
Anyway, all this is by the by. Another of the techniques used by Nuccitelli and his ilk is the "funded by Big Oil" meme. This is the silly notion, popularised by the likes of Al Gore and Michael Mann, that the main reason we climate sceptics say the pesky sceptical things we do is because we're paid to say so by various oil interests. Here is Nuccitelli in his Guardian column only last week on sceptical stalwart Pat Michaels:
In truth, the exact opposite more commonly the case. Few corporate interests are quite so heavily in bed with Big Green as Big Oil – as you'll shortly be seeing when I do a number on Shell and its highly dubious behaviour re the UK shale gas industry – and it seems the hypocritical and disingenuous clown-dancer extraordinaire Nuccitelli is no exception.
He has tried to keep it quiet. But there's no – what's the word? Oh yeah…. – denying it: green activist Dana Nuccitelli is in the pay of Big Oil.