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back to article 'There's too much climate change denial on the BBC'

"He's a little bit too eager to bend over backwards to be politically respectable," is how Richard Dawkins describes the celebrated snail biologist and broadcaster Dr Steven Jones. Jones' recent political activity includes campaigning for the abolition of private schools and against a visit to Britain by the Pope. Now Jones has …

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"Deniers"

I've noticed this more and more - I assumes it's a move by the pro climate change body to dismiss people who don't blindly agree with them, and I assume their idea is that people will look on people who don't blindly believe as being in the same sort of camp as Holocaust deniers.... which frankly says a lot about people like Dr Jones in my opinion.

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Anonymous Coward

100% Agree

I read that BBC report yesterday and was offended. The language used was very dismissive of anyones opinion. You'd think there was no doubt what so ever that climate change occours only because man from the way he's talking.

Problem with people like him is, if there ever was 100% conclusive, undeniable evidence that climate change isn't man made, he's still have a holier than thou attitude that he was "doing the right thing"

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JC_
Bronze badge

Godwin's Law on the First Post?

The evidence overwhelmingly supports AGW, that's just how it is. There's no need for holocaust comparisons - no one is victimising you for your opinion, however ill-judged it may be...

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Stop

Summed up very nicely,..

...that terrible Prof. Jones dismissing ***OPINION*** voiced against the overwhelming ***SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE***. It's a bleedin' outrage! Call the Daily Heil now! And so what if most of that opinion masquerading as science if funded vested interests making billions from carbon-based fuels?

And, Andrew, as for your collection of ad hominem quips against Steve Jones and your final hyperbolic nonsense about the possibility that the Tories would be able to close the BBC, you can do so much better.

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FAIL

@JC_ Fail

The evidence does not "overwhelmingly support AGW". There is reasonable evidence of a trend in global temperatures in the last 30-40 years. This evidence has been getting considerably less convincing over the last 10 years as observed temperatures have steadfastly refused to keep rising, and have been wildly different to the models.

As someone who writes statistical models for a living, I am decidedly unimpressed by the climate change modellers. Their models are unstable for minor perturbations in inputs that are very unknown. For example, take one of the climate model and tweak the constant they use for cloud formation a small amount and watch the five degree change in predicted mean temperature in 100 years time. There are plenty of other examples of this. In fact, when climate "evidence" of this form has been shown to real statisticians the results have been scary (read up on the discrediting of the hockey stick curve for a great example - essentially with the methods the researchers were using, any auto-correlated sequence of temperatures would have generated broadly the same shape of graph).

Finally, and most importantly, the question of anthropogenic or not is still undergoing considerable research. Even on such a pro-AGW source as the BBC you routinely see stories that proudly claim, "finally climate change is proven to be Anthropogenic". Then the same claim is made again on a new story 6 months later - clearly showing that the consensus is not that the proof is widely believed. For a little bit of balance and knowledge of the uncertainties in this space, look at something like the report mentioned here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11438570

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Deniers

This is the only sensible term - for people who blindly ignore the science.

>in the same sort of camp as Holocaust deniers

Yep. Pretty close. Blindly ignoring the facts.

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Their models are unstable for minor perturbations in inputs

which i guess is in no way whatsoever a result of the fact that the phenomena they are trying to model are in fact chaotic - e.g. systems which show large and un predictable shanges in output from minor pertubations in inputs.

or to put it another way you are suspicious of CC modelers models because their behaviour so accurately reflects the behaviours of the systems they are trying to model.

or to put it a third way, tweak the way actual real clouds form a small amount, sit back and wait for a 100 years and lo the climate will indeed have changed - a lot. in which way i wouldnt dare to hazard a guess, but a lot would be my bet.

You are aware that climate is chaotic, of course you must be, what with writing statistical models for a living. and as such you will recall from 'mathematical modeling 101' that the first thing you do when setting out to model a system is to characterise the models overall behaviour; linear, non-linear, chaotic etc etc.

unless of course you are a big ol troll who knoweth not of what he speaks???

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Anonymous Coward

@Naughtyhorse

I think you have completely missed his point, or at least his point as I see it:

The point is not that climate is chaotic (we know it is) it is that although the models are chaotic and give wildly unstable results the climate modellers (who get airtime at least) present their results as inerrant fact.

Which, by your own agreement it is not.

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Anonymous Coward

@strum RE:Deniers

Idiot. The only sensible term for someone that blindly believes theories are scientific fact.

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Mushroom

I completely agree

The "pro man made climate change" religious movement seem to be running a neo-inquisition, where any dissent and questioning is treated as heresy.

Anyway the climate has always changed, they've got ice cores to show how much it changed, way before mankind burnt fossil fuels on the current scale we do.

So the real question is not whether you believe the climate changes , it surely does, but as to what effect man kinds activities are driving it.

Out of all the environmental sins we do as a species, I'd have thought deforestation, over population, destroying the marine ecosystem with polutants and over fishing amongst many sins were much worse crimes than some CO2, of which by far the largest amounts are released by natural process, with nothing to do with burning fossil fuel.

When I was a child back in the late 70s I can remember predictions that we were heading for another ice age, then some bunch of CO2-climate changers got funded by Maggie Thatcher's government , because she hated the miners for her own political reasons and wanted to stop burning coal, and 25 years later we are still listening to their demented drivel. They still want to be paid to do there research, so they have to continue on with it as an article of faith, after all like all organised religious people they need an income. Welcome to the Religion of Man Made Climate Change, where anyone who questions their faith is labelled a heretic.

So what should I believe , a new ice age or boiling seas ?

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Facepalm

I can hang disparaging labels on people too

If I'm a AGW "denier", then those who say so must be AGW "believers", right? Maybe we just exist to test your faith.

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Happy

RE: @Naughtyhorse

"....The point is not that climate is chaotic...." I think you'll find this is an excuse used by scientists when they simply don't have a good enough model/theory/proof to be able to predict an event. There is nothing truly chaotic in the weather, it's just fundamental physics in operation, it is simply that we are unable to calculate the impact of all the variables to allow us to make truly exact predictions (although we do seem to be getting very good at general short-term forecasts due to comparing with historical data). The global warming fanatics seem very quick to play the chaotic card when their models fall flat on their faces. The most fun to be had is by pointing out that the recent global cooling pokes great big holes in their religion.

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Go

The AGW Science Scam

It's clear that there is a veritable army of thousands of corrupt scientists,ready to fake data and mis-represent the facts in order to promote AGW. I predict that very soon this will be revealed, along with the payments they are receiving (Swiss bank accounts) and sometimes blackmail if they decide not to play along. Why else would they deceive us? If you want to know who's paying, I have some ideas on that too...

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You are aware that climate is chaotic...

@Naughtyhorse

You have to be really careful when using the 'chaotic' argument as you have because its a double-edged sword.

Let's take your argument at face value then play it back to you to point out that the observed change in temperatures over the last 30-40 year may also have been an effect of a chaotic system and nothing to do with AGW at all.

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Headmaster

So, what's YOUR excuse

for not knowing what 'chaotic' means in the context of a scientific discussion of a system's properties?

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re: 'climate is not chaotic'

In dismissing chaos, you invoke chaos as your opposing argument so what is your point?

From Wikipedia... (and yes I know it isn't authoritative but the wording was better than my own on short notice.)

"Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. ... This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos."

'Chaotic' emphatically does not equal 'random'. The trouble with predicting weather or other chaotic systems is that future states are divergent. More precise measurements will give better predictions as you stated but cannot guarantee long term forecasts. However, the potential states of a chaotic systems are still loosely constrained by limiting factors. These loose constraints can be considered the 'climate'. A study of weather trends can infer climate and typical weather conditions but will never predict, a priori, the exact amount of rain in Winchester on St. Swithun's Day, 2015.

When the limiting factors change, chaotic systems establish a new set of typical states (aka weather). Often they do not transition smoothly. Often they jump abruptly back and forth from one set of typical states to another.

Rant all you want about the currently 'stalled' global warming. (btw - Where is your evidence of that?) If anthropogenic climate change is real, we may encounter abrupt and catastrophic weather transitions on our way to a hotter and less pleasant planet interspersed with years of relative normalcy - until the new normal settles in for good.

Believe me or not as you choose. Your fundamental failure to understand even the basics of 'chaos' suggest an inherent inability to cogently debate the issue. Rebut all you want and good day...

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Nonsense

That comment is the same kind of nonsense that leads to creationists dismissing evolution as "only a theory."

Science does not deal in absolutes, it deals in approximations and theories which match reality with a very high degree of accuracy.

The fact is consensus science is on the side of anthropogenic climate change. Sticking your head in the sand and wishing something else were true does not make your position logical, considered or correct.

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous Coward I completely agree -I Don't Agree

"some bunch of CO2-climate changers got funded by Maggie Thatcher's government , because "she hated the miners for her own political reasons and wanted to stop burning coal"

What a silly idea. If she wanted to ban coal why did she import and stockpile so much? It couldn't have been that she wanted to break the back of unelected thugs like Scargill 's union hold over the whole of the UK, would it?

I am very grateful for Arthur- he demonstrated to the whole of the UK (and, indeed, the world) what despotic union organisations really meant when they talked about "Democracy".

It meant, in a very Stalinist way, that everyone should abide by their rules/orders.

It is amusing that those who do not know their history believe without knowledge- perhaps the world is indeed flat, and the sun revolces around it!

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predicting a new ice age

I guess it escaped your notice (or maybe you didn't bother to check....?) that the climatologists who were named as predicting a new ice age in the 70s are the same one predicting no AGW now? What's the thinking here, that they're bound to get it right sooner or later?

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indeed

The self-proclaimed geniuses here telling us that it's too complex to predict, would probably resist any suggestion that July in the northern hemisphere tends to be more warm than January, on the average. It's too chaotic to predict that!

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cooler heads fail

"There is nothing truly chaotic in the weather, it's just fundamental physics in operation, it is simply that we are unable to calculate the impact of all the variables to allow us to make truly exact predictions"

Umm... that's the basic definition of chaotic processes...

" Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

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it's a conspiracy i tell you

The vastly wealthy and all-powerful climatologist cartel, scheming to retain their vastly wealthy grants.

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Boffin

RE: cooler heads fail

One of the delights of working in IT is that the rocket-like speed of development of faster and more capable systems means we often get to see incorrect scientific theorems disproven inside our own lifetimes. Many years ago, the nuke bomb scientists said the only way to test bombs was to explode them, but now we have the knowledge (gathered from those tests) and the computing power to accurately model those explosions. We can even skip a lot non-nuke weapons testing by doing a lot of it in simulators. Along the way, some strongly-held theorems have fallen to the wayside.

Some day, who knows how long or short into the future, we will have systems so powerful that we can remove the "chaos" from the weather forecasting and even the global climate models. When that happens, some egotistical scientists are going to be disappointed and some are going to be celebrating, but until then NOTHING IS PROVEN. So, please take your insistance that you and only you are right and shove it where the Sun doesn't shine.

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The politicisation of science

"Many Conservative MPs – I've spoken to several – are itching to abolish the BBC Trust."

Didn't James Murdoch make that a prerequisite for News International to back them at the last election? Oops!

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Mushroom

Axing only the BBC trust?

Typical half measures. Burn down the BBC, demolish the rubble and salt the ground. Have the staff rabble dispersed by water cannon. Let the Guardian jobs section wither on the vine.

Axe the Telly Tax!

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plagiarist!

I'm sure that rant was mine first - you missed a bit though. "Tear down the BBC, feed the bodies to pigs, shoot the pigs, burn the pigs, bury the pigs, salt the ground, nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

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Trollface

Ed Milliband wants the BBC broken up...

Well, he said he never wants a media organisation to be in the same position of power and influence as News International. If that can be applied to NI, then why not the BBC? They have a significant lock on news and current affairs reporting in this country...

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Why

bring police misbehaviour into this discussion?

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Happy

@Frank

+1 for the Aliens reference.

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It is important to keep an open mind.

While we should be saving as much fuel and using renewables, irrespective of the climate issue, it would be stupid to totally dismiss the possibility that our carbon production might not be the cause.

What if it turned out that cutting carbon didn't stop global warming and it happened anyway?

There need to be plans for dealing with serious global warming happening, not just trying to stop it.

Because if there aren't and we either don't cut carbon enough, or it made no difference, we are in trouble.

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FAIL

There is very little carbon pollution these days

Oh, you meant "Carbon Dioxide"

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Occam's slashing your wrists

The denialists need first to agree among themselves whether it never was warming, it was warming but it stopped, or it's still warming; then they need not only to explain what's causing/caused/didn't cause the warming (hint: "It's cyclical" isn't an explanation, it's an observation); they also need to explain WHY EXACTLY BURNING CARBON DOESN'T CAUSE A RISE IN CARBON DIOXIDE, AND WHY A RISE IN CARBON DIOXIDE DOESN'T CAUSE THE ATMOSPHERE TO RETAIN MORE INFRARED ENERGY as very basic physical theory predicts, and as the fact that the surface of the earth is warmer than the surface of the moon, for example, tends to confirm. I'm really tired of having to explain to people who are world-class scientists in their own minds that "The earth is not warming, and the warming is because of the sun" is not a scientific hypothesis.

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AGW is real!

Real where the evidence appears, in computer models. It's absolutely right - if you fiddle the variables int he right fashion, temperatures soar - in RAM. However, in the real world, everything AGW propagandists talk about is, at best, correlation. At worst sheer fakery. And the idea that science is some kind of democracy where the majority view should automatically prevail is pure tosh. Steve Jones should know that.

I'm happy to be called a denier, an extremist, a sceptic - i don't mind. The evidence for catastrophic man made global warming just isn't there. It ain't.

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Pint

Agreed

Claiming the Earth is doomed because of global warming is as credible as claiming it's about to be demolished by the Vogons.

Beer, check

Peanuts, check

Erm, has anyone seen my towel?

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Mushroom

Alright, I'll call you on it

Science uses a process called "The Scientific Method" in which theories which match the data become accepted until data arises that disproves them. That has been how science has worked for as long as it has existed.

If you have data that disproves a theory that you disagree with, then publish it and watch as the theories that previously held sway are rejected.

If you don't then you're just taking an anti-science position, just another Creationist. You're welcome to your opinions and you're welcome to share them, but when you do so you will be judged on them by rational people with an understanding of how the scientific process works and found entirely wanting.

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Stop

The main problem is...

That whole method relies on assumption, swathing general assumptions about anything and everything. You can have all the evidence in the world to say you're correct about one thing or another, but if the laws of physics suddenly change tomorrow and all the planets in the universe turn into pink tubby custard then it was all meaningless.

Don't believe anything!

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Erm.

Science has given us all the things we take for granted. Computers, electricity, cars, medicine and health care.

Why should all that be dismissed because a bunch of oil lobbyists are funding research against the viewpoint of the majority of scientists?

It's very easy to bury your head in the sand because you want to drive a big gas guzzler and fly around the world with a clear conscience.

Even if CO2 was found to not be the cause, we still have a crisis which is the lack of land and water required to produce food. Chopping down the rainforests to produce cattle feed and palm oil isn't doing the world much good.

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Exactly

"""Science uses a process called "The Scientific Method" in which theories which match the data become accepted until data arises that disproves them. That has been how science has worked for as long as it has existed."""

Which is my problem with the whole thing - the data, frequently, is massaged into fitting the theory, which is the wrong way round. Another important bit of "The Scientific Method" is peer review (On every step from data collection to conclusions,) which has been a bit unimpressive thus far.

Something that I know for sure is that science isn't done by politicians, governments, or whoever else is writing the checks - there are far too many conflicts of interest in this field for me to take much of anything seriously.

So I guess I'll keep on with my "Anti-science" position until I see some actual "Science" done. Anyone who believes absolutely in either side of this current debacle is clearly a bit short in the "Critical Thinking and Analysis" department.

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Facepalm

theories which match the data

But the only data we have is historical and a bit rubbish because we are left with what little remains and that data is the product of many 'theories' and there is no way to attribute it between them. We can't conduct useful experiments to obtain more or more relevant data because they need to be the size of the planet and would take decades if not centuries to complete.

So there is sod all data to match theories for them to become accepted and we are not going to get more data in a hurry and still won't be able to attribute it to particular theories.

The quality (the level of confidence with which it can be used to predict the future) of a theory does not depend on the absence of data which disproves it, it depends of the quantity and nature of data which has failed to disprove it.

If you understood scientific method you would not accuse someone who observes the quantity and nature of data failing to disprove AGW theory is lacking of taking an anti-science position.

Gratz on the slimy creationist quip, that's a new one.

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Megaphone

Of course the Earth isn't doomed!

The temperatures could go up to thousands of degrees and the Earth would happily keep on the same ol' orbital path about the sun without so much as a hickup.

Even with the more modest predicted change in climate, it is only the ongoing viability of human civilisation (not even the human species is at any serious risk, we survived quite fine without advanced civilisation for hundreds of millions of years). Billions might die, those left might be left scratching around in the mud for tubers. There won't be any easily-accessible resources left to restart with because we long ago used them up in our current round. But in the end, so what? Humanity as a civilised culture is a tiny tiny tiny space in planetary history. What have we actually done for the bits of the planet that aren't ourselves?

Humanity either survives or it dies. We certainly would be smart to care about this, but the Earth doesn't care one whit: vacated ecological niches will just be refilled in a relatively short time and diversity re-established under wherever the climat settles (or not - lack of significant active lifeforms hasn't stopped Venus, or Mars existing - their geo-chemistries are ticking along nicely thanks.)

It really really pisses me off when people like to imply that the Earth (or even the universe!!) is somehow dependent on our cultural presence for its continued existence. Get it into our stupid collective heads: We as a species+culture simply don't matter to anyone but ourselves. We either get our act together in the name of self-preservation or fail to get preserved. In the latter case, there will be no-one to notice, let-alone mourn, our abscence.

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RE: Of course the Earth isn't doomed!

Harsh, but fair...

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Pirate

Erm.

Greetings Giles Jones,

All the problems would be reduced by a large amount , if the prolific uncontrolled breeding by Humans was cut , as the Chinese have doing.

Freedom of Choice is a load of crap , it results in fucking the Planet ,

PS - I am a Global Warming Denier

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

@N'n'G

...for failure to dispose of now-useless scripts of Godspell , and lost towel.

Uh, no there it is - wrapped around the Sub-Ether Sens-O-Matic...

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Joke

Deep Thought experiment?

Could it require seven and a half million years for this experiment?

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Missed ...

... your anti-depressants today, did you?

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Re: Lobbyists?

"Why should all that be dismissed because a bunch of oil lobbyists are funding research against the viewpoint of the majority of scientists?"

Anyone complaining about funding for scientists who dispute AGW is on shakey ground, given the truly staggering amount of grant money paid for research promoting AGW theories.

Scientific truth doesn't depend on money. But if people are going to argue that science done is invalid because those doing it have a profit motive in the results, then the pro-AGW faction would be by far the greatest culprit.

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ahh

I take it you read all the climatology journals, Physical Review Letters, etc. and find the publications wanting? Please be so kind as to enlighten us as to their faults, more specifically. We await your pearls of wisdom.

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Ummmm

Whoever said that the Earth's existence depended on the existence of humanity?

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Boffin

RE: Alright, I'll call you on it

"Science uses a process called "The Scientific Method"...." Yeah, but unfortunately a lot of "research" today isn't driven by that proces or even by real science, it's driven by funding. A lot of funding is coming from non-scientific people that want to make a profit. That's all fine and dandy if they are wanting to build things for the betterment of mankind, like more efficient airliners, or cheaper medicines with less side-effects, but the inconvenient truth is the AGW "research" seems to be driven by people like Al Gore, who just want to make money for themselves by herding the sheeple in the direction they want.

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