Saturday, 14 March 2009

How to fool the audience

in my last posts i've spent quite some attention to how a graph can be misused by showing a timeperiod that is too short.

Bob Grumbine encountered a claim very similar to the one Hans Labohm makes on the well known skeptical website CO2-science which made him write this very educational post entiteled Misleading yourself with graphs. Do have a look yourself what happens if you extent Labohm's ten year period to a 150 year period.

Another way to be misleading with graphs is shown in the movie The Great Global Warming Swindle, in which there's claim the present day heating is a result of solar variance. A claim which is repeated on many skeptical websites.

It gets supported by graphs looking like this one :
The Great Global Warming Swindle sun manipulation
Great Global Warming Swindle manipulation 

It may be a little hard to see, but the graph stops thirty years ago. And in fact, on all skeptical websites this and similar graphs stop around this time. That's strange, isn't it ? The reason is clear :

The data of the last thirty years is available, and any real scientist usually will want to use all available data, as this will only make his proof stronger. So there's absolutely no reason why all those websites cut of the last three decades. This should ring an alarm bell.

But there's more : according to climate scientists, man's influence on earth's temperature is so strong that right now already we are in a period of antropogenic warming. The signal started to distinguisable from the natural signal somewhere in the nineties. As it stops in 1980, the period in which mankind actually significantly influences temperature isn't even on their graph...

So, aren't you curious what happens if you update the graph TGGS until present days ? This video gives the answer (start at 3:45 if you are impatient) :

Now it gets clear : they've cut the data at exactly the right point to support their claim, and ignore the data demonstrating their conclusion is wrong. The graph in TGGS is a fine example of a cherry pick.

Many more problems with the movie and some often to be heard skeptics claims can be found in this post : The Great Global Warming Swindle” is itself a Fraud and a Swindle.

The movie is very misleading. One of the conclusions one could make is that science should be done by scientists. It's hard to see a cherry picked conclusion without having a background showing the bigger picture.

With the Youtube movie i posted, anyone can see TGGS presents a misleading graph. Nevertheless, there are litteraly hundreds of websites where layman use the movie to support their claim science is wrong.

Of course, that's exactly what the skeptics were aiming for : misleading the layman. No scientist in the field gets fooled by the movie, but that never was the aim.

As the quote in the top left corner of my blog says :
The target audience of denialism is the lay audience, not scientists. It's made up to look like science, but it's PR. (David Archer)

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Labohm. Again. Sigh.

Hans Labohm(start here) is fond of repeating the same meme over and over again. Long after it has been disproven. And long after there has been demonstrated that he knows and understands what he says is misleading.

August 23, 2008, on the libertarian website Vrijspreker, Labohm presented a graph showing "for the past decades, there's no correlation between CO2 and temperature"

Hans Labohm Fraud cherrypick Joe d'Aleo Icecap

As he got the remark he cherry-picked his data, Labohm wrote a follow-up article in which he still uses a graph with a misleading timescale (as earth litterally was a diifferent planet in a time there were no trees yet)

Hans Labohm fraud cherrypick misleiding CO2 temperatuur

But finally he also presents this graph which is the one we need :

CO2 temperature correlation Vostok ice

This image leaves no doubt that indeed there is a correlation between CO2 and temperature. And that because of its short time interval, the first graph Hans Labohm presented was misleading. Which of course could be undeliberately and by no means is a proof of dishonesty.

Yet, in the third edition of Jason Magazine (jg 33), Hans Labohm presents this graph

Hans Labohm fraud Joseph d'Aleo Icecap cherrypick

he 'explains' :there's no a single correlation between temperature & CO2 (...) there's not a single timescale showing a correlation between CO2-concentrations in the atmosphere and temperature.
Of course, as the third graph above (a graph he himself posted) already showed, there absolutely is a correlation.

In the next edition of the magazine, Dutch student Desi Van de Laar wrote a rebuttal to Hans' text. In which she posts a graph showing the correlation.

The graph looks a bit like this one :

Relatie CO2 en temperatuur ijskern
Clearly, this is the second time Labohm has been shown his statement is false.

Hans wrote a rebuttal (jan 6, 2009) adressing Van de Laars rebuttal. A text he concludes with :

the last decade earth has been cooling, despite a CO2 rise. This presumably leads to the conclusion that CO2 isn't such an important factor in determing earth's temperature.
He present a graph to depict his words :
Hans Labohm manipulatie cherrypick
This is the second time he ignores the proof presented to him that his statement is false.

Back then, i did blog about it (posts he read), which means he's seen the evidence he's wrong no less than three times.

February 13, 2009 : Labohm writes a post on De Dagelijkse Standaard in which he writes :

The main thing is that since ten years earth has stopped warming while CO2-levels kept rising. This suggests there's not any causuality between CO2 and global warming (which isn't there any more anyway). Better than a thousand words, this graph shows what it's all about.
The graph hidden under the hyperlink is this one :

In the comments section, someone complains the time interval Labohm presents is way too short to be meaningful.

The same day Hans Labohm wrote this follow up post to adress this comment in which he answers :

Good point ! But no time scale will ever show a correlation between CO2 and Temperature. QED. P.ex. Look here
Of course, Hans' statement is wrong. And he knows very well that it is.

March 4, 2009 :Labohm publishes a post on De Dagelijkse Standaard which begins with :

(...) the temperature trend (which - i'll repeat it once more - shows no correlation with the level of atmospheric CO2) (...)

Once again Labohm is critisized by the readers of the site for his graph the commenters call 'misleading'. Hans replies by giving a link to this graph :

and this graph

So once again, Labohm HIMSELF presents the graph which clearly shows the correlation.

Interestingly, in this post he admits a ten year period is too short to support his claim that earth stopped warming a decade ago.

March 12, 2009 : Hans mailes around an article of his - published in the March-edition of the magazine Research Review.

Hans writes (remember, on DDS he admitted that a ten year temperature trend is meaningless) :

The illustrated graph shows declines in temperatures measured by surface and satellite thermometers over the last 10 years, while the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere still rises. It indicates that over this period there has been no warming, but cooling. It also shows that CO2 is not correlated with temperatures, which suggests that it has only little impact, if at all. The graph, which is based on the measurements of the official scientific institutions, is the best-kept secret of the ‘warmoholics’.
of course there's a graph (coming from the known unreliable source icecap from Joe d'aleo) to picturise Hans' words
Hans Labohm manipulation of data

i'm wondering which graph will accompany my next post on Hans Labohm...

UPDATE 1: March 13, 2009, in the comments section of De Dagelijkse Standaard, Labohm writes :
Not one timescale -millions of years, thousands, hundreds or tenths of years- shows a correlation between CO2 and temperatures.

UPDATE 2: March 17,2009 , Hans did it again in his post on De Dagelijkse Standaard :
Not one timescale -millions of years, thousands, hundreds or tenths of years- shows a correlation between CO2 and temperatures.
The graph behind the hyperlink is ...

Do notice
he does NOT provide links for the other timescales.
Which is no surprise, as he has demonstrated himself that such graphs actually would disprove his statement.

UPDATE 3 : March 24, 2009, Hans Labohm did it again :
no timescale shows a correlation between CO2 ans temperature. The last ten years earth has been cooling while cO2-levels kept rising.
The illustration behind the hyperlink is this one :

Hans Labohm De Dagelijkse Standaard libertarisme VVD PVV

UPDATE 4 : April 21, 2009, Hans Labohm presents a familiar graph :

i've stopped updating this post for half a year because i got bored, but allover this period Labohm has been using the very same "argument" over and over again.
Latest attempt to fool the audience : today, November 9, 2009, in this post on De Dagelijkse Standaard, accompanied by a graph we all know by now .
Labohm writes :

This graph illustrates (...) there's no correlation between CO2 & temperature, implying one can assumle there's no causality either.


November 16, 2009 In a guestlog on the Dutch NOS site, Hans Labohm writes :
The average temperature has been decreasing the past ten years, while CO2-levels int he atmosphere is still rising
This words are illustrated with this graph :

Last weekend, Labohm publised an article in the Dutch newspaper "Trouw". A prominent place in the article went to this graph :

December 14 2009
This page, by far, is the most visited one on my blog and as a result more and more people start asking Labohm why he keeps on using that misleading graph again and again.

Of course Hans never answers that question. But as he did get so much opposition on the NOS-weblog, he started trying other graphs that are equally misleading.

Labohm's posts belong to a series of a debate between him and real scientists. Bart Sprengers used the opportunity to write a post asking Labohm about his use of misleading graphs.

Here's what Labohm answered :

Bart asks : why did you show a graph showing temperatures in US, while the text was suggesting it would be about global temperatures ?Answer : it was graph that was easily available on the internet. But now i found another graph, showing a different picture. No correlation between cO2 and temperature !

I have a feeling this is not the last time seeing this new graph...

june 6, 2010
Once again i haven't been following Labohm but i just stumpled upon his presentation at the fourth international climate conference organised by the heavily Exxon-funded Heartland Institute. In his presentation, Labohm is showing the following graph to 'proof' there's no correlation between CO2 and temperature :
Hans Labohm klimaatsceptici misleiding

In his posts, Hans Labohm is presenting misleading facts, and given the chronology mentioned above, there's not doubt at all he isn't fully aware of the misleading nature of the facts he presents.

Hans Labohm is not wrong, Hans Labohm is a fraud.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The heartland conference 2009

Heartland Institute conference global warming climate change
On the Dagelijkse Standaard blog, Hans Labohm meanwhile is promoting the Heartland 2009 conference on climate change.

In a text in which he calls the IPCC conclusions politicised, Hans concludes (my translation) :

[there's ] enough reliable and thrustworthy information on the internet. The best and most recent information these days is coming from the Heartland Institute's climate conference in New York.
Of course there's an internal conflict in Hans' words : while complaining IPCC is politicised, the institute Labohm claims to be neutral is ... a right wing think thank covering a very small and specific area in the political spectrum.

Even without any knowledge of climate science, everyone should be able to see that his claim has a very prominent smell of double standards.

A while ago i wrote a small post on the heartland institute, including a few words on the conference they held last year and on how they abused the name of honest scientists. I did mail with Hans on this quote-mining, but it seems he doesn't seem to mind. Which is not a surprise, as Hans Labohm is affiliated with Heartland.

A nice roundup on the 2009 conference including lots of links to other useful sources can be found on Greenfyre : Heartland Comedy Revue returns.

Desmogblog has a lot of more info showing Heartland is probably the worst possible source to get climate change information from.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Hans Labohm in De dagelijkse standaard.

Hans Labohm S. Fred Singer lie
In Holland a new website called De Dagelijkse Standaard was found to give a tribune to a couple of conservative writers to spread their worldview.

Of the contributors, best known in Belgium is Dutch columnist Derk Jan Eppink who recently announced to candidate for Lijst De Decker in the next European elections.

Another sounding name is Hans Labohm for whom the site has become his personal playground, with a daily post of his visions on climate science. I never took the trouble to comment on what Labohm wrote over there because it's simply too much too debunk and he's simply repeating the same things over and over again.

I couldn't resist though to give a few comments on the website (i know, i know, don't mock me) and once again stumbled onto something i couldn't believe.

Labohm made a post in which he's not saying much more than that S. Fred Singer wrote this text.

I replied (amongst other things) that S. Fred Singer received fundings from the industry.
Labohm tries to deny Singer received money saying:

Unproven. Made up. Slander.
The strange thing on this statement is that 3 monts earlier, on December 30, 2008 i received an email from Hans in which he admits Singer received money from Exxon.

Instead of denying Singer received fundings, in the mail he sent me Hans Labohm is drawing the card Singer didn't receive all that much money... So Labohm is perfectly aware Singer received fundings from the industry.

Could it be someone is making statements on DDS he knows to be untrue ?

UPDATE : Meanwhile on DDS, Hans Labohm replied to what i said. His two main points are :

  • this has nothing to do with climate science. Even if it would be true -which is unknown to me (remember that not only he sent me a mail in which he admits to be aware Singer received money, but on DDS i reminded him of the existance of this mail - J) it is not relevant.
  • "jules should not be allowed to post on De Dagelijkse Standaard any more"

The NIPCC rapport Labohm often cites was well funded: S. Fred Singer declared it was worth143.000 US $.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Have you seen the light ?

The Richel gloeilamp de groene rekenkamer
Last weekend, the Flemish left wing newspaper De Morgen (DM) published an article in which they have a closer look on the European Commission’s decision to ban regular light bulbs from 2013 onwards in favor of compact fluorest lamps (CFL).

Journalist Douglas De Coninck calls this decision a victory for the lobby of lamp manufacturers.

I don’t have any knowledge on the subject, but I immediately had a ‘code orange’ feeling when I started reading his piece, as it has a strange familiar feeling because of the claim that where there aren’t any, the government fabricates problems that need to be solved.

Yet it’s only when I read the name of Theo Richel, my nonsense-detector climbed to code red. Theo Richel, a man with a diploma of high school teacher, is the man who hosts the well known double website De Groene Rekenkamer / De Klimatosoof.

The second one is a low brow skeptical website. Its claims on climate science can be paraphrased as simple as this : “if it’s on De Klimatosoof, it’s nonsense”.

De Groene Rekenkamer in the DM-article is called ‘a consumers organization’. While of course in reality their focus isn’t the consumer. It groups people who all have in common they don’t believe “environmentalism” and call almost every environmental issue non-existing.

On their website, they describe their activity as follows (My translation) :

The most important activity of DGR is presenting information via both websites en sending around an electronic newsletter. Meanwhile two climate seminars have been held (july 07 & may 08). A few years ago the groenboek (Green Book, Dutch only) was written, a summary of all governmental plans that cost enormous amounts of money while they won’t result in any improvement in health or environment.

In 2005, prof. A. Rörsch, prof. Dick Thoenes & drs De Wit made an audit of a climate-report which was presented to the Second Chamber and which was flawed according to Rörsch, but his criticical audit was completely ignored [Rörsch is an 75-year old emeritus in genetics who in August last year wrote a piece on climate which has been on my TODO list ever since as it’s far from flawless. The fact his work gets ignored is because it’s a collection of biased nonsense without any scientific relevance. Nevertheless, in December 2008 a rewritten version of his text appeared, this time co-authored by Dick Thoenes & Hans Labohm - J.]
Above that, lectures are given for organizations like Rotary-clubs, schools, university committees etc. Above that, the media do seems to be able to find DGR, as the media-archive shows.

The climate skepticism Richel expresses has to been seen in a broader picture. Again, as is the case with many climate skeptics, it seems to be the attack on climate science is a result of a paranoid vision towards the government, resulting in attacking all environmental problems.

In this text p.ex. Richel summarizes 15 things where all environmental or health problems in his opinion are non-existent :
  • Forest starvation from Acid Rain
  • Health problems caused by Overhead power lines
  • Actions taken in relation to Radon – lung cancer
  • A ban on nuclear energy
  • The scare Radiating food might be harmful
  • The rules on reusing a soil only after it’s tested on possible contamination before it can be redisposited on the land
  • The rules of testing soils for contamination by metallic slags (in Belgium, and apparently Holland too, in the past they often have been used as a foundation for roads, or a non-asphalted roads. Nowadays, only the slags that do not leach heavy metals can be used)
  • The sanitation of soils contaminated with arsenic
  • Sound pollution near Schiphol airport
  • Removing asbestos from buildings
  • The decrease in using of herbicides on roadsides in favor of more ecological ways to keep plants under control
  • The zero tolerance for chlooramfenicol in shrimps
  • The trend to prefer “biological” food which wasn’t sprayed with herbicides
  • Climate change
  • The use of Wind power.
Basically, Richel ends up in discarding every single environmental issue he could think of. And because he always claims there's no problem and there's no need for action, I have great doubts that Richel’s protest to the EC’s decision on light bulbs is anything more than continuing on the same bias.

Given his past, no matter what he says is right or wrong, to me Richel has lost every authority on any environmental subject.

It’s strange that DCC, with his strong left wing reputation cites someone like Richel. There’s one thing which might explain though : libertarians claim environmental problems are invented and the government distorts science by using false claim to strengthen its power, DCC’s bias says the government distorts science to cover up things. Both visions share a paranoid view on the government. Would this be the reason DCC wasn’t critical enough towards his source ? I wonder.

One thing strikes me : as said I do not know anything about lamps, but one still can conclude a lot of things on an article on the subject, without even addressing the fact whether the article actually is right or wrong. Or what a little bit of criticism can be good for.

To be completely fair, I do have to say that part of my criticism originates from the fact the article never mentions something most people probably never heard of : a Life Cycle Analysis.

Richel makes the claim that, if you look at the production process a regular light bulb is actually more ecological than a CFL. Typically, this is something which is investigated by a LCA-study, and such LCA studies are used frequently by governments to scientifically support their policy.

As I know LCA’s are quite common, I simply cannot believe the EC did make a decision without any scientific support. My first feeling immediately was it’s impossible there aren’t any LCA’s for the subject. And p.ex this example shows my feeling was correct.

While not knowing anything on the subject, I’m actually pretty sure the article is flawed.