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Is this what a man hired to communicate climate science calls evidence?

As I have said before, I retain a belief in CAGW two-and-a-half letters to the left of most commenters on this blog. But Bob Ward – Policy and Communications Director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics – is not the first believer in the imminent peril of climate change to have a damn good go at pushing my scepticism-marker to the right. On the LSE British Politics and Policy blog, he writes:

Do male climate change ‘sceptics’ have a problem with women?

Betteridge’s Law of Headlines applies for a reason. If someone knows a thing for sure, they don’t ask the air. They state it, good and hard.

Although clearly not all climate change ‘sceptics’ are male, writes Bob Ward,

Get-out clause.

it does appear that those who most intensely promote climate change denial are usually male, and routinely refer to female climate scientists in a dismissive way. He provides some evidence for his argument.

The standard of what he thinks is evidence is what prompted me to write this post.

On 20 February, the Global Warming Policy Foundation launched a new pamphlet at the House of Lords, attacking the mainstream media for not giving more coverage to climate change ‘sceptics’. The author, Christopher Booker, is a veteran columnist for The Sunday Telegraph. This will be the 65th pamphlet published by the Foundation, since it was registered as an educational charity by Lord Lawson of Blaby in 2009, 57 of which have been written by men only.

So 8 out of the 65 were not. That is 12.3%. According to a Guardian article asking how well women are represented in UK science in the light of the forced resignation of Tim Hunt (an affair which itself demonstrated the incompatibility of modern feminism with science), women make up just 12.8% of the STEM workforce. So the GWPF’s pamphlet output is, as we scientists say, only short by a whisker. Yeah, that 12.8% is a factoid I plucked out of the air of questionable relevance to anything, but so is Bob Ward’s figure of 57/65 GWPF pamphlets not having a woman’s name at the end. Incidentally I am shocked that the Guardian, unlike Mr Ward, ignores scientists of non-binary gender. No, wait! I have suddenly seen that Mr Ward’s rather strange phrasing “written by men only” might not after all be a progressive acknowledgement that some authors presenting as male or female might actually consider themselves as part of the Two Spirit community. It could just be about papers with more than one author. Oh, poot. That’s a paragraph of snark wasted. Not to worry, though. All I have to do is put a question mark at the end and I can use it after all: Does Bob Ward have a problem with the Two Spirit Community?

However, male dominance of the Foundation’s other activities is even stronger. Of its 10 Trustees, all but one are men. All of the 25 members of its “Academic Advisory Council” are men.

Those square quotes are men. I can tell by the way they are so aggressive and in yer face. Female punctuation marks are much nicer.

Its Chair, Director, Deputy Director, Science Editor, Energy Editor, Director of Development and Researcher are all men. And all seven of its annual lectures have been delivered by men.

So that’s the Global Warming Policy Foundation shown to be almost as sexist as liberal Hollywood luvvies or Oxfam directors. Are we going to reach the bit where we prove – or even attempt to prove – the sexism of climate sceptics in general rather than this one think-tank soon?

The Foundation does not disclose any details about the identities of its members, thought to number about 100, or its donors who last year gave more than £284,000. It is not obvious why the Foundation should be able to benefit from charity status while appearing to operate as an old boys’ club. It is not, for instance, raising awareness of men’s issues, such as the risks of prostate cancer.

Huh? I can vaguely see how he gets from “does not disclose any details about the identities of its members” to “appearing to operate as an old boys’ club”, but where did the bit about prostate cancer come from? The term “old boys’ club” or “old boy network” is usually taken to mean a group that operates by the principle of “it’s not what you know but who you know”. But the mention of “boys” is a historical hangover from the days when the days when practically all professionals were male. There was never any suggestion that old boys’ clubs became more acceptable if they dealt with old boys’ issues.

I asked the Charity Commission to investigate whether the under-representation of women within the governance and activities of the Foundation was the result of discrimination. The Commission had previously carried out an inquiry into the Foundation and concluded that it had violated the rules for education charities because it was solely promoting climate change denial.

However, it refused to make any enquiries about the under-representation of women on the grounds that “there are no legal requirements around gender balance in governance and that under s20(2) of the Charities Act, the Commission is precluded from interfering in the administration of a charity”.

Good to see the Charity Commission staying within its legal remit. Gambling Commission, please note.

The Foundation may be dominated by older men because climate change denial is simply not popular among women and young people.

Science of the sort that Bob Ward approves of is also disproportionately old and male. Old because it takes time to learn this stuff, male because… well, that is not a question into which modern science cares to delve.

Numerous studies have suggested that climate change ‘sceptics’ are usually older and male, with political views that place less value on the environment. However, recent polls of the UK public suggest that there is little gender difference among the small proportion of the population who are hardcore ‘sceptics’.

The fact that Mr Ward put in this nugget that undermines the rest of his article made me think a lot better of him. But it still undermines the rest of his article.

A tracking survey commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed that, in March 2017, 7.6% answered “I don’t think there is such a thing as climate change” or “Climate change is caused entirely caused by natural processes”, when asked for their views. Among men the figure was 8.1%, while for women it was 7.1%.

As above.

Anyone who has engaged with ‘sceptics’ will have learned that it is the men who are most vocal about their views.

Anyone who has engaged with ‘human beings’ will have learned that it is the men who are most vocal about their views.

They tend to lack any training or qualifications in climate science, but still appear to believe that they know better than the experts. And there is also a degree of male chauvinism that often underlies the arguments put forward by ‘sceptics’ during public discussions. For instance, when Lord Lawson was asked to comment on a statement by Professor Dame Julia Slingo, the chief scientist at the Met Office, about the link between flooding and climate change, he did not refer to her by her professional title but as “this Julia Slingo woman”.

The degree of male chauvinism in that is close to zero. I am female but if I do not think too highly of a person I might easily refer to them as “this X Y man” if they happen to be male and “this A B woman” if they happen to be female. To omit her professional title does fall short of the highest standards of courtesy but before we specifically condemn Nigel Lawson for sexism perhaps we ought to establish that he is more insulting to women than to men. Paradoxically he could defend himself from the charge by pointing to his frequent waspishness to his male political allies, his male political enemies, and to the male chat show host Clive Anderson. I am sure Lord Lawson would not have dreamed of making disparaging reference to the appearance of a lady.

Other climate change ‘sceptics’ routinely refer to female climate scientists in a dismissive way. For instance, Professor Joanna Haigh of Imperial College London was called a “puffed-up missy” in a trademark rant by James Delingpole for the extremist website Breitbart. Mr Delingpole also referred on his website to Dr Emily Shuckburgh, an experienced climate scientist who specialises on impacts in polar regions, not by her name or job title but as “some foxy chick from the British Antarctic Survey”.

What an adorably old-fashioned chappie Delingpole is. As indeed is Mr Ward. A chick can go Oxford and have a science degree and still be pretty damn foxy, you know. This is a point upon which I feel strongly.

Female scientists outside the UK are also exposed to sexist invective from climate change ‘sceptics’, with Scientific American reporting that, in the United States, “more than 90 percent of the harassing emails they receive are from men and often include gender-specific abuse”.

Of course not all climate change ‘sceptics’ are male chauvinists, but it is clear that those who most obsessively promote climate change denial are usually male, arrogant, and unable to accept that the experts are right, particularly if they are female.

No, it is not clear. Insufficient evidence has been provided to support the assertion.

Edit: Oh, and one further thing. A point so fundamental that I didn’t think of putting it in until later, like the Zeroth Law. Lord Lawson, James Delingpole, the entire complement of the Global Warming Policy Foundation irrespective of gender, and every climate sceptic on the planet could all be misogynist space Nazis who wear Free Cuckistan socks in bed and it still would not make their opinions on climate change wrong.

21 comments to Is this what a man hired to communicate climate science calls evidence?

  • Paul Marks

    I repeat my standard point – if the Global Warming people truly believed their theory, they would be pressing for the radical deregulation and expansion of nuclear power. Even James Lovelock (the “Gaia” man) admitted that nuclear power is the only real way to greatly reduce C02 emissions, and radical deregulation (which would IMPROVE safety) is the only practical way to greatly and rapidly expand nuclear power. Yet the Global Warming people mostly HATE nuclear power and seek it to close it down – as they are in Germany. The conclusion is obvious – they do not believe their own theory.

  • the other rob

    I have nothing to say that doesn’t involve the words “Bob Ward” combined with an assortment of expletives.

  • AlexB

    I only hang round the periphery of climate scepticism, so I’m probably missing out on several female sceptic voices (or any flavour, really). But I can certainly think of four without much difficulty.

    Judith Curry
    Dr Susan Crockford
    Jo Nova (linked to in Samizdata’s blogroll)
    Donna Laframboise

    Judith Curry and Susan Crockford are both scientists, the former a climate scientist & the latter a zoologist with a focus on polar bears & their habitat (hint: Arctic sea ice). Jo Nova is a science writer, who wrote “The Skeptic’s Handbook”, & Donna Laframboise is an investigative journalist who has been holding the IPCC to account on the sources they use for reports.

    I don’t think the fact they are women has any bearing on their following. Pretty sure it’s because of the work they do trying to undo the damage to science being caused by proponents of the “consensus”.

    If I can think of four easily, there are probably plenty more that could be found with a bit of effort. And lo, a very quick search brings up Jaime Jessop over at Climate Skepticism, who also took issue with Ward’s piece. https://cliscep.com/2018/02/23/does-bob-have-a-problem-with-gender-equality/

  • Phil B

    Regarding “climate change” the results are deliberately skewed by THIS (PDF warning).

    More warnings. It was written by – Gasp! Shock! Horror! – a MAN!!!

  • Frank S

    Bob Ward is a professional apologist and propagandist for the lucrative, plump, and still prospering climate-alarm industry. So he is just doing his job. He just does not do it very well. Who could? It is now beneath contempt.

  • EdMJ

    A chick can go Oxford and have a science degree and still be pretty damn foxy, you know.

    I see your Emily Shuckburgh, and raise you a Rachel Riley! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Riley

    As for the LSE, what do you expect from a school founded by the Fabian Society? The “Economics” part of their name should be in air quotes.

    “The history of the London School of Economics dates from 1895, when the School was founded by Fabian Society members Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas, and George Bernard Shaw, with funding provided by private philanthropy, including a bequest of £20,000 from Henry Hunt Hutchinson to the Fabian Society.”


  • Pat

    The entire thing is intended as an ad-hominen on the supposition that his audience thinks there is something wrong with being old and/ or male.
    As well as its lack of appeal to those without this prejudice, it demonstrates his entire lack of evidence.
    BTW what sex is Bob Ward, how old is he, and does he always treat those with whom he disagrees with courtesy?

  • twix

    “Male feminists” are the scum of the earth!

  • Stonyground

    “They tend to lack any training or qualifications in climate science, but still appear to believe that they know better than the experts.”

    Well, I do know enough about the scientific method to know that these climate experts have pretty much abandoned it. One hallmark of good science is its ability to make predictions. Not only do climate scientists fail dismally in this respect but they have also failed to reconsider their hypothesis following said failure.

  • John B

    Isn’t Global Warming Fascism older, male dominated?

    That old Leftist trick, accuse others of doing/being what you are.

  • JadedLibertarian

    I teach statistics and research methods to various levels of undergraduate and post-graduate students. I have a set of 3 lectures I deliver that are meant to provide a very basic grounding in these things.

    About 5 minutes into lecture one I bring up falsification and I always tell them:

    Unless you have a clearly defined set of circumstances under which you will accept that your hypothesis is probably not true then you’re not doing science. You’re doing something else.

    The climate scientists keep moving the goalposts. They’re not doing science.

  • QET

    Here’s the thing about climate change. Even to the extent that it is real and even to the extent that it is caused by man-made CO2 emissions, both of which I believe are true, the only issue of importance being the exact determination of that “extent,” I am not about to support granting the progressive-dominated state the power to reorder society and the economy on that basis. The social and political environment is no less significant to human well-being than the natural one. Human civilization has shown it can thrive in any number of climate conditions, and it has shown that it cannot thrive in the sort of social and economic conditions the progressives would inflict on us if we give them the chance.

  • Natalie Solent

    QET, that is pretty much my opinion too.

  • Sam Duncan

    “The entire thing is intended as an ad-hominem”

    Brings a whole new depth of meaning to the term, indeed. No doubt he’ll find fault with our method of eating asparagus next. But none of it has much to do with the veracity or otherwise of the AGW hypothesis.

  • Alisa

    I am not about to support granting the progressive-dominated state the power to reorder society and the economy on that basis.

    Or any state on any basis, for that matter.

  • AlexB (March 2, 2018 at 1:07 am) beat me to it.

    IIRC Dr Judith Curry was effectively driven from her university position by a (more male than femal) group of climate “scientists” of the kind who call disagreement “denial” and regard asking inconvenient questions as treason to the cause of their inconvenient (but not to them) truth.

    As to these women being quieter than male rubbishers of the statistical absurdity that is global warming “science”:

    – that might be argued of Dr Curry. My impression is that she came later, and at first less, to her scepticism than others (bit like Natalie), then worked privately within her academic orbit for some time (to plead for more attention to that real openness to critical review that is the mark of real science). It was well after the climategate emails that she came to my attention (which I rightly or wrongly think of as meaning “went public”).

    – I think Jo Nova would feel justly insulted at the idea that her climate scepticism was meek and mild in comparison to that of the men, and IIRC she was already at this party when I first arrived.

    – Donna’s reasonably short ‘layman’s explanation’ of the reason the Mann-Jones-Briffa technique would extract a hockey stick from random noise is as effective for its length as anything I recall seeing from a male sceptic.

    But of course, the fact that I wrote ‘layman’s explanation’ instead of ‘layperson’s explanation’ means you should disregard that – and all else I said or will say. 🙂

  • Bob Ward?

    It he on an academic salary grade ?

    If so … which one?

  • Thailover

    Bob is mansplaining, so you can safely ignore.

  • Thailover

    “You beat me to it.”

    Beating sounds violent like chain migration. You must be a horrible person. LOL

  • Pyrthroes

    Let’s put it this way: if deviant AGW hysterics, Luddite sociopaths bent on sabotaging global coal, oil, nuclear industries on the threshold of a 70+ year Grand Solar Minimum likely preceding a Pleistocene glaciation lasting median 102 kiloyears, had any slightest sense or sensitivity, they wouldn’t just do things differently but be quite different people.

    We’ve led an adventurous, even dangerous life. Married 36 years with three kids, sterling Old School credentials, we’ll respect Klimat Kooks’ fuss-and-bluster only insofar as they bag this Blondlot, Lysenko approach to Monkey Trials.