Batshit crazy #climate denial letter in #Manchester Evening News #gishgallops

So, some nameless Einstein has recycled a whole bunch of conspiracy theories, fake science and sprinkled them with inaccuracies. And, naturlich, it’s the lead letter in the Manchester Evening News today  For no good reason beyond procrastination, I’ve decided to go through it painful paragraph by painful paragraph….

It’s responding to this one which went in on Tuesday, btw-

letter tuesday

The letter is thirteen paragraphs long, which is extraordinary by MEN standards (usually you’re told to keep it under 200 words.  The rules are, it seems, flexible).  Here’s a refutation.  Bear in mind that the letter is a classic gish gallop

Gish gallop is a term for a debating method that focuses on overwhelming one’s opponent with as many arguments as possible, without regard for accuracy or strength of the arguments; it is considered a fallacious technique.[1] The term was coined by Eugenie C. Scott and named after the creationist Duane T. Gish.[2][3]

The Gish gallop allows a debater to hit their opponent with a rapid series of many specious arguments, half-truths and misrepresentations in a short space of time, which makes it impossible for the opponent to refute all of them within the format of a formal debate.

See also this video-

Was this a good use of my time?  Nope.  Was it a good use of yours in reading this?  You have to be the judge, no?

letter today

  1. “They were very pessimistic about now and in [sic] the future.”

Perhaps because they are woke?!  So are climate scientists.

boat our end

  1. “Facts about climate change and many untruths.”

Indeed, none of the former and plenty of the latter present in this letter. Classic attempt to claim high moral ground. #Fail.

  1. Climate change has happened.

Old tactic: set up a strawman and pretend that some people don’t know it/agree with it.  Tedious and sad.

  1. “Claim man’s influence unprecedented… patently not true.”

Great Acceleration?


Anthropocene, much?

  1. Ice ages had C02 levels 14 times higher than todays”

No google search has found this claim anywhere. Just made up? The “best” I’ve found is a claim they were ‘800 percent’ (i.e. 8 x higher)

Meanwhile, read Scripps on this.  And skeptical science on the whole ‘lag’ nonsense.

5a. C02 “only” at 385ppm.  Nope, 410ppm and counting. If you can’t even get this right, what does this say about your respect for evidence and your basic, um, competence?

And of course, the rate of increase is higher.  In the 50s and 60s we were going up at 0.7 to 1ppm each year.  Nowadays its 2 or 3ppm per year.

“That growth rate was 50 percent faster than the average over the past decade, driving CO2 levels 45 percent above pre-industrial levels and further outside the range of 180-280 ppm seen in recent cycles of ice ages and warmer periods.”


  1. Environmental movement has long sought…

Well, on its own parameters, it’s failed, hasn’t it?!  Also, don’t ALL movements try to ‘dictate’ how the world is run?

  1. United Nations. Agenda 21. [Black helicopters. Sovereignty. Whatevers]

Conspiracy theories about New World Orders

Before the early 1990s, New World Order conspiracism was limited to two American countercultures, primarily the militantly anti-government right and secondarily that part offundamentalist Christianity concerned with the end-time emergence of the Antichrist.[8] Skeptics such as Michael Barkun and Chip Berlet observed that right-wing populist conspiracy theories about a New World Order had not only been embraced by many seekers of stigmatized knowledge but had seeped into popular culture, thereby inaugurating a period during the late 20th and early 21st centuries in the United States where people are actively preparing forapocalyptic millenarian scenarios.[4][6] Those political scientists are concerned that mass hysteriaover New World Order conspiracy theories could eventually have devastating effects on American political life, ranging from escalating lone-wolf terrorism to the rise to power of authoritarian ultranationalist demagogues.[4][6][9]

  1. “Surprise surprise it’s the UN who organise the world’s climate summits!”

This would be in green ink with CAPITALS if they let that happen in newspaper. Who else?  The League of Nations? The Holy Roman Empire?

  1. Democracy  I am sure the writer believes very strongly in democracy, and has been out there protesting about all the various coups launched to install the ‘right kinds of government’… oh yes.
  2. The US GAO has “revealed the staggering amounts of more than $10bn per year invested in climate change propaganda and funding to US Universities”

Um? Source?  Can’t find nowt on google.  Just made up??

  1. “Mostly about money and tax”.. “makes us all poorer through higher taxation on cars”

Um, negative externalities much?  More cars is more wealth? Seriously?  Air quality in Manchester is appalling already. For example.

  1. Less money to look after our children and our children’s futures

Riiiiiiiiiiiight.  Because trashing the planet, acidifying its oceans, wrecking its habitats is exactly how we should be looking after our children’s futures. Oh yes.

Posted in Letters to the MEN | 2 Comments

Upcoming event: “Supporting #climate adaptation in Tanzania” 23 November, #Manchester

Tyndall Manchester would like to invite you to attend the next talk in our seminar series “Supporting climate change adaptation in rural Tanzania: is promoting resilience in transitional communities sufficient?” by Dr. Susannah Sallu  on Thursday 23rd November (room C21, Pariser Building, Sackville Street) at 1.00pm. 


Supporting climate change adaptation in rural Tanzania: is promoting resilience in transitional communities sufficient?

Dr. Susannah Sallu, University of Leeds

In this talk Susannah will draw on current research she is leading in collaboration with NGO partners in Tanzania, which focuses on the design and evaluation of integrated approaches to climate change adaptation. Susannah will academically reflect on the design and early implementation of a European Union funded adaptation programme that sets out to build resilience and increase the adaptive capacity of rural communities in the East Usambara mountains of Tanzania. She will ask to what extent the approach taken to date provides opportunities to promote adaptation pathways that are sufficient, fair and desirable for all.


Speaker bio

Susannah is an Associate Professor of Environment & Development based at the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds. She is a member of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and Priestley International Centre for Climate. Her research focusses on the interactions between, and governance of, human development and environmental change. Over the past 17 years Susannah’s work has focused on rural livelihood dynamics, governance and resilience in the context of environmental change.


The seminar will take place in room C21, in the Pariser Building on Sackville Street– number 12 on the map here

Posted in academia, Adaptation, University of Manchester, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Communicating #climate graphically – Kevin Pluck interview #Manchester

A little while ago a startling graphic which showed sea ice decline. It got retweeted by the UN, Al Gore started using it and even the Daily Mail wrote an article

It turns out the creator of this animation, and others, lives right here in Manchester. His name is Kevin Pluck, and he kindly agreed to an email interview with Manchester Climate Monthly.

1. Could you say a little bit about your background, and how you came to have the skills to be making these graphics?
I’m originally from NZ and have lived in the UK for 16 years now. I have over 17 years professional software development but have only started making animations in the last couple of years.

2.  Can you remember when you first understood about climate change?  Was it a sudden or gradual process? Was it related to a book, film, individual, event?
I recall as a teenager in the late 80’s discussing with an adult that it’s their generation’s fault about, I think, the ozone hole as it was a big deal in NZ at the time. It was also a time of anti-nuclear sentiment especially with nuclear free NZ in which US nuclear war ships were not allowed to enter NZ waters.

3. When did you decide to start making graphics?  Did the first one(s) take longer?
I started about two years ago making mathematical videos as I was fiddling with prime numbers and seeing if I could find patterns

I watched this video about spiral galaxies:

I was intrigued as to what the star motion would look like so made this animation which was quite satisfying:

Which was quite popular, even the professor in the original video liked it.

In January of this year I stumbled across this graph of sea ice.


I figured I could use the techniques developed in the above animations to bring it to life. Earlier I had admired Professor Ed Hawkins climate spiral animation;

and thought that format would work well with this data.

The animation I produced:

This was very popular on reddit and on twitter where it got retweeted by the UNFCCC, Greenpeace and I got an email from the office of Al Gore asking for permission to use it in his talks. Even the DailyMail wrote a piece:

I steadily improved that animation with each monthly update adding rings for the Arctic and Antarctic and incorporated global temperature as a colour

After a discussion about the possible distortions a spiral graph could have, I animated a barrel graph which, much to my surprise, I seem to have invented. I got the idea from thinking about seismic drum recorders. They are really good at showing seasonal data as here:

and also for showing that the data doesn’t have a seasonal pattern as in the co2 and global temperature animation

4.  What has the been reaction to the graphics?  What has surprised you, gratified you?
The reaction has been very positive with only a handful of deniers raising their head above the parapet. (Perhaps I’m in a lefty green echo chamber) but it was certainly a surprise when the UN retweets you and emails from Al Gore etc! Also a surprise to have invented a new form of graph! It’s the reaction from the climate scientists that is the most gratifying, I have hundreds of academics following me that have been making suggestions and using my animations in their talks.

5. Any advice for anyone trying to communicate climate change?
Be polite and relentless.

6. What next?  Any plans to increase/decrease/change output?
No plans to decrease at all! I have a few ideas up my sleeve, next one is a way to show how much CO2 is in the atmosphere and how much it has changed in a way that’s easy to grasp. I’m also working on a project that will try to centralise climate data and produce it in a standard format so that obtaining data is far simpler.

7. Anything else you’d like to say?
Keep it in the ground!

Posted in Communicating Climate Change, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Upcoming event: Communicating #climate. Nov 22nd #Manchester

So, this is coming up.

Event to be held at the following time, date and location:

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 from 10:00 to 16:00 (GMT)

Partisan Collective
19 Cheetham Hill Rd,
M4 4FY Manchester M4 4FY
United Kingdom

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It’s challenging to communicate climate change at a community level. How can we find ways to alert people to climate change when there are so many other things to worry about? How can we make the solutions to climate change feel positive and empowering? And, especially, how can we reach beyond the limited core audience of dedicated environmentalists to the wider and sometimes sceptical population?

Led by international climate change communications expert George Marshall, in this fast moving and interactive workshop, participants will explore and understand the key components of effective communications and the complex ways that people make sense of climate change. We will draw on a wide range of research and practical experience, looking in detail at case studies of what works and, just as importantly, what does not work.

Who is this masterclass for?

This session is designed for anyone engaging directly with the wider public on climate change, especially as a grassroots community level. Participants will range from community level activists through to local authorities and educational organisations interested in reaching a wider public. This masterclass will be suitable for a non-specialist, and will be presented in a highly engaging and non-technical manner. At the same time it will contain much essential information for seasoned professional communicators drawing on the latest research and practical evidence.

What will participants learn?

Participants will gain a set of principles that they can apply directly to their communications, asking whether their communications speak effectively to their target audiences. They will be encouraged to look through the eyes of different people, understanding how different values and identity shape perceptions, and what is required to engage with new audiences. The workshop will also provide a set of ideas for testing language and communications and supporting new peer communicators.

Participants will learn the typical mistakes made by climate change communicators and look critically at communications case studies. They will explore how to make communications and campaigns more effective at reaching centre-right audiences, and discuss means to incorporate this into strategy development.

The event will be interactive and participatory, with participants invited to share their own experience and insights and propose creative solutions. It will adhere to Chatham House rules.

The course agenda

This 5 hour masterclass will explore the following topics:

  • The cultural and psychological obstacles to communicating climate change
  • Values and worldview – the importance of political values in forming attitudes to climate change
  • Core values – understanding people’s core values and what motivates them
  • Case studies – a critical analysis of 20 years of communication from science, media and campaigns
  • The role of the communicator – why we need to find new people to talk about climate change
    Different media: what works best

About George Marshall

George Marshall and the organisation he co-founded, Climate Outreach, are the leading European specialists in climate communications. George has advised the Scottish and Welsh governments, the United Nations and international NGOs in engaging new audiences in climate change, including youth, trade unions, people of faith and people with conservative values. His book, Don’t Even Think About It, is widely regarded as one of the most important books published on climate change conversations.

Take a look at George Marshall’s TEDx talk here:

Supported by


The ‘Don’t Talk About Climate Change’ poster is the work of Canadian artist, Franke James, read more about the remarkable story behind the artwork and her battle with the Canadian government here:

Posted in Upcoming Events | 1 Comment

Upcoming event: Growing a Greener #Salford Mon 13 Nov. #Manchester #climate

Please pass on to anyone who lives works or studies in Salford…

growing greener salford

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“Making Public Engagement Meaningful” #Manchester #climate Friday 10th

So, there’s an event this Friday.  It’s now sold out (MCFly has already booked its ticket), but inevitably some folks don’t turn up…   What’s interesting is that they have (thank god) dumped a portion of the sage-on-the-stage format.  Of course, the underlying summit-love (emotathons anyone?) is still there, but let’s be thankful for small mercies…  The crucial problem, imo, is not of “visions”, pictures and scenarios as much as the civil society capacity to force policymakers to keep their shiny promises.  In the absence of that civil society capacity, you end up with GroundhogDayAllOverAgain…  #endofrant.


‘Making Public Engagement Meaningful: Preparing the Ground for the Manchester Green Summit’ on Friday 10th November.


We are now sold out so IF YOU CANNOT COME please let us know so we can free up space for others.

Also, please note that we have had a slight reconfiguration of the agenda for the evening. We will still be hosting some speakers who will be talking about sustainability at a city level, however rather than a panel discussion, we will now be facilitating some interactive sessions where attendees will have the opportunity to develop pictures and scenarios of what a sustainable Greater Manchester might look like. The results of these activities will be written up and passed to the organisers/Steering Committee of the Mayors Green Summit with conclusions and recommendations.

We will be providing vegetarian and vegan food, plus drinks for the event between 630-7pm. We should have enough for everyone but if you’d like to get something to eat we advise arriving early.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday!


Event details: No. 70 (The old Cornerhouse building) | 70 Oxford Street, | M1 5NH Manchester | United Kingdom

6.30-7.00 pm Arrival and networking, food and drink provided

7.00-7.45 pm Introduction and social science research presentations

7.45-9.00 pm Activities to create a vision of a future sustainable Manchester

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Greater Manchester Pension Fund and fossil fuels – #divestment #climate #yoursay by November 19

The Greater Manchester Pension Fund has almost £1.8bn invested in fossil fuel companies, more than any other local government pension fund in the UK.  That is the money that Fund members have paid in to secure their future, not to wreck the planet’s climate.

The Fund is now asking for our views on how it should invest its money and I thought you might be interested to respond. A strong message from Fund members and local residents will add weight to existing pressure to change the way the Fund invests its money.

I’ve included some links to enable you to do this below.

The deadline is 19 November.

Please forward this to anyone you think may be interested.

A bit of background

These investments are contributing to climate change, run counter to all the local sustainability strategies and we believe are not good long term investments from a financial point of view.

I’ve been involved in a local campaign (Fossil Free Greater Manchester) which has been discussing this with the Fund. The Fund say they are working to engage with fossil fuel companies to reduce their emissions but we see no progress, no clear deadlines or evidence that this will have an impact.

Hundreds of organisations globally have taken their money out of fossil fuels, including a growing number of UK local authorities.  The TUC, UNISON and a number of local MPs and councillors also support divestment.

We are calling for GMPF to:

  1. Immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies;
  2. Divest from companies involved in the exploitation of coal and unconventional oil or gas within two years and all fossil fuel companies within 5 years;
  3. Work with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to develop and fund a low-carbon investment programme for Greater Manchester.

You can give your views here on a simple form:

Fossil Free Greater Manchester website which has more background information and ways to get involved:

The Fund’s strategy is here (section 9 is the relevant part):


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