David Rose is a bit of a poor conjuror. His latest attempt in the Mail On Sunday resembles Tommy Cooper. A few tricks work, most of them don't. The trick, to hide the incline, is to tell the public what they should be thinking because many of them won't try to think for themselves or won't have the time to check. Frankly, they won't know where to look to check. Why should they? Most of the readership of the Mail is not climate scientists, or even scientists.
Here's how he does it.
Apart from the usual obfuscation, quotes from deniers and made up bits, Rose has a handy cut out and keep section with what the IPCC says (not that we can check that yet), and what he says that means. Here's one section:
What they say:‘There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable climate variability, with possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic, and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse-gas forcing.’
What this means:The IPCC knows the pause is real, but has no idea what is causing it. It could be natural climate variability, the sun, volcanoes – and crucially, that the computers have been allowed to give too much weight to the effect carbon dioxide emissions (greenhouse gases) have on temperature change.
Notice anything? For a start, the quote begins with a reference to something we don't get to see. It's up the conjuror's sleeve and we're not meant to wonder where it is or what it is. But it could be crucial. We shall just have to wait and see. Since we don't know exactly what the quote is referring to, our eyes are led to the second section: what it means. Rose tells us. He's confident that the IPCC knows the pause is real. I suspect that the actual nuanced version we shall get in a couple of weeks will tell a different story, but what do I know? I'm not a denier so I am not in possession of this document.
Anyway, Rose tells us what the problem is. Luckily, it is
It could be natural climate variability, the sun, volcanoes – and crucially, that the computers have been allowed to give too much weight to the effect carbon dioxide emissions (greenhouse gases) have on temperature change.That's because the IPCC apparently knows the pause is real, in spite of the evidence clearly to the contrary that is hardly likely to have escaped 190-odd governments, the thousands of scientists and who knows who else that was involved in putting this whole escapade together. Luckily, plucky, heroic David Rose knows better than all those. The IPCC quote is at least much more cautious. Rose is emphatic that it [could] be the computers. Not the models, not the quality of the data, not anything else. It's the computers. The average Mail reader understands computers and the fact that they crash and don't work sometimes. They probably don't get models.
I'm guessing that the time and effort (frankly much of it a waste of ink and pixels) being expended by the denial crowd suggests that the IPCC report is really going to be something they don't like. You know the playground bully who gets his retaliation in first because he is likely to get hurt? So do I. Doesn't the denier behaviour feel exactly like that?
For more on how conjurors use human psychology, read Sleights Of Mind by Macknik and Martinez-Conde.