You’ve Reached The Best Place For Online Climate Change Misinformation

You’ve Reached The Best Place For Online Climate Change Misinformation

I, and many of my pals, have been named a sort of scofflaw by three people named Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron.

Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron wrote the peer-reviewed article “Online misinformation about climate change” in Climate Change, a major journal. Where by “major” I mean well funded by our leaders.

Neither Kathie, Hywel, or Saffron appear to be climatologists themselves, and it’s doubtful any of them could define, say, convective available potential energy. Well, so even if they are ignorant about physics, they are all experts in talking about how to talk about climate change. Even if they are not experts in talking about climate change. If you follow me.

At any rate, I can be proud Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron called me out by name as somebody who talked about how to talk about climate change in way that is unapproved.

I don’t really want to make this about myself, because Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron named many other better men than I as not talking about how to talk about climate change in an approved way. But I can’t hide that I’m a little proud.

What is the right and wrong way to talk about talking about climate change? I’m not sure. I’m not an expert in this fine subject, so I’ll have to let Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron talk for me.

Before beginning a detailed discussion of online misinformation about climate change, it is necessary to examine what is meant by “misinformation.” The academic literature on misinformation often offers no definition of misinformation, or simply refers to a specific dictionary definition (Karlova & Fisher, 2012), however, there are numerous, and sometimes contradictory, definitions of misinformation in dictionaries, and reference materials.

That clears it up substantially. But what does this have to do with climate? Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron continue:

Looking more specifically at climate change misinformation, there is very little research which explicitly uses the term “misinformation.”

All right then. Well, if we can’t know just what “misinformation” actually is, even though Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron wrote a whole paper purporting to be experts on this important subject, we can identify climate scofflaws who have been identified as scofflaws by other people. And I, I blush to admit, am one of these bad boys.

Maybe a picture will help. Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron thought so. Here is that picture:

Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron make excellent use of colors. Everybody knows green is good and red is bad. And I’m pretty sure these designations aren’t racist or homophobic or anything, but you can ever been too sure.

Now that we have a graph, the work of Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron becomes science. We have scientific colorized categories into which we can classify people, even though Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron admit they don’t know how precisely to do this with regard to climate. But they do know others have complained about people like Yours Truly, which is good enough.

This is a serious journal written by serious people for other serious people. We all know how important global cooling is—I mean global warming—I mean climate change—is, and after racism, there is no more important and serious topic.

This is Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron included a picture of a cute robot in their paper:

Isn’t he adorable? Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron must have thought so. They also included a picture of fluffy sheep, but since one of the sheep might a wolf, I don’t dare show you since the image might be too frightening.

Another way we know this is science, and serious science at that, in a serious journal about a most serious subject, is that the paper is 20 pages. This is a lot of pages. Anything into double digits is generally considered science, but Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron outdid the usual marker by producing 20.

Good job, Climate Change! You did well by publishing this fine paper by Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron.

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    Briggs, you have forgotten about an important lesson in disputation. Never get into a tussle with a pig, because you will both get filthy and the pig REALLY likes it. Your playful response is an appropriate tit for tat, and the ‘academics’ who wrote on misinformation are clearly in over their heads in the shallow end of the pool, but I think I would have waited until I had time
    for three kill shots, one to the heart and two to the head, and then move on.
    You’ll be derided for casualness by the other side’s A team (and I think there
    is one). Also, the second sentence of theirs that you quoted is RUN-ON !

  2. christopher Benischek

    Hey Briggs–
    Mendacity! Mendacity! All the world’s Mendacity!

    You’re hiding some serious stuff, Wm (regardless of your link to it!):

    The Kathie-Saffron claim you are a “denial machine.” You create “doubt” in the “minds of the public”. You’re, you’re–a “Merchant of Doubt”.

    Can’t wait to see what lies you catch and bust today.

  3. john b()

    Climate change misinformation is closely linked to climate change skepticism, denial, and contrarianism. Lots of terms there need definitions.

    … diffusion of climate change misinformation on social media, and examining whether misinformation extends to climate alarmism, as well as climate denial.

    Wow! This could be a balanced paper? …

    However, the amount of literature examining climate change alarmism is negligible compared to that examining climate change skepticism/contrarianism/denial, and so for the purposes of this discussion, the focus is exclusively on the latter.

    Ah! So there are few “peer reviewed” papers on alarmism (a paper which more than likely be rejected without review).

    Besides, like any thing that Snopes or Politifact reviews, an alarmist “misinformant” would be deemed “Mostly True” and with the “purest” of intentions. So if I remember my colors, there would be a blueish box slightly overlapping the MIS area. They don’t really go anywhere with that color chart. I was expecting some sciency scatterplots showing all the red contrarion dots, green “consensus” dots and a few blue/yellow alarmist dots.

    Oh and Briggs:

    “Consensus” has it that your arguments are defunct

    Legates, Soon, Briggs, and Monckton (2015) issued a rejoinder to Bedford and Cook, arguing that there was potential for misuse of agnotology where there was a “manufactured consensus” view, however, a number of independent assessments have found that the scientific community has reached a near?unanimous consensus on anthropogenic climate change (Anderegg et al., 2010; Cook et al., 2016; van der Linden et al., 2017), and so this argument is considered defunct.

    So there using an “independent”assessment of Cook by Cook that shows Cook is correct and Briggs is wrong? Why didn’t you submit an assessment of Briggs by Briggs showing Briggs’ argument is NOT defunct – oh yeah that peer review bit

  4. john b()

    Oh Price-less

    I cut and pasted “near?unanimous” – in the paper it’s some “special hyphen” but came out as a “?” (In Word as well)

  5. Kenan Meyer

    My almost mathematically precise definition of misinformation is: you know it when you see it! Right!?

  6. Ye Olde Statistician

    I like this part, starting with the Universal Conclusion:
    We, therefore, end this article with a call for further research into climate change misinformation on social media.

    Kathie Treen is funded through a College of Engineering, Maths, and Physics (CEMPS) University of Exeter PhD scholarship. Hywel Williams acknowledges funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grant Number ES/P011489/1. We would like to thank Dr Andy Treen for creating the artwork for Box 1.

    The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

    Kathie Treen: Conceptualization; writing?original draft. Hywel Williams: Conceptualization; funding acquisition; supervision; writing?review and editing. Saffron O’Neill: Conceptualization; supervision; writing?review and editing.

  7. John B()


    You missed the good bits:

    Kathie and Hywel are Computer Scientists
    Saffron is a Geologist

    I was curious about their spelling of Skeptic if they’re UK
    (Or are they Connecticut Yankees?)

    (One of their colourful charts show Sceptic)

  8. Michael Ozanne

    A long time ago I actually went to the University of Exeter, A lovely location on the Streatham Estate, North of the City. In those days it had a Chemistry Department, Beer was 20 pence a pint (20 fl oz none of your short changing Yankee measures) and there was Academic rigour instead of mutual mental masturbation….

    That all seems to have changed… except the 20 fl oz

  9. Michael Ozanne

    The Public Face


    The grim reality…


  10. This is pretty funny, since the article that Briggs is so excited about only mentions him at all as a coauthor on 1½ papers that are not described as purveying misinformation, and they don’t mention Briggs elsewhere at all, as a Bad Boy nor anything else. What makes it funny is that these 1½ papers are in fact exactly what Briggs describes as “talking about how to talk about climate change”; they contain no physics, and, of course, Briggs is not any kind of physical scientist, as he makes quite manifest when he tries to talk about the subject. The *Climate Change* article merely mentions these papers in passing as being incorrect and irrelevant, which they happen to be.

  11. Oh, well done sir.
    If the Left had any conscience at all, their ears would be burning.

  12. Uncle Mike

    Dear Dr. Briggs,

    You are obviously enamored by being cited by expert academics, but nonetheless I must make strong dispute of your interpretation of this research paper.

    Specifically the picture of the sheep, which you get all wrong. There are not many science reports which include cute and fluffy clip art sheep. This one is a rare exception.

    The medium is the message, and the message sent by darling puffy white sheep is that the authors would make excellent mothers, particularly of babies and toddlers.

    I find this message to be heartening and reassuring. It’s not merely because I think Celtic young women are among the most beautiful in the world and that they make fiercely caring and passionate mothers who raise their children like lionesses. Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron may not even be Celtic genetically, but they express subliminally the same motherhood spirit personified by wildly beauteous red-haired girls of the misty mountains and heathered moors.

    You can take Home Economics out of the curriculum, but you can’t take the yen for motherhood out of the lassies.

  13. Dean Ericson

    Perusing that paper — who the hell actually reads that sort of thing? It’s just jargon, gibberish, and elliptical banalities with copulating links to more of same. Trying to read it is enflaccidating. Spam with spam sauce and a side of spam with spam dessert. Funded by some 6 billion pound quasi-government spam council gibberish generator. Stupid on steroids. And the projection is epic. At the end of the paper Kathie, Hywel, and Saffron ask,


    How about you Global Warming hoaxers just STFU? That would end it. But you can no more end lies and liars in this fallen world than you can eradicate internet bedbugs.

  14. Nate

    “Climate change misinformation is closely linked to climate change skepticism, denial, and contrarianism. A network of actors are involved in financing, producing, and amplifying misinformation.”

    You must be proud to be a member of a “Network of actors”!
    Clearly, contrarianism is not scientific, and to question the revealed truth is the worst kind of heresy.

    Michelson and Morley must have been a part of the Nefarious Luminiferous Ether Deniers!

  15. Fredo

    Congratulations Briggs on your honorable mention in that academic
    word salad, a pathetic screed whose sole object is to misinform. These
    people must be paid by the word but you can see where it’s going; in
    a word ‘censorship’. It’s all they’ve got left after their mountebank
    multi-decade faked science false narrative. If left to their own devices
    they will eventually pry that T-bone out of your chops. Already they’re
    cultivating if not a taste a degree of curiosity extolling a diet of
    grasshoppers to feed that mass of unwashed scientific illiterates.

  16. Kevin Conboy

    You get first place in the “Creative Use of Language” competition.


  17. Ray

    “Briggs is not any kind of physical scientist”
    Doesn’t Dr. Briggs have a degree in atmospheric physics? I would have sworn that was a physical science.

  18. Briggs


    Briggs do be like that.


  19. john b()

    Ray || Lee

    My PhD is in Mathematical Statistics, though I am now a Data Philosopher (I made that up), Epistemologist, Probability Puzzler, Unmasker of Over-Certainty, and (self-awarded) Bioethicist.
    My MS is in Atmospheric Physics, and Bachelors is in Meteorology & Math.

  20. This sort of hectoring of their betters hearkens back to the good old days of reality-denier cultists attacking realists. Remember the punks at “Skeptical Science”? They used to put out lists of Realists, with annotations and comments, sort of like a hit list.

    Are they still around?

  21. john b()


    Cook is mentioned quite a bit in the paper. Cook is referenced where Legates, Soon and Briggs (and Monckton) are involved.

    (Cook is one of the Skeptical kidz posing in Nazi Uniforms for a lark? Where’s Cancel-Culture when you need them?)

  22. Robert Cihak

    The book “Disinformation” by Ronald Rychlak (Author), Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa is fascinating and on target. My synopsis is that misinformation is a press release from the Kremlin, Vatican, CDC, etc. Disinformation is someone in the NY Times or WA Post (in the good ol’ days when they still had some credibility) republishing such press releases as Investigative Journalism. Back then, this reprinting process gave the misinformation a patina of credibility.
    Factoid from the book: the former Soviet Union employed more people creating disinformation than it employed in ALL their military forces.

  23. Joy

    and I got four out of ten in physics short answer paper. The highest mark in the class. Awarded by Faraday’s Grandson or great grandson Jimmie Guest, who was a very clever man who was sent to teach us for charity in the hope that something might rub off
    Briggs knows he’s a clever clogs and those kinds of people rarely have to raise their game. So they are ripe for hustling!

  24. Nobody seems to be getting the bigger picture.

    As a peer-reviewed paper in a published journal, the assertions in the mentioned article can now be referenced as undisputed facts. More papers can build on the foundation of this one, and then upon each other, until the Left constructs a towering edifice of hate. Which will then be used as justification to destroy anyone that disagrees with them about anything, because “misinformation” will be punishable by cancellation. (My, how the Leftists keep changing words. They used to call this sort of thing “liquidation”. The more polite version was “unpersoning”.)

  25. How does noble cause corrupion fit in the diagrams? I.e. Deceiving out of good intent, the “effective” scientist of Schneider?

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