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Censorship for Climate Alarm: Dessler Joins Mann in Intellectual Cowardice

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 25, 2020

“[Facebook is] a powerful way to misinform people, since these groups can’t win in the actual scientific arena, so they only can win in these media environments where they can pay to promote stuff.” (Andrew Dessler, 2020).

“All of the noise right now from the climate change denial machine, the bots & trolls, the calls for fake ‘debates’, etc. Ignore it all….Report, block. Don’t engage.” (Michael Mann, 2019)

Andrew Dessler and Michael Mann are two very emotional climate alarmists in today’s vigorous, unsettled debate. “Hide the Decline” Mann, the leading culprit of the Climategate scandal, triggered “a public-relations disaster for science” by manipulating data and techniques to reach a preordained (alarmist) result. Andy Dessler, who admits to a “very low threshold for outrage,” is the alarmist’s alarmist–a true catastrophist. Together, mendacious Michael and and angry Andy tweet and retweet each other’s work and write joint op-ed’s.

As readers at MasterResource know, lawyer-like Dessler either dismisses or minimizes the arguments against settled-science, climate alarmism, and forced energy transformation. He endorses “opaque policies” in place of transparency. Democracy is problematic as sovereign political jurisdictions do not want to play ball with decarbonization. Personal and economic freedom? That must be surrendered too in Dessler’s accounting.

Dessler will not dare debate a worthy opponent in person or in dueling op-ed’s (I have tried!). He tweets in a hit-and-run style. And he wants Facebook to block or flag the skeptics of climate alarm and forced energy transformation (see article below).

Dessler tweeted this regarding Facebook not censuring his intellectual opponents: “More evidence that social media is destroying the planet.”

Planet destruction? What about numerous positive trends in human and ecological betterment, and perhaps none more important than a 99 percent drop in climate-related mortality this century? Facts matter.

E&E News Article

Here are excerpts of Scott Waldman’s extremely biased “How CO2 Boosters’ Op-Ed Slipped by Facebook Fact-Checkers,” E&E News, June 23, 2020, which turns to Dessler at the end to make a case for Facebook censorship. (My comments are interspersed.)

A team of climate scientists working as approved fact checkers for Facebook evaluated a post last year by a White House-connected group that claims the world needs to burn more fossil fuels.

Comment: Heresy! There is a multi-disciplinary, 150-year-old intellectual tradition about how dense mineral energies better the economy and the environment. Start with W. S. Jevons in 1865.

The researchers found that the post by the CO2 Coalition was based on cherry-picked information to mislead readers into thinking climate science models are wrong about global warming.

Comment: Is using the best arguments for your position inherently “cherry picking”? Jerry North, a distinguished climate scientist emeritus at Texas A&M (Dessler’s department), was very critical of models. High-sensitivity climate models hard-wire what is not known to result in unreliability.

The post, which was published originally in the conservative Washington Examiner, was an opinion piece that had been marked as false, in accordance with Facebook’s standards. The coalition, which is funded by groups that oppose regulations on fossil fuels, was prevented from advertising on the site.

Comment: Funding ad hominem. It could not be that the leadership and scientists at the CO2 Coalition actually believe what they are writing and promoting. (They do!)

It didn’t last long. A “conservative” Facebook employee quietly intervened, overturning the fact check, and the misinformation was no longer labeled as false, according to the CO2 Coalition.

Comment: “Conservative” as in a dirty Republican … This could have been just a fair-minded person opposed to censorship.

The post was free to be shared, and a new loophole was created for the coalition and other groups that attack mainstream climate science. After the quiet decision by Facebook, the coalition says it and other groups that attack consensus climate science can share content that climate scientists have labeled as misleading because Facebook will consider it “opinion” and therefore immune to fact-checking.

Comment: “Loophole” from the truth? Critics of climate alarmism and forced energy transformation are not intellectual hacks and political flakes. Michael Mann is ducking the real debate when he tweets:

“All of the noise right now from the climate change denial machine, the bots & trolls, the calls for fake ‘debates’, etc. Ignore it all. Deniers are desperate for oxygen in a mainstream media environment that thankfully is no longer giving it to them. Report, block. Don’t engage.”

The CO2 Coalition is increasingly focused on using Facebook to reach more people with its message that climate change fears are overblown and that burning more fossil fuels would help humanity, Executive Director Caleb Rossiter told E&E News this week. He sees the battle over its climate-related posts as part of a larger proxy war over how to reach an audience outside of conservative media.

“It’s a huge reach. You can reach so many people both with your posts and your advertisements,” Rossiter said. “We’re kind of like Donald Trump. We’re not happy with the treatment we’re getting from the mainstream media, we resort to social media. That’s where our action is in larger part.”

Comment: Seems very fair…. But the real issue is why newspapers from the New York Times to the Washington Post to the Houston Chronicle to the Los Angeles Times refuse to publish one side of the quite vigorous debate.

Rossiter said the coalition was also temporarily blocked from running ads after the fact-check. After the “false” label was removed from its climate models piece, the coalition is now again allowed to buy ads. It has run a number of ads with messages that distort climate change and make inflammatory statements such as “we are saving the people of the planet from the people who claim they are saving the planet.” Those ads have received more than 50,000 impressions, Facebook data shows.

Comment: Yes, climate policy can be very destructive, not only extreme weather from natural or anthropogenic causes.

The coalition wouldn’t identify the Facebook staffer who removed the false label from its op-ed.

Comment: Is the staffer known? The statement above makes it sound like two dishonest parties could be or were at work.

Because media outlets rarely seek comment on climate science from groups that reject consensus research, Rossiter said, Facebook is how the coalition can get its message to a larger audience.

Comment: “Consensus research”? TDS, let it be known, is also at work against climate “skeptics.”

Last month, climate scientists again labeled a coalition video as false, and anyone sharing it will receive a warning that it contains “false information.” In that video, Pat Michaels, a climate scientist who has spent decades in Washington fighting against carbon regulations, says in an appearance on Fox News that “climate models are making systematic dramatic errors.” …

Comment: Let’s debate this in person and in print, not only in the journals (unless they are shut off to skeptics too–remember Climategate.

The CO2 Coalition already has significant reach in Washington and has spent the last year conducting outreach to members of Congress, providing them talking points to challenge climate science.

Comment: Bravo to the Coalition! And the talking points are so good the other side does not want to publicly debate!

One of its founders, William Happer, served on the National Security Council at the White House and unsuccessfully tried to conduct an adversarial review of climate science. Another of its members, Mandy Gunasekara, is chief of staff at EPA.

The group is largely funded by conservative foundations that oppose regulations. It has also received funding from the Mercer family, who were top Trump donors in 2016.

Comment: Let’s debate the theory and facts, please.

Scientists have long known that rising carbon dioxide levels are causing the Earth’s temperature to rise at an unprecedented rate, which has already begun to alter life on the planet. Peer-reviewed research has shown that climate models have largely been accurate. Groups that attack climate science have long pushed the false notion that there is a debate among climate scientists on the extent of humanity’s contribution to global warming.

Comment: Climate models accurate? Just how can they be tested? Ever heard of “fudge factors”? Etc.

Scientists affiliated with the Climate Feedback group, a nonpartisan organization, evaluated Facebook posts by the CO2 Coalition and found that they are misleading and that the group “cherry-picks evidence” to create a false narrative that climate models are inaccurate. Climate Feedback is one of Facebook’s approved fact-checking partners.

Comment: Nice try. The “nonpartisan” Climate Feedback group is alarmist, no skeptics allowed. I have challenged their fact check of my own work (see here).

The group rated the CO2 Coalition’s piece attacking climate models, which are the foundation used to craft many carbon regulations, and found it was “highly misleading, including a number of false factual assertions, cherry-picking datasets that support their point, failing to account for uncertainties in those datasets, and failing to assess the performance of climate models in an objective and rigorous manner.”

Comment: The CO2 Coalition can defend itself. See “E&E Alarmist Article on Facebook’s Climate Model ‘Fast-checking’ Needs Its Own Fact-Checking.”

Dessler Weighs In

Facebook has made it easier to mislead the public because it boosts inaccurate climate claims to an audience only interested in partisan narratives and unwilling to examine the actual science, said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University and a member of the team that fact-checked the original CO2 Coalition post. He said Facebook, as well as other social media companies, allows people to “live in these bubbles where they only hear the info that they want to.”

“It’s a powerful way to misinform people, since these groups can’t win in the actual scientific arena, so they only can win in these media environments where they can pay to promote stuff,” Dessler said. “It allows people to live in a bubble where you don’t ever have to confront ideas that you don’t want to deal with.”

Comment: Angry Andy. He will not debate but only censor. I know why–and so does he.


  1. John W. Garrett  

    It’s astounding that authoritarian, latent dictators like Dessler are accorded the distinction of being labeled “scientist.” He is anything but that.


  2. Joseph Bast  

    Great piece! I like “mendacious Mike” and “angry Andy”!

    Over the years I’ve come to know hundreds of scientists and economists who disagree with the alleged “consensus,” and few of them have any connection with the fossil fuel industry. Most are emeritus professors, no longer afraid of retribution by “woke” colleagues and editors, or engineers and economists, two professions with great insights into the climate debate but who are often ignored and dismissed.

    Donald Trump has repealed or reversed virtually everything Obama did in the climate arena, and is now defunding and deplatforming the alarmists. They are getting more shrill as they lose the public and political debates. But loud and angry doesn’t beat quiet and reasonable in the long run.


  3. Russell Seitz  

    This essay has elevated Master Resource’s discourse on intellectual conservatism to a level rivaling that of Tucker Carlson or The American Thinker



  4. Rob Bradley  


    The link you shared has nothing to do with my post.

    Why do not the Alarmists debate rather than try to censure? Why have Malthusian from Paul Ehrlich in the 1969s been so confident, dismissive of foes, and Wrong?


  5. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #414 | Watts Up With That?  

    […] Censorship for Climate Alarm: Dessler Joins Mann in Intellectual Cowardice […]


  6. Russell Seitz  

    Robert, is well aware that I have for decades criticised Ehrlich for evading peer review in the course of devising political ammunition and public relations tools in the guise of science

    But just as his elision of science , politics , and advertising has (mercifully) eroded the political credibility, of the environmenal left, the decay of scienific literacy and intellectually serious science editing in conservative media has deprived the nation of any real prospect of constructive science policy debate.

    No where in the Republic is this more evident than in Texas, which, as surely as California leads the nation its exercise of the imagination if disaster, the energy business has persevered in the subsidy of bluster to an hilarious degree, witness much of what we read here and in the echo chamber productionsof the Texas Public Policy Institute and above all, in the truly gonzo content of the American Thinker,


  7. Rob Bradley  

    Angry Andy strikes again!

    “Over time, there has been a convergence between the lunatic fringe and those claiming to occupy the middle ground fighting both denial and alarmism. At this point, it’s hard to tell them apart.”



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