A Free-Market Energy Blog

“Climate Dystopia:” Tweets from a Frustrated Climatologist (Andrew Dessler)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 4, 2019

“If ‘some humans survive’ is the only thing we care about, then climate change is a non-issue. I think it’s certain that ‘some’ humans will survive almost any climate change. They may be living short, hard lives of poverty, but they’ll be alive.”

“Future humans, as they live in a climate dystopia: ‘I thought he cared about the environment’.”

“I find the path we’re on now — the rich world survives (if lucky), but abandons everyone else — to be morally problematic.”

Professor Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M is the alarmist’s alarmist. At a lunch some years ago, he remarked to me (and his more moderate colleague Gerald North) that humankind would have to live underground because of anthropogenic warming. And he stated that fossil fuels had made us slaves, a deep-ecology argument that has been ably turned around by Matt Ridley).

The IPCC estimates climate sensitivity between 1.5° – 4.5°C; Dessler estimates 2.4° – 4.6°C. The mid-to-upper range is a lot of warming–and much more than what we have seen to date well into the carbon-based energy era.

Dessler knows he is right. And I do not doubt that he believes himself, being a nature-is-optimal-and-fragile ecologist at heart and not knowing (or at least not acknowledging) important contrary arguments outside of his field of specialization (Vaclav Smil on energy density; Robert Mendelsohn on climate benefits and free-market adaptation).

Professor Dessler is certain that man-made climate change will be steep and wreck the ecosphere and economy. He attributes bad motives to those who disagree with him. And he downplays contrary argument and evidence. Sum it up and you get … an angry scientist letting off steam via stormy tweets.

I have previously described Dessler as the The Certain Climate Alarmist. I have warned Texas politicians to beware of his offer to present his (one-sided) view of climate science and public policy without a skeptic (of climate alarmism, not climate science) in the room.


As part of my research of Dessler’s oeuvre, I performed a tweet review to understand the professor’s mentality for background re his books The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change (2011) and Introduction to Modern Climate Change (2016).

I categorize some of his more notable tweets from the last six or so months. (A far more interesting dive would look at several years of his tweets.)

Adaptation a Joke

  • Adaptation does indeed work. When temps get too high, switch from black t-shirts to white ones. (January 4, 2019)


Adaptation is no joke; it is a growing, central part of the whole climate debate. The mitigation window has long been closing. The climate math worsens over time with the log (not linear) forcing of CO2. Dessler himself pretty much said as much:


If we want to protect ecosystems & keep the Earth looking pretty much like it looks now, I have some bad news for you. That boat has sailed. The only possible way to achieve this is aggressive geoengineering (both SRM & CDR), and even if that’s possible it’s not a sure thing. (November 20, 2018)

And there is evidence that nature, not only humankind, is adapting to change to internalize” the negative effects of weather/climate to leave the positive effects of the human influence on climate.

Also, Professor Dessler should make peace with what might be the most important climate statistic of all: the dramatic decline in human mortality from climate/weather extremes. In this regard, the risks of climate policy, not only the physical side of climate, should be acknowledged.

Blatant Disrespect for Skeptics

  • And, of course, let’s not forget Roy Spencer’s window into the denial machine. You can be a scientist that no one takes seriously and national TV will come to you so you can mislead the audience. Pretty nice gig — and pretty easy. (December 18, 2018)
  • I often think about how great it would be to be a skeptic. You don’t have to write papers, which is really hard. You don’t have to write proposals, which is also hard. You don’t even have to do research. Instead, you just say things that mislead to audience craving to be misled. (December 18, 2018)
  • While he had credibility at one time, lately [Richard] Lindzen’s pronouncements on climate are more of a clown-show than anything else. Again, the fact that people still quote him is because there’s no one better. (December 17, 2018)
  • The column quotes Lindzen to cast doubt on CO2’s impact on the climate system. Some people don’t believe the 97% consensus, but if the consensus weren’t so strong, why would the same few people get quoted all the time: Lindzen, Curry, Spencer, Christy, etc. — the list is short. (December 17, 2018)
  • I love the Monckton et al. amicus brief the same way I love the Jackass movies. They’re dumb and of no redeeming value, but man are they entertaining. So here’s the question. Does anyone know what he’s referring to that has already been published? (March 22, 2018)
  • If you wonder why “gone emeritus” scientists become skeptics … Ray Bates is a retired guy that the scientific community long ago moved past. But, as a skeptic, he’s suddenly the center of the debate, taken seriously by people who want to undermine policy. (December 24, 2018)
  • Ultimately, I can’t be a skeptic because I can’t throw science under the bus. (December 18, 2018)


This is a scary reminder that the “Climategate” mentality–where the ‘tribe’ employs methodological tricks, perverts the peer review process, and even dreams of physical harm to their intellectual adversaries–is alive and well.

While not of Climategate infamy, Professor Dessler has directly contributed to the freezeout by orchestrating a political statement for his colleagues to sign at Texas A&M. He also dismissed Climategate as a mere distraction rather than a scandal.

Why would I or you go into this field where you would be discriminated against and marginalized by the Desslers of the world? Same thing for Sociology and History or Critical Studies in academia that are overwhelmingly Statist (versus free market) and intolerant of opposing views.

Politicization of quite unsettled science does two things: it attracts the wrong people to the field and discourages the right talent.

Certain Science, Certain Alarmism

  • I think we need a hashtag for #ScienceIsNotModest to educate climate deniers that we actually do know what’s going to happen. @stephenmoore @VanceGinn … .@StephenMoore: “Scientists should have the modesty to admit we have no idea what’ll happen as climate change continues. Too many variables to hazard a decent guess, but giving government more power is the most dangerous threat to our planet.” #ampFW https://ly/2DOpzzC


Note the “denier” insult. Why can’t he just say “skeptic” as in critic of climate alarmism? And yes, Moore is right. The major threat to energy sustainability is Statism where an intellectual/political elite make energy choices instead of each of us as voluntary consumers. (Dessler loves the authoritarian Green New Deal, not surprisingly.)

The Pause (“Hiatus” of Warming)

  • I was just joking when I previously said that “no warming since 2016” would become a denier thing, but I didn’t take into account that deniers don’t have any better arguments, so they’re stuck making these transparently dumb arguments. (January 3, 2019)
  • are we still arguing over the hiatus? here’s what you need to know: slowdowns (and speedups) occur naturally. don’t let short-term variations mislead you. trends over 10-15 years can be quite different from the long-term trend. can we move on now? (December 19, 2018)


Funny thing, coming out of the very hot El Nino-driven 1998, Richard Kerr in Science magazine reported the scientific consensus that that this level of global warming would soon be the new normal. And then in 2009 that a warming “jolt” would replace the “pause.” Yes, there was an El Nino driven jump in 2015/16, but we could well be back into the “pause.”

Not Easy Being Green

  • I fully support scientists who make the decision for themselves not to travel, fully aware of the consequences. But we should not bully younger scientists to commit career suicide in return for a de minimus contribution to the climate problem. (December 30, 2018)


Everyone’s “de minimus” still adds up to a “de minimus.” Even major public policies result in de minimus. Asia is building or planning to build 1,200 coal plants–that’s a reality that puts the whole US in a bit of a “de minimus”.

Mitigation Policy

  • In the end, those arguing against carbon taxes are all eventually revealed to be climate deniers. I know of zero exceptions. November 30, 2018


Does Dessler know of any alarmist that is against government pricing of CO2? I would take alarmism more seriously if climatologists said that the climate was highly sensitive to GHG forcing, the mitigation window was closing, and we needed to focus on free-market, health-is-wealth adaptation.

Unmitigated Alarmism

  • … I find the path we’re on now — the rich world survives (if lucky), but abandons everyone else — to be morally problematic. November 20, 2018


With views like this, one would think that the good news about carbon dioxide–from CO2 fertilization to lower real-world (versus model) warming–would be welcomed with huge sighs of relief. But twitter rants against skeptics seem to be the substitute against mid-course corrections that maybe, just maybe, the climate alarm is overblown.

Something is very wrong here….


  1. rbradley  

    The latest tweets from Professor Dessler (April 2nd, not April Fools) says his “personal best estimate” of ECS (equilbrium climate sensitivity) is 2.7C (about one-fourth below his latest presentation’s midpoint).

    And this from yesterday: “There are, on the other hand, things we don’t really know about the climate system. We need to better understand how low clouds respond to changes in the climate (i.e., SST, stability, mid-trop RH).”



  2. John Garrett  

    Until proven otherwise, I have serious doubts about Dr, Dessler’s familiarity with and experience of programming and computer modeling of complex (possibly chaotic), multivariate, dynamic, non-linear systems.

    Not only does climatology not know all the independent variables of the climate system or their coefficients, it doesn’t even know with certainty which variables are dependent and which are independent.


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