The most-discussed Climate Progress posts of 2009

Who the heck knows what the best posts are?  But I do have two quantitative measures of the hottest posts “” most comments and most views (Part II).

The most-discussed post this year received 390 comments, which doesn’t beat my record of 525 (see “Most discussed posts of 2008“), a figure I may never match again because of my comments policy, which is best described as anti anti-science.  The disinformers and the quacks make their living by repeating false statements that have long been debunked in the scientific literature.  In the real scientific community, anyone who did that would quickly be seen as a quack or a charlatan.

Those who have been duped by the disinformers endeavor to take over the comments section of every major climate website.  Where they are allowed to do so, like Dot Earth, they ruin it for everyone else.  Climate Progress has a long-standing policy of (generally) not allowing people to repeat long-debunked disinformation, since it requires me or my tireless readers to waste valuable time debunking it.  The other choice, ignoring it, is not really an option because on any given day, a large number of people are visiting for the first time and if there is disinformation that is not debunked, they might assume the author and readers are accepting it as true.  But sometimes I think it worthwhile to let the anti-science crowd have at it, just so everyone else can see what we are up against — and that leads to posts with lots of comments.

This list of most-commented-on posts is, I think, an okay introduction to Climate Progress (though I’d still recommend starting with the articles on the right hand column) — but it’s an even better introduction to the terrific set of readers that make CP’s comments section so lively and informative:

75 (comments).   High Water: Greenland ice sheet melting faster than expected and could raise East Coast sea levels an extra 20 inches by 2100 “” to more than 6 feet

77. Breaking: NOAA puts out “El Ni±o Watch,” so record temperatures are coming and this will be the hottest decade on record

83. The U.S. House of Representatives approves landmark (bipartisan!) climate bill, 219 – 212. Waxman-Markey would complete America’s transition to a clean energy economy, which started with the stimulus bill.

86. How the world can (and will) stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm: The full global warming solution

91. Anti-science conservatives are stuck in denial but for climate science activists, the reverse is true

93. What are some questions and issues you want Climate Progress to address?

[I think I addressed over half of the suggestions raised.]

100.  Error-riddled ‘Superfreakonomics’: New book pushes global cooling myths, sheer illogic, and “patent nonsense” “” and the primary climatologist it relies on, Ken Caldeira, says “it is an inaccurate portrayal of me” and “misleading” in “many” places.

104. Earth to John Christy: Misleading for free is wrong, too.

111.  Memo to media, blogosphere: Swift boat smearer Marc Morano has no credibility. He is unquotable and uncitable.

113. Exclusive analysis, Part 1: The staggering cost of new nuclear power

186. National Solar Observatory, NASA say no “Maunder Minimum” “” sorry, deniers “” Solar Cycle 24 poised to rev up

201. Contest: Come up with a title for my book

[The response to that contest was amazing.  While no one quite got the title that we ended up using, it did help inspire the final title, as I’ll discuss in January.]

231. WattsUpWithThat labels people who advocate putting a price on global warming pollution as “criminal.”

279. An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research from Dr. Judith Curry regarding hacked CRU emails

390. Exclusive: New NSIDC director Serreze explains the “death spiral” of Arctic ice, brushes off the “breathtaking ignorance” of blogs like WattsUpWithThat

As you can see, I’m getting a lot more comments than I did last year, which is no surprise since I have more than twice as many readers (not counting subscribers, which have increased 6-fold).

16 Responses to The most-discussed Climate Progress posts of 2009

  1. This problem is a dilemma, all right.
    “not allowing people to repeat long-debunked disinformation, since it requires me or my tireless readers to waste valuable time debunking it.

    The other choice, ignoring it, is not really an option because on any given day, a large number of people are visiting for the first time and if there is disinformation that is not debunked, they might assume the author and readers are accepting it as true.”

    I have never been a censorship advocate, but my own experience writing, and especially whenever I (or other writers at that site) have used certain keywords (like Al Gore or climategate), the denier-traffic that pours in to debunk us based on google searches of that keyword does make it a temptation…

    You are quite right. Writing is an educational opportunity. If you let the other side have yet another outlet for their dangerous disinformation (and ensuing misinformation), you only draw closer our shared doom at their hands.

    I think, in any other matter, I would not support censoring stupidity. But, about climate change, its immoral not to, as Dot Earth is an example. I’m sure that relatively educated but uninvolved NYT readers were successfully turned into deniers by Revkin by the comment section there in exactly the way you describe: assuming that that denier viewpoint is just another opinion, with equal validity.

  2. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Have you thought of doing a few follow ups. The Solar Cycle finally seems to be underway, it would seem all the records (sunspot days, flux flares etc) for solar cycle 24 are in December 2009.

    Many of the people who have swallowed the denier case are reasonable people who would support action if properly aware of how bad it could get. When I can afford a waterfront property and when Oregon real estate prices soar, you will know then the wealthy conservatives have got it. Some of them may be quite vindictive about missed investment opportunities.

    How much overreaction will there be when society finally gets it. Grist just did an article, but your take would be interesting.

  3. Florifulgurator says:

    Yeah that’s why I gave up commenting at DotEarth, and even quit reading the main text.

    Rabid D, methinks people who still swallow the denier case are anti reason. Many perhaps not consciously, but most just don’t want to think. Thinking hurts. Homo Pseudosapiens is most easily insulted by facts.

  4. Rabid Doomsayer says:


    I was talking about the businessman, conservative types who have not studied global warming at all; they trust their Australian’s or WoPo’s. They trust their establishments to give them the best advice. The types who think Revkin or Andrew Bolt would do their homework and proffer an unbiased, well considered piece.

    Anyone who has studied global warming in any detail must have seen a big problem by now, or else they are wilfully blind. Even if you only sourced your information from WUWT, and looked at the graphs and back tracked a few papers and read them.

    I know quite a few business people, and some of them are vindictive. They will not react kindly when they find their own establishments have duped them. I have heard allegations that one of those businessmen got some bikers to deal with another businessman who deliberately cost him a lot of money.

    There is going to be a lot of money to be made dealing with global warming and peak oil. Look at Boon Pickens buying up water rights, left, right and centre and forming his own water district. If I had a few dollars I would invest in 2014 oil, it cannot possibly be that cheap.

    The conservative faithful are going to be very upset with their establishment.

  5. Just want to tell you that your blog is like having a whole banana split for dessert – fantastical.

  6. jorleh says:

    Best wishes Joe. Waiting your new book. Why not for Xmas, to sell more?

  7. Until economic alternative is available widely and easily , no carbon emitting industry totally accept it easily , no rule can change the world until society accept it . most of developing nations citizens still unaware or bother of it.This is one of major reason of failure.

  8. Anarchist606 says:

    If you check my site link above I have a long post on the psychology of denial. In essence it is an emotional state which is why the facts don’t seem to matter. The denial of global warming say more about the person doing the denial than anything else. It is about thier own feelings if impotence in the face of change.

  9. Leif says:

    #8 A606: ” their own feelings if impotence in the face of change.” That is why I feel that we need to spend efforts to redefine the future not as the A-S folks define it, (cave dwelling) but as unrealized potential with rewards beyond our widest dreams. Including survival of course. Capitalism and the profit motive have largely been responsible for the finer things of life but went astray in pursuit of money and consumption as opposed to the production of quality recyclable products to be cherished from generation to generation affordable and available to all the world over. Everyone gets to play!

  10. Leif says:

    Joe: Personal. I think the speed of the “send click” might be our problem. I am having much better success not 100% but big improvement. Leif

    [JR: Can you explain this?]

  11. Jeff Wishart says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Joe’s censorship policy when it comes to ASS people. They should not be given a platform from which they can spread their disinformation.

    However, I have been running into the policy whenever I disagree with Joe on fuel cell-based vehicles. As an engineer in the advanced powertrain industry, I feel I have the knowledge and experience to provide an opposing viewpoint to Joe’s absolute rejection of fuel cell-based vehicles (there could be others in the same boat who felt the wrath of the moderator). I believe that intelligent discourse is always a good thing, and especially in this forum. Disagreement on an issue as unknowable as the future path of technological progress should be fine and it’s a detriment to the site when it is suppressed.

    [JR: I’ve no problem with debate on this issue — but I don’t like to keep rebutting the same issues over and over again.]

  12. Richard Brenne says:

    #8 – Antichrist – oh, sorry, anarchist – I’m working with the psychologists who did the American Psychology Association’s Climate Change Task Force Report – Unfortunately I do not see the link your refer to – could you please re-post it? You could also e-mail me at

  13. Richard Brenne says:

    Joe, I think your per-posting comments being down is primarily because you are posting more items per day, so viewers don’t keep chewing and commenting on the same post as much. Do you know what your per-day postings average has gone from in 2008 to 2009?

    [JR: It’s probably 75% to 100% higher. Was doing 3 to 4 posts a weekday. Now it’s more like 6 to 8.]

  14. Leif says:

    #, 2 Personal, Joe: Does not always work. Make the “send click” short and concise. Do not dwell. Not 100% but seems to be on the right track. Perhaps there is a function that can slow down the “send to spam” response time in the guts? I do not understand all I know about these things.

  15. espiritwater says:

    Yep! I think if we dwell too long over a comment, they simply erase it!

  16. espiritwater says:

    On the other hand, the whole thing was working perfectly fine before! Maybe it’s those pesky Chinese again! or other deniers, trying to screw up the boards!