Times Shades Gore

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Although this article from the New York Times does not dispute the basic claims behind global warming hysteria, it notes that many climate scientists, including even some who accept the notion of anthropogenic global warming are unhappy with Al Gore's sensationalist approach to the science.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. [Don J.] Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for "getting the message out," Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were "overselling our certainty about knowing the future." [bold added, link dropped]
While this is newsworthy in and of itself, all the really damning quotes are unfortunately buried late in the article. Consider the following:
Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said on a blog that Mr. Gore's film did "indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios." But the June report, he added, shows "that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years."


"Hardly a week goes by," Dr. Benny J. Peiser said, "without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory," including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.


"Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet," Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. "Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change."

In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore's claim that "our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this" threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to "20 times greater than the warming in the past century."

Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. "I've never been paid a nickel by an oil company," Dr. Easterbrook told the group. "And I'm not a Republican." [bold added, links dropped, added link for Peiser]
Quickly: How the hell is defending oneself from a smear "getting personal"? Moving on....

The article clearly emphasizes the damage done by Gore's alarmism to the credibility of the crusade for warming-based environmental legislation at the expense of the obvious question of whether the crusade itself is an attempt to "fix" an imaginary problem. Thus the Times is clearly only paying lip service to the need for objectivity in the public debate, and in doing so lends undeserved credibility to Gore's position. Otherwise, why spend the first half of the article regurgitating the mantra that global warming is the "consensus view"? And don't hold your breath for any kind of an editorial questioning whether the global warming political agenda is really such a good idea.

The article may report some damaging attacks to Gore's credibility, but it also blunts those attacks and unjustly provides Gore and the allegedly scientific environmentalist agenda with shade from the bright light of scientific criticism.

-- CAV


Greg said...

Matt Drudge linked a good documentary on the subject yesterday: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9005566792811497638&q=the+great+swindle

Gus Van Horn said...

Thank you for that link. I noticed that, and then got very busy yesterday and forgot all about it.

Raman said...

Regarding the video "The Great Global Warming Swindle", the link posted previously doesn't work anymore for some reason. Here is an updated one.

As rational people, we shouldn't shy away from dissenting opinions, so here is a critique of the video by John Houghton, co-chair of IPCC Scientific Assessment working group 1988-2002.

(this page is on the John Ray Initiative servers, and their tag line is: connecting Environment, Science and Christianity -- that raises warning bells for me but YMMV).

Gus Van Horn said...

Thank you for the links, Raman.

I had gotten wind of criticisms of the Channel 4 documentary, which was apparently made by a communist or former communist who opposes environmentalism (!). Such criticism, if nothing else, reflects two issues essential to the scientific debate: (1) The science is complex (Mike N makes an incisive answer to a commenter on his blog on this very matter), and (2) the truth is not served by lying, which undercuts rational arguments when it is inevitably exposed.

And the overall point this brings up is as follows: Whatever the merits of the scientific case for global warming, the fact remains that a political agenda that violates individual rights is being promoted based on the idea that man is causing climate change. It is because these political proposals injure freedom that they should be opposed, and this is regardless of what the science says one way or the other.