At issue is not whether global warming is occurring, or even whether it is man-made. The issue is how incompetent, biased and astoundingly uncritical the media coverage of the issue has been and continues to be. Now major news publications and respected columnists are participating in yet another global warming ethics train wreck, which helps nobody and nothing.
Here’s is Prof. Richard Muller, a Berkeley physicist, toward the conclusion of his 2003 paper on global warming data:
“Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.”
“Back in 2010, Richard Muller, a Berkeley physicist and self-proclaimed climate skeptic, decided to launch the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project to review the temperature data that underpinned global-warming claims. …So what are the end results? …As the team’s two-page summary flatly concludes, “Global warming is real.”
Note that the reason Plumer believes Muller’s study is worthy of special notice, and is elevated to a level of presumed objectivity and credibility, is that he is, Plumer says, a “self-proclaimed skeptic.” Does his 2003 statement sound skeptical to you? Did it seem skeptical to Plumer, or any of the many, many media sources that took his lead—“”Climate-change skeptic: ‘You should not be a skeptic.’(Atlanta Constitution-Journal); ‘Climate Skeptic Sponsors New Climate Study, Confirms ‘Global Warming Is Real’ (Popular Science); ‘Skeptic Talking Point Melts Away as an Inconvenient Physicist Confirms Warming’ (New York Times); and many more?
It didn’t seem un-skeptical, because Plumer and the other reporters didn’t read it, so eager are they to show common cause with environmentalist….you know, the good guys. The non-conservatives. Either that, or they did read it, and decided to withhold it from their readers, so their readers couldn’t make up their own minds whether Muller was really a skeptic, or just a canny self-promoter who knows how to move his research to the front of the line. OR perhaps they read it and can’t understand English. Those are really our only options regarding Plumer and the rest of the journalists who aped the “skeptic” misrepresentation. They are:
a) lazy and biased
b) dishonest and biased
c) stupid, or
d) All of the above
They also didn’t read the interview Muller did on the website Grist in 2008, in which he said things like:
“The bottom line is that there is a consensus — the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] — and the president needs to know what the IPCC says. Second, they say that most of the warming of the last 50 years is probably due to humans. You need to know that this is from carbon dioxide, and you need to understand which technologies can reduce this and which can’t. Roughly 1 degree Fahrenheit of global warming has taken place; we’re responsible for one quarter of it. If we cut back so we don’t cause any more, global warming will be delayed by three years and keep on going up….”
…Back in the early ’80s, I resigned from the Sierra Club over the issue of global warming. At that time, they were opposing nuclear power. What I wrote them in my letter of resignation was that, if you oppose nuclear power, the U.S. will become much more heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and that this is a pollutant to the atmosphere that is very likely to lead to global warming.”
Does that sound like a skeptic to you? As for Plumer, I repeat: lazy, dishonest, or stupid. Take your pick.
In assessing Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post’s official Obama flack columnist who once won a Pulitzer Prize somehow, I vote for “all of the above.” Three days after blogger Don Surber posted the Grist interview, Robinson offered a column (today) that proclaimed the global warming debate over because a “skeptic” had completed a study that proved “global warming is real.”
Do they have Google over at the Post, Brad? Eugene? Just wondering.
If the journalists who jumped up and down in joy over Muller’s study had bothered to do minimal research—seventh grade level, really—they would have discovered that Muller’s research project BEST has long been viewed among climate change skeptics as a set-up for exactly this. You can read Climate Depot’s extensively documented criticism of Muller in April of this year here. That’s April, Eugene. This is October.
Even this is not the worst of this spectacular display of incompetent reporting. The majority of rational climate change skeptics do not question that the earth’s temperature has been rising, but that the rise has been sufficiently linked to man-made causes, that scientists have the data to accurately predict whether the rise will continue, and that proposed measures to combat it will have the desired effect, or are necessary at all. And what did Muller’s study show on these issues? Oh, just nothing:
“Muller is claiming in a October 21, 2011 OPED that skeptics of man-made global warming fears no longer have any basis to doubt “global warming” because his new study confirms that the Earth has warmed since the 1950s! Muller seems to imply that the terms “global warming” and man-made global warming are interchangeable and any warming is somehow “proof” of human causation.” [Climate Depot]
That’s still good enough for news media climate change flacks, 99.9% of whom couldn’t decipher any of the data if their lives depended on it (and neither could I) but who just know that the global warming advocates are correct. And what about the critical “man-made” part of the equation?
“It is true that Muller made no attempt to ascertain “how much of the warming is due to humans.” Still, the Berkeley group’s work should help lead all but the dimmest policymakers to the overwhelmingly probable answer,” writes Robinson.
If you say so, Eugene.
This is why climate change skeptics don’t trust the studies, don’t trust reports, and don’t believe the media. They detect, quite accurately, a wide-ranging effort to cook the data, over-state findings and misrepresent the argument.
Lazy, dishonest or stupid.
Take your pick.