Am I Unfairly Attacking The New York Times?
Published on: February 16, 2010
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  • I appreciate that you are directing your attention to the political aspects of the collapse of AGW but would suggest that a review of the matter shows that the science behind AGW basically doesn’t exist. The importance of the Phil Jones admissions in the interview is that their theory of AGW has been contradicted by the data. (If the MWP was global, as the data suggest, then the theory of CO2 as the major driver of current climate falls apart, for just one example.) In other news, the admission that the data is corrupt (ie, unreliable) because of cherry picking and/or changes to the micro-environment of the temperature gauges, means that the results cannot be considered reliable. And that does not even address the computer program errors. The IPCC wanted to make fundamental changes to the economies of the developed world in the name of saving the planet, and now are admitting that what they were doing was advocacy, not science. The science of climate remains very young and very immature. It is not even close to being settled, as the proponents have been insisting for the last many years.

  • George H.

    I don’t understand your statement that the science is still intact. What science? Global warming is based on projections being made by computer models using temperature data collected from around the world over x number of years. Has the software used for those models been checked by “independent” computer engineers to ensure integrity of the software? Has the base data used for these projections been made available for “independent” verification of accuracy? These are two very basic audit procedures. There are many more rigorous audits that need to take place before we can call this science. Corporations are required by law to have an independent audit performed on their financial statements. Wouldn’t any sensible government want the same type of independent audit done of global warming projections before imposing life style changes, higher taxes and consumer prices on it’s people.

  • AndaO

    Mr. Mead–
    I have very much been enjoying your blogs since I stumbled across them a few weeks ago. I think they are elegant in the same way the word is applied to an elegant solution. BUT..
    yes there IS an “erosion of the science” — at least the “science” that was being reported and used by the warmists. Please go check out the link below. It is long AND a power point but will be well worth your time.
    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2010/01/catastrophe-denied-the-science-of-the-skeptics-position.html

  • “Readers of the New York Times don’t need to know about all the brouhaha in the British press because a bunch of reporters are trying to bring down the science behind global warming.”

    Readers of the London Times don’t need to know about all the non-brouhaha in the American press because a bunch of reporters are trying to prop up the science behind global warming.

  • “more than once in these posts I’ve restated my own conclusion that the ‘revelations’ don’t affect the core scientific case.”

    I can’t say how much I admire that position. It’s inspired. It’s like having the safe base always near by so one can always say, quickly, “Not it.”

  • SC Mike

    The NY Times seems to be the leader of the pack in ignoring Climategate and the events leading up to it, at least according to this outfit.

    FWIW, I took your remarks on the Grey Lady as a lone voice crying out in the desert. What Hounshell and others don’t seem to grasp yet, as you have, is that in the US there will be no carbon tax, no cap and trade, and no further legislation limiting carbonization. Internationally there will be no further IPCC reports nor appetite for corralling India and China into an agreement that will artificially limit the prosperity of their burgeoning populations.

    The US media is regarded by folks who do have Internet access and can read the UK press as having pie on their collective face, silent and not crying out in their just desserts.

  • Luke Lea

    Well said. You should be aware, however, that the best source of “global warming skepticism” has always been in the IPCC reports themselves, usually in the introductory chapter describing the history and state of the science itself. There we learn the many uncertainties that plague this still very young discipline, including a vast three-fold uncertainty in how sensitive climate is to changes in CO2.

    It is only the executive summaries and the parts written by non-scientists that beat the drums of alarmism. And, of course, these are the parts that are touted in the press. They make good headlines.

    The fact is, the amount of future of warming remains highly uncertain as does what if anything we can do about it. It needs more research.

  • toby

    Svante Arrhenius, a Nobel prizewinner, wrote in 1905 that a doubling of C02 in the atmosphere would warm the earth by between 2 and 6 degrees Centigrade.

    More recent climate science has only slightly improved on Arrhenius. It has shown that an increase of over 2 degrees is immensely dangerous, while a warming of over 3 degrees could spell the end of earth’s relatively benign climate for human life. Yet there are those who would deny the “Prudence Principle” that says we must take action to ward off these eventualities.

    And someone can still write “many uncertainties … plague this still very young discipline, including a vast three-fold uncertainty in how sensitive climate is to changes in CO2”

    I rest my case.

  • Macha Maguire

    As a reader in the UK, we watch the brouhaha in the US press and the game show that pretends to be a democracy with some amazement. Small portions of our press have joined (actually, were always on) the denialist bandwagon – they cater to those with limited scientific knowledge who fail to grasp the utterly basic concepts that go as follow:

    the globe is currently home to more human beings than the entirety of previous history added together – by several orders of magnitude

    the level of industrialisation currently enjoyed by these record numbers of people, creates record amounts of atmospheric CO2 – by several orders of magnitude.

    It has to go somewhere. And where ever it goes, it will cause ecological turmoil. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand this – but you do have to be prepared to accept that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. Those who don’t want to accept that are throwing their toys out of the pram and they are being listened to.

    Fortunately, however, there is a growing movement of those who are working off grid, out of the media spotlight, away from the idiocy of politicians (tho’ ours do seem to ‘get it’ rather more than yours do, I suspect because they’re not paid as much to not get it, but they may simply be brighter and more able to grasp a world beyond their own backyards) to change the nature of ‘business as usual’. There is hope.

  • TTT

    AGW denialism is the 9/11 Trutherism of the ultra-right. They sound exactly like Truthers declaring the “official story” dead because some engineer or another said something off-the-cuff that turned out to be wrong, which proves the airplanes were holograms. At least I think that’s how it works. Same thing with AGW: if the medieval warm period happened at all, it is now technologically impossible for pollutant gases released by human activity to ever, ever, ever have an impact on our environment, at all, nyeah nyeah no backsies.

  • bc

    At least you recognize that the Times typically has a strategy (“And just as Senator Kerry and the journalistic establishment failed to see the importance of the swift boat attacks and develop a counter strategy early”). Frankly, the Times approach seems to be ignoring the subject.

  • Macha Maguire

    This from the NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/opinion/17friedman.html

    3) Those who favor taking action are saying: “Because the warming that humans are doing is irreversible and potentially catastrophic, let’s buy some insurance — by investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and mass transit — because this insurance will also actually make us richer and more secure.” We will import less oil, invent and export more clean-tech products, send fewer dollars overseas to buy oil and, most importantly, diminish the dollars that are sustaining the worst petro-dictators in the world who indirectly fund terrorists and the schools that nurture them.

    4) Even if climate change proves less catastrophic than some fear, in a world that is forecast to grow from 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion people between now and 2050, more and more of whom will live like Americans, demand for renewable energy and clean water is going to soar. It is obviously going to be the next great global industry.

    China, of course, understands that, which is why it is investing heavily in clean-tech, efficiency and high-speed rail. It sees the future trends and is betting on them. Indeed, I suspect China is quietly laughing at us right now. And Iran, Russia, Venezuela and the whole OPEC gang are high-fiving each other. Nothing better serves their interests than to see Americans becoming confused about climate change, and, therefore, less inclined to move toward clean-tech and, therefore, more certain to remain addicted to oil. Yes, sir, it is morning in Saudi Arabia. </blockquote

  • Vince

    How many times do the warmers have to be caught lyeing and covering up and making up facts before you stop beleiving the global warming hogwash?

  • Joe Berglis

    The case for glodal warming or climate change would be much more credible if those descenting scientists with equal qualifications were not branded as “sceptics” or “deniers”. There is a mountain of scientific evidence contradicting AGW that is simply disregarded. When scientists close themselves off to evidence that challenges their theory, they obviously do not have evidence to support their claims. I do not know of any other area of study as complex as the globes climate where a group of scientists claim to have a full understanding and can make diffinative statements which cannot be challanged in any way. Let those that believe in catastrophic climate explain to us why the global temperatures have not been static throughout the last thousand years and which temperture is the right temperature. The statements of “it’s better to be safe than sorry” doesn’t hold water here as we are asking for people to lower their standard of living and to pay trillions for what may be a political idealogy and not science at all. There is also no evidence that green jobs have been profitable anywhere in the world. Spain and Germany have both done studies which found green jobs to be a huge drain. They are no different than mass transit. Sound good but not one system in the world is self supporting or profitable.

  • A great article – something that really needs to get out there. It’s incredible how accuracy has ceased to be important in the mainstream media. As a concerned citizen and future climatologist (I hope!), I find it quite terrifying how elementary misconceptions have permeated into the media and become part of the “general wisdom”.

    For the most part, the media and the public do not understand the way science works – peer-review, the importance of credibility, accuracy over equality, the means vs the ends. Somehow a great number of us have succumbed to the idea that scientists are selfish, profit-driven (that one really makes me laugh – you think people go into research for the money?!), ideologically dangerous, and cannot be trusted.

    Until we can reverse this perception of science, and public trust in it, this problem is not going to be solved. Which is really a shame, since we have such little time….and I, unlike most of the wranglers, will be around to witness its ramifications.

    Some good links on this issue:

    http://climatesight.org (my own site – a bit of shameless self-promotion here!)
    http://manpollo.org
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610

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