One of the nice things about a being a scientist is that you can sometimes go to workshops and meetings and actually hear something new now and again. At the well-timed Tropical Cyclones and Climate Workshop at Columbia a week or so ago, I got a chance to sit in and listen to Emanuel, Landsea, Knutson and Bell talking about their recent work, but I also got to hear some new voices (and issues) in the discussion. It was all pretty enlightening even if it didn’t end up in complete reconciliation of the different views. More »
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The Washington Post has published a second op-ed in as many days about global warming (“Spinning Global Warming”, By Robert D. Novak, Page A19, April 03, 2006–story is no longer available on the website, but the Chicago Sun Times version is available here). In this one, Novak claims that Hansen in 1988 over-predicted global warming by 400% (a story originated by Pat Michaels and subsequently propagated by Michael Crichton). This story is a fabrication that has already been set right by us in 2004.
Smearing Hansen, a leading climate scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, appears to have become sport among contrarian commentators (see our earlier discussions here and here). As ad hominem attacks and “shoot the messenger” strategies are often the last refuge for those losing the substantive debate, this might be viewed by some as a positive sign, indicative of just how intellectually bankrupt the contrarian movement has become.
George Will argues now that no one would have noticed the 0.6 deg. C of global average warming to date, if the irresponsible press had not deliberately produced anxiety by pointing it out. He could be right. I expect no one would have personally noticed the ozone hole either. My grandmother smoked like a chimney and lived to be almost 100. If that nasty press had not deliberately stoked my anxieties about cigarettes and lung cancer, I would never have figured out the connection based on my personal experience. George argues that big crusading journalism is the problem. Ignorance is strength, right, George?
And, oh yeah, the global cooling stories, which appeared 30 years ago in the main-stream press (not the scientific literature). Shall we compare this with Will’s deliberate and repeated distortion of a real warning emerging from the scientific enterprise, continuing to the present day?
He looks like such an earnest man. I just don’t get it.