Accuracy in Media

The New York Times continues to be one of the most ardent proponents of the global warming scam. The Times believes that the “science is settled,” the debate is over, and it’s time for the federal government to act. Action in this case means mandatory controls on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, which it labels the “main global warming gas.” Only through drastic measures, the Times warns, can mankind stave off a coming global catastrophe. The paper has nothing but scorn for the Bush administration’s reluctance to follow the Times’ policy prescriptions.

But many scientists disagree with the Times. They also believe that the science is settled. They say it shows that predictions of catastrophic warming are baseless. They scoff at forecasts of global catastrophe and argue that, if anything, mankind could benefit from some warming. The real problem, they say, is that climate science has become highly politicized by the global warming doomsayers who, like the Times, advocate policies that could cause a real disaster for the world’s economy.

The Times and its science writers, especially Andrew C. Revkin, agree that politics influences the debate over global warming. In an August 5 story, Revkin divided climate scientists into global warming “believers” and “skeptics.” He sided with the believers, dismissing the thousands of skeptics as a “fringe element” in the science community. For Revkin, this “fringe element” has served mainly to muddle the public debate and delay governmental action to reduce global warming risks. In classic New York Times fashion, he launched a smear campaign against the skeptics.

He said that they take money from the oil industry and rely on obscure scientific journals to peddle their theories. He cited a scientific paper published in the journal Climate Research in January 2003, in which Harvard-Smithsonian Center astrophysicists Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas presented evidence indicating that the 20th century was probably not the warmest on record and that the claim that the 1990s were the warmest decade in1000 years was also doubtful. If true, this undermines the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are responsible for the warmer temperatures the “believers” predict.

Climate Research had the Soon-Baliunas paper peer-reviewed. Revkin reported that the publisher of the journal said that the reviewers had not detected methodological flaws and he was distancing himself from the paper. Dr. Patrick Michaels, a climatologist at the University of Virginia who is a critic of the global warming hypothesis, claims that a number of climatologists who are on the other side pressured the publisher of Climate Research to disavow the Soon-Baliunas paper.

Revkin reported that their work had been partially funded by a grant of $53,000 from the American Petroleum Institute and that they also had received some income as board members of a think tank that has opposed limits on gas emissions. Both authors rejected the implication that their findings were influenced by monetary grants. This allegation fits the “believers,” far better than the “skeptics.” Governments have poured billions of dollars into the coffers of the institutions and scientists who claim global warming is a great danger. In the coming fiscal year our government will spend about $4.2 billion on climate change research. The skeptics charge that climate scientists routinely “hype” the threat of global warming in order to continue gorging at the public trough.

Revkin clearly knows what side his bread is buttered on. His August 5 story reported that Dr. Michaels, one of the strongest critics of the global warming crowd, has come around to making temperature predictions that “overlap with those of the dominant group of researchers.” He claims that Michaels recently “projected that the global average temperature was most likely to rise about three degrees from 1990 to 2100.” Revkin notes that would be three times the increase in the 20th century. What Michaels said was that even if the climate modelers were right, the global average temperature would rise by no more than 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Michaels does not think computer models can accurately predict the temperature in 2100, and Revkin knows it. Nevertheless, he dishonestly rounds 2.4 degrees to “about 3,” and leaves out “even if,” so he can put Michaels “within the mainstream projections” that others have dismissed as “alarmist.” The only painful result of such a modest warming would be the red faces of those who keep predicting a catastrophe.

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