Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Dubner decides that his credibility is unimportant

with 18 comments

Brad Johnson at ThinkProgress:

Thousands of emails from the webserver of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) — a top climate research center in the United Kingdom — “were hacked recently” and dumped on a Russian web server. Global warming deniers are sifting through the illegally obtained letters of private correspondence for “proof” that the scientific consensus on climate change is actually a global conspiracy to suppress “skeptics.”

This week, Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of SuperFreakonomics, embraced the fevered “Climategate” ravings of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and other global warming deniers in an interview with Fox Business Network host David Asman. Dubner purports that the hacked University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) emails reveal that the supposed consensus on global warming is because “everybody’s scared to be an outlier, everybody’s scared to be a skeptic.” After Asman compared climate scientists to Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler — Dubner did his own Glenn Beck impression, accusing “potent” scientists of “colluding” to “tell Al Gore what to say,” and “distorting evidence” to “make their findings be right for their position”:

You can’t read these e-mails and feel that the IPCC’s or the major climate scientists’ findings and predictions about global warming are kosher. You can’t. They may be, but if you read these you have to have a whole lot of skepticism about that. And of course, coming into Copenhagen these are going to have a big effect how the world looks at you. They’re going to say, “Wait a minute. You say these climate scientists have been telling us we have to stop burning fossil fuel tomorrow?”

Watch it:

The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio,Washington Times, and other news outlets are participating in this Swiftboat-style smear campaign, following the lead of actual Swiftboat smearer and former Limbaugh and Inhofe employee Marc Morano — instead of bothering to understand what the scientists were actually talking about in the hacked emails.

However, as climate scientist Richard Somerville explained yesterday, “The ice has no agenda.” Arctic sea ice is at historically low levels, Australia is on fire, the northern United Kingdom is underwater, the world’s glaciers are disappearing, and half of the United States has been declared an agricultural disaster area. And it’s the the hottest decade in recorded history.

By asking whether “we have to stop burning fossil fuel tomorrow,” Dubner — a top blogger for the New York Times — gets to the heart of why this bizarre theory of a cabal of all-powerful climatologists is getting support from conservative media and politicians. The incontrovertible science — based not on manipulated data but on decades of basic research — is that the burning of fossil fuels is drastically reshaping our planet’s climate and acidifying the oceans. And the only known way to restore conditions to those safe for human civilization is to dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels. Doing so, however, would affect the incredible profits and power of the oil and coal industries, and of their ideological allies.

In fact, if we stop treating our atmosphere like a sewer, the climate system will heal itself over time, potentially more rapidly than we expect. That our past inaction will continue to bear consequences into the future is a reason to act with greater swiftness, not to dither further. The longer we delay, the more difficult and expensive the challenge to reduce pollution while adapting to a hostile world becomes.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 November 2009 at 4:45 pm

18 Responses

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  1. It is a sad day in Science when a skeptic is called a denier.


    25 November 2009 at 6:03 pm

  2. Any remaining skeptics are indeed deniers: they are denying the mountains of evidence, studies, simulations (checked against actual outcomes), and so on. Most of the deniers know nothing or little of science, and none are climatologists. Read this post carefully, and you will have to agree, I think, that to deny the evidence summarized in that post, one has moved well beyond “skepticism” into flat denial. A skeptic, after all, can be convinced by evidence. A denier, apparently not.


    25 November 2009 at 6:10 pm

  3. Climategate is the reason for this skepticism. Maybe if these scientists were honest for ONCE.


    25 November 2009 at 6:34 pm

  4. Climategate? What dishonesty are you talking about? I suppose they MIGHT be called “dishonest” in their predictions, but I think “optimistic” is kinder.


    25 November 2009 at 7:29 pm

  5. And from that you conclude that global warming is not happening??? Or that humanity’s CO2 emissions have nothing to do with it???


    25 November 2009 at 9:22 pm

  6. When you have a group of scientists deliberately lying and deceiving the public, why should they be taken seriously? Why should their data be respected and trusted as reliable?

    Now we have an issue with global temp data. Has the planet actually been cooling, rather than warming? It would appear so.

    And so it goes, CO2 would have nothing to do with the planet’s temperature.


    25 November 2009 at 10:24 pm

  7. Well, you certainly qualify as a denialist. Sorry about that. And the planet is warming, as is clearly shown at the post I linked to.


    26 November 2009 at 8:06 am

  8. I see. Scientists who distort their data should be praised, not punished.

    What the hell has happened to Science?


    26 November 2009 at 9:53 am

  9. No, scientists who distort their data are to be censured. But there is precious little distortion in the mass of data we have on global warming, which comes from many more scientists than the few identified by Climategate, as you call it. Can you point to one single serious problem you see? That is, something specific instead of broad-scale condemnation.

    And, truthfully, virtually all the distortion so far is on the side of the deniers—from Inhofe’s fraudulent list of “scientists who disagree with climate change” to the millions of dollars the oil & gas industry has spent to fight any change in CO2 emissions. If you have a strong distaste for misleading statements, you would avoid the deniers.


    26 November 2009 at 10:08 am

  10. Hey, it happened in New Zealand too. I’d bet good money that it has happened elsewhere. Do you know how many motives there are of making it seem like the planet is warming? These scientists care about the money involved; otherwise, they would not create false data.

    That’s just Science 101.


    …like wind energy and solar energy companies haven’t paid millions?


    26 November 2009 at 10:54 am

  11. You seem to have missed this part:

    And, truthfully, virtually all the distortion so far is on the side of the deniers—from Inhofe’s fraudulent list of “scientists who disagree with climate change” to the millions of dollars the oil & gas industry has spent to fight any change in CO2 emissions. If you have a strong distaste for misleading statements, you would avoid the deniers.

    The omissions, distortions, and outright lies from the likes of Inhofe and other industry-funded deniers is extensive and documented. I fear you are not very even-handed in your judgments.


    26 November 2009 at 11:08 am

  12. New Zealand’s temperature is not relevant, I fear. The problem is not “New Zealand warming” but rather “global warming,” and the evidence for that is overwhelming. Of course, deniers will not look at the evidence but dismiss it out of hand, claiming things like a conspiracy of all the climate scientists in the world eager to somehow make money out of this (though how is never clear). The more obvious financial incentives for the oil & gas industry to fight the science are ignored by deniers. A weird group.


    26 November 2009 at 11:11 am

  13. I would agree. They have falsified data and should be disregarded. But warming trends have been created through data manipulation and I fear it exists elsewhere.

    How do they profit?



    26 November 2009 at 12:28 pm

  14. And how would the oil & gas industries profit if they can kill attempts to control global warming? You ignore the very plain and obvious money trail from the oil & gas industry to PR firms and professional deniers, while speculating that climatologists will somehow be able to profit. And certainly it will not be scientists who sell carbon caps or who get the taxes from carbon.

    It is not data manipulation that has been melting Greenland’s ice cap, that is clearing the Arctic of summer ice, that is accelerating the thaw of Antarctica, that has raised sea levels 6 cm so far (and rising faster). Look at the physical evidence.

    In this area, I fear that to me you seem unbalanced: one side gets a complete pass from money influence, telling lies, distorting findings, where the other side must endure suspicion of all sorts of wrong-doing when even Climategate found no evidence of a conspiracy or any broad-scale wrong-doing. Mostly it was simply carping about the irrationality of the deniers.

    You can read the newspaper accounts I posted this morning, but really, you’re haring off in the wrong direction and ignoring evidence left and right (both about climate change and the motives of the professional deniers such as Inhofe).


    26 November 2009 at 12:38 pm

  15. BIG omission: to the oil & gas industry, add (of course) the coal industry, which is funneling millions to try to derail action against climate change. But now with China on board and the US read to go, it looks as though action will indeed be taken. India needs to step up to the plate now.


    26 November 2009 at 2:24 pm


    found this podcast, it talks about how the vanguard of the deniers
    is made up of the “truth” movement…worth a listen


    3 December 2009 at 10:38 pm

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