Later On

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

Strange imbalance on climate change

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Normally, in what passes for “journalism” these days, a news story will carefully quote both sides of an argument (often one side factual and the other crazy) and end the story there, satisfied that the reporter maintained “balance” and carefully avoided giving the reader any guidance as to facts in the case. An alternative is to quote critics of both sides of an argument, again with no guidance as to facts, but a true devotion to “balance.”

And yet in the Washington Post, one of the most devoted practitioners of this sort of pseudo-journalistic “objectivity,” we find in a story on climate change a careful recounting of the charges hurled in “climategate” with some acknowledgement that the investigations have consistently found no wrong doing, and a TOTAL ABSENCE of any mention of the thousands of misstatements, outright lies, conflicts of interests with heavy payments, and general bad behavior on the part of those opposing any action to ameliorate climate change. The opposition has consistently be caught in errors and lies, but the Post article never ever mentions those. Why? The Post editors themselves oppose taking any constructive actions to reverse or even ameliorate climate change, so they use the paper to achieve their goals.

Here is the relevant section from a recent story:

Missteps by scientists have given critics ammunition. Most notorious were “Climate-gate” e-mails hacked from computers at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2009. The e-mails showed scientists being combative and clubby, but multiple investigations in both the United States and Britain cleared the researchers of scientific misconduct, concluding that there was no evidence they tried to cook the books, as critics had alleged.

Embarrassing errors were also found in a seminal 2007 report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was supposed to establish, beyond question, the scientific consensus. One passage in the 3,000-page report, for example, stated that massive glaciers in the Himalayas would vanish by 2035 — which isn’t true.

Such missteps revealed that the scientific establishment does not always function like a well-oiled machine and that climate science in the raw is a more contentious enterprise than the average academic news release might suggest. But the errors did not change the basic science behind the theory of anthropogenic, or human-caused, global warming.

That the planet has warmed is a fact hardly anyone disputes — it has been measured with instruments on land and sea and in space. That humans have contributed to the warming through industrial activities is a theory supported by multiple scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA.

“Ultimately, we go back to physics. If you burn fossil fuel, you make CO2,” said Richard B. Alley, a geophysicist at Penn State University and author of “Earth: The Operator’s Manual.” “You can do this with bookkeeping. How much did we burn? How much CO2 does that make? Where is it? There it is.”

Isn’t it odd that none of the bad actions of those fighting taking action against climate change are mentioned or even alluded to. It’s as though proponents had this nasty business—which seems to have amounted to nothing—but the opponents are given carte blanche to do and say whatever they want, with no accountability.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2011 at 8:30 am

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