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Judging Effectiveness of the Black Hole of Denial …

March 7th, 2008 · 5 Comments

So, at the end of the day, how effective was Heartland Institute’shttp://www.bpsdb.org Black Hole of Denial in New York City?  Well, one way to judge is via the media performance.  As DeSmogBlog notes:

Mainstream media seem to have caught up with climate change denial (caught up with reality, really), just in time to humiliate the assembled “sceptics” at the Heartland Institute’s 2008 International Conference on Climate Change.

While Heartland wants to position the conference as a “smashing success,” the New York Times, CNN - even that raving left-wing apology sheet the Wall Street Journal - have all lifted their delicate hands and snickered. CNN, in a spot that left the cool dudes at Newsbusters apoplectic, went so far as to call the assembled skeptics “flat earthers.”

Sounds like a roaring success, as truth seems to have triumphed over truthiness at the Black Hole of Denial.

Reporting at USA Today suggests another way of judging effectiveness, as per the article Study debunks ‘global cooling’ concerns of ’70s.

The supposed “global cooling” consensus among scientists in the 1970s — frequently offered by global-warming skeptics as proof that climatologists can’t make up their minds — is a myth, according to a survey of the scientific literature of the era.

Yup. As per most of the arguments raised by Skeptics/Delayers/Deniers, “myth” is a polite term to use.  While the cooling myth has been repeated shredded (including here at EnergySmart based heavily on this great site), having it shred in USAToday is a useful service to reality. 

Sadly, in striving to be “objective”, USA Today goes to Pat Michaels,  a “Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies” at the libertarian CATO Institute, who is one of the more prominent Global Warming Deniers.  Re Michaels,

Dr. Tom Wigley, lead author of parts of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and one of the world’s leading climate scientists, was quoted in the book “The Heat is On” (Gelbspan, 1998, Perseus Publishing): “Michaels’ statements on [the subject of computer models] are a catalog of misrepresentation and misinterpretation… Many of the supposedly factual statements made in Michaels’ testimony are either inaccurate or are seriously misleading.”

Sdayly, USA Today doesn’t put Michaels in context, other than “CATO” (and how many people outside Washington, DC, know what it is?). 

Some have doubts about the new survey. “The paper does not place the late ’70s in its climatic context,” says Pat Michaels

Would USA Today readers have felt differently if he had been identified as a charter member of the Global Warming branch of the Flat Earth Society?

In any event, rather than crowing praises of Heartland, USA Today is reporting on how scientists have shown the holes, from another angle, on a favorite skeptic/denier truthiness argument.  Hmmm … maybe the Black Hole of Denial was successful in keeping the darkness of denial contain within itself.

The scientific look at the global cooling mole came at Real Climate, reporting on this look at scientific studies (more formal version).  Very briefly, of the climate literature from 1965 through 1979, they found 71 studies:

  • 7 predicted cooling
  • 44 predicted warming
  • 20 neutral

What about that vaunted scientific consensus about cooling?  More than half predicted warming and less than 10 percent predict cooling. And, consider the trend over time:

 

Anyone want to compare this to the consensus about Global Warming among scientists today?

NOTE: Hat tip to silence at Daily Kos.

Tags: Global Warming · environmental · global cooling · global warming deniers · skeptic

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jmklein // Mar 7, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    The much more important thing is that the earth is cooling right here, right now. Check out that Maunder minimum and start buttering up your shoe, your about to eat it,.

  • 2 A Siegel // Mar 7, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    JM — As you flog truthiness and confuse the situation, rather than aid understanding, a question to you: what will it take before you eat your shoe?

    And, by the way, do you want to talk about other implications: such as acidification of the oceans?

  • 3 A Siegel // Mar 7, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    JM: While I expect you reject any facts that might suggest you eat your shoe, others might be interested in reality. Suggest that they check out: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20080303_ColdWeather.pdf which is nicely discussed by Joe Romm here: http://climateprogress.org/2008/03/03/hansen-throws-cold-water-on-cooling-climate-claim/

  • 4 Brian Costin // Mar 12, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    My name is Brian Costin, and I am the Assistant Director of Government Relations at the Heartland Institute and I would like to point out the following information in response the blog posting.

    *To say that the panelists that attended the conference are not numerous, or accomplished in the field of the climate change is simply unfounded if not deliberately misleading. The panelists at The Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change include scientists and economists who have been published thousands of times in the world’s leading scientific journals and have written hundreds of books on the issue of climate change.

    *This group of more than 200 climate and environmental scientists hail from Australia, Canada, England, France, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

    *They are from the University of Alabama, Arizona State, Carleton, Central Queensland, Delaware, Durham, and Florida State University. From George Mason, Harvard, The Institute Pasteur in Paris, James Cook, John Moores, Johns Hopkins, and the London School of Economics. From The University of Mississippi, Monash, Nottingham, Ohio State, Oregon State, Oslo, Ottawa, Rochester, Rockefeller, and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. And from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Suffolk University, the University of Virginia, Westminster School of Business (in London), and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Also, let us not forget the honorable President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Claus. Also, more than 50 international NGO’s were represented at the event.

    *Also, private individuals with no connections to the energy industry funded the entirety of our conference. The combined amount of the modest honoraria offered to the speakers amounted to less money than Al Gore makes for a single speech. A large number of speakers nevertheless turned down any honorarium whatsoever.

  • 5 A Siegel // Mar 12, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Brian — Thank for posting a cut-and-paste screed, which clearly shows that you did not even bother to read and react to what I wrote. Guess that you are so used to being called out for you funding sources that you assume that anyone based in the reality-based community will focus on that. Hmmm … again, how are your words related to what I wrote?

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