Monday, December 10, 2007

Global Warming Nutters

Like to Dodo, you'd think, because most of us have moved-on, that the global warming-deniers had gone away, but no, in a new book called 'Scared to Death' two prominent deniers try to point to sun as the issue but in a cutting review, Robin McKie takes the book apart;

First cut:

"..astronomers have known for years that temperatures are rising on our sister planets but have failed to pass on the news, we are told. This is a cosmic conspiracy - for if Jupiter and Triton are heating up, then the cause cannot be human....So forget carbon emissions. Blame rising solar radiation for all global warming....The authors outline six sources and then wrap up their argument with quotes from a scientist whose solar research they clearly feel is unimpeachable. First, those sources: items from ABC News, USA Today, National Geographic, an MIT press release and links to websites of Nasa and a media group, None is a primary source. All are interpretations, by others, of astronomical research"

So the reviewer get a primary source;

Oxford's Prof Peter Read, who has worked on several robot missions to Mars. 'Take the melting of the ice cap on Mars's south pole. There is no evidence of warming happening elsewhere on the planet. The effect is most probably some local climatic phenomenon. So is the solar system in the grip of global warming? No, it isn't.'

But shockingly, the central claims of the book are based on an interview with Cambridge astrophysicist Nigel Weiss in Canada's Financial Post - that never happened!

Except that Weiss never said any such thing. He never even gave an interview to the Post, which long ago posted a retraction and an apology, under legal threat from Weiss who was infuriated such claims had been falsely attributed to him. 'I don't believe solar radiation is the main cause of global warming and I never said so to the Post, as the authors of this book would have discovered if they had asked me,' says Weiss.

Ooops! Final cut:

They accuse other journalists of 'unthinking credulity' but commit egregious errors that would shame a junior reporter...Then there is this year's Royal Society report by physicists Mike Lockwood and Claus Frohlich, who surveyed radiation records for the past 40 years and who concluded, unambiguously, 'that the observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability'. Incredibly, this is dismissed by the authors because of its careful selection of evidence!

Suffice to say, it's not on my Christmas list.

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