I have previously argued that debating with denailists was a point less exercise (the comments around which on Bristol Indymedia just went to prove my point) – and I am not the only one who thinks so. NASA's chief scientist concurs;
"... public discussion of global warming is befogged by contrarians, whose opinions are given a megaphone by special interests that benefit by keeping the public confused. Some of the contrarians were once scientists, but now they behave, at least on the topic of global warming, as lawyers defending a client. Their aim is to present a case as effectively as possible, citing only evidence that supports their client, and making the story appear as favorable as possible to their client. The best, the most articulate, are sought out by special interests, and even by much of the media, because the media likes to have 'balance' in its coverage of most topics – and especially this topic because special interests have influence on the media."
Sadly, the media tendency to 'balance' also extends to 'propaganda' as shown by the example of Mr Rooney of the Country Land Association given a column in the Western Press to pour water on the claims of climate change. He writes a convincing article that seems to be a sober assessment of current thinking;
"The claimed threat rests on two key propositions deriving from United Nations reports: that global temperatures are determined mainly by carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, and that human activity, especially the use of fossil fuels, is increasing these to historically high and dangerous levels. But as research continues and understanding grows, things look less straightforward – and less dire.
Existing doubts about a simple link between temperature and carbon dioxide were reinforced by a paper given at Bayreuth University last month. This reported that during at least three substantial periods in the last 200 years carbon dioxide levels have equalled or exceeded those prevailing today, although temperatures were lower.
On the second point, subsequent studies indicate that the United Nations report substantially underestimated natural contributions to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, consequently exaggerating those attributable to human activity. A report that the contribution from human activity is much less than the UN suggested has been endorsed by 31,000 scientists, many more than advised the UN."
Well gosh, that sounds like current thinking is dissolving climate change away! I may as well book that long-haul holiday as planned? However, how the Western Mail let such sloppy claims though, should lead to serious questions being asked about their editorial standards (or lack thereof). Lets look at the two claims;
"Existing doubts about a simple link between temperature and carbon dioxide were reinforced by a paper given at Bayreuth University last month. This reported that during at least three substantial periods in the last 200 years carbon dioxide levels have equalled or exceeded those prevailing today, although temperatures were lower."
Interesting that the author just says 'a paper given at Bayreuth University' and not by who. If he did the validity of the claim would soon evaporate. The 'paper' was by Ernst-Georg Beck, not a climatologist or a professor – he is a school biology teacher. Not to diss school biology teachers, they do great work – but they are not climatologists. His work has been totally debunked, is not peer-reviewed science and comes to the opposite conclusion of all the data we have. You would only endorse his work if you were in denial or did not know what you are talking about.
"On the second point, subsequent studies indicate that the United Nations report substantially underestimated natural contributions to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, consequently exaggerating those attributable to human activity. A report that the contribution from human activity is much less than the UN suggested has been endorsed by 31,000 scientists, many more than advised the UN."
Here we go again – the argument of living-dead – this is not new, indeed this is old; a reference to the 'Oregon Petition' – an unverified petition that allowed anyone with a degree to sign-up and be counted as a 'proper sceintist' This was presented as 'proof' of a real debate in science. Except that is was duff, as Scientific American reported back in 2001;
"Scientific American took a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition —- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers – a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community."
The article then goes on the quote the work of Fred Singer, without any context as to who he is in relation to the global warming debate – he is a very prominent denailist who has admitted taking $10,000 from Exxon Mobil, has been part of their anti-Climate Change PR machine for some time. He was also a prominent scientist in the campaign by big Tobacco to deny health risks in smoking. Hardly a neutral voice.
Put simply the Western Mail article is bunk'um-propaganda and it is shocking that a so-called newspaper should let a half-baked column of nonsense though. However what is does show is that the standard of proof the denailist demands to back their non-argument is non-existent (unverified, non-peer reviewed gumff from a lay-person is fine) but there is no amount of data/qualified people on the other side they will accept - and how the media is often happy to go along with this.
In short, as climate-creationists they argue a position of faith. However we do need to ask why the mainstream media gives them such an easy time?
Meanwhile in the real world; climate change is causing problems for Spain's water supply and messing with the breading patterns of birds.