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Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Clouding of Climatology

Paul Krugman has more on the Swift-Boating of climate science, including George Will's turn at the helm:

The Environmental Game Needs Rules, Money Talks: ...Philip Centanni, Jr., New Orleans: Thank you for calling liars liars, instead of truth-stretchers, disingenuous dissimulators, prevaricators or fibbers — all of which are other ways of saying the same thing too politely or eruditely, running the risk of not being heard amidst the rumbling, tumbling, mumbling of words! You are right not to treat too lightly those whose sleights of tongue slight the rest of us...

Paul Krugman: If you want to learn more about the Swift-Boating of James Hansen, I'd recommend reading a profile in Audubon magazine, Hansen's initial reply to Michaels, and Hansen's later piece on the controversy. Also check out Real Climate's note, Michael Crichton's State of Confusion.

While I'm at it, I can't resist mentioning another piece of Swift-Boating, this aimed at climate science as a whole: the claim that 30 years ago climatologists were all worried about global cooling. A good example: In a 2004 article, George Will informed readers that a 1976 paper in Science “warned about “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.””

The truth about that 1976 paper is here. In fact, the paper was solely concerned with the effects of long-term variations in the Earth’s orbit. It specifically declared that the forecasts did not take into account “anthropogenic effects such as those due to the burning of fossil fuels.” And what was the forecast? “The results indicate that the long-term trend over the next 20,000 years is towards extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.” Somehow, I doubt that Mr. Will’s readers realized that the paper in question said only that if we leave out the effects of greenhouse gases, the Earth might have another ice age a few thousand years from now.

    Posted by on Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 12:03 AM in Economics, Environment | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (6)


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