Newsweek Magazine’s cover story of August 6, 2007 entitled, “The Truth About Denial” contains very little that could actually be considered balanced, objective or fair by journalistic standards.
The one-sided editorial, masquerading as a “news article,” was written by Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein and Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips and purports to examine the “well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change.”
The only problem is — Newsweek knew better. Reporter Eve Conant, who interviewed Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, was given all the latest data proving conclusively that it is the proponents of man-made global warming fears that enjoy a monumental funding advantage over the skeptics. (A whopping $50 BILLION to a paltry $19 MILLION for skeptics – Yes, that is BILLION to MILLION)
This week’s “news article” in Newsweek follows the Magazine’s October 23, 2006 article which admitted the error of their ways in the 1970’s when they predicted dire global cooling.
First, let’s take a look at Newsweek’s use of the word “denier” when describing a scientist who views with skepticism the unproven computer models predicting future climate doom. The use of this blatant Holocaust terminology has drawn the ire of Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. “The phrase ‘climate change denier’ is meant to be evocative of the phrase ‘holocaust denier,’” Pielke, Jr. wrote on October 9, 2006.
“Let’s be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust. This allusion has no place in the discourse on climate change. I say this as someone fully convinced of a significant human role in the behavior of the climate system,” Pielke, Jr. explained.
Newsweek reporter Eve Conant was given the documentation showing that proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION by comparison.
Paleoclimate scientist Bob Carter, who has testified before the Senate EPW committee, explains how much money has been spent researching and promoting climate fears.
“In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one.”
For a breakdown of how much money flows to promoters of climate fear, see a Janaury 17, 2007 EPW blog post:
“The [climate] alarmists also enjoy a huge financial advantage over the skeptics with numerous foundations funding climate research, University research money and the United Nations endless promotion of the cause. Just how much money do the climate alarmists have at their disposal? There was a $3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air’s Richard Branson alone.
The well-heeled environmental lobbying groups have massive operating budgets compared to groups that express global warming skepticism. The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year. Compare that to the often media derided Competitive Enterprise Institute’s small $3.6 million annual budget. In addition, if a climate skeptic receives any money from industry, the media immediately labels them and attempts to discredit their work. The same media completely ignore the money flow from the environmental lobby to climate alarmists like James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer. (ie. Hansen received $250,000 from the Heinz Foundation and Oppenheimer is a paid partisan of Environmental Defense Fund)
The alarmists have all of these advantages, yet they still feel the need to resort to desperation tactics to silence the skeptics. Could it be that the alarmists realize that the American public is increasingly rejecting their proposition that the family SUV is destroying the earth and rejecting their shrill calls for “action” to combat their computer model predictions of a ‘climate emergency?'”
As Senator Inhofe further explained in a September 25, 2006 Senate floor speech: “The fact remains that political campaign funding by environmental groups to promote climate and environmental alarmism dwarfs spending by the fossil fuel industry by a three-to-one ratio. Environmental special interests, through their 527s, spent over $19 million compared to the $7 million that Oil and Gas spent through PACs in the 2004 election cycle.”
Now contrast all of the above with how much money the “well funded” skeptics allegedly receive.
The most repeated accusation is that organizations skeptical of man-made climate fears have received $19 Million from an oil corporation over the past two decades. This was the subject of a letter by two U.S. Senators in 2006 (See Senators letter of October 30, 2006 noting the $19 Million from Exxon-Mobile to groups skeptical of man-made global warming).
To put this $19 Million over two decades into perspective, consider: One 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant of $20 million to study how “farm odors” contribute to global warming exceeded all of the money that skeptics reportedly received in the past two decades. To repeat: One USDA grant to study the role of “farm odors” in global warming exceeded almost ALL the money skeptics have been accused of receiving over the past two decades. (Excerpt from article: “The United States Department of Agriculture has released reports stating that when you smell cow manure, you’re also smelling greenhouse gas emissions.”
As erroneous and embarrassingly one-sided as Newsweek’s article is, the magazine sunk deeper into journalistic irrelevance when it noted that skeptical Climatologist Patrick Michaels had reportedly received industry funding without revealing to readers the full funding picture. The magazine article mentions NASA’s James Hansen as some sort of example of a scientist untainted by funding issues. But what Newsweek was derelict in reporting is that Hansen had received a $250,000 award from the Heinz Foundation run by Senator John Kerry’s wife Teresa in 2001 and then subsequently endorsed Kerry for President in 2004.
Finally, Newsweek’s editorial rant attempts to make it appear as though the science is getting stronger in somehow proving mankind is driving a climate catastrophe. There are, however, major problem with that assertion.
Scientists are speaking up around the globe to denounce Gore, the UN and the media driven “consensus” on global warming. Just recently, an EPW report detailed a sampling of scientists who were once believers in man-made global warming and who now are skeptical. [See May 15, 2007 report: Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming – Now Skeptics: Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research.]
Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian government, detailed how he left the global warming funding “gravy train” and became a skeptic. “By the late 1990’s, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn’t believe carbon emissions caused global warming,” Evans explained. “But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed,” Evans wrote. “The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were *not* initially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon, and says nothing about the strength of any amplification. This piece of evidence casts reasonable doubt that atmospheric carbon had any role in past warmings, while still allowing the possibility that it had a supporting role,” he added.
In addition, just last week, three new scientific studies further strengthened the skeptics’ views on climate change. Further, a recent analysis of peer-reviewed literature thoroughly debunks any fears of Greenland melting and a frightening sea level rise. [See July 0, 2007 – Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt.]
The question remains: Is Newsweek even a news outlet worth taking the time to respond to in posts like this? Does Newsweek, a quirky alternative news outlet, even have an impact on public policy anymore?
Journalism students across the world can read this week’s cover story to learn how reporting should not be done. Hopefully, that will be Newsweek’s legacy — serving as a shining example of the failure of modern journalism to adhere to balance, objectivity and fairness. Anyone who fails to see this inconvenient truth is truly (to borrow Newsweek’s vernacular) a “denier.”
Even the alarmist UN has cut sea level rise estimates in dramatically since 2001 and has reduced man’s estimated impact on the climate by 25%. Meanwhile a separate UN report found that cow emissions are more damaging to the planet than all of the CO2 emissions from cars and trucks.
The New York Times is now debunking aspects of climate alarmism. An April 23, 2006 article in the New York Times by Andrew Revkin stated: “few scientists agree with the idea that the recent spate of potent hurricanes, European heat waves, African drought and other weather extremes are, in essence, our fault (a result of manmade emissions.) There is more than enough natural variability in nature to mask a direct connection, [scientists] say.”
The New York Times is essentially conceding that no recent weather events are outside of natural climate variability. So all the climate doomsayers have to back up their claims of climate fears are unproven computer models of the future. Of course, you can’t prove a prediction of the climate in 2100 wrong today. It’s simply not possible.
Recently, a top UN scientist publicly conceded that climate computer model predictions are not so reliable after all. Dr. Jim Renwick, a lead author of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, admitted to the New Zealand Herald in June 2007, “Half of the variability in the climate system is not predictable, so we don’t expect to do terrifically well.”
A leading scientific skeptic of global warming fears, Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, former CEO of the Netherlands’ Royal National Meteorological Institute, took the critique of climate models that predict future doom a step further. Tennekes wrote on February 28, 2007, “I am of the opinion that most scientists engaged in the design, development, and tuning of climate modes are in fact software engineers. They are unlicensed, hence unqualified to sell their products to society.”
Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack of the University of Pennsylvania noted “for most of Earth’s history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler,” Giegengack said according to a February 2007 article in Philadelphia Magazine. (LINK) The article continued, “[Giegengack] says carbon dioxide doesn’t control global temperature, and certainly not in a direct linear way.”
Climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball explained that one of the reasons climate models fail is because they overestimate the warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. Ball described how CO2 stabilizes in the atmosphere and its warming impact diminishes. “Even if CO2 concentration doubles or triples, the effect on temperature would be minimal. The relationship between temperature and CO2 is like painting a window black to block sunlight. The first coat blocks most of the light. Second and third coats reduce very little more. Current CO2 levels are like the first coat of black paint,” Ball explained in a June 6, 2007 article in Canada Free Press.
New data is revealing what may perhaps be the ultimate inconvenient truth for climate doomsayers: Global warming stopped in 1998.
Dr. Nigel Calder, co-author with physicist Henrik Svensmark of the 2007 book “The Chilling Stars: A New Theory on Climate Change,” explained in July 2007: “In reality, global temperatures have stopped rising. Data for both the surface and the lower air show no warming since 1999. That makes no sense by the hypothesis of global warming driven mainly by CO2, because the amount of CO2 in the air has gone on increasing. But the fact that the Sun is beginning to neglect its climatic duty – of battling away the cosmic rays that come from ‘the chilling stars’ – fits beautifully with this apparent end of global warming.”
Perhaps the conversion of many former scientists from believers in man-made global warming to skeptics and the new peer-reviewed research is why so many proponents of a climatic doom have resorted to threats and intimidation in attempting to silence skeptics. (See: EPA to Probe E-mail Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Career of Climate Skeptic.)
Links to some of the articles mentioned in this blog post can be found in the original blog post by Marc Morano:
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=38d98c0a-802a-23ad-48ac-d9f7facb61a7. It is reproduced here with permission from the author.
It’s certainly a clear case of David and Goliath – but that of course only goes to refute the assertion of a vast , well funded ,omnipotent “denier” conspiracy.
It’s also testament to the abandonment of universal journalistic scepticism – but we didn’t really need any more proof of that.
It says nothing about the majority view of climate scientists.
Let’s hope the debate continues without the same level of political invective which has characterised it to date.
Paul Biggs says
A Chance to win $100,000 here:
This is trivial but, I think, amusing.
On Monday August 6, Channel 31 in Melbourne showed an episode of “In Search of…”, a US TV series of the late 70s devoted to “strange occurrences, disapperances, phenomenom, ancient cultures, etc” and hosted by Leonard Nimoy (Spock), titled “The Coming Ice Age”(1978).
The style and portentous tone of the program was uncannily familiar.
Nexus 6 says
Excellent article by Newsweek. It’s about time the MSM had a good look at why it took so long for the wider public to accept good, accurate climate science. While it’s clear to anyone that is actually interested in the topic that vested interests and Right-wing ideology have for many years sought to confuse the public about AGW, only now is it becoming common knowledge. Just like with tobacco story 20 years earlier, really. There were denialists then. There are denialists now. I’m sure they’ll be around in the future as well.
Marc’s article is unfortunately not so good. It repeats many propositions known to be false and misleading. But that’s not surprising, is it?
Global warming stopped in 1998 (or was it 1999 – I’m a little confused)? It must be a little embarrassing trying to pass that one off, mustn’t it?
Nothing new hey
Timothy Ball “since 1940 and from 1940 until 1980, even the surface record shows cooling. The argument is that there has been warming since then but, in fact, almost all of that is due to what is called the “urban heat island” effect – that is, that the weather stations are around the edge of cities and the cities expanded out and distorted the record. When you look at rural stations – if you look at the Antarctic, for example – the South Pole shows cooling since 1957 and the satellite data which has been up since 1978 shows a slight cooling trend as well”
Click for the latest on an old argument and some “public policy” Canadian style
The Chilling Stars (Calder & Co) – a book on the “fringe”
“As prize-winning science writer Nigel Calder and climate physicist Henrik Svensmark explain, an interplay of the clouds, the Sun and cosmic rays – sub-atomic particles from exploding stars – seems to have more effect on the climate than man-made carbon dioxide”
Global warming stopped some time ago hey but we read here recently about a little warming Greenland style aren’t all that bad!
Ann Novek says
” …we read here recently about a little warming Greenland style aren’t all that bad!” – Gavin
Well, a warming trend might benefit farmimg and I believe Gavin was refering to the sheep in Greenland that could be out on the pastures for a longer period during the autumn.
When we talk about warming and wildlife in the Arctic most people are thinking about those poor polar bears that suffer from diminishing sea ice.
But there are other wildlife and semi domesticated animals that suffer from climate change equally.
I’m thinking about musk oxens, different species of deers and reindeers. They all suffer from warming because during warming periods there will be formed a crust on snow , which make it difficult for the wildlife to reach the vegetation and graze. They will simply starve and btw the ice could be razor sharpe as well and injure their legs.
For example this was the case in Sweden last winter and tens of thousands of reindeers were starving and had to be fed with additional hay. They were the lucky ones as people looked after them but the deers,moose and musk oxens have serious problems to find food .
Ann Novek says
A clarification might be needed. The ice-crust formation is due to a freeze-thaw process.
$19 Million? If you are going to tell a porky, make it believeable.
Paul Biggs says
Global warming stopped, when? Depends on the number of air con units etc near to the sensor and the ‘magic’ temperature adjustment programme.
Marc Morano now works for Sen. Inhofe, but he has always been a publicist for the right wing and polluters, so know your are reading propaganda.
Here’s more on this clown
Paul Biggs says
I put ‘Al Gore’ into sourcewatch – it didn’t mention the $100,000,000, some or most of which was made from climate alarmism – I had to click on the link ‘World Resources Institute’ before I could find any mention of General Investment Management next to Gore’s name. No link, to GIM though.
So is this worth responding to? I counted 22 points of dispute if not total crap. Take one – the Tim Ball stuff – Marc’s a clever guy – he knows what the answer is to that try on. So why bother running it. So any decent AGWer should knock it over in about 10 minutes.
You want to run a bottom feeder style of rebuttal to Newsweek and all you’ll get is caustic derision from the AGW side. The doofus denialists will go ra ra ra – but they would have anyway – whatever you put up there.
Paul: Global warming has not stopped. If it wasn’t for the jolly old sun earth would be a damned cold place. What we have here though is a battle royal over traditional thinking on how our climate works. Unfortunatly right wing think tanks don’t help much. However your continued presence gives that lot a chance.
The University of Birmingham: a tradition for fresh thinking
“For over a hundred years, learning and research at the University has played a major part in the success of the city, the region and the world – and has contributed to the advance of knowledge and its application. We are determined to continue to be at the forefront of world research well into the 21st century”
Jennifer’s Blog has other interesting followers too but their presence should not surprise the main stream because that’s the nature of our society; people pop up in odd places willing to work for what ever cause for a timeat least.
Paul: My problem is with the “independence” of certain think tanks tasked it seems with skewing the learning. IMO we have a band of concerned writers and odd accademics seeking shelter in a union of think tanks. Their common rhetoric becomes a badge.
“Perhaps the conversion of many former scientists from believers in man-made global warming to skeptics and the new peer-reviewed research is why so many proponents of a climatic doom have resorted to threats and intimidation in attempting to silence skeptics”-
-and there is more on the web as Marc offers. I see this as rear guard resistance to change.
What destroys careers is rapid shifts in technology and infrastructure right sizing as managers wake up. Backwards funding is only a form of pension in the end if change can’t be accommodated. I get a similar response when I try to shift my younger tabby off the old fabric covered swivel chair in my study.
Jennifer: It’s her comfort zone and scratching post in one.
Maybe the funding proportions ($50 BILLION to a paltry $19 MILLION for skeptics ) simply reflect the probabilities of the truth of the respective views. They certainly reflect the probabilities of the use of the available evidence.
Paul Biggs says
We are in an unusually long interglacial – had the Holocene lasted only as long as the previous interglacial – we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
So far in the Holocene, we have had several cycles of warming and cooling. The only difference with the current, modern warm period is that there are a variety of potential man-made influences, not simply restricted to CO2, nor is CO2 necessarily the largest influence. The magnitude of the net human influence remains unknown.
Most predictions for future solar activity suggest a big fall. Interestingly, one of the cycles indentified by this new paper:
coincides with the solar minima predicted by the 179 year cycle of Solar Inertial Motion, 2027-2032.
I was sent this definiition of denier…” a new and growing global society of respected scientists and journalists that are not deniers that our climate is dynamic (the only constant in nature is change) and that man plays a role in climate change through urbanization, land use changes and the introduction of greenhouse gases and aerosols, but who also believe that natural cycles such as those in the sun and oceans are also important contributors to the global changes in our climate and weather.”
Paul Biggs says
NASA: We wish to thank Stephen McIntyre for bringing to our attention that such an adjustment is necessary to prevent creating an artificial jump in year 2000.
When you read that one of Lukes favourite kicking boys, Exxon, managed to get away with only paying $6.5M to various “think tanks” – this is a scandal, they are not contributing their fair share.
Certainly I am yet to receive my 1st cheque.
Exxon – moi?
Au contraire Roget – as Bazza has implied above perhaps Exxon has made an assessment of the quality of research they’re getting for money. But a tad high I’d suggest.
Jeez give it to me – I could even do a better hatchet job for $1M. (We could even install internet in Phil’s wheelchair). e.g. you would actually expect payment for something like the Archibald paper – le horror !
If it wasn’t for Steve McIntyre tirelessly banging away prising tiles off roofs – well you guys would be le rooted.
once again, the climate does change naturally, but it always changes for a reason. It’s some act of god that is inexplicable.
The current change is open for examination now, because we are living through it. The rate of change is remarkable, and no other forcing is active at present to cause it.
Paul Biggs says
“The rate of change is remarkable, and no other forcing is active at present to cause it.”
“With the changes to the GISS data made today after an error was found by Stephen McIntyre, 1998 falls to #2 behind 1934 as the warmest year, followed by 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999 and 1953. Expect more changes to come in the months ahead as more scrutiny of the data bases takes place. Note in the graph below, the peak in the five year mean around 2000 is a mere 0.25F higher than that in the early 1930s.”
Schiller Thurkettle says
I am interested to see how expensive (and remunerative) it is to lie like hell, and how inexpensive (but not lucrative) it is to expose the truth.
This is why Greenpeace gets more money than other think-tanks, but doesn’t spend money on thinkers.
John A. Jauregui says
To put the whole Climate Change issue into perspective vis-a-vis the Peak Oil Crisis, everyone needs to ask themselves, their associates, all sitting elected officials and those seeking office, especially the office of President of the United States, “What is more threatening in both the long and short terms, a beneficial 1 degree F rise in average world temperatures over the past 100 years, or a 1 percent decline in world oil production over the last 100 weeks – with steepening declines forecast? Furthermore, can our economy better deal with declining fuel inventories in an environment of persistent warming, or in an environment of declining average temperatures over the next several decades, the most likely scenario given the highly reliable solar inertial motion (SIM) model forecasts of climate change?” Solar cycle # 24 will tell the tale. The problem is not AGW. The problem is the cyclical end of sun induced global warming coincident with the onset of Peak Oil.