Newsbusters Makes Fantastical Leaps of Logic on Oldest Living Tree News

It didn't take long for Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters to twist a new study on the discovery of the oldest living tree to fit his notion that the world's top scientists have it all wrong when it comes to human-induced climate change.

The study, carried out by a team led by Leif Kullman, professor at Umeå University's department of ecology and environmental science in Sweden, has found the world's oldest tree living in the mountains of Sweden.

Somehow Shepard has got it in his head that this finding:

[results] in a total rewrite of climate history while bringing into serious question global warming theories espoused by Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his sycophant devotees.”

For a group like Newsbusters who is so “skeptical” of the mountains of scientific data concluding that human activity is the cause of global warming, they sure are willing to take any hint of counter-evidence and take it screaming to the hills.

And in this case, I don't even think they have a hill to stand on. I'm not a scientist, so I've contacted Dr. Kullman to ask what, if anything, his findings say about the current human-induced warming.

In the meantime though, with a little digging (5 minutes on Google) further into the Swedish tree finding, I cannot find any robust evidence for Shepard's grandiose claims. In fact, the National Geographic quotes Dr. Kullman as stating that these ancient trees are easier to find due to current warming:

“In fact, global warming made the ancient mountain conifers easier for the study team to find.

'For many millennia they survived in the mountain tundra as low-growing shrubs perhaps less than a meter high,' Kullman said. 'Now they are growing up like mushrooms—you can see them quite readily.”'

And if that isn't enough, Dr. Kullman also states in the same article that he's very worried about the ancient tree's survival:

“But climate change could also swamp these living Ice Age relics, he warned.

The treeline has climbed up to 655 feet (200 meters) in altitude during the past century in the central Sweden study area, the team found.

'A great change in the landscape is going on,' Kullman said. 'Some lower mountains which were bare tundra less than a hundred years ago are totally covered by forest today.”'

In the fantasy world of Newsbusters and Noel Sheppard though this all somehow adds up to the conclusion that we should continue to ignore the threat of climate change that the world's scientific organizations are telling us is caused by humans and is of great concern to the future of our planet.

Go figure.


Speaking of twisting facts:

“ ‘A great change in the landscape is going on,’ Kullman said. ‘Some lower mountains which were bare tundra less than a hundred years ago are totally covered by forest today.”’

Luckily, Sweden has a homegrown solution to this “problem”:

Given the consistency with which some people apply their skepticism, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them claimed that differences between fossil species within a lineage disprove evolution, that cancer in non-smokers disproves carcinogenic effects of smoking, or that ancient fluctuations in climate disproves current anthropogenic climate change. Somebody might even claim that science published in the peer-reviewed literature being nearly unanimous regarding the reality of AGW just proves that there’s a conspiracy to crush dissenters. I know it sounds silly, and some people will accuse me of setting up straw arguments in order to smear people without real cause. But believe me, some of these people are so blinded, they will probably make claims like that some day. I’m not a kook; I won’t go too far. It’s not like I would suggest that somebody will suggest, in writing, that reportage about advancing treelines is “twisting facts” and then turn around and say the existence of chainsaws means AGW is harmless. I wouldn’t ever suggest that. That’s just ridiculous!

Nice try, but very few still believe the “Overwhelming concensus” myth anymore.

Anyone that can read has long since realized what a propoganda lie that was.

I can read. Show me what to read! Show me the peer-reviewed research articles. Can you find, say, 10? That would still leave the literature nearly unanimous, but I think 10 is a fair request for you to support your point. Do you agree?

Just wait for the energy and the environmental publications to flow. Course the problem is no journal article would ever say greenhouse gases are a myth and increasing them wont lead to an increased greenhouse effect. Nor will you find any articles than challenge the overall watt/meter effect of the green house gases. One might find a range of climate sensativity estimates, and degree of warming projections though. But, sadly no “Our understanding of climate is a myth” publications