THERE is a publication in Australia where for every one story you read which agrees society should take firm steps to combat climate change, there are four stories suggesting we shouldn’t.
When climate change is viewed through the pages of this publication, most of the world’s “experts” think it’s either not happening, not worth worrying about or not caused by humans.
Advocates for strong action on climate change are variously described as “prophets of doom”, “greenhouse hysterics” or “hair-shirted greenhouse penitents”.
As extreme as these positions might appear, this publication is not a newsletter from a fringe group or a bulletin from the Tea Party.
This is the divisive state of climate change science in the pages of the nation’s sole national newspaper The Australian, according to a 115-page examination of the publication’s role in shaping how Australia thinks.
THERE’S a new climate denial lobby group on the block - bravely regurgitating previously debunked pseudo-science and making wild unsubstantiated claims that climate scientists are all corrupt.
Not happy with misrepresenting the science on climate change, The Galileo Movement has also misappropriated the name of the father of modern science who was persecuted for his insistance that the Sun, rather than the Earth, was the centre of the universe.
The Galileo Movement, launched in Australia, has stated its prime mission is to stop the Government’s current efforts to introduce a price on greenhouse gas emissions and boasts a list of advisors resembling a who’s who of international climate change denial.
Richard Lindzen has long been the “skeptic” community’s scientific poster boy. In a world stuffed with deniers for hire such as S. Fred Singer and Tim Ball, who lecture on the topic of climate change regardless that they bring little or no relevant expertise to the subject, Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT and has served (many years ago) as a lead author on a chapter in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
But increasingly, his trenchant denial that climate change is a concern is casting him further from the ranks of people who can be taken seriously - particularly as he shows increasing willingness to say things that are simply and demonstrably not true.
Take as an example this recent radio interview, in which Lindzen tells Australian commentator Chris Smith that his country’s effort to tackle climate change by implementing carbon tax is “a bit bizarre.”
Lindzen says a number of silly things (in more detail below), but he flat out lies about the state of polar ice in Greenland and Antarctica saying, “there is no evidence of any significant change.”
The tired, old climate-change deniers who keep trying to get themselves taken seriously have launched another petition claiming that “having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, (they) do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming.”
Connoisseurs will recognize more names, perennial Canadian deniers like Tim Patterson and Tim Ball, both alumni of an evolving series of oil-backed astroturf groups including the Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project. The oily lobbyist and former APCO Worldwide PR guy Tom Harris, who was prominent in both of those organizations, is also the “brains” behind this effort.
Debate enthusiasts will love this long, but worthy video showing Texas A&M atmospheric scientist Andy Dessler mopping the floor with his increasingly out-of-touch colleague from MIT, Dick Lindzen.
The fact of Dessler’s victory is a value judgment that you may not trust without watching the video yourself. But speaking of value judgments, Dessler got off a great shot during his rebuttal, in which he commented on how often Lindzen had said that climate change presents “no cause for alarm.”
That, Dessler pointed out, is also a value judgment - not a scientific finding, adding:
“Before the lecture, he (Prof. Lindzen) was smoking. That’s a risk. He’s decided that’s a risk he’s willing to take. But not everybody would take that risk, so when he says there’s no cause for concern, he’s giving you his value judgment.”
Proceeding beyond the degree to which Lindzen has bad breath - as well as bad judgment - the lecture hosts at the University of Virginia School of Law jumped in with two policy presenters, Jonathan Cannon, making all kinds of sense, and Jason Johnston bending over backwards to argue that because economists can’t accurately put a cost on the coming climate armageddon, we shouldn’t bother taking out any insurance to prevent it. (Pass that man a pack of Camels. It’ll make it easier for him to blow smoke in the future.)
The new face of the European Union also happens to be the old face of global warming skepticism. Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic and, since January 1, the rotating president of the European Union, will give a keynote speech at the second annual International Conference on Climate Change in New York.