National Post Promotes Singer's Dubious Attack on Al Gore's Mentor

Wed, 2007-05-02 15:13Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

National Post Promotes Singer's Dubious Attack on Al Gore's Mentor

If there is an opportunity anywhere in the “Cosmos” to deny the science of climate change – the evidence notwithstanding – The National Post’s Lawrence Solomon seems intent upon finding it.

In a 19-part series on climate change “Deniers,” Solomon has canvassed the science world for people whose work challenges the consensus that human-produced CO2 is changing the climate in a potential disastrous way. Fair enough; fringe voices are often interesting. But on several occasions, Solomon has let his enthusiasm get the better of him, identifying as deniers people who are on record as agreeing with the scientific consensus (here, here and especially here).

Now, Solomon has disinterred one of the most infamous attacks not only on climate science but on the reputation of a renowned climate scientist, Dr. Roger Revelle.

Solomon identifies Revelle accurately as “the grandfather of the greenhouse effect,” whose early research and eloquent writing brought the issue to public attention in the late 1950s. Al Gore, once a student of Revelle, credits the professor with inspiring Gore's personal campaign to make climate change better known and understood.

Solomon is also correct is pointing out that Revelle was cautious by nature, arguing against ill-considered action. Solomon quotes a letter to Congress in 1988, in which Revelle says, “My own personal belief is that we should wait another 10 or 20 years to really be convinced that the greenhouse is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways.”

Solomon then skips over the 19 years of compelling research that has occurred since, choosing instead to concentrate on a paper, the content of which has been misrepresented as Revelle’s work ever since 1991.

The paper in question was entitled What to do about greenhouse warming: Look before you leap, and it appeared in the Cosmos Club Journal. Vaguely skeptical in its content, the paper listed Revelle as a second author. The lead author, Fred Singer, and the third author, Chauncey Starr, Solomon refers to as “two illustrious colleagues.”

It’s true that Starr and Singer had showed well early in their careers, but by 1991, the lustre was coming off in a disappointing way. Both had aligned themselves with industry (Starr with coal, Singer with tobacco) and both were already part of a well-financed campaign to deny climate change.

It is not clear by what means Singer convinced Revelle to allow his name to be listed as a second author, but it has been demonstrated conclusively that Singer wrote it (with editorial assistance from deniers like Pat Michaels, Hugh Ellsaesser and Robert Balling). Indeed, Singer had published the major points of the paper the year before in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Revelle’s input, elicited months from death from a worsening heart condition, is not reflected in the final product.

When the paper was published, Revelle was embarrassed by the content and optimistic that the small readership of the Cosmos journal would save him further attention. But after Revelle’s death, Singer started quoting the paper widely as Revelle’s work. A former student of Revelle’s, Dr. Justin Lancaster, then challenged the paper’s contents and made disparaging statements of Singer and his tactics.

Singer sued and, facing a court battle he could ill afford, Lancaster backed down, promising not to release the details of a settlement for 10 years. Then Singer spent that decade (and the years since) telling everyone that Revelle was ultimately a climate change skeptic, and using Lancaster’s acquiescence as additional proof.

Well, the 10 years have passed. Now, Lancaster’s detailed chronology and evidence are all available on his website, demonstrating Singer’s role. And that means there is no excuse for Larry Solomon to be touting Revelle’s mythical opposition to climate science as fact. The controversy is well-known. Indeed, others get to it pretty quickly.

If this was Solomon’s first “mistake,” it would be fair to assume that his misreading of this story is a result of inadvertence or inexperience in the field. But there is a pattern here that suggests that he is not learning any lessons as he pursues his agenda.

 

Previous Comments

Here’s another “denier” for you: http://www.wecnmagazine.com/2007issues/may/may07.html. Surely he is either senile, corrupt, dishonest, paid by big-oil, or all of the above. Right?

JIK, I don’t know if you even read the article you referenced but if you had read that article and similar ones making the rounds of the right wing blog-sphere you should be so embarrassed that you would take a month’s holiday from showing how “clever ” you are with your “scientific” comments.

In the article you referenced Bryson says that after the MWP the glaciers in Greenland encroached on the Viking “farms” and covered them under glaciers. That is utter nonsense. You can still see the evidence of the Viking settlements today, many miles from the nearest glacier. Funny how the ice, assuming that it advanced then retreated (over a 400 to 500 year period) left the stone walls of the fields standing.

An even more disturbing comment is found in another variation of that piece where he talks about the Milankovitch cycles showing four or five cycles of global warming over the past 2500 years.

Yes, the various Milankovitch cycles do affect global temperatures. Unfortunately for him they are on 100,000, 40,000 and 25,000 periodicities. So how can they be responsible for 4-5 cycles in 2500 years?

This can be found at:

http://climatesci.colorado.edu/2007/02/08/history-getting-back-to-what-it-sort-of-used-to-be-a-guest-weblog-by-reid-a-bryson-phd-dsc-dengr/

I just hope that this 85 year old is not being treated in the same manner as Revelle was by the disgusting tactics of Singer.

Ian Forrester

Typical thuggish behaviour from the denier crowd. They can’t refute what Revelle says so they try to destroy his reputation.



“Singer sued and, facing a court battle he could ill afford, Lancaster backed down, …”

Bullshit.

Justin Lanacaster is an attorney. When he was being sued by Dr. Singer for defamation, he initially represented himself. Subsequently he was represented pro bono by the Washington lawfirm of Kirkland and Ellis.

Kirkland and Ellis is a highly politically connected, powerful corporate law firm with clients such as Brown and Williamson Tobacco and GM. Their partners have been famously involved by the Democrats to use legal means to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot.

The only thing Lancaster could “ill afford”, obviously, is to lose – which he did, anyway.

I must say, as a peon of the PR chumps who run Desmogblog, Littlemore is pretty shameless, not to mention ham-fisted, in repeating this kind of outrageous slander. If I were Dr. Singer, you’d be the next one I’d sue for defamation.
What’s your source for the law firm’s name, etc?


Here you go, VJ:

http://tinyurl.com/2c9np

Hope that helps.

Just in case anyone is wondering what EH is referring to it is this: http://justfuckinggoogleit.com/

The insults and schoolyard vulgarity that comes from this person is beyond a joke. I have shown his “reference” so that others can see how disgusting a character he is.

Please get lost.

Ian Forrester

Thanks for checking that, Ian.

EgoHitler, you made specific, detailed claims. If you refuse to cite the source of your information, we will assume that you lied or you think your source would not stand up to scrutiny.

EgoHitler can’t read. The only google hit you get for “justin lancaster” and “kirkland and ellis” is this article by S. Fred Singer, wherein Singer says on page 290

“…The Center for Individual Rights of Washington, D.C., filed the libel suit on my behalf in April 1993, with the Washington law firm of Kirkland and Ellis serving as pro bono counsel. Dr. Lancaster, an attorney, first handled his own defense but later was represented pro bono by the Boston law firm of Goodwin Procter and Hoar…”

So is this your source egoHitler? Or did you get your false information elsewhere?



My goodness, such a wrist-flapping tizzy you’ve worked yourself into.

Ian, you forgot to mention your compulsive phrase, “I hope you are not involved in education of young minds”.

By the way, I’m still waiting for you to provide this “conclusive proof”, which you claim exists for the theory of anthropogenic global warming. Or have you forgotten?

Now dry your tears. Your mascara is running.

eco-hitler I noticed some of your comments were caught by the new spam filter I installed today. It is called Akismet, just in case you think it is something I cooked up to keep your garbage off the blog, as much as I would like to.  Helping you goes against every instinct I have about what is good and just, but the folks you despise so much here insist your vomitous nonsense be published on the pages of this blog. I have published the comments that were flagged, and will try to tune things so you don’t get caught. As of right now, the filter probably thinks you are a spambot due to frequency of posting. I’ll try to get that sorted out. I post this only to stop you from going off about censorship or some other perceived injustice.

Man, I get flagged all the time trying to post long winded rebuttals full of journal referenced materials. I feel I am the one being cheated!…..as for EH, whatever, its not like I read his contributions to the discussions since well he doesn’t tend to add much, but I am not for filtering out people as long as they are not using inappropriate language or the like.

The new filter should do less of that kind of filtering, and more good kind of filtering.


“It is called Akismet, just in case you think it is something I cooked up to keep your garbage off the blog, as much as I would like to.”

Oh, I hardly think anyone will notice my “garbage” in amongst all the other garbage fine articles here.

“Helping you goes against every instinct I have about what is good and just,”

Hmm, well, given that you derive your income from working for a PR firm, whose chief tactics include character assasination, ad hominem attacks, smear tactics, disinformation, and slander – your claim to have any instincts as to what is “good and just”, is, quite frankly, hilarious.

“but the folks you despise so much here insist your vomitous nonsense be published on the pages of this blog.”

Speaking of “vomitous nonsense” …

“I post this only to stop you from going off about censorship or some other perceived injustice.”

A brilliant preemptive move. However, I think you are projecting your own persecution complex.

If his name wasn’t enough to represent everything desmogblog is fighting against, his comments definitely are.

I say keep letting him publish, as the little desmogblog guinea pig that he is.

He’s doing himself no favors by writing the crap that he does. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/3a48970r.jpg

Does not lie with the science demonstrating that climate change is a reality, the proof lies with people like eco-hitler showing otherwise. As my old coach used to say “look at the scoreboard.” Scientific conclusions lie more in the burden to prove otherwise, than they do in the burden to prove. Challenge the hypotheses eco-hitler. Let’s start with an easy one and work from there: CO2 levels influence global temperatures. And we’ll go from there.


“[The burden of proof] Does not lie with the science demonstrating that climate change is a reality, the proof lies with people like eco-hitler showing otherwise.”

Dude, that doesn’t even make sense.

“Scientific conclusions lie more in the burden to prove otherwise, than they do in the burden to prove.”

And neither does that.

“Challenge the hypotheses eco-hitler.”

It has been. Repeatedly.

“As my old coach used to say “look at the scoreboard.”“

Then again, your “old coach” probably also said things like, “This will be our little secret, Johnny.”
Eco Hitler, I proved above that you were either a liar or a fool when you made a false statement about who Lancaster had for lawyers. Why haven’t you responded to that? Since Kirkland and Ellis had represented a tobacco firm, even you should have been able to figure out that they were more likely to represent Singer than Lancaster.
“Eco Hitler, I proved above that you were either a liar or a fool when you made a false statement about who Lancaster had for lawyers.”

Uh, perhaps I must have missed the part where you “proved” anything. Run that by me one more time, please.

“Since Kirkland and Ellis had represented a tobacco firm, even you should have been able to figure out that they were more likely to represent Singer than Lancaster.”

I suppose if I were high on crack, then that statement might make sense to me, too.
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