The Deniers? The World Renowned Scientist Who Got Al Gore Started

Wed, 2008-04-16 16:00Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

The Deniers? The World Renowned Scientist Who Got Al Gore Started

“My own personal belief is that we should wait another 10 or 20 years to really be convinced that the greenhouse effect is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways.”

Roger Revelle, in a letter to then Congressman Jim Bates, July 14, 1988

Among the not-very-credible denials of climate change risk, one of Lawrence Solomon's most offensive is his attack on the memory and work of Dr. Roger Revelle.

Solomon, author of The Deniers: The world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud (and those who are too fearful to do so) , picks on Revelle entirely because of the credit that climate activist, Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore offers to his old Harvard professor. It was Revelle who told Gore about climate change, spawning the passion that now seems to irritate the denial community so greatly.

Isn't it fun, then, for those same deniers to suggest that Revelle didn't really care about climate change - or that he thought it was overblown.

The evidence, as adduced by Solomon in his book and in an earlier column in the National Post, rests on some old quotes and on a 1991 Cosmos article “co-authored” by S. Fred Singer, Chauncey Starr (of the Electric Power Research Institute) and Revelle.

I put “co-authored” in quotes because there is ample evidence that Singer wrote the article entirely himself and then conned an aging Revelle into signing it. Solomon notes that Revelle's old student, Dr. Justin Lancaster, said as much in 1992, and later retracted the charge, in the face of a lawsuit from the senior and suspiciously well-funded Singer.

Solomon also implies that Lancaster only made the accusation against Singer under pressure from Al Gore.

Well, Justin Lancaster has, as Solomon notes in the book, “retracted his retraction,” the details of which are here. There are arguably two reasons for his change of heart. First, Lancaster is more established now - a personal success who has the resources to stand up to Singer's bullying. And second, there really isn't much left of Singer's reputation to defend.

But here's the bottom line: Revelle told Gore about the greenhouse effect and alerted him to the dangers, and Gore has spread that information around more effectively than any other individual on the planet. Revelle, in the last years of his life, also counseled caution in dealing with the issue - which seems to have been a reasonable, if slightly short-sighted position at the time.

But look again at the quote at the top of this post. Look at the date. Revelle suggested waiting another 10 or 20 years for evidence. Twenty years have passed, during which the world's scientists have grown more certain and more concerned by the day.

I don't know what kind of gotcha game Solomon is trying to play, but proving that Roger Revelle urged caution in 1988, and that he defined caution as adding a $1per-gallon tax on gasoline, doesn't suggest to me that we should, today, side with the deniers on the issue of global warming.

In fact, Solomon should be embarrassed to have invoked the man's name.

Previous Comments

“… conned an aging Revelle into signing it.”

So, just who is attacking the memory of Dr. Revelle?

Was it not Littlemore as well who pulled this ageist nonsense on the memory of Seitz? Gee, it’s so hard to remember. You know how it is with us old folks.

If there is a corner of your mind that you can still open, grab your cane and click on the link to Lancaster’s site: it’s all there.

Zog;
Desmog is a smear site.
what would you expect?
honesty?
not likely

I find it funny that people actually revere Fred Singer as an authority on climate change when he doesn’t even appear to be an authority on common sense. If you watch “The Denial Machine,” a documentary made by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on how the science behind climate change has truly been shrouded, you’ll notice that 44 minutes into the documentary, Fred Singer denies that there is a link between tobacco usage and cancer. I know he fought for the tobacco companies in the ’80s, but how can he deny such a fact? I suppose money can do a lot to fog a human’s sense of reasoning.

I am all for conservation and reducing the pollution we contribute to our planet, however, I cannot stand people who are ignorant to the fact that the science of climate change and global warming has in no way been settled. Solomon’s book does a great job of not refuting global warming or calling it a hoax, but he did a great job of raising valid, SCIENTIFICALLY BACKED points to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the science behind climate change is nowhere near settled. I beg every one who is sure climate change is a crisis to read this book with an open mind. If nothing else it will only educate you further and that is never a bad thing.

There once was a time when the scientists’ consensus was that Earth was flat….how did that one turn out?

Even Roger Revelle stated before he died that global warming is false and certainly is not human induced!