Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fight the Power!

The other day, third-string conservatarian chatterbox Debra Saunders threatened to address the "bad science" behind climate change. Today, I'm sorry to say, she's gone and done it.

The results are pretty goddamn droll. She starts off with a hat-tip to Gregg Easterbrook:

Easterbrook noted that a 1992 survey found that a mere 17 percent of members of the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society believed in greenhouse-gas climate change. Since then, scientists have found more evidence of the phenomenon.

Gore was wrong in 1992 when he wrote that 98 percent of scientists agreed with him on global warming. Witness the survey cited above.
The problem here, of course, is that Easterbrook is completely full of shit; that "17 percent" came from a lie originally told by George Will:
Gallup took the unusual step of issuing a written correction to Will's column (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/27/92): "Most scientists involved in research in this area believe that human-induced global warming is occurring now." Will never noted the error in his column.
Just for the record, the Environmental Defense Fund notes:
Will's erroneous summary of this poll has been quoted so many times that it has become gospel for the proponents of the environmental backlash.
Next, Saunders pretends that as long she can dredge up a couple of dissident scientists, the matter is not yet settled.
[T]he faith-driven Gore argues that all scientists agree with him -- well, except for those who are bought and paid for by big polluters.
And how many of those could there be? Saunders gives us a hint:
I have to listen to former NASA scientist, Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, when he tells me, "It is an alarming chart, but there are so many alternative explanations for what he's showing"....Spencer, who also writes for TCS Daily (which receives some funding from ExxonMobil), believes that some global warming is human-induced, but "I don't believe in climate catastrophe."
So despite having sneered at the idea that denialists are "bought and paid for by big polluters," Saunders can't make it through her short column without quoting a scientist with links to ExxonMobil. (SourceWatch has more on TCS Daily, and Tim Lambert has more on Spencer.)

Here's another of Saunders' expert witnesses:
Neil Frank, former director of the National Hurricane Center, told the Washington Post that global warming is "a hoax."
Yep. He also said this:
"Maybe we're living in a carbon dioxide-starved world. We don't know."
There you have it: The voice of reason! Such a bracing change from the dull orthodoxy of...well, pretty much everyone.

You might think that Saunders is making an inordinate fool of herself in order to protect the interests of the White House, and its political and corporate enablers. But that's just because you don't understand that the real establishment comprises Al Gore, Laurie David, and the American Meteorological Society:
[W]henever the establishment says you have to believe something, you want people who question the establishment.
Right on, sister.


Thers said...

These people are stone crazy. A question that puzzles me: which is more extraordinary -- the global warming lunacy, or the "the media is all liberal" insanity?

Phila said...

These people are stone crazy.

I think you're on to something.

Saunders is so dippy and incoherent that she's almost not worth bothering with. I don't even know how many conservatives take her seriously. It's only the ExxonMobil comment that pushed me over the edge...that was a pretty special moment, I think.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Thers - there was a time at which people of good faith could disagree with each other on this issue but that's a long time back and there's a lot of glacier under the bridge. At this point it's merely perverse. What could be motivating them?

And by the way, Phila, how the *hell* do you manage to keep up with all this? I know you're widely read but jeez.

Anonymous said...

former nasa scientist...former director of the hurricane center...boy, she's found a lot of people who used to have cool jobs...

Phila said...


And by the way, Phila, how the *hell* do you manage to keep up with all this?

By ignoring important obligations, natch!

dan mcenroe said...
former nasa scientist...former director of the hurricane center...boy, she's found a lot of people who used to have cool jobs...

Well, at least they have some background in climate science. My understanding is that most of the "scientists" in Gore's camp actually teach comp at community colleges.