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October 5, 2001

Global Warming

Surprise! The Media Got It Wrong

In June, the National Academy of Sciences released a report on global warming, which the media promoted frenziedly as representing a unanimous consensus among scientists that the threat is real and serious, and we humans are responsible. [The link to the report that was included in the original posting now returns a message from the NAS web site stating that the page no longer exists.] I know this goes back a little, but the debate has been going on for years over what's been happening for more than a century, so what's a few months?

However, one of the authors of the report, Richard S. Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology at MIT, sent a letter to Wall Street Journal Online setting the record straight that the scientific report did not support the Kyoto Treaty, as had been stated. The first part of Lindzen's letter is reproduced below. Full text at www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=95000606.

WALL STREET JOURNAL Online

GLOBAL WARMING
The Press Gets It Wrong

Our report doesn't support the Kyoto treaty.

BY RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Monday, June 11, 2001 12:01 a.m. EDT

Last week the National Academy of Sciences released a report on climate change, prepared in response to a request from the White House, that was depicted in the press as an implicit endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol. CNN's Michelle Mitchell was typical of the coverage when she declared that the report represented "a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room." As one of 11 scientists who prepared the report, I can state that this is simply untrue. For starters, the NAS never asks that all participants agree to all elements of a report, but rather that the report represent the span of views. This the full report did, making clear that there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them . . .

[Snip]

Readers' responses included the following from George Taylor, State Climatologist, Oregon; Past President, American Association of State Climatologists

As a scientist who has studied the climate system for many years, I appreciate and agree with Richard Lindzen's synopsis of the NAS report on global warming. Don't believe the reports that suggest that "the vast majority" of credible scientists believe human-caused global warming is a huge problem. I can testify that many climate scientists feel that, while human activities can and do affect the environment, natural variations in climate are far larger than changes due to anthropogenic emissions.

All of which is pretty much in line with what I posted here in May, 1998, when Arthur Robinson decided to check via a survey of his own the "consensus" that the media were blaring united the scientific community in confirming the global warming scare, and found it to be overwhelmingly the other way around. Maybe I could talk CNN into retaining me as a consultant for some hefty fee. . . . But on second thoughts, I guess it wouldn't pull so many viewers.

 
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