No Kidding: Not Believing in Global Warming = Hitler

Earlier today, genuine climate scientist and IPCC member Dr. Judith Curry wrote on her blog,

Understanding the limits of predictability is the key challenge.  The arrogant species [man] is fooling itself if we think we can ‘project’ the state of the climate in 50 years or 100 years, even if we somehow knew what the anthropogenic forcing would be.  Yes, it seems that all other things being equal, the climate would be warmer with more CO2, but there is no reason at all to expect all other factors to remain the same…  Personally, I am in awe of the complexity of the climate system and don’t want to anger the gods with the arrogance of claiming to understand climate change. 

Today, the Los Angeles Times published an outrageous editorial comparing the Heartland Institute to Hitler…based on a fake document, no less. This is what they wrote Monday:

Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute in Chicago, one of many nonprofits that spread disinformation about climate science in hopes of stalling government action to combat global warming, reveal that the organization is working on a curriculum for public schools that casts doubt on the work of climatologists worldwide. Heartland officials say one of the documents was a fake, but the curriculum plans were reportedly discussed in more than one. According to the New York Times, * the curriculum would claim, among other things, that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy.”

That is a lie so big that, to quote from “Mein Kampf,” it would be hard for most people to believe that anyone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

I have tried, twice, to write about the Heartland Institute document non-scandal, but I just could not get my heart or mind into the Heartland non-issue. The fact that one or more pro-global warming blogs created a document and spread false information based on that document is just not something I want to spend my time on. Life is too short. 

So, if you haven’t heard about this and want to know more, see (hardly conservative) Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr.’s blog and Megan McArdle’s coverage in the (hardly conservative) The Atlantic. 

But, the Times being complicit in this, and comparing Heartland to Hitler (based on a fake!), is beyond the pale. Let me summarize this mess:

  • Many reputable scientists dispute the Al Gore/IPCC catastrophic global warming hypothesis. Some, like me, believe human beings (on balance) mildly warm the climate but not to catastrophic levels. This small net warming is in the absence of major volcanic or solar changes.
  • I, and a small but growing number of scientists, are concerned about the sun’s behavior and the potential (not saying I’m predicting this) for significant cooling.
  • More research and more open-mindedness is needed in the climate research community.
  • The three points above, by themselves, would indicate that explaining to students there is doubt about catastrophic global warming, is something in the general realm of “reasonable” depending on the exact wording. 
  • But, even if you think it is not reasonable to explain these doubts to schoolchildren, the document on which they based this editorial is widely believed to be a fake.
  • So, the Times editorial writers conclude, Heartland = Hitler.

Every time I think the pro-global warming forces cannot go any lower, I’m disappointed. For fear of repeating myself, Are these the behaviors of people who are confident in the accuracy of their position? To me, this increasingly outrageous behavior smacks of desperation. 

For a decade, WeatherData, Inc. (the company I founded in 1981) provided the weather forecasts and storm coverage to the Times. I really enjoyed working with them and met a number of great journalists. To see the Times fall this far is terribly sad. The Times’ circulation is down, way down. The most recent figures I could find (2010) state:

Circulation at the Los Angeles Times fell 14.7% to 616,606 on weekdays and 7.6% to 941,914 on Sundays.

When we worked with them, their weekday circulation was close to a million!

The next time a newspaper executive complains about dropping readership and increased corporate losses, suggest they look in a mirror. I think most people, regardless of political orientation, are fed up with the “Hitler” accusation. 

BULLETIN: As I was finishing this, Peter Gleick admits to “deception” in this matter. Details here

 

*I give the NYT a bit of a pass here because they reported the information before it was established the critical document was fake. However, I have not been able to find a retraction. 

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