We are the 99%

August 21, 2011

Jack Kelly Sunday

It's been a while for me - I trust you've been happy with Ed Heath's weekly takedown of Jack Kelly. I have.

But this week's column by Jack Kelly is something special. So many falsehoods/spins/manipulations that I just had to write something.

Let's begin. Here's Jack's opening:
Former Vice President Al Gore went on a profanity-laced tirade at the Aspen Institute Aug. 4 against the rising number of Americans who are skeptical about man-made global warming.

According to a Harris poll in July, only 44 percent of us now believe carbon dioxide emissions are warming the Earth, down from 51 percent in 2009 and 71 percent in 2007.

Global temperatures peaked in 1998. People have noticed winters are getting colder.
You can read about it here. We have to issues here. The reality of the climate and what large chunks of people believe to be the reality of the climate.

Two different things.

First, about that poll. All that says is that fewer people believe the science to be true than in the past (and gee, could that have something to do with all the bought and paid for misinformation flying around?). Luckily we do not live in a postmodern world where the perception of reality is the same as reality. In 2002, 74% answered "Believe" when asked the question:
Do you believe the theory that increased carbon dioxide and other gases released into the atmosphere will, if unchecked lead to global warming and an increase in average temperatures, or not?
Does that mean the science was 30% more true then? No? Then the point about how that poll validates the science is absurd.

But then we get to Jack's first true distortion of reality - that global temperatures peaked in 1998.

According to NOAA (where the real climate scientists do real climate science work):
Combined global land and ocean annual surface temperatures for 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest such period on record at 1.12 F (0.62 C) above the 20th century average. The range of confidence (to the 95 percent level) associated with the combined surface temperature is +/- 0.13 F (+/- 0.07 C).
And here's what NASA (another buncha scientists - but what do THEY know??) said about 2005 back in 2006:
Climatologists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City noted that the highest global annual average surface temperature in more than a century was recorded in their analysis for the 2005 calendar year.
And then:
Previously, the warmest year of the century was 1998, when a strong El Nino, a warm water event in the eastern Pacific Ocean, added warmth to global temperatures. However, what's significant, regardless of whether 2005 is first or second warmest, is that global warmth has returned to about the level of 1998 without the help of an El Nino.
I used to ask this alot: Can't someone over at the P-G FACT-CHECK Jack Kelly? He's still embarrassing himself and by association, the paper.

Jack continues:
When evidence emerged in 2009 that scientists affiliated with the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Britain were "hiding the decline" by fudging data, few journalists paid much attention.
Actually lotsa journalists paid attention. Just like the journalists who paid attention to the evidence that showed that the climate scientists did not "fudge the data". Like at The Hill:
A Commerce Department inspector general investigation into the “Climategate” controversy finds that government scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did not manipulate climate change data.
P-G fact-checkers? Hello?

Jack then rattles off some "inconvenient facts" (or should I call them "facts"?) that are really Non sequiturs :
In the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250 AD), and the Roman Warm Period (250 BC-400 AD), there were no automobiles or factories, but temperatures were warmer than now.
In geologic history, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were much higher, but temperatures often were lower. In the Late Ordovician Period, CO2 concentrations were 12 times higher than they are today. The Late Ordovician Period was an ice age.
Do I need to point out that the Ordovician Period was about 488 million years ago? When the chemistry of the planet was vastly different?

But what of that "Medieval Warm Period"? Here's Raymond Bradley of the University of Amherst Climate System Research Center:
It is often stated that climate in Medieval time was warm, or warmer than “today”. Such a statement might seem innocuous – a mere scientific curiosity -- but it has wider significance. For those opposed to action on global warming, the climate in Medieval time has become a cause célèbre. If it was warmer than today in Medieval Time, it could not have been due to fossil fuel consumption, and therefore (the argument goes) this demonstrates that warming in the last century may have been just another natural fluctuation that does not warrant political action on curbing fossil fuel use. Although this is a logically inconsistent argument, it has achieved remarkable traction in political circles, requiring that the issue be carefully re-examined. Actually three issues are involved: the timing of any unusual temperature anomaly, its magnitude relative to “today” and its geographical extent. The latter is especially important because advocates of a warm episode in Medieval time commonly attribute it to solar forcing, arguing that total solar irradiance was as high in Medieval time as in the 20th century, with the implication that 20th century global warming was largely driven by solar forcing, not greenhouse gases.
And then he concludes:
Careful analysis, unfettered by pre-conceived ideas, reveals no prima facie case for a globally extensive, synchronous warm period in Medieval time.
Again, a climate scientist.

Jack Kelly - not a scientist. Not even a good science writer.

I could go on but even though it's not the darkest evening of the year, I still have miles to go before I sleep.

Again P-G, fact check Jack Kelly. He's an embarrassment.


EdHeath said...

Thanks for the shout out, I appreciate it. Like you, I thought that Kelly raised the bar (or more accurately hit a new low) with this week's column.

Still, I will grant that there is some basis for a lot of what Kelly says. For example, when Kelly says that temperatures have not risen since 1998, apparently the Hadley Climate Research Unit at East Anglia had a computer or data glitch that caused them to make this statement (since discovered and corrected). These is no small irony that Kelly quotes this factoid but does not attribute it to East Anglia and then slams them as frauds in the next paragraph of his column.

But Kelly not only fails to give the whole story of any of his statements, he doesn't provide citations of any sort to allow his readers to make up their own minds.

It's not that Democrats are pure or never utter falsehoods. But I don't want to suggest there is an equivalency, there isn't. Whether because Democrats are more honorable, have a limited imagination or are just lazy, they can not rise to the level of misinformation and deceit practiced by Republicans/conservatives/Tea Party people.

Doc said...

I believe in climate change, I believe Kelly is a fraud. But let's be fair, you ignored mentioning the Roman period. Take down all the BS and not allow people to assume that the Roman period "fact" could be true.

Also, both Kelly and you fail to note the knowckout punch of global warming is dissolution of CO2 into the oceans. This results in acidification of the oceans, greatly affecting the reefs that serve as incubators of ocean life for the world.

There are significant increases in the ocean pH. There are studies showing reef life has been greatly affected negatively. If we do not reduce CO2 emissions, we will lose the life giving fish stocks that support life on this planet.

Not only will we suffer food reduction from global temperature change, we will lose the oceans. At this point you are looking at starvation levels which would make WW II look like a paper cut.