Democracy Has Prevailed.

March 18, 2014

Patrick Moore Gets Fact-Checked! (And The Trib Looks Bad As A Consequence)

And who's Patrick Moore?

Here he is, showing up on my favorite editorial page (Scaife's Tribune-Review):
Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore told Congress last week “there's no scientific proof that human emissions of CO2 are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth's atmosphere over the last 100 years.” What's a climate-clucker to do? [Bolding in original.]
I didn't get a chance to blog on this first time around but luckily Politifact took a look at Mr Moore a few days ago (h/t to Ed Heath for the Politifact link).

Moore was on Hannity and uses the rather old (and quite wrong) anti-science argument:
It has not warmed for the last 17 years. We know that for sure. And that brings into question the whole hypothesis.
We've whiffed this effluvium before.  From (among others):
Thing is, it's still wrong.  But let's quote politifact debunking Moore:
President Barack Obama warned the nation there will be consequences from not doing more to combat climate change in his 2013 State of the Union address, pointing out "the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15."

PolitiFact rated his statement True. (Actually it’s 13 or 14 of the last 15.)

But that doesn’t necessarily rule out Moore’s claim about the earth not getting warmer lately. The statements can co-exist, with some additional context.

Moore’s claim is a popular argument of people who say climate change isn’t real. The problem is it is cherry-picked and leaves out the rest of the story about earth’s dramatic temperature increases over the last century.
Moore cherry-picked a year when temperatures spiked. "What was an extraordinary event in 1998 is now the new normal," said Goddard Institute program analyst Reto Ruedy, program manager at NASA’s Goddard Institute.

Moore would be incorrect if he chose 1999, 1997, 1996 or any year before that.

"If you start with an extremely warm year, the warming trend going forward is going to be mostly flat," said Gordon Hamilton, associate research professor at the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine.

"You could easily choose 1999 and 1996 and you would find that there’s an upward trend," said Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist in the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "It’s cherry-picking to get the result that he apparently desires."

But what about his "founding" Greenpeace?  Politifact links to this Greenpeace page that says basically,
Patrick Moore frequently portrays himself as a founder or co-founder of Greenpeace, and many news outlets have repeated this characterization. Although Mr. Moore played a significant role in Greenpeace Canada for several years, he did not found Greenpeace. Phil Cotes, Irving Stowe, and Jim Bohlen founded Greenpeace in 1970. Patrick Moore applied for a berth on the Phyllis Cormack in March, 1971 after the organization had already been in existence for a year. A copy of his application letter and Greenpeace's response are available here (PDF)
And did you also know that, according to Greenpeace:
Patrick Moore is a Paid Spokesperson for the Nuclear Industry

In April 2006, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the principal lobby for the nuclear industry, launched the Clean And Safe Energy Coalition and installed former Bush Administration EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and Mr. Moore as its co-chairs. The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition was part of a public relations project spearheaded by the public relations giant Hill & Knowlton as part of its estimated $8 million contract with the nuclear industry. [Bolding in original.]
So if they wanted to characterize him accurately (yea, I know.  When has Scaife's Braintrust ever portrayed anything about climate change accurately?) they should have written:
Paid Spokesperson for the Nuclear Industry Patrick Moore told Congress...
But this is what passes for science literacy on the editorial page of Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review.

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