Archive for the ‘AGW Deniers’ Category

I want to report a mugging

January 1, 2010

To the Editor of The New York Times:

I want to report a mugging. I thought I was enjoying a quiet and safe New Years at home.
Re “It’s Always the End of the World as We Know It” (opinion article, Jan 1).

Mr. Dutton, provided an entertaining and benign exposition on human fascination with Apocalypse and it’s counterproductive nature, speaking of Y2K, religion, UFO cults and “Frankenstein” – noting:

“Such end-time fantasies must have a profound, persistent appeal in order to keep drawing wide-eyed crowds into movie theaters, as historically they have drawn crowds into churches, year after year.”

Mr. Dutton’s theme is clear. And having read 90% of his 1,332 word article, never once encountering climate change, Mr. Dutton decides to pivot, and magically concludes in 77 words:

“This applies, in my view, to the towering seas, storms, droughts and mass extinctions of popular climate catastrophism. Such entertaining visions owe less to scientific climatology than to eschatology, and that familiar sense that modernity and its wasteful comforts are bringing us closer to a biblical day of judgment. As that headline put it for Y2K, predictions of the end of the world are often intertwined with condemnations of human “folly, greed and denial.” Repent and recycle!”

Suddenly I was no longer reading at my dining table but felt as if standing in Times Square, just conned by a Three Card Monte street hustler – and the hopes for the New Year were just sucked out of the room. I sit, mugged by the New York Times.

Yes, I realize Mr. Dutton has written an opinion piece and that he is a “controversial” libertarian figure – although the paper’s one line bio gives no hint. However, The New York Times must realize that this opinion piece does great damage to the public understanding of climate change.

Mr. Dutton does more damage than just executing an “elegent” con on The New York Times and its readership in presenting what amounts to little more than a one sided political screed masquerading as observations of the human pyche. Mr. Dutton presents the BIG LIE.

Perhaps other readers noticed as I, that in his 1,332 words, Mr. Dutton spends not a single one explaining why he thinks climate science is based on eschatology. One might expect such libelous assertions to be presented with some form of basic, sound, scientific underpinning. But no, he provides nothing to support his outrageously wrong-headed assertions about climate science. He instead leaves us to infer that “climate catastrophism” – the mainstream position of business-as-usual climate science – to be somehow deserving of categorization with the likes of Y2K, and End of Days cults and providing an almost sublime rhetorical service to climate change deniers the world over.

I don’t expect The New York Times to be an advocate of climate change energy policy but at a minimum it would be nice to get from the paper a greater understanding of climate science and the catastrophic risks facing me and my family.

Instead, on this 2010 New Years Day morning, the paper is a mule, smuggling counterfeit information into our homes.

Denier Frederick Seitz dead at 96

March 7, 2008

Mr. Seitz’s obituary was notable to me not for his role as a denier per se, but his work for big tobacco and reminded me yet again of tobacco’s role in the whole “denial industry”. And why John Tierney isn’t really a serious journalist, or perhaps he just thinks we’re all a bit slow.

First, from the obituary:

Seitz, a physicist, headed the National Academy of Sciences from 1962 to 1969 and led Rockefeller University, a New York-based research institution, from 1969 to 1978.

Seitz won the 1973 National Medal of Science for his earlier contributions to the modern quantum theory of the solid state of matter. He also wrote a number of books, including “The Modern Theory of Solids” (1940), an influential text on the development of solid-state physics and of transistors.

Sounds okay so far, but then:

Seitz became known later in life for his skepticism about the existence of global warming. In 1998 he solicited thousands of scientists to sign a petition against the Kyoto protocol on global warming.

From 1978 to 1988, Seitz was a member of the medical research committee of the tobacco company R.J. Reynolds.

Global warming deniers and tobacco deniers not-so-seperated-at-birth? As goes the tobacco debate, so goes the climate change debate? Clearly not a coincidence. You see, in fact, it’s big tobacco that started the damn world of global warming denial. For a great blow-by-blow read Chapter 2, in the book Heat, How to Stop the Planet From Burning by George Monbiot, 2006.

The germination went something like this: In 1993, Philip Morris, getting hammered in public opinion over second-hand smoke after the release of an EPA report, hired the PR firm APCO. APCO designed a campaign to fight a ban on passive smoking by creating the impression of a grassroots movement to fight over-regulation and to portray tobacco fears as just one of many unfounded fears. What are some of the other unfounded fears you may ask? According to big tobacco, one is global warming. Interesting.

Then big tobacco forms the Advancement for Sound Science Coalition, TASSC and among other things finances www.junkscience.com. The tobacco companies and ExxonMobil dance the same dance again and again, in dim light perhaps, where few care to look.

A Brown and Williamson memo sounds like a recurring nightmare:

Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.

Does Mr. Tierney address tobacco money? Of course not. Mr. Tierney, perhaps some reporting is in order?