Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Global Warming & Junk Science

Recently, a blog from a fellow Kansan had a piece on Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (http://musementparking.blogspot.com/2007/04/inconvenienttruth.html).
I wrote a comment, remarking that he had dissed folks who seemed to believe what Gore said without actually offering any useful critique of the movie itself or the content therein. Then I asked for his thoughts on global warming - if he had any serious faults with the information provided.

He wrote back, directing me to a site, http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/.

My response is below. I think it's important to start challenging the junk science being passed out by corporate interests in the name of "safe science".

"To quote your post, "...when money's involved, sniff for sincerity."

The site that you sent me to is not a credible source of information.

When I did a Google search for Steven Milloy, who runs junkscience.com, I found several interesting links, including the following two:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Milloy
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Steven_J._Milloy

The concensus seems to be that he's a paid advocate (to quote SourceWatch) for Phillip Morris, ExxonMobil and other similar corporations. He's also been closely affiliated with the Cato Institute.

These affiliations hardly make him an unbiased source of information on global warming or much of any other topic that might endanger corporate profits.

I would suggest that you check out a couple actual scientific sources. For example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the parent organization for Science magazine. Its Board of Directors issued this statement regarding global warming/climate change in February 2007:
"The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society...."
http://www.aaas.org/news/press_room/climate_change/mtg_200702/aaas_climate_statement.pdf

Their general information on global warming is at http://www.aaas.org/climate.

Another good site is the Union of Concerned Scientists. They have a section about global warming at http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has also released a very interesting report entitled "Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco's Tactics to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science." This is posted at www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/global_warming/exxon_report.pdf.

One other site you might be interested in visiting is Woods Hole Research Center. They have an online guide to global warming at http://whrc.org/resources/online_publications/warming_earth/index.htm.

Last, but certainly not least, it's instructive to look at the segments of society that are beginning to act on global warming. The insurance industry was one of the first. Now a group of retired admirals and generals has come out with a report that states that global warming is a serious threat to our national security. The CNN article is here...
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/15/warming.military.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories.

Hope these help."

3 comments:

Paul Decelles said...

I'd also recommend the following blog:

http://www.realclimate.org/

qkslvrwolf said...

Awesome. Thanks so much for putting this up.

I still have trouble convincing even normally rational people that climate change (I'm trying to get away from global warming, I don't think its the right frame) exists and is a serious problem. And it usually comes down to willful blinders: "I just can't believe that human beings can have such a profound effect on the planet's climate" and "This is just a normal swing in the cycle of things...yes, its getting warmer, but humans have nothing to do with it."

Bah. Humbug.

Again, though, awesome post!

Gaia gardener said...

Thanks, Paul, for the info about realclimate. Looks like a great site.

Qkslvrwolf, thanks for the kudos. I'm trying to take my lead from you, your father, and Teresa in speaking up a little bit. I've decided (to mangle a quote quite a bit) that "all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing"...and I don't want to be guilty of doing nothing. (Having the conceit that I consider myself a "good person.")

At any rate, I consider it past time to enter the public debate about what's going well and what's not within our society and culture. I may not always be right, but if I don't speak up, I'll never learn more through having my ideas heard and responded to by others.