The Logic Lifeline

A logical approach to sorting out world events. Where logic, opinion and speculation are combined to produce a reasoned, but entertaining reading experience. The unofficial hometown conservative blog of Woodridge, Il

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

GOP committee members say - Not so fast AP

Newsbusters is posting on the AP article that gushes that scientists give Gore's movie their seal of approval. The GOP members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works have their press release calling AP to task for skewing the story. The original AP story is titled Scientists OK Gore Movie for Accuracy. Here are a few choice quotes from that:
The nation's top climate scientists are giving "An Inconvenient Truth,"
Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy.
The former vice president's movie — replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets — mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.
The AP contacted more than 100 top climate researchers by e-mail and phone for their opinion. Among those contacted were vocal skeptics of climate change theory.
...

"Excellent," said William Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. "He got all the important material and got it right."

Robert Corell, chairman of the worldwide Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group of scientists, read the book and saw Gore give the slideshow presentation that is woven throughout the documentary.

"I sat there and I'm amazed at how thorough and accurate," Corell said. "After the presentation I said, `Al, I'm absolutely blown away. There's a lot of details you could get wrong.' ... I could find no error."

...

One concern was about the connection between hurricanes and global warming. That is a subject of a heated debate in the science community. Gore cited five recent scientific studies to support his view.

"I thought the use of imagery from Hurricane Katrina was inappropriate and unnecessary in this regard, as there are plenty of disturbing impacts associated with global warming for which there is much greater scientific consensus," said Brian Soden, a University of Miami professor of meteorology and oceanography.

There are many basic points already in the AP story that are quite ripe to debunk the bogus title, but first here is the GOP Committee press release:

The June 27, 2006 Associated Press (AP) article titled “Scientists OK Gore’s Movie for Accuracy” by Seth Borenstein raises some serious questions about AP’s bias and methodology.

AP chose to ignore the scores of scientists who have harshly criticized the science presented in former Vice President Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

In the interest of full disclosure, the AP should release the names of the “more than 100 top climate researchers” they attempted to contact to review “An Inconvenient Truth.” AP should also name all 19 scientists who gave Gore “five stars for accuracy.” AP claims 19 scientists viewed Gore’s movie, but it only quotes five of them in its article. AP should also release the names of the so-called scientific “skeptics” they claim to have contacted.

The AP article quotes Robert Correll, the chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group. It appears from the article that Correll has a personal relationship with Gore, having viewed the film at a private screening at the invitation of the former Vice President. In addition, Correll’s reported links as an “affiliate” of a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that provides “expert testimony” in trials and his reported sponsorship by the left-leaning Packard Foundation, were not disclosed by AP. See http://www.junkscience.com/feb06.htm

The AP also chose to ignore Gore’s reliance on the now-discredited “hockey stick” by Dr. Michael Mann, which claims that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the 20th century, and that the 1990’s were the warmest decade in at least 1000 years. Last week’s National Academy of Sciences report dispelled Mann’s often cited claims by reaffirming the existence of both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. See Senator Inhofe’s statement on the broken “Hockey Stick.”

Gore’s claim that global warming is causing the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro to disappear has also been debunked by scientific reports. For example, a 2004 study in the journal Nature makes clear that Kilimanjaro is experiencing less snowfall because there’s less moisture in the air due to deforestation around Kilimanjaro.

I show the entire release because I could not find a single sentence I wanted to leave out. So basically the points of the release are:
  • Only 19% of the scientists responded with only 5 quoted
  • There was no full disclosure of the names of the 100. We are told there are skeptics (plural). 2 skeptics would make that statement true, and we have no assurance any responded.
  • One of the quoted members was cherry-picked by Gore to attend a private screening. He also is closely associated with a left leaning organization. This does not mean he is invalidated, but AP chose not to disclose these points.
  • Two key elements of the film (the hockey stick and Mt. Kilimanjaro) have been debunked, yet the 19 scientists give it 5 stars for accuracy.
What is amazing is the low threshold AP has to buy into this. They send out 100 contacts and only 19 return. The first qualification to respond is that you must have seen the movie or read the book. Perhaps only 19 thought it worth going to see? What does that say for the 81? If the scientific community has truly bought into a looming catastrophe due to man-made global warming you would think that more would quite active in helping Gore with his cause. (Let's see: we're doomed but I am too busy with my butterfly collection to bother).

I am also suspicious of the "5 star" terminology. Were they actually asked to rate the accuracy on a scale of 1-5 stars? If not, then AP is taking some liberties here interpreting their responses. The term "5 star" conjures up a picture of excellence to such a degree that it is unassailable. Yet they assail it. If they were asked to rate it in such terms, then I call their neutrality to task. They make statements showing there are some inaccuracies and yet give it 5 stars?

There is one scientist referenced by AP that I found amusing:
While some nonscientists could be depressed by the dire disaster-laden warmer world scenario that Gore laid out, one top researcher thought it was too optimistic. Tom Wigley, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, thought the former vice president sugarcoated the problem by saying that with already-available technologies and changes in habit — such as changing light bulbs — the world could help slow or stop global warming.
Basically, he says it is so bad he doesn't know if the problem can be fixed. If it is so bad that it can't be fixed, why are we wasting time and resources?

The Hockey Stick reference is of special interest to me. I was just looking at a subscreen of junkscience.com on the Greenhouse topic that basically shows two different graphs created from the same data. One shows the "hockey stick" while the other shows a slight elevation. It is pointed out that the two graphs show the data on different scales. There is a lot of great info on that page. One interesting point is the concept of Greenhouse. The moon has no greenhouse, so when the sun shines on it, it bakes. When it doesn't it freezes. There is no convection of the heat. Basically without the greenhouse effect, we would be dead. Taking the term greenhouse and making it a bad term simply skews public perception. That is what this is all about: public perception. It is not about truth (convenient or otherwise).

3 Comments:

  • At 11:20 AM, Blogger SkyePuppy said…

    I'm running out of superlatives. Most excellent post!

    I saw that AP report and didn't have the time to dive into it myself or look for a rebuttal. Thanks for doing the legwork and clearing up the mess that Global Warming enthusiasts always leave behind!

     
  • At 11:33 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Thanks SkyePuppy. Sometimes I feel like taking on the AP is like shooting fish in a barrel. I am just shocked that anybody takes them seriously.

     
  • At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very pretty site! Keep working. thnx!
    »

     

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