Bad News for Science at Newsweek Magazine, says SPPI

By | August 10, 2007

A new SPPI white paper (http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/sppi_originals/bad_news_for_science_in_newsweek.html)
examines what little science was attempted in the current Newsweek cover story predicting ‘global warming’ catastrophe and attacking anyone disagreeing with the “its-your-fault-the-end-is-near” fundamentalism.

“From the start, Newsweek’s four writers approached the issues of global warming ad hominem and not ad rem,” added Ferguson. “The Newsweek story is another breathless, one-sided detailing of its version of the history of climate change ‘deniers’ and how a few people with paltry resources, have successfully influenced the course of American politics on the issue of anthropogenic climate change. What little science Newsweek tries to slip in, demonstrates troubling bias and lack of understanding for even the most basic issues and facts. The article is a tremendous disservice to both science and the public.”

Specifically, the SPPI paper factually examines Newsweek’s theatrical claims about recent flooding in Texas, “record triple-digit temperatures in Las Vegas”, European heat waves, frequency of Atlantic hurricanes and diminishing snow pack. The paper’s text is accompanied by a rich collection of historical photographs easily available to Newsweek.

A few things Newsweek did not tell its readers:

Texas leads the nation almost every year in flood fatalities and property damage because some of the heaviest rainfall events ever recorded in the world, have occurred in Texas.

On average, 81% of July days in Las Vegas reach 100ºF. In several years, every single day in July has equaled or exceeded 100ºF. In July 1942, 28 days reached 105ºF, and 17 reached 110ºF.

Five of the best hurricane researchers summarize the state of the science on hurricanes and global warming: “. . . the state of the peer-reviewed knowledge today is such that there are good reasons to expect that any conclusive connection between global warming and hurricanes or their impacts will not be made in the near term.” — R. A. PIELKE JR., C. LANDSEA, M. MAYFIELD, J. LAVER, AND R. PASCH

At the close, Newsweek “brings in the clowns”: “It’s enough to make you wish that climate change were a hoax, rather than the reality it is.”

Contact Robert Ferguson (bferguson@sppinstitute.org or 202 288 5699)