SPPI exposes fundamental scientific error in Laurie David’s “global warming” book for children

By | September 12, 2007

A new SPPI paper (http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/other/childrensbookerror.html) briefly examines a cardinal error, found on page 18 of the David book, where she mousetraps children: “The more the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the higher the temperature climbed. The less carbon dioxide, the more the temperature fell. You can see this relationship for yourself by looking at the graph. What makes this graph so amazing is that by connecting rising CO2 to rising temperature scientists have discovered the link between greenhouse-gas pollution (sic) and global warming.”

The SPPI paper states, in part:

What really makes the David-Gordon graph “amazing” is that it’s egregiously counterfactual. Worse, in order to contrive a visual representation for their claim that CO2 controls temperature change, the authors present unsuspecting children with an altered temperature and CO2 graph that reverses the relationship found in the scientific literature.

The manipulation is critical because David’s central premise posits that CO2 drives temperature, yet the peer-reviewed literature is unanimous that CO2 changes have historically followed temperature changes.

Case in point, on page 103 of their book, David cites the work of Siegenthaler et al. (2005). However, Siegenthaler et al. clearly state the opposite, that CO2 lags “with respect to the Antarctic temperature over glacial terminations V to VII are 800, 1600, and 2800 years, respectively, which are consistent with earlier observations during the last four glacial cycles.”

“Parents and teachers should be concerned enough to demand that the publisher, Scholastic Books, recall, pulp and correct the error before mores copies reach innocent children.,” said Ferguson.

Contact: Bob Ferguson: bferguson@sppinstitute.org: 202 288 5699