EPW Blog: Newsweek Climate Editorial Screed Violates Basic Standards of Journalism

By | August 4, 2007

Link to Blog Post:

Posted By Marc Morano – Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov – 9:33 PM ET

Newsweek Magazine’s cover story of August 13, 2007 entitled, “The Truth About Denial” contains very little that could actually be considered balanced, objective or fair by journalistic standards. (LINK)  

The one-sided editorial, masquerading as a “news article,” was written by Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein and Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips and purports to examine the “well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change.”

The only problem is — Newsweek knew better. Reporter Eve Conant, who interviewed Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, was given all the latest data proving conclusively that it is the proponents of man-made global warming fears that enjoy a monumental funding advantage over the skeptics.  (A whopping $50 BILLION to a paltry $19 MILLION for skeptics – Yes, that is BILLION to MILLION – see below )

This week’s “news article” in Newsweek follows the Magazine’s October 23, 2006 article which admitted the error of their ways in the 1970’s when they predicted dire global cooling. (See: Senator Inhofe Credited For Prompting Newsweek Admission of Error on 70’s Predictions of Coming Ice Age – LINK )

Use of Word ‘Denier’

First, let’s take a look at Newsweek’s use of the word “denier” when describing a scientist who views with skepticism the unproven computer models predicting future climate doom. The use of this terminology has drawn the ire of Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado‘s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. “The phrase ‘climate change denier’ is meant to be evocative of the phrase ‘holocaust denier,’” Pielke, Jr. wrote on October 9, 2006 (LINK

“Let’s be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust. This allusion has no place in the discourse on climate change. I say this as someone fully convinced of a significant human role in the behavior of the climate system,” Pielke, Jr. explained.

Newsweek Fails Basic Arithmetic

Newsweek reporter Eve Conant was given the documentation showing that proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION by comparison.

Paleoclimate scientist Bob Carter, who has testified before the Senate EPW committee, explains how much money has been spent researching and promoting climate fears.

“In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one.” (LINK )

For a breakdown of how much money flows to promoters of climate fear, see a Janaury 17, 2007 EPW blog post: (LINK)

"The [climate] alarmists also enjoy a huge financial advantage over the skeptics with numerous foundations funding climate research, University research money and the United Nations endless promotion of the cause.  Just how much money do the climate alarmists have at their disposal? There was a $3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air’s Richard Branson alone. The well-heeled environmental lobbying groups have massive operating budgets compared to groups that express global warming skepticism. The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year. Compare that to the often media derided Competitive Enterprise Institute’s small $3.6 million annual budget. In addition, if a climate skeptic receives any money from industry, the media immediately labels them and attempts to discredit their work. The same media completely ignore the money flow from the environmental lobby to climate alarmists like James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer. (ie. Hansen received $250,000 from the Heinz Foundation and Oppenheimer is a paid partisan of Environmental Defense Fund) The alarmists have all of these advantages, yet they still feel the need to resort to desperation tactics to silence the skeptics. Could it be that the alarmists realize that the American public is increasingly rejecting their proposition that the family SUV is destroying the earth and rejecting their shrill calls for "action" to combat their computer model predictions of a ‘climate emergency?’"  (See EPW Blog for full article – LINK )

As Senator Inhofe further explained in a September 25, 2006 Senate floor speech: “The fact remains that political campaign funding by environmental groups to promote climate and environmental alarmism dwarfs spending by the fossil fuel industry by a three-to-one ratio. Environmental special interests, through their 527s, spent over $19 million compared to the $7 million that Oil and Gas spent through PACs in the 2004 election cycle.”(LINK)

Now contrast all of the above with how much money the “well funded” skeptics allegedly receive.

The Paltry Funding of Skeptics (by comparision)

The most repeated accusation is that organizations skeptical of man-made climate fears have received $19 Million from an oil corporation over the past two decades. This was the subject of a letter by two U.S. Senators in 2006 (See Senators letter of October 30, 2006 noting the $19 Million from Exxon-Mobile to groups skeptical of man-made global warming – LINK )

To put this $19 Million over two decades into perspective, consider:

One 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant of $20 million to study how “farm odors” contribute to global warming exceeded all of the money that skeptics reportedly received in the past two decades.  To repeat: One USDA grant to study the role of “farm odors” in global warming exceeded almost ALL the money skeptics have been accused of receiving over the past two decades. (Excerpt from article: “The United States Department of Agriculture has released reports stating that when you smell cow manure, you’re also smelling greenhouse gas emissions.” (LINK or LINK )

As erroneous and embarrassingly one-sided as Newsweek’s article is, the magazine sunk deeper into journalistic irrelevance when it noted that skeptical Climatologist Patrick Michaels had reportedly received industry funding without revealing to readers the full funding picture.  The magazine article mentions NASA’s James Hansen as some sort of example of a scientist untainted by funding issues. But what Newsweek was derelict in reporting is that Hansen had received a $250,000 award from the Heinz Foundation run by Senator John Kerry’s wife Teresa in 2001 and then subsequently endorsed Kerry for President in 2004. (LINK )

Science Vindicating Skeptics

Finally, Newsweek’s editorial rant attempts to make it appear as though the science is getting stronger in somehow proving mankind is driving a climate catastrophe. There are, however, major problem with that assertion. 

Scientists are speaking up around the globe to denounce Gore, the UN and the media driven “consensus” on global warming. Just recently, an EPW report detailed a sampling of scientists who were once believers in man-made global warming and who now are skeptical. [See May 15, 2007 report: Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming – Now Skeptics: Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research – LINK

Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian government, detailed how he left the global warming funding "gravy train" and became a skeptic. “By the late 1990’s, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn’t believe carbon emissions caused global warming," Evans explained. "But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed,” Evans wrote. “The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were *not* initially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon, and says nothing about the strength of any amplification. This piece of evidence casts reasonable doubt that atmospheric carbon had any role in past warmings, while still allowing the possibility that it had a supporting role,” he added. (LINK)

In addition, just last week, three new scientific studies further strengthened the skeptics’ views on climate change. (LINK)  Further, a recent analysis of peer-reviewed literature thoroughly debunks any fears of Greenland melting and a frightening sea level rise. [See July 30, 2007 – Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt – LINK ]

Newsweek: A Media Dinosaur

The question remains: Is Newsweek even a news outlet worth taking the time to respond to in posts like this? Does Newsweek, a quirky alternative news outlet, even have an impact on public policy anymore?

Journalism students across the world can read this week’s cover story to learn how reporting should not be done. Hopefully, that will be Newsweek’s legacy — serving as a shining example of the failure of modern journalism to adhere to balance, objectivity and fairness. Anyone who fails to see this inconvenient truth is truly (to borrow Newsweek’s vernacular) a “denier.”

Background of recent climate science developments:

Even the alarmist UN has cut sea level rise estimates in dramatically since 2001 and has reduced man’s estimated impact on the climate by 25%. Meanwhile a separate UN report found that cow emissions are more damaging to the planet than all of the CO2 emissions from cars and trucks.  (LINK)

The New York Times is now debunking aspects of climate alarmism.  An April 23, 2006 article in the New York Times by Andrew Revkin stated: “few scientists agree with the idea that the recent spate of potent hurricanes, European heat waves, African drought and other weather extremes are, in essence, our fault (a result of manmade emissions.) There is more than enough natural variability in nature to mask a direct connection, [scientists] say.”

The New York Times is essentially conceding that no recent weather events are outside of natural climate variability. So all the climate doomsayers have to back up their claims of climate fears are unproven computer models of the future. Of course, you can’t prove a prediction of the climate in 2100 wrong today. It’s simply not possible.

Climate Computer Models Not So Reliable

Recently, a top UN scientist publicly conceded that climate computer model predictions are not so reliable after all. Dr. Jim Renwick, a lead author of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, admitted to the New Zealand Herald in June 2007, “Half of the variability in the climate system is not predictable, so we don’t expect to do terrifically well." (LINK)

A leading scientific skeptic of global warming fears, Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, former CEO of the Netherlands‘ Royal National Meteorological Institute, took the critique of climate models that predict future doom a step further. Tennekes wrote on February 28, 2007, "I am of the opinion that most scientists engaged in the design, development, and tuning of climate modes are in fact software engineers. They are unlicensed, hence unqualified to sell their products to society." (LINK)

Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack of the University of Pennsylvania noted “for most of Earth’s history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler,” Giegengack said according to a February 2007 article in Philadelphia Magazine. (LINK)  The article continued, “[Giegengack] says carbon dioxide doesn’t control global temperature, and certainly not in a direct linear way.”

Climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball explained that one of the reasons climate models fail is because they overestimate the warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. Ball described how CO2 stabilizes in the atmosphere and its warming impact diminishes. “Even if CO2 concentration doubles or triples, the effect on temperature would be minimal. The relationship between temperature and CO2 is like painting a window black to block sunlight. The first coat blocks most of the light. Second and third coats reduce very little more. Current CO2 levels are like the first coat of black paint,” Ball explained in a June 6, 2007 article in Canada Free Press. (LINK)

New data is revealing what may perhaps be the ultimate inconvenient truth for climate doomsayers: 

Global warming stopped in 1998.

Dr. Nigel Calder, co-author with physicist Henrik Svensmark of the 2007 book “The Chilling Stars: A New Theory on Climate Change,” explained in July 2007: (LINK)

“In reality, global temperatures have stopped rising.  Data for both the surface and the lower air show no warming since 1999.  That makes no sense by the hypothesis of global warming driven mainly by CO2, because the amount of CO2 in the air has gone on increasing.  But the fact that the Sun is beginning to neglect its climatic duty – of battling away the cosmic rays that come from ‘the chilling stars’ – fits beautifully with this apparent end of global warming.”

Perhaps the conversion of many former scientists from believers in man-made global warming to skeptics (LINK) and the new peer-reviewed research is why so many proponents of a climatic doom have resorted to threats and intimidation in attempting to silence skeptics.  (See: EPA to Probe E-mail Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Career of Climate Skeptic – LINK )

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EPW Inhofe Press Blog Note: A blockbuster U.S. Senate report is set to be released in the Fall 2007 that will feature hundreds of scientists (many current and former UN scientists) who have spoken out recently against Gore, the UN, and the media driven climate “consensus.” Please keep checking this blog for updates.

Related Links:

Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt

EPA to Probe E-mail Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Career of Climate Skeptic  

Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming – Now Skeptics

Senator Inhofe declares climate momentum shifting away from Gore (The Politico op ed)

Scientific Smackdown: Skeptics Voted The Clear Winners Against Global Warming Believers in Heated NYC Debate

Global Warming on Mars & Cosmic Ray Research Are Shattering Media Driven "Consensus’

Global Warming: The Momentum has Shifted to Climate Skeptics

Prominent French Scientist Reverses Belief in Global Warming – Now a Skeptic

Top Israeli Astrophysicist Recants His Belief in Manmade Global Warming – Now Says Sun Biggest Factor in Warming

Warming On Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, Neptune’s Moon & Earth Linked to Increased Solar Activity, Scientists Say

Panel of Broadcast Meteorologists Reject Man-Made Global Warming Fears- Claim 95% of Weathermen Skeptical

MIT Climate Scientist Calls Fears of Global Warming ‘Silly’ – Equates Concerns to ‘Little Kids’ Attempting to "Scare Each Other"

Weather Channel TV Host Goes ‘Political’- Stars in Global Warming Film Accusing U.S. Government of ‘Criminal Neglect’

Weather Channel Climate Expert Calls for Decertifying Global Warming Skeptics

ABC-TV Meteorologist: I Don’t Know A Single Weatherman Who Believes ‘Man-Made Global Warming Hype’

The Weather Channel Climate Expert Refuses to Retract Call for Decertification for Global Warming Skeptics

Senator Inhofe Announces Public Release Of "Skeptic’s Guide To Debunking Global Warming"

 

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