Global Warming - Misleading Newspaper Article

Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change
Washington Post - Sunday, January 29, 2006; Page A01

This was the main front page article for Sunday! It is another example of a highly one-sided article that actively tries to mislead everyone. There are only a few statements that contradict the main thesis.

The title itself is a mis-statement of the facts - it is still not clear if the current warming is long term or not.

Front Page | Warming Faster | James E. Hansen | Ice Lost, Ice Gained | The Gulf Stream

Front Page

This is the first phrase of the first sentence of the article What a bunch of crap. But this statement is at the top of the front page of the Sunday edition. As a result, most people will simply assume that it is true.

Warming Faster

This sentence is another dooms day prediction ... except that there is still no evidence that it is true.

James E. Hansen

This article is actually a sounding board for James E. Hansen, a vocal proponent of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. In 1999, James E. Hansen produced a web page indicating that he has supported the anthropogenic greenhouse effect since before 1988 and testified before congress. Of course, the data presented to congress only goes back to only 1960 (this usually means ... no real data) and shows only a warming trend. It conveniently omits any useful data.

When discussing the probable increase in global temperature, Hansen says

But he conveniently forgets to remind the reader that 20,000 years ago, the sea level was about 400 feet lower than it is today and that 800 years ago, the planet was about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer than it is today. In other words, surpassing 1998 is no big deal, surpassing 1200 AD is worth talking about.

In 3 paragraphs of the Washington Post article, Hansen claims that the Bush administration is trying to keep him, and other scientists, from speaking to the press. This is Hansen's current crusade - a simple web search finds many articles on this topic. For instance, this quote from The Nation (an anti-Bush site) implies to me that he is more wind than facts.

Update: New NASA Policy Backs Free Discussion by Scientists - Hansen can now say what ever he wants.

Ice Lost, Ice Gained

Here is one quote that indicates that maybe things aren't really all that bad. So some ice is being lost and some is being gained - that sounds like a normal decade.

The paragraph continues with

I have not found any evidence that we are able to measure sea level with that kind of accuracy (0.008 ~ 2mm). This is a sea level change map covering 7 years. Notice that some areas have an increased level and that others have a decrease. NASA claims that it MAY be possible to measure sea level changes to an accuracy of 1 mm/yr or better.

The Gulf Stream

The Gulf Stream is mentioned 3 times, for instance, one paragraph says and then, 9 paragraphs later, it says It's interesting that the article does not say if the "simulations" predicted that the problem was caused by global warming or global cooling (though the context implies that global warming will cause it). It is also interesting that 9 paragraphs separate these 2 apparently contradictory statements.

And how many billions of dollars should we bet on a 50% chance? If computer models (simulations) were really that good, we would know how many hurricanes there will be for the next 10 years and what day they will hit land ... don't think so.

Author: Robert Clemenzi
URL: http:// / Global_Warming / NewsPapers / wp_2006_01_29.html