Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ridiculous US climate debate hinders real action.

Today the group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) published a piece entitled "Columnist's climate change denial distorts reality" in response to a recent Washington Post column (here) by George Will, noting multiple distortions regarding climate change.

As FAIR notes, Will is a widely published columnist, giving his climate change denials a strong impact. It's disturbing to see our national debate framed by people who clearly have an ideological agenda and are willing to bend clearly established facts to make their case.

It's long overdue that we move beyond fake arguments about climate change and towards finding solutions. As I've noted here, climate change has huge implications for river restoration and flooding effects.

From Fair (please read the original, which, unlike Will's article, has links taking you to source documents):

Will made several specious claims in his February 15 column in an attempt to argue that climate change is not a serious concern. (Will has a history of such denial--see Extra!, 5-6/07.)

He started by citing newsmagazine stories from the 1970s that warned of global cooling. The prevailing scientific consensus at that time did not support such claims (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 9/08), but Will likes to pretend that it did--calling it another example of "predicted planetary calamities that did not happen"--in order to bolster the idea that scientists can be wildly off-base. (Will had actually been sent a copy of the BAMS piece by one of the authors after he made a similar false claim last year--Washington Post, 5/22/08. The author reports he "got a nice note back from him thanking me for sharing it"--ABQJournal.com, 2/15/09.)


Update: There has been widespread backlash and the Post has has publicly admitted the errors, though the ombudsman pitifully blamed it on Will's fact checkers. Good article here.

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