Bipartisan Fact Checkers Take GOP Climate Hoax Statements to Task


Photo credit: extracelestial via Flickr/CC BY

Earlier this week, a few bloggers and enviros were calling on the former GOP presidential candidate (and former, former climate advocate) Tim Pawlenty to come clean on his opportunistic global warming flip flop. See, Pawlenty, in a last-ditch effort to appease the rabid science-free wing of the Tea Party, had disowned his onetime acknowledgment of climate change altogether, saying it wasn't even caused by man. Meanwhile, Rick Perry is spouting nonsense about how climate change is a hoax concocted by data-manipulating scientists.

Well, the fact checkers weighed in on both claims, and guess what the verdict is? False and false.

Writing for Grist, R.L. Miller points to Politifact, the bipartisan, independent fact-checking organization designed to keep politicians honest. Here's Politifact on Pawlenty's statements on climate:

... To summarize: Based on our research, there is very little dispute in the scientific community, especially among climate specialists, on whether climate change is primarily caused by natural or man-made forces. The overwhelming majority of scientists polled feel that human activity is the primary driver of climate change. Also, based on scientific studies by the IPCC and others, global warming over the past 50 years has been primarily driven by human activity.
You don't say! Wouldn't it be great if the media did this every time someone started spouting lies about climate change?

As for Perry, in one of his very first campaign speeches after announcing his candidacy, he told his supporters that: "there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we're seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climates change. They've been changing ever since the earth was formed. But I do not buy into, that a group of scientists, who in some cases were found to be manipulating this data.

Here's the Washington Post's fact-checker's response to that idiotic statement:

Perry's statement suggests that, on the climate change issue, the governor is willfully ignoring the facts and making false accusations based on little evidence. He has every right to be a skeptic -- all scientific theories should be carefully scrutinized -- but that does not give him carte blanche to simply make things up.
Indeed it does not. Given the extreme nature of the GOP field, perhaps TreeHugger will have to start a Climate Lies watch to tally all the nonsense that comes tumbling out of their mouths. We'd probably need to spring for a bigger server though ...

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