Senator James Inhofe Vs. Physicist Joe Romm: Does ClimateGate Disprove Global Warming?


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In what must be one of the most lopsided 'debate' features in recent memory, US News pits physicist and policy expert Joe Romm (of Climate Progress fame) against everyone's favorite science-blind senator, James Inhofe (of "oil and gas don't pollute" fame). The question is the bogusly worded 'Did Climategate Expose Global Warming Fears as Unfounded?'Obviously, the thing seems designed to inspire the more 'controversial' narrative--that fears about climate change are overblown, and that scientists have either screwed everything up or are part of some nefarious conspiracy. And obviously, there's no question of who wins this debate if you're looking at it from a scientifically informed standpoint.

Here's Inhofe's lede:

Call it the global warming crackup, an unfolding procĀ­ess of contradictory claims about glaciers, weather, and scientists asserting a consensus when none exists. Global warming alarmists can't make up their minds because the entire basis for their energy rationing project has collapsed into a mess of errors, exaggerations, and deceit.

The IPCC and Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now the IPCC has retracted several false claims concerning, among other things, rain forests shrinking, crops dying, and sea levels rising [note: yes, Inhofe--when errors are made in science, you retract them] We've been told weather is not to be confused with climate, except when you have heat waves or blizzards [Anyone want to defend Inhofe as a man who understands science?]. We've been told cap-and-trade would create thousands of green jobs, yet the Congressional Budget Office, Department of Energy, National Black Chamber of Commerce, and others say it would mean a net loss of jobs.

He goes on to make the garden-variety attacks on the IPCC, claims the EPA regulating the biggest polluters in the nation would cripple the economy, and so on and so forth.

Here's Romm's intro:

Big Oil wants us to remain addicted to oil, a major source of carbon pollution. So it and other special interests have conducted an aggressive disinformation campaign for more than a decade to convince Americans that there's a major disagreement among scientists on the dangers posed by carbon pollution, just as the tobacco industry disputed the science to keep smokers addicted.

Yes, the 3,000-page review of the scientific literature by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 has a couple of "trivial mistakes" in it, as the Washington Post put it. But as a physicist who writes on climate issues, I've read much of the original literature and talked to dozens of the leading climate scientists. The real story was captured in a recent headline in Scientific American: "Despite Climategate, IPCC Mostly Underestimates Climate Change."

Both pieces continue, and can be read over at US News. If skewed, pointless online polls are your thing, go ahead and vote against the ridiculous poll question as well.

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