Monday, October 25, 2010

We fail to report; You decide

Yahoo! News:
With scientific data piling up showing that the world has reached its hottest-ever point in recorded history, global-warming skeptics are facing a high-profile defection from their ranks. Bjorn Lomborg, author of the influential tract "The Skeptical Environmentalist," has reversed course on the urgency of global warming, and is now calling for action on "a challenge humanity must confront."
This report caught my attention for several reasons. First, I've come across a number of articles recently that have scientists predicting that the earth is entering a period of cooling. Indeed, a cursory search for "is the earth cooling" confirms that this anticipated cooling trend has been widely reported. Opening the first link returned by my search, I read,
According to many scientists, Earth is in a current "cold mode" and will see temperatures fall over the next 30 years as the world enters a "mini ice age."
Second, in the wake of Climategate and similar scandals, the tendency has been for defection in the other direction. Scientists have felt freer to question the quality of research being used to stoke fears about man-made global warming, and those who do are increasingly being given more respect and media attention.

So to have a noted skeptic buck that trend by reversing course and calling for tens of billions of dollars to combat climate change is quite the deal. It has me asking myself, What made him change his mind? What new evidence has surfaced, or new insight gleaned, to make the man who wrote The Skeptical Environmentalist do a complete 180 and jump on the global warming band wagon? Why is he suddenly claiming that global warming is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today" ?

Strangely, the Yahoo! article doesn't say. The real story here is not that Lomborg changed his mind, but why he changed his mind. But we're given no clue, beyond the suggestion from some of Lomborg's "former foes in the environmental movement" that he's simply engaging in self-promotion.

And that's what's odder still. Lomborg has switched sides. From the perspective of those who believe we are on the brink of doom due to global warming, he has finally seen the light. And yet they do not embrace him. And, again, the article doesn't say why.

Truly a strange bit of journalism, this, as it adds absolutely nothing to the discussion.

And, speaking of poor journalism, this bit in the article about "scientific data piling up showing that the world has reached its hottest-ever point in recorded history" is highly misleading. The "recorded history" being referenced only goes back a 150 years. The Earth has gone through several warmer periods just in its recent past. In fact, we're still coming out of the last ice age.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to remain skeptical of the alarmist claims about man-made global warming until someone can explain how man is causing global warming on Mars.

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