Tag Archives: New York Times

Either A Climate Negotiations' Glitch, Or A New Business Opportunity for Selling A Bridge

In Andy Revkin’s “A ‘Shared Vision’ on Climate, With a Glitch“, our dear friend laments the distortion of the IPCC’s own conclusions in the Cancún “shared vision” draft, in particular in the statement:

Recognizes that warming of the climate system, as a consequence of human activity, is unequivocal, as assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report

OF COURSE, there is nothing of the sort in the IPCC AR4. Revkin writes “I’m not sure how the clause ‘as a consequence of human activity’ slipped in, but it shouldn’t be there” and concludes hoping “several [IPCC] scientists and Rajendra K. Pachauri” will “suggest a change” to correct such a “glitch“, even if “it’s minutiae“.

Here’s my comment posted at the NYT:

Andy – this is is not “glitch” #1, this must be “glitch” #267…say, have you ever tried to follow the trail from the IPCC’s 2007 statements on solar influences to what appears in newspapers and at policy conferences?

And all those “glitches” always go in the same direction. What more evidence do you need to realize that these “broken telephone” games:

  1. are biased from the start,
  2. make a mockery of climate science,
  3. undermine any effort to deal with future resource and disaster management challenges and
  4. (d) demean journalists that keep talking about them as “glitches” into the kind of people whom dodgy characters would like to sell a bridge to

Science Manipulation Hides Reporting And Political Failures Of The New York Times

The more I read the “As Glaciers Melt, Science Seeks Data on Rising Seas” article (NYT, Nov 13; and on the IHT on the same day, with a full page dedicated to it, and the pride of place on the first page with a giant photo next to it), the more it looks like something halfway between the first salvo in the “war on science” against the GOP and “many newly elected legislators openly skeptical about climate change“, and a call to rally to the AGW Believer Troops.

(1) Apparently, author Justin Gillis and the NYT Editors don’t mind writing more than six columns about an issue that they readily admit might not be serious at all:

The missing information makes it impossible for scientists to be sure how serious the situation is […] the researchers lack elementary information.

As the saying goes then…glacier melting is a grave problem, but not serious.

(2) One has also to question Mr Gillis scientific knowledge if there is any (if there isn’t, then it’s hard to take the article seriously at all). We are treated to pearls of wisdom such as:

Hanging out the sides of the craft, two scientists sent a measuring device plunging into the water, between ice floes. Near the bottom, it reported a temperature of 40 degrees (*). It was the latest in a string of troubling measurements showing that the water was warm enough to melt glaciers rapidly from below.

(*) that’s 40F=4.4C. On the IHT the value is reported as “just above 4C or 39F”

Well, it happens that 4C is exactly the temperature where water is at its most dense, so there is no surprise at all that 4C is measure “near the bottom”.

Note that I am not saying that the scientists involved provided manipulated information: all I am saying is that, as reported, the measured temperature is no “troubling measurement” at all. And so if there’s anything “troubling” about it, it’s been Mr Gillis’ fault not to report it properly.

(3) Another point that shows a remarkable level of naivety concerns the consequences of the projected rises in sea levels, presented throughout the article as if the seas would raise of a certain amount the world over

Abroad, some of the world’s great cities — London, Cairo, Bangkok, Venice and Shanghai among them — would be critically endangered by a three-foot rise in the sea

That is worse than absurd: the NOAA map for 1993-2010 has its reds, blues and purples, not exactly uniformity. A worldwide effort to protect coastal cities would therefore result in a giant waste of resources to say the least.

Mr Gillis’ failure to get some more meaningful statements about the risk of sea level increases from his scientists/interviewees is quite glaring, to the non-credulous eye.

(4) The list of baseless statements by Mr Gillis and his interviewees keeps growing with every new reading of the article too. For example we have a “Robin E. Bell, a scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University” saying

We’re used to the shoreline being fixed, and it’s not

Who’s used to the shoreline being fixed? The people of East Anglia? The guys and gals of the Netherlands? The city of New Orleans? Where are the remains of the ancient port-city of Ephesus (5km inland) and of much of ancient Alexandria in Egypt (underwater)?

Inches below that, it’s Mr Gillis’ turn:

But at all times in the past, when the shoreline migrated, humans either had not evolved yet or consisted of primitive bands of hunter-gatherers who could readily move. By the middle of this century, a projected nine billion people will inhabit the planet, with many millions of them living within a few feet of sea level

So we have primitive hunter-gatherers on the one side, and a worldwide technological civilization on the other…and the h-g’s win? Says who? Wouldn’t it be much more logical to consider our resource-rich global society at minimal risk from any change in sea levels?

How about previous dire predictions?

In the 1920s and ’30s, for instance, a warm spell caused many glaciers to retreat.[…] scientists say that the recent changes in Greenland appear more pervasive than those of the early 20th century, and that they are occurring at the same time that air and ocean temperatures are warming, and ice melt is accelerating, throughout much of the world.

Yeah. Right. How about “Warming Arctic Climate Melting Glaciers Faster, Raising Ocean Level, Scientist Says“. It’s vintage NYT from 1947. And “Glaciers give hints of weather change“. It’s NYT again, 1955 (article reports of five decades of retreating glaciers, no less). And here’s the link to a 1978 NYT article blaming melting glaciers for beach-side troubles in Rhode Island. Looks like there haven’t been many decades without a “Fear the Glaciers!” article on the New York Alarmist Times. And all we get is a “it’s different this time around”. Not serious, indeed…

(5) And finally for the political punch that wasn’t. Mr Gillis laments the lack of funding for glacier research (again, we can’t tell if it’s his thought, or he’s just reporting), and doesn’t shy from placing the blame:

Several federal agencies and two presidential administrations, Democratic and Republican, have made decisions that contributed to the problems.

We are then told that, as if by magic:

Now, the Obama administration is seeking to chart a new course, abandoning the goal of returning to the moon and seeking a substantial increase in financing for earth sciences. It is also promising an overall strategy for improving the country’s environmental observations.

Any thoughts on why it would have taken two years to the Obama administration to understand the situation? Any comment on how this alone would be enough to show what a giant waste of time the Cap&Trade aborted bill was, when I am sure a new “strategy for improving the country’s environmental observations” would have received enough funding quite quickly with a lot less controversy?

I guess we can’t expect as much from Mr Gillis, as that would show the NYT itself greatly at fault in having pushed so hard and for so long for Cap&Trade to pass, blinded by politicking and its desire to yell “the science is settled” whilst polar research has been “slowly going blind in space”, in the words of  “Robert Bindschadler, a polar researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who spent 30 years with NASA studying ice

Next Stop, Pyongyang (The New York Times vs. FOI)

to Letters IHT
date Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Dear Editors,

Is climate change a threat large enough to make you undermine the very foundations of your trade? That’s the most important question upon observing your cavalier attitude to Freedom of Information (FOI) in the editorial titled “A Climate Change Corrective” (printed on the IHT on 14 Jul 2010), regarding the alledgedly “manufactured controversy” also known as Climategate.

Forget science, and forget politics for a moment: Climategate, as established by every official British investigation about it, has shown a deliberate, concerted attempt at circumventing the letter and the spirit of the local FOI Act. In more than one circumstance, the Information Commissioner’s Office has found that FOI requests were not dealt “as they should have been under the legislation“. Lord Oxburgh’s and Sir Muir Russell’s reports say as much too, just like the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s.

A wide range of commentators of all scientific and political stances have remarked this, and the general consensus is that from now on science itself will have to change its practice, becoming more transparent and open especially to knowledgeable members of the public. We are talking FOI, after all, an extension to the freedom of speech, a right that people including journalists, and The New York Times, have successfully fought for during the past half-century.

It’s only because of the statute of limitations that there has been no prosecution in the UK regarding the attacks on FOI revealed by Climategate. And what do you have to say about that instead? Absolutely nothing, apart from an absurdly understated remark about “a timid reluctance to share data“.

And so you have sacrificed the right to FOI in an attempt to get “firm action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases“. Good for you. And good for Governments the world over: they will surely rejoice upon hearing that the most influential and authoritative global and US newspaper does not care about FOI. Why, all they have to do is claim “a timid reluctance” to open up their files: and all you will be able to print, will be regurgitated propaganda and half-truths.

I have heard the hamburgers are good, in Pyongyang.

saluti/regards
maurizio morabito
journalist and blogger, “The Unbearable Nakedness of Climate Change”

Al Gore Suffers A Case Of Inconvenient Translation

Funny episode around the world’s preferred Oscar+Nobel AGWer…

As reported in a blog by Piero Vietti of Italian daily “Il Foglio, Al Gore’s NYT Op-ed about (not) wishing away climate change has been slightly “censored” when translated by Rome-based uberwarmist newspaper “La Repubblica. The problem? Most likely, excessive mysticism on the part of the former VP.

Here’s the original:

Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace. From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. After all has been said and so little done, the truth about the climate crisis — inconvenient as ever — must still be faced. The pathway to success is still open, though it tracks the outer boundary of what we are capable of doing.

This is the translation:

Il loro tema costante consiste nell’etichettare come “socialista” qualunque proposta di riformare i comportamenti basati sullo sfruttamento. La strada verso il successo è ancora aperta.

The translation corresponds roughly to the following text:

Their constant theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behaviors. The road to success is still open.

Perhaps, to left-leaning Italian readers of La Repubblica all calls for “human redemption” simply resonate too much as Papal exhortations. And some people still claim that AGW doesn’t look like a religion?

The Climate Article The New York Times Editors Did Not Want You To See

As reported here on March 2, there has been a very unique phenomenon at the International Herald Tribune (IHT) / The New York Times (NYT): for the first time ever, an IHT printed-paper article was not immediately available in the NYT website. And a front-page article it was: “Feeling the heat from critics, climate scientists battle back“, by John M Broder.

The article finally appeared online in the early AM GMT hour of 3 March, titled “Scientists Taking Steps to Defend Work on Climate“. Tellingly, the structure has been heavily changed, and the interviewees as well. I have had a series of e-mail exchanges with Mr Broder today and won’t report any of them. The impression remains that some Editor at the NYT panicked (**) after reading the IHT version, and got Mr Broder or some sub-editor to rewrite it almost from scratch to eliminate some inconvenient names and acquire warmist respectability by giving the concluding remarks to Gavin Schmidt (*).

All in all, it has been an episode wholly consistent with an atmosphere of climate bullying at the NYT.

I have scanned the IHT article and here it is in 2 parts:

JMBroder - Feeling the Heat, IHT 2010/3/2 part 1
JMBroder - Feeling the Heat, IHT 2010/3/2 page 1
JMBroder2
JMBroder - Feeling the Heat, IHT 2010/3/2 page 8

For an example of what has been changed, note the mysterious disappearance of Judith Curry from the NYT version (Prof Curry is out there to conclude the IHT article), whilst a Peter C. Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists, plus Gavin Schmidt, are parachuted in literally out of thin air.

ps Gavin being Gavin, he’s now quotable with a “Good science is the best revenge“, some sort of instinctive plagiarism of Willis’ exhortation a few days earlier: “Do good science, and publicly insist that other climate scientists do good science as well

(*) see also WUWT “Willis makes the NYT, Gavin to stop “persuading the public”” and Willis Eschenbach’s generally positive comment to Broder’s NYT piece

(**) In fact, see what kind of mess they made of the NYT website around the same time… 😎

UPDATE March 7: To be 100% clear, this is how I see things have happened:

1. After weeks of deafening silence on Climategate and derivatives, Mr Broder got commissioned to write finally an article about it, once enough “scientists fighting back” quotes could be summoned

2. Mr Broder wrote his piece (version “A”) on Monday AM EST but felt it necessary to include things at they stand, including Judith Curry’s “fiasco” remarks

3. Version “A” passed all editorial checks and by Monday noon was singled out for importance and relevance as one of the front-page stories for the IHT

4. Somebody above the Editors did not like it, likely because there was no quote from GISS. Monday evening word came down to change the article.

5. It was too late for the IHT and therefore I saw version “A” printed there.

6. But it was early enough for the web so version “A” did not show up there at all

7. Mr Broder was asked on Tuesday AM to talk to Schmidt and the other guy

8. A sub-editor changed version “A” to version “B” eliminating the inconvenient pieces, moving things around and adding what was wanted, including the “good science is the best revenge” dramatic quote at the end

9. Alas, it took a while to do all that, so version “B” appeared on the NYT website only very, very late on Tuesday evening.

Watch Out For Self-Censorship At The New York Times

There is an article by John M Broder in the first page of the International Herald Tribune today, that is mysteriously nowhere to be found on their website (the New York Times’). This is very unusual as the IHT normally prints stuff that has already appeared on the NYT a day or two before, and has already been on the website for several hours.

The article’s printed-version title is “Feeling the heat from critics, climate scientists battle back“.

The situation is consistent with the existence of an internal NYT web “climate censorship” office, that has simply not cleared as yet an article that is highly sincere and open about the IPCC/climategate travails and contains remarks (by non-skeptics) that are highly critical of climate science and climate scientists.

I’ll keep an eye on the developments.

UPDATE March 3 00:18 GMT: Article still MIA, have sent an e-mail to Broder and the IHT.

UPDATE March 3 07:50 GMT:There is now an article by Mr Broder available. I cannot believe what they have done. Here’s my comment to it:

This is a shameful day for the New York Times. Mr Broder’s article is fundamentally different from…Mr Broder’s article on the same topic as it appeared in the printed edition of the International Herald Tribune on March 2, 2010. Gavin Schmidt for example has replaced Judith Curry, and the overall tone has changed to become definitely more ‘friendly’ for the warmists. Now I understand why for the first time ever, an article has been printed long before it appeared on this website.

Opinator Cura Te Ipsum

“Opinion-leader heal thyself!”
(doesn’t seem to have found its way onto the pages of the International Herald Tribune)

Dear Editors

It’s very good for Paul Krugman (“The Politics of Spite“, Oct 5) and Tom Friedman (“Where Did ‘We’ Go?“, Sep 29) to lament the decay of contemporary US political debate into mutual accusations and “puerile spite“. Could anybody therefore please explain if those are the same Paul Krugman and Tom Friedman that regularly describe in unyieldingly negative tones anybody not sharing their opinions on global warming/climate change?

Nothing to Show: AGWers' Big Stumbling Block

UPDATE NOV 29: William M Connolley says he is not impressed by Romm’s list either

There’s an underlying feeling of desperation in Joe Romm (ClimateProgress)’s “What are the near-term climate Pearl Harbors?, a list “of what might drive action strong enough to avoid the worst“.

The list includes the Arctic “ice-free before 2020“, “superstorms like Katrina“, “a heatwave as bad as Europe’s 2003” , and the 2012 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (perish the thought it might be less catastrophiliac than the Fourth Assessment Report…).

Note that Romm’s blog has been echoed by Heliophage, on Andrew Revkin’s Dot Earth, and in Nature’s Climate Feedback. An unwise move, if you ask me: one wonders what people would make if they knew that those claiming to work towards saving Planet Earth, are actively hoping disasters of all sorts befall upon us.

Talk about striving for unpopularity!!!

The desperation is evident in the fact that a person allegedly as well-informed on climate stuff as Romm, comes up with wholly inappropriate examples. Katrina was a big storm but not more superstorm than other hurricanes (Romm even acknowledges this point), and the destruction of New Orleans was evidently a matter of bad engineering and incompetent relief management. Didn’t he have anything better to put forward?

Likewise for the European heatwave of 2003. And even more importantly: neither Katrina, nor the European heatwave, can be linked to Climate Change and/or Global Warming. And so if, say, another heatwave will materialize, it will tell us absolutely nothing about Climate Change and Global Warming.

Actually, looking at the list of 9 items posted by Romm, the only ones that may provide ammunitions to the AGW cause may be the ice-free Arctic, and “accelerated mass loss in Greenland“.

Most likely, Romm is simply and perhaps unwittingly acknowledging the fact that for all the huffing and all the puffing, there is very little that AGWers can show to support their claims.

Look at when Revkin (a journalist I am grudgingly but steadily learning to respect) makes a very clear point to Romm:

As I [Revkin] wrote in 2006 (”Yelling Fire on a Hot Planet“) problems that get people’s attention (and cause them to change) are “soon, salient and certain” and the dangerous aspects of human-forced climate disruption remain none of those things

In other words, the dangers of AGW are not about to happen, they are not strikingly conspicuous, and they are not sure or inevitable.

And what has Romm got to reply to that? Very little. Actually, almost nothing: he spells out some kind of humanitarian deathwish, a desire for a big climate crisis; makes a critical point against journalists (who doesn’t); and decries how he understands things but most people don’t:

Multi-hundred-billion-dollar-sized government action happens only when there is a very, very big crisis […] labeled as such by very serious people who are perceived as essentially nonpartisan opinion leaders […] bad things must be happening to regular people right now […]

Better journalism would help. […] We simply don’t have a critical mass of credible nonpartisan opinion leaders who understand the nature of our energy and climate problem.

Revkin’s “soon, salient and certain“, by the way, is a quote originally from “Helen Ingram, a professor of planning, policy and design at the University of California, Irvine.

Won’t Prof. Ingram be excited upon hearing that salience is not a problem, but persons not being bright enough is…

The supreme pinnacle of irony, in the Romm/Revkin exchange, lies in the former’s misunderstanding of the latter’s point about “certainty“. In 2006, Revkin noted that:

Projections of how patterns of drought, deluges, heat and cold might change are among the most difficult, and will remain laden with huge uncertainties for a long time to come […]

While scientists say they lack firm evidence to connect recent weather to the human influence on climate, environmental campaigners still push the notion […]

Romm’s reply? Another accusation, refusing to acknowledge Revkin’s first point (emphasis in the original):

You [Revkin] understand this but you don’t convey this to your readers: Doing nothing or doing little eliminates the uncertainty.

Romm’s near-term climate Pearl Harbors post, actually, does look suspiciously as a way of “pushing a notion” the non-scientific notion of connecting recent weather to (future?) climate change.

======

The above doesn’t look very promising for the AGW movement.

I am actually starting to think that the problem is in the fact that most AGWer haven’t grasped the nature of the issue they are concerned about. And so they use the tools learned to protect pandas or clean up the Hudson river. And for most intents and purposed, they fail: because, as Revkin has realized, Anthropogenic Global Warming, aka Climate Change, truly is a completely different beast.

Andrew Revkin, (Language) Gymnastics Olympic Hopeful

Who needs to clarify between what’s certain and what’s possible, when it’s so much more useful to mix those up, especially if all you want to do is push forward your single-minded agenda about upcoming climate disasters?

For an example, step forward Andrew C Revkin, AGWer extraordinaire at the New York Times, and his recent article “Increase in carbon dioxide to have dramatic effects in U.S., report says“. A few excerpts (my EMPHASIS):

“IS influencing”
“WILL…disrupt”

“changes are unfolding in ways that are LIKELY to produce”
“main value of its PROJECTIONS”
“high CONFIDENCE”

“western states WILL face”

“anticipated water flows…are LIKELY”

“runoff…is EXPECTED”
“farmers…WILL face”

“plants are LIKELY to grow…”

“…but WILL BE more subject to…”

As you can see, all you need is a clever use of tenses, then you will be able to say pretty much anything. Including: “Increase in carbon dioxide may or may not have dramatic effects in U.S., report says” 😎

Too bad there’s no “language” competition at the Olympics, otherwise Mr Revkin would have been an almost-sure winner!

Evidence of Anti-China Reporting Bias in the IHT/NYT

In “Chinese students shed restraint in America” (IHT, Apr 30, published as “Chinese students in U.S. fight image of their home” on the NYT on Apr 29) Chou Wu, a Chinese doctorate student in the USA, is quoted by Shaila Dewan (in co-operation with Michael Anti) as saying that “Western media is even more biased than Chinese media“.

Ironically, in order to find evidence for his claim, Mr Wu should look no further than Ms Dewan’s article!

In fact, after reporting that Chinese students in America believe to be “still neglected or misunderstood (by Western news media) as either brainwashed or manipulated by the (Chinese) government“, Ms Dewan dutifully proceeds to portray those same students as…brainwashed and/or manipulated.

They are described as authoritarian, zealot nationalist prone to threats against Tibetans, also because “demonstrators couldintend to return home (too)”.

Ms Dewan even leaves the last word to Lionel Jensen, of the University of Notre Dame, IN, stating that Chinese students “dont’ ask” if Tibetans wanted the “aggressive modernization” brought by China to Tibet.

That doesn’t bode well for the impartiality of the article: a feeling that is confirmed when we are told that Chinese students’ “handouts on Tibet and Chinacontained a jumble of abbreviated history, slogans and maps with little context“.

Is “jumble” the appropriate word for a reporting piece? Methinks there is too much contempt for the report’s subject showing there.

We have to take Ms Dewan’s word for her judgements, as the only detail provided concerns “a chart showing infant mortality in Tibet had plummeted since 1951” (a positive thing if there ever was any). Alas, we are told, the students “did not provide any means for comparison with mortality rates in China or other countries“.

Too bad one is left none the wiser, as Ms Dewan herself provides no such a comparison either.

Once upon a time newspapers clearly separated news from news analysis. And journalists tried to report impartially. I know, that may be the stuff of Utopia nowadays, but is nobody trying anymore?