November 22, 2005

Overstating Health Impacts of Global Warming

Filed under: Health Effects

The best way to garner headlines in the global warming game is to generate scary scenarios about how many people will die in its wake. While many people view global warming as some esoteric concern of environmentalists, it does at least raise one’s eyebrows when you hear a phrase like “global warming deaths.”

It’s little surprise then that a “Review” article that just appeared in Nature magazine has caught so much attention. The review by Jonathan Patz of the University of Wisconsin and three colleagues essentially is a selective culling of the scientific literature—some recent, some not—on climate change and possible health impacts across the planet. And it should also be little surprise to the readers of this column that prospects are bad.

In an effort to provide balance, we’ll briefly review key portions of the paper and provide a much-needed perspective that was unfortunately missing.

November 10, 2005

Fox Goes Native On Global Warming

Filed under: Arctic

Forget “Fair and Balanced” on global warming. Fox News has gone native, airing a “documentary” more one-sided than anything I have seen in the entire sad history of climate change journalism.

How on earth did this happen? Apparently Fox’s Roger Ailes has been captured by—hope you are sitting down—Robert F Kennedy Jr., Al Gore, and eco-activist Laurie David.

The story goes like this. Kennedy dragged Ailes to a global warming lecture by Al Gore. Ailes was impressed, and then contacted David, who helped line up Weston Productions, which can now claim to produce environmental propaganda for both Greenpeace and Fox News.

Laurie David is the head of She’s a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She’s the wife of comic Larry David. She has no formal academic training whatsoever in hard climate science. She’s never published a paper on climate science in the refereed scientific literature. Despite this, Ailes is on record saying that she is one of the nation’s “leading authorities” on global warming, and speaking of her “impressive passion and dedication” to the subject.

In science, passion is poison, it serves no one when it blinds one to inconvenient facts.

November 4, 2005

How Much Ice in the Global Cocktail?

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

One of the great fears generated by global warming is that the ocean is about to rise and swallow our coasts. These concerns have been heightened by the substantial uptick in Atlantic hurricane activity that began in 1995. The frequency of really strong storms striking the U.S now resembles what it was in the 1940s and 50s, which few people (aging climatologists excepted) remember.

Those arguing that global warming is an overblown issue have been claiming for years that “consensus” forecasts of sea-level are equally overwrought. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a global average rise of from 3.5 to 34 inches by 2100, with a central estimate of 19 inches. Depending upon how you slice or dice the data, the last century saw maybe six inches.

Critics have long argued that these changes require a substantial net melting of some combination of the world’s two largest masses of land-based ice, Antarctica and Greenland. In addition, they note that observed global warming is right near the low end of the U.N.’s projections, which means that realized sea level rise should be similarly modest.

(Read more at Tech Central Station)

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