As predicted (Update below)
Eli has always been pretty good at figuring out where the fruitcake will be deposited, so a couple of weeks ago when he pointed to an editorial by Rudy Baum in C&E News (the American Chemical Society house organ)
The science of anthropogenic climate change is becoming increasingly well established. The scientific consensus on the reality of climate change has become increasingly difficult to challenge, despite the efforts of diehard climate-change deniers (for brevity’s sake, CCDs).We were fully confident that
Rudy Baum, editor in chief of C&E News (ACS's membership magazine) had a stemwinder of an editorial in the June 22 issue which will, without a doubt, encounter much snorting in the near future to be featured in Rabett Run.UPDATE: Thanks to Big City, we have Baum's reply to Joe the Chemist reads in part
Baum also includes an interchange with a mysterious interlocutor, later shown to be one Steven J. Welcenbach. First we had Joe the Plumber, later shown to be Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher who was no plumber, now we got Joe the Chemist, who has a BA and runs some sort of disposal company. Joe's Emails are right out of denialdepot
ACS, in fact, has an official position on climate change, which is easy to find under the "Policy" section of www.acs.org. The position statement opens with the following: "Careful and comprehensive scientific assessments have clearly demonstrated that the Earth's climate system is changing rapidly in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosol particles (IPCC, 2007). There is very little room for doubt that observed climate trends are due to human activities. The threats are serious and action is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of climate change."
I am also struck by the contempt of many of the letter writers for the thousands of scientists who work for government agencies such as EPA, NASA, NOAA, and DOE. Their harshest vitriol is aimed at the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Many of the letters dismiss out of hand any report from IPCC or any U.S. government agency that supports the idea of human-induced global warming, calling such reports irredeemably "politicized." I am startled that they so blithely impugn the integrity of so many of their colleagues.
And sure enough, the harumphing(c) has begun with a whole bunch of letters, but if you actually read them, over half support Baum.
The criticisms ranges from simple, I don't know therefore everyone don't know (a
How many readers of C&EN even know why carbon dioxide is the "culprit"? How many kilocalories of infrared energy can a ton of carbon dioxide absorb? What is the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed in fresh or salt water, and how is that equilibrium impacted by temperature or other environmental factors? What are some of the other variables that can cause an increase or decrease in temperature?To the evergreen OISM petition
Man-made global warming is a theory that is supported by a "consensus" of investigators in the field of studying the relationship of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its effect on Earth's global temperature. Consensus is not proof, and a petition has been signed by more than 30,000 persons with scientific academic degrees (9,000 of them having Ph.D.s) who are skeptical of global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions.and of course
Your editorial in the June 22 issue of C&EN was a disgrace. It was filled with misinformation, half-truths, and ad hominem attacks on those who dare disagree with you. Shameful!
Are you planning to write an editorial about the Environmental Protection Agency's recent suppression of a global warming report that goes against the gospel according to NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director James Hansen? Or do you only editorialize on matters in keeping with your biased views on global warming?It's actually quite staid (that's what editors are for silly with a balancing amount of support for Baum
The more people try to trivialize global warming, the more we and our descendants will suffer the results, some of which have already been quantified (for example, glacier melting and polar ice disappearing). Weather disruptions and shore erosion, for example, will begin to occur. The people who deny global warming are in the same class as those who rejected the negative effects of DDT, those who denied the negative effects of CFCs on the atmosphere, and so on.and
Including this from Eric Heller
Your comments about the climate-change deniers are right on target. In fact, your closing paragraph, "Sow doubt; make up statistics," etc., was one of the best summaries I've seen of the deceitful practices that the deniers are allowed to get away with.
We humans seem to learn from experience, and thus our modern systems of justice are not well geared for dealing effectively with climate-change deniers. This is a shame, because every month's delay in taking meaningful action likely will lead to more climate-related death and destruction in the future. There should be a law.
This indeed is an excellent example of RTFR. Look at our friends over at denial central and you would think that the entire ACS membership is screaming for Baum's head. Send the guy a letter of support.
I understand that letters published in C&EN do not necessarily reflect your views. I also appreciate the benefits of publishing a diversity of opinion. However, I am sure you exercise editorial discretion in choosing which letters are to be published and that you would not want to appear to be giving credibility to unscientific thinking and irresponsible conclusions.
But that is exactly what you did when you published the letter on global warming by Albert Z. Conner (C&EN, April 20, page 6). A quick Internet search reveals statements by Conner in a letter to the editor of a Delaware newspaper, complaining about higher taxes on cigarettes: The government "continue[s] to promulgate the outright lie of the dangers of secondhand smoke and the fictitious statistic that 400,000 people die each year in the U.S. from smoking." To deny the link between smoking and lung cancer and other diseases in this day and age and in face of all the evidence is absolutely inexcusable and irresponsible.
Believing that global warming is not at least partially caused by humans and believing that cigarette smoke does not cause cancer are becoming roughly equivalent in credibility. I doubt that C&EN would want to publish, in 2009, a letter that claimed that cigarette smoke does not cause cancer.
It would make the publication look frivolous and irresponsible, even if the editors disagreed with the writer's conclusions. But in 2009, denying the connection between carbon dioxide and global warming is just as frivolous and irresponsible, indeed even more so, because of the consequences of ignoring the problem.
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