Friday, November 09, 2007

Who framed Roger? Rabett

Let Roger Revelle Speak for Himself
Blame the Lab Lemming for the title change (see comments)

Stoat has stumbled back across the S. Fred Singer malloying of Roger Revelle and the associated SLAPP suit against Justin Lancaster by Singer. What we have to add to the tale is a link to the letter that Revelle's collaborator Walter Munk and the director of Scripps sent to the Oceanographic Society, Edward Frieman commented on Singer's Cosmos club article and the attaching of Revelle's name to it. After Revelle's death, Munk and Frieman write

"One year later, in a discussion of Senator Gore's book Earth In Balance, Gregg Easterbrook notes that Senator Gore failed to mention that "'before his death last year, Revelle published a paper that concludes, 'The scientific basis for greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic' action at this time.' "
from which Easterbrook concluded that CO2 emissions were "far less hazardous than originally feared". As usual, you can RTFR, but for the link shy, they point out
The key is the use of the word drastic. Roger's last written statement on the subject was "What Can We Do About Climate." presented at the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) session, Climate Change: Scientific Uncertainties and Policy Responses in New Orleans on 16 February 1990. It outlines a possible set of actions designed to mitigate or delay climatic warming. It includes attempts to modify society's use and mix of fuels. While these may not be viewed as drastic, there is also no evidence that he believed that "emissions... are far less hazardous than initially feared."
We have already blogged on Revelle's non drastic recommendations in Roger and Jim, pointing out that they were not so far from what Jim Hansen is recommending today. Thus it is revealing that Singer, in a letter to Lancaster wrote:
P.S. The editor of Cosmos has kindly sent me a copy of a short note received from Walter Munk and Ed Frieman. Apparently, they are concerned that an article written by Newsweek journalist Gregg Easterbrook, distors some of Roger's views, and I believe they wish to put their concerns on the record. We do not defend Easterbrook's interpretations or extrapolations, and frankly we feel that theirs [Munk and Frieman] would be a much more positive step than the one you [Easterbrook] suggest.
Which, if Singer is to be believed (don't bet on this), means that he accepted Revelle's 6 points.


Anonymous said...

Easterbrook "distorts some of Roger's views"?

What a surprise.

Easterbrook has reached the pinnacle of "SOP" -- "Science Opinion" (more of the latter than the former) -- journalism.

What a view he must have from the top!

Dr. Lemming said...

So who framed Roger, Rabett?

Anonymous said...

Come on now, if the ideas listed in Revelle's 6 points may match what Hansen said on the level of implementation, it doesn't mean they match in ideology as to why.

As discussed in the 6 point thread, simply talking about CO2 sells everything short as to the deeper issues involved in policy matters such as this. Quibbling about the details is like trying to milk a bull.

-- MA

Anonymous said...

Statement by Justin Lancaster
The late Professor Roger Revelle was a true and voluntary coauthor
of the article entitled “What To Do About Greenhouse Warming:
Look Before You Leap,” along with Professor S. Fred Singer
and Chauncey Starr, Ph.D. The article was published in April 1991
in the inaugural issue of Cosmos, the journal of the Cosmos Club
of Washington, D.C.
I retract as being unwarranted any and all statements, oral or
written, I have made which state or imply that Professor Revelle
was not a true and voluntary coauthor of the Cosmos article, or
which in any other way impugn or malign the conduct or motives
of Professor Singer with regard to the Cosmos article (including
but not limited to its drafting, editing, publication, republication,
and circulation). I agree not to make any such statements in future.
I fully and unequivocally retract and disclaim those statements
and their implications about the conduct, character, and
ethics of Professor Singer, and I apologize to Professor Singer for
the pain my conduct has caused him and for any damage that I
may have caused to his reputation. To the extent that others,
including Anthony D. Socci, Ph.D., Edward A. Frieman, Ph.D., and
Walter H. Munk, Ph.D., relied on my statements to make similar
statements and insinuations, I also apologize to Professor Singer.
I also regret that I have caused Professor Singer to incur litigation
costs to resolve this matter.
/s/ Justin Lancaster
Dated April 29th, 1994.

EliRabett said...

Mike, you might want to look at some of the facts associated with Lancaster's statement, namely the SLAPP suit that Singer brought against Lancaster with the support of one of the local lawyers for lies and injustice groups in DC. Lancaster tells the story here The sum of which is

"Revelle’s actual, participatory, authorship cannot be demonstrated beyond a single review of the galley proof, a lengthy session for Roger at a time when his physical ability to pay attention for many minutes was severely eroded. About the article and this session, Revelle's long-time secretary, Ms. Christa Beran, remembers in a 1993 sworn affidavit: "[…] Roger had been very reluctant to be involved in this enterprise. […] I know it was not one of Roger's priorities. [...] I do not remember seeing any review by Roger of any text by Dr. Singer before a day in February 1991 when he came to Roger's office. [...] I am sure that Roger and I together never worked on the article [...] After a series of unsuccessful attempts to get Roger to work on this document, Dr. Singer must have decided that the only way he was going to get this thing done was to come in person.”

and Lancaster further adds
"This shameful manipulation and exploitation of the life and teaching of a great scientist and humanitarian cannot stand. For my friend and colleague, for all those who have been misled by this Cosmos myth, and for the honor of a courageous and committed politician and journalist, it is important that I hereby fully rescind and repudiate my 1994 retraction and make available the evidence that supports my statements. "

FWIW, Singer has never challenged what Lancaster says on his site

Eli is interested in how you got into this

Magnus said...

the Cosmos muth link is broken