Stephen Schneider comments on the CEI and Pat Michaels petition on the global warming data record

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“Pat Michaels and the Competitive Enterprise Institute continue to obfuscate well-established scientific conclusions by counting on most non-specialists to be unaware of the vast preponderance of multiple lines of evidence for anthropogenic climate warming,” Stanford University Prof. Stephen Schneider says, commenting on CEI’s petition to EPA that seeks to delegitimize the global warming data record. As Schneider says in his soon-to-be-released book, Science as a Contact Sport, “The tactic of persistent distortion is nothing new in the battle arena of climate change.”

November 25 UPDATE:
See our post: Some sources on the controversy over the hacked files from the UK Climatic Research Unit

See also:
October 8: CEI global warming denialists try another gambit seeking to derail EPA “endangerment” finding

October 13: Phil Jones and Ben Santer respond to CEI and Pat Michaels attack on temperature data record

October 14: Scientists return fire at CEI and Pat Michaels for bogus charges on global temperature data record

We asked Steve Schneider to comment on the allegation by CEI and Patrick Michaels that “destruction of data” in the global temperature record requires re-opening public comment on EPA’s proposed Endangerment finding on greenhouse gas emissions.  He wrote: 

Pat Michaels and the Competitive Enterprise Institute continue to obfuscate well-established scientific conclusions by counting on most non-specialists to be unaware of the vast preponderance of multiple lines of evidence for anthropogenic climate warming. Their technique is to raise minor objections that don’t remotely refute the preponderance, and use this scientific trivia to claim that until all points of debate are resolved the mainstream case isn’t “proven.”

This was the tried and true tactic of the tobacco industry for 35 years. Now that industry suffers losses of billions of dollars in lawsuits for hiding the truth and obscuring it with minutiae that most people are not technically trained enough to recognize for the deceptions embedded in what seems to be serious scientific debate.

Why should they not do it given their ideology? They support the ideology of few controls on entrepreneurial activity and thus want to weaken government regulation. In the case of climate change they do this by falsely claiming they have found a new “smoking gun” of refutation of well-established science. Science of complex systems is never finished.  That is why we have assessments like those of the IPCC—to assess where the preponderances are.

What Michaels and the CEI are selling comes from the north end of a south bound horse.

We’re looking forward to reading Schneider’s new book, Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate, scheduled for release on November 3.  From the back cover:

We’ve known about global warming for four decades, so why has it taken so long for the world to agree on effective action to combat one of the biggest threats facing mankind? The answers are both simple and complicated, and Dr. Stephen Schneider addresses them all in the blockbuster scientific “tell-all” Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate. Blending the fascinating story of the scientific discoveries that built the case for global warming with blow-by-blow accounts of the infighting and backroom negotiations and delays that have brought us to the brink of disaster, Schneider reveals the shadowy history of the decades-long struggle to bring credible global warming science to the world’s attention and offers realistic but hopeful prescriptions for how we can take positive action to avert many dangerous outcomes.

Schneider is the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies; Professor, Department of Biology; and Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and won a joint Nobel Prize in 2007 with his colleagues on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is the founder and editor of the journal Climatic Change. Websites: climatechange.net and patientfromhell.org

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