Scientists respond to the Wall Street Journal's latest junk-science climate predictions

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The Wall Street Journal has published yet another Op-ed distorting climate science and twisting the latest evidence to reach conclusions flatly opposite the state of knowledge: the Earth is on track to see dangerously high temperature increases with damaging impacts.

The following guest post is by Climate Nexus.

One-page PDF version: Scientists Respond to WSJ Junk Science

Scientists respond to the Wall Street Journal's latest

junk-science climate predictions

The Wall Street Journal has published yet another Op-ed distorting climate science and twisting the latest evidence to reach conclusions flatly opposite the state of knowledge: the Earth is on track to see dangerously high temperature increases with damaging impacts.

The claim:

Matt Ridley writes, “Mr. Lewis tells me that... aerosols (such as sulfurous particles from coal smoke)... have much less cooling effect than thought when the last IPCC report was written. The rate at which the ocean is absorbing greenhouse-gas-induced warming is also now known to be fairly modest.”

Ridley provides no numbers or predictions beyond these vague and unsourced assertions. Yet, they form the sole basis of his argument that “we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than 1°C.”

The context:

--  Ridley is taking advantage of a slow holiday news week to push out two vague, unpublished, and un-reviewed claims. This strategy is a time-honored tactic for deniers, who have scheduled other “reports” for holiday weekends when they are less likely to be fact-checked.

--  As his expert, Ridley cites a non-scientist with an unspecified “background” in physics.

--  Ridley is using the leak of an IPCC draft report as a news peg for his claims, even though there is no direct relationship between the claims and any findings in the draft document.

The facts:

Ridley’s two central claims, concerning “modest” ocean warming and reduced effect of aerosols, have been disproven again and again. The most current research shows that aerosols do temporarily cool the planet, masking the ongoing effects of global warming.  Research also confirms that the oceans are rapidly warming, absorbing heat even when land temperatures are relatively low.

Straight from the scientists:

--  Dr. Michael Schlesinger, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “In his article, Mr. Ridley is just plain wrong about future global warming.”

--  Dr. John Abraham, Professor of Thermal and Fluid Sciences at University of St. Thomas, Minnesota: “The author makes a demonstrably false claim about the warming of the worlds oceans.  It is clear, from about five decades of data, that the oceans are absorbing a tremendous amount of the extra heat (about 90%) and that warming is not mild at all.  Furthermore, the warming is continuing without any hiatus. The use of an unpublished analysis by an unknown financier is not very convincing.  So, a financier knows more than hundreds of scientists who study this topic daily?  This just doesn't pass the smell test.”

--  Dr. Andrew E. Dessler, Professor of Atmospheric Science at Texas A&M: “If you consider all of the data, my judgment is that the IPCC's canonical range gives about the right probability distribution: 2-4.5°C is the likely range, with values below 1.5°C being very unlikely.”

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See also:

Media Matters: WSJ's Climate "Dynamite" Is A Dud

Climate Progress: Error-Riddled Matt Ridley Piece Lowballs Climate Change, Discredits Wall Street Journal. World Faces 10°F Warming.

Scott Mandia: Wall Street Journal Wolf to its Little Piggies: Trust Me

 

This entry was posted in Global Warming Denial Machine, Science Communication. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Scientists respond to the Wall Street Journal's latest junk-science climate predictions

  1. John Jakson says:

    The very last sentence speaks volumes

    "His family leases land for coal mining in northern England, on a project that will cease in five years."

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