Join the Glub

Now that Donald Trump is president-elect and there are no facts anymore, it only makes sense that the Republican-led House Committee on Science, Space, And Technology (a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil) would retweet a seriously wrong article from Brietbart as if it were somehow legitimate scientific information on climate. It was a fine moment for scientifically literate Americans -- dozens of them! -- to come together, slap their palms to their foreheads, and realize this is now Official Policy. Even the stately New York Times took note, with the uncommonly strident headline "News Report on Global Temperatures Is Wrong, Scientists Say."

So, what's the alleged shocking climate news this time? Oh, just that the scientific community is completely ignoring a massive "plunge" in global temperatures, thus proving global warming is bunk AND climate scientists are corrupt!

The Breitbart piece by James Delingpole is mostly a summary of a story from that paragon of science reporting, the Daily Mail tabloid, plus snotty commentary by Delingpole about the foolishness of climate alarmists. This, from a guy who readily acknowledges he doesn't read scientific papers himself, but is instead an "Interpreter of interpretations." The Daily Mail story itself, by climate change denier David Rose, is itself a masterful bit of cherry-picked data, claiming that a recent drop in temperatures over land only (which makes up only 30% of the planet's surface and has more variable temperatures), for part of 2016, somehow refutes the overall trend of global warming, and insisted that the El Niño weather effect accounted for all record temperatures in recent years. We'll let the New York Times handle the heavy lifting in debunking Rose's claims:

But scientists said that while the recent El Niño did contribute to the record warmth, climate change played a major role, too.

“Nobody said the record temperatures were exclusively the result of climate change,” said Mike Halpert, the deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

Deke Arndt, the chief of the climate monitoring branch at the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said that the long-term warming trend was quite clear, and that the impact of El Niño was in addition to what were already higher temperatures. “You can have both climate change and a goose from El Niño,” he said.

In essence, Rose is trying to pull a common trick by denialists: looking only at a short-term temperature dip or plateau and claiming it negates over a century of increased temperature rises connected with CO2 emissions. As Ars Technica notes, it's the same horsehockey behind the notion that global warming "mysteriously stopped" in the late '90s:

After a particularly strong El Niño in 1997 and 1998 drove the global average surface temperature to a major record, those who reject the conclusions of climate science spent years claiming that global warming stopped in 1998. When the long-term warming trend started surpassing the old 1998 record again, the popular excuse was “Well, that’s just because this is a warm El Niño year!” After 2015 absolutely crushed the record, some climate scientists joked about how long it would take for someone to claim that now global warming had stopped in 2015. If you had “less than 1 year” in an office pool, congratulations.

And as our old pals Neil deGrasse Tyson and his chocolate Labrador are always reminding us, temperatures vary year to year, but long-term climate trends are where the important data are found.

The whole mishegas is deeply embarrassing to Democrats on the House Science Committee, like Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, who told the Boston Globe Friday that the tweet "is one of the first indications before we’ve even had our first meeting in the new session . . . that we’re going to continue on this track of denying science." She went on to explain the House Science Committee has become, since Republicans took control of the House in 2010, more about protecting polluting industries than about advancing science:

“It is a committee where the experts that we bring in are belittled, ignored, and the views that are promoted are minority opinions within any scientific or research community and are really become just hand-selected to promote an agenda of protecting big oil,” she said.

In a sense, the fuck-tussle over Thursday's Tweet is mostly a matter of coincidental timing, what with Breitbart being in the news thanks to Steve Bannon's ascent to the White House. As Clark said, the House Science Committee hasn't been about science for a long, long time. Its recent Republican standouts have included former Rep. Paul Broun, who in 2012 proclaimed evolution, the big bang, and embryology "lies from the pit of Hell," and Todd Akin, of the "legitimate rape" discovery. Then there was Indiana's Larry Bucshon, who in 2014 revealed that climate science is just a plot to make scientists rich, with all that grant money. Since 2012, the committee's been chaired by Texas oil buddy Lamar Smith, who has been whining about the "bias" of climate science ever since, and has pushed to end the threat of global warming once and for all by never allocating another penny to study it. Smith himself is credited with writing at least five articles for Breitbart himself, one of which claimed (falsely) that global warming had paused for two decades and government scientists simply falsify data to make it look like global temperatures are rising. Since we always do our homework, both claims are big whopping fibs.

We may as well get used to the official Breitbartization of science, too: President-elect Trump, in his wisdom, wants to completely eliminate funding for NASA's earth science studies, following an argument already pushed by Ted Cruz: NASA should be about studying space, where no political donors have drilling contracts. Why should NASA study Earth's atmosphere, after all? It's not like Earth is a planet or anything.

[Ars Technica / NYT / Brietbart / Boston Globe / Guardian / Hat tip to Twitter tip from Wonkette Alum Jesse Berney]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


How often would you like to donate?

Select an amount (USD)


©2018 by Commie Girl Industries, Inc