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Inhofe Master Of The "Hysteria Of Doubt" - NYT Editorial

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:20 PM
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Inhofe Master Of The "Hysteria Of Doubt" - NYT Editorial

His speech, one in a series on global warming, was a brisk survey of the way the news media have covered climatic predictions over the past century. Cooling, warming we never get it right. Naturally, Mr. Inhofe dismisses what he calls media hysteria, which is also a way of dismissing not just Al Gore but the consensus among mainstream scientists and the governments of nearly every industrialized nation concerning manmade climate change.

Mr. Inhofe is particularly hard on James Hansen, whom he calls a NASA scientist and alarmist. Mr. Hansen is a timely target, since he is co-author of a new climatological report in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The report concludes that because of rapid warming in the past 30 years, the earth is approaching and will soon surpass the warmest temperatures in the past 12,000 years since the end of the last ice age, in other words. And, as the study notes, recent warming has brought global temperature to a level within about one degree Celsius of the maximum temperature of the past million years. The shift in temperature isnt uniform. Higher latitudes are warming faster, as are the Indian and western Pacific Oceans.

We do not expect Mr. Inhofe to see the light or feel the heat any time soon. He and his staff are serious collectors of opposition research. But the essence of his strategy is to seize upon a mistaken or overblown story to try to undermine the broad consensus. If that fails, he can always question his opponents politics and motives, as with his insinuations that environmentalists dreamed the whole thing up to scare people and raise money.

Mr. Inhofe has buttressed himself with a small jury of scientists who argue that climate change is only natural. But he has really buttressed himself with the will to disbelieve. He accuses scientists and the media of hysteria. But if there is such a thing as a hysteria of doubt, then Mr. Inhofe is its master.

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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:35 PM
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1. He was not portrayed as the 'good guy' on Moyers "is God Green/"
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Viking12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 12:43 PM
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2. History of Hysteria? Hardly....
Edited on Fri Oct-13-06 12:44 PM by Viking12
From Stoat:

Someone has kindly sent me the NYT articles that Inhofe references. Lets have a look... but before we do, there are plenty more out there if you care to look...

1895. The headline ("Geologists Think the World May be Frozen Up Again") is as described, though Inhofe fails to note it appeared on page 6 - hardly headline stuff. And the article itself points out that this is probably a periodic phenomenon rather than a trend, citing previous instances.

1933. Appears on page 1! Inhofe quote "America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-year Rise" which is correct (but, obviously enough, is not a prediction...). Curiously enough the article starts off by saying that the next ice age is clearly going to be a long way off, if the weather charts are anything to go by. It doesn't say why people are expecting the ice age. And much of the (short) article is devoted to how wiggly temperatures have been.

1952 (on page E8). Inhofe says Then in 1952, the New York Times was back on the global warming bandwagon declaring that the "trump card" of global warming "has been the melting glaciers." Reading the article, its clear this is about the work of Hans W. Ahlmann (who I don't know anything about... wiki knows he was the president of the IGU) and its his trump card. And the article is indeed pretty alarmist "Dr Ahlmann, a close student of this matter, now tells us that the world temperature seems to be levelling off". Wooo... serious stuff. But: "Probably it will take 30 or 40 years to make certain". A good guess as it happens.

1974 (not 1975... Inhofe is confusing it with Newsweek, perhaps). Inhofe, failing to notice that it appears on page 35 (continued on page 66...), says trumpeting fear of a coming ice age read: Climate Changes Endanger Worlds Food Output.. However... its mostly about *changes*... not necessarily cooling. I don't see anything about ice ages in it. Unusually, this article actually quotes a scientific report (not one I have: an IFIAS one in Bonn): There is a growing consensus that the change will persist for several decades and that the current food-production systems of man cannot easily adjust. It is also expected that the climate will become more variable . It notes a trend of cooler temperatures since 1940s; quotes Reid "human volcano" Bryson as thinking they will continue. But in fact the take-home message appears to be the need to be ready to adapt to *change*, without being certain of what change, on the grounds that population has increased so pressures are greater and the system more fragile.
(With links to the actual NYT articles)
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