The Bret Stephens outrage continues: a group of high-profile climate experts published public, open letter to the New York Times yesterday, calling on the paper to correct the misrepresentations Stephens presented and to hold columns to the same fact-checked standard as reporting.
Hopefully as more and more scientists sign on (link here, hint hint) and public petition numbers grow (link here, hint hint), the editorial page editors will get the message conveyed most accurately by David Roberts at Vox: Bret Stephens is a climate change bullshitter.
We fully embrace this new name for deniers. It covers the voices who profess to be part of the mainstream and may seem slightly more respectable, but who always end up arguing against climate action. Calling them bullshitters cuts through the crap (pun intended) and focuses on the reality that they’re just throwing shit against the wall and hoping it sticks.
For example, there’s a new petition (.pdf here) calling on the EPA to revisit the endangerment finding, apparently on the grounds that it was never reviewed by the Science Advisory Board. While we wait to hear from the experts about whether or not that’s true or relevant, let’s revisit the endangerment finding “report” we talked about last week. Dana Nuccitelli at the Guardian took a look, and found it was, well, a bunch of bullshit. The main takeaway? The “report” claimed that by disproving the tropical hot spot, it disproved the endangerment finding. But Nuccitelli actually looked at the endangerment finding, and far from being a core pillar, the tropical hotspot is barely even mentioned.
Another example comes to us courtesy of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who writes in the Washington Times that now that the nonexistent War on Coal is over, the EPA can “focus on its mission.” Nowhere in this piece does Pruitt say what he thinks the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission actually is. But the headline offers a hint: “EPA is putting American workers first.” Question: isn’t looking after the labor force the mission of the Department of Labor?
But if you’ve been wondering whether deniers actually believe the bullshit, a great Intercept interview provides a data point to the contrary. Jerry Taylor of the right-leaning Niskanen Center (and James Taylor of the Heartland Institute’s brother), talks to Sharon Lerner about how he was misled into repeating the myth about Hansen’s 1988 congressional testimony. (Sidenote: The original 1988 NYT story on the hearing quotes four scientists, three of whom signed on to the open NYT letter!)
Taylor’s insights provide a great counterweight to Stephens’s shallow bullshittery. And like the Climate Leadership Council or the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus or any number of faith and national security groups, Taylor also provides evidence that the conservatives don’t have to be climate bullshitters.
It’s one thing to simply be wrong or uninformed, or operate under a value system where you prioritize the mere existence of “jobs” over protecting the health of the people filling them like Pruitt. But it’s quite another to blatantly misrepresent the contents of public reports anyone can read, or to deliberately feed a friend misleading testimony to advance your agenda.
That’s some straight up Grade-A bullshit.
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