Friday’s release of the Climate Science Special Report first and foremost contradicts the Trump administration and the GOP’s claims that scientists are unable to gauge the degree to which human activity is responsible for climate change. The report shows 92-123% of warming is caused by people, as we mentioned last week. That contradiction between the administration’s party line and the report’s dire findings--technically released by the administration itself--was a common frame in the mainstream media.
But the message the denier world received seemed to be that the report justified whatever the writer’s position has been all along. The Trump Administration’s responded to the report with a brief message pointing to uncertainty regarding climate sensitivity mentioned in the report before quickly pivoting to a clunky version of the old (false) energy poverty angle. The White House’s chosen quote on climate sensitivity omits the previous line from the report, which states that our future emission choices will determine, to a greater extent, the range of possible warming: a classic cherry pick.
Steve Koonin also goes for the cherry picker in his WSJ op-ed, where he uses a particular line from the report on sea level rise to justify his Red Team crusade. Climate scientist Andrew Dessler responded to the piece on Twitter with some more supplemental information. “Koonin’s argument is a classic example of denier shuffle,” Dessler tweets. “Find minor issue and then make the claim that this invalidates everything.” Even calling Koonin’s complaint a “minor issue” is generous, as Dessler points out that Koonin “ignores the core data that causes us to worry about sea level rise.”
We’ll just add that Koonin is pushing for the Red Team, despite admitting in the op-ed that he and others had the opportunity to submit public comments to the draft of the report. Then federal scientists responded to those comments, explaining why they would or would not merit an edit to the report. This is exactly the “Red Team” back and forth process deniers want, but without the publicly-misleading fanfare of a special team designation and presumably, red hats. Because as they have admitted, the debate is “political, not scientific.”
Heartland President Joe Bast’s response to the National Climate Assessment showcases the political nature of how Red Team proponents view the report. Bast seems to be whining that the real science doesn’t cite their denier version of the IPCC (which has been debunked so many times we won’t bore you with the details).
But keeping with the spirit of trotting out long-debunked myths, CATO’s Pat Michaels laments in WUWT the report doesn’t include either the debunked graph Roy Spencer presents when summoned to political hearings, and the tropospheric hot spot myth. Turns out they try not to include things that are known to be wrong in these reports.
Roger Pielke Jr., unable to live up to his promise to quit talking about climate science, posted a string of tweets doing what he does best: cherry-picking extreme weather stats. We won’t waste your time on the dozen examples he provides, but will prove his dishonesty in one. Pielke quotes the NCA’s statement that “meteorological drought” has not changed on the global scale, but of course doesn’t admit that the report then says there is “much evidence” for a worsening of agricultural drought. (“Meteorological drought” is how much rain falls, “agricultural drought” is how much moisture is in the ground, which is arguably more important for, as the name suggests, agriculture.) There are two types of drought, but Pielke Jr. points to one as though it describes both.
Granted it’s pumpkin season, but seems we have an excess of cherries picked if anyone wants pie.
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