Peter Gleick and the Fourth Horseman

In 2009, Peter Gleick wrote: “Fear is an effective tool.” A lesson, it seems, that was not lost on Gleick himself, who used the occasion of the recent tornado outbreak to prophesy “accelerating” “death and destruction”. While Gleick’s opportunistic attempt to exploit the tornado event has been criticized (e.g. Pielke here, it seems to me that Gleick’s apocalyptic rhetoric has attracted insufficient attention, especially when measured against his prior editorials on fearmongering.

Gleick categorically asserted that science says that “climate is worsening”:

Violent tornadoes throughout the southeastern U.S. must be a front-page reminder that no matter how successful climate deniers are in confusing the public or delaying action on climate change in Congress or globally, the science is clear: Our climate is worsening.

While it’s one thing to show that climate is changing, it’s quite another thing to show that climate is “worsening”. Judy Curry, for example, observed that climate change results in both “winners and losers”, calling for much improved efforts to analyse regional change, while deploring the fact that “most of the effort undertaken seems to be attempting to sell spurious links between death and destruction from tornados, tsunamis, etc to climate change.”

Instead of such analysis, Gleick called for a day of judgement on apostates, deniers and unbelievers:

Climate deniers who have stymied action in Congress and confused the public — like the tobacco industry did before them — need to be held accountable for their systematic misrepresentation of the science, their misuse and falsification of data, and their trickery.

Gleick appears to be untroubled by trickery in support of his cause, failing to disapprove of the notorious “trick..to hide the decline” either here or elsewhere.

Like ancient prophets, Gleick prophesied that, without repentance by politicians, “it” was going to get “worse and worse, faster and faster”:

And it is only going to get worse and worse, faster and faster, the longer our politicians dither and delay and deny.

The motifs of “accelerating” “death and destruction” (or devastation) also tie to rhetoric of the Apocalypse, in which “death and destruction” are symbolized by the pale rider, the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse (google- “death and devastation” apocalpyse) :

I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.”

In Gleick’s 2009 editorial identifying fear as an “effective tool”, Gleick observed that “science and rationality” were the “greatest weapons” in combatting irrational fear – a point on which CA readers would agree. Gleick:

Fear grows best when sown in fields of ignorance, while science, rationality, and education are the greatest weapons modern societies have against irrational fear.

However, in a recent exchange with Pielke Jr, when science and rationality were applied to tornado data through consideration of historical data (rather than rhetoric), Gleick called consideration of actual data “inappropriate and unsupportable”. Historical data on US deaths from tornadoes demonstrates a decline – as shown in Pielke’s commentary (from which the graphic below is derived). (Pielke also linked to an article here reporting a similar decline in destruction from tornadoes in the US.)

In his response to Pielke, Gleick condemned Pielke’s use of a graph showing actual data as “inappropriate and unsupportable”:

Your use of the graph was inappropriate and unsupportable, though it has certainly been adopted by the denier community.

Gleick’s language here is oddly reminiscent of Briffa’s AR4 Review Comment response, in which Briffa also said that it was “inappropriate” to show the decline in an IPCC graphic.

Without naming names, NOAA came down against rhetorical claims like Gleick’s:

Despite various limitations in data and tools, it should be noted that applying a scientific process is essential if one is to overcome the lack of rigor inherent in attribution claims that are all too often based on mere coincidental associations.

Quite so.

46 Comments

  1. Posted May 11, 2011 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    Gleick has been making a good name of himself for quite some time. He was crucial in the Ursus Bogus disaster, pumping up some controversy with the “open letter from 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences in defence of climate research” just as one of his books became available in the stores. He also went public in the New York Times website suggesting the likes of Lord Monckton should not be allowed at climate expos, I mean, international climate summits.

    The saddest thing is that Gleick is supposed to be one of the “Brights”. Well, evidently some Brights are not bright enough. Perhaps that’s why they call themselves Brights.

    • Follow the Money
      Posted May 11, 2011 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

      “Brights”

      Like “The Smartests Guys in the Room”

      It’s about the money.

      • Follow the Money
        Posted May 11, 2011 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

        Smartest

        I need more smarts.

    • Posted May 11, 2011 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

      The rule seems simple enough: As soon as people die, weather becomes climate.

      Interestingly enough, Gleick called Pat Michaels a ‘Flat Earther’. When threatened by a lawsuit, Gleick chalked up charges which were then charged to his own company – the Pacific Institute. (The integrity of Science (journal))

      The latest concept he has cooking is called: ‘Peak Water’. (Somehow, AGW fearmongering doesn’t seem to peak though)

      I wonder what Gleick thinks about the fetishistic ‘germs and water diseases’ fear-mongering that disenfranchises public water works and drives ignorant consumers to buy bottled water everywhere.

  2. Stacey
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    A more appropriate term would be Blights?
    Whilst all deaths from natural events are regrettable it should be recognised that deaths from car accidents and cold winters far exceed the deaths from tornados and of course pale into insignificance those deaths from hunger,poor sanitation and malaria.

  3. Menth
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Ah the age old battle of Emotion v. Reason. Never ceases to amaze how cunning emotion can be, dressing up in reason’s clothes and fooling the mouth that spouts it.

  4. David Smith
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    From the post:

    “Judy Curry, for example, observed that climate change results in both “winners and losers”, calling for much improved efforts to analyse regional change, while deploring the fact that “most of the effort undertaken seems to be attempting to sell spurious links between death and destruction from tornados, tsunamis, etc to climate change.”

    An important, but widely missed, aspect of the climate debate is that the claimed climate changes are almost always negative. This is true in both the media and in climate science literature. The odds favor a distribution of effects, good and bad, with some being good, some being bad and some being ho-hum. As Judith says, “winners and losers”.

    If there is a scientific principle of AGW that overwhelmingly favors bad impacts then that principle should be brought forth. I’ve not heard of one.

    An perceptive outside observer, unknowledgeable of the climate debate, would likely see the lopsided nature of claimed effects as a yellow caution flag – something is amiss.

    • Steve Reynolds
      Posted May 11, 2011 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

      Yes, the only time I have seen the mainstream press mention CO2 fertilization of plants was writing about poison ivy.
      Propaganda generally has these characteristics.

  5. Publius
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    Gleick is in the wrong business. Apocolypic preaching beckons and provides a ready and willing audience. There he could trot out all the usual cliches and take no risk that anyone will fight back with fact or seek to keep the system honest.

    As for Roger Jr. or anyone else who seeks to reason with people of the Gleick ilk, a waste of time.

    • Fred Harwood
      Posted May 11, 2011 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

      Reasoning alone would be insufficient. Data, and where the data is ephemeral, statistics, seems fundamental to attempts to reason.

    • Posted May 12, 2011 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

      Apocolypic preaching beckons and provides a ready and willing audience. There he could trot out all the usual cliches and take no risk that anyone will fight back with fact or seek to keep the system honest.

      I have empirical evidence otherwise. In other words, I know people who do seek to keep would-be ‘prophets’ honest, who hold them to account if something they predict doesn’t come to pass, in the charismatic Christian context (though I realise I’m likely to be snipped for saying so). The point is that the basic human values of honesty don’t vary, whether within religion or outside – nor does the courage needed to say that the emperor has no clothes. There’s less difference here than you think.

      On the apocalyptic generally, it’s a much debated term in biblical scholarship (it originates there, as it describes various passages in the book of Daniel, attributed to Jesus in the gospels and of course the book of Revelation). The best, very readable treatment for me is NT Wright in his big books like “The New Testament and the People of God”. Wright is very convincing on the fact that apocalyptic language of disaster – the sun and moon falling into the sea, all that kind of thing – was never intended to be about the end of the space-time universe (as has often been assumed by later generations) but is a metaphor for forthcoming socio-political change and tumult.

      Big subject. I’m fine with Steve’s use, in any case, as usual, and with any application of the snippers he feels is required :)

    • pesadia
      Posted May 13, 2011 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

      Agreed, I forget who it was that said “You cannot reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into”
      However, those who live by the sword ets…

  6. Hector M.
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    As for beneficial impacts of global warming: the no-frost window for agriculture would be widened in all temperate to cold climates, such as Northern America, Northern Europe, Northern Asia, Southern South America and New Zealand. It would also occur vertically, as a warmer climate implies that each temperature isoline would rise to higher altitudes in mountainous areas.
    In some cases that is already observable. In Argentina, for instance, increasing precipitation since about 1960 has shifted rainfall isolines to the West around the core agricultural prairies; this process added some 4 million hectares of agricultural land (for crops or grazing) and turned 10 million hectares into additional arable land. Almost all the plains improved their fertility due to that shift in rainfall, aided by a small shift of temperature isolines towards the South. Formerly arid lands in the Argentine midwest are now producing grain and fattening cattle, while an extensive arid bushland known to locals as “The Impenetrable” has now been extensively penetrated by soybeans and other crops. Wine is being produced in Patagonia, in climates that did not allow for it some decades ago.
    In the High Plateaux of Western Bolivia, mostly around 4000 meters above sea level, almost no crops could be grown some decades ago, and was used only for extensive low-productivity traditional husbandry (sheep and llamas). The slight warming occurred in latest decades has mostly eliminated the danger of summer frosts that frequently impeded fruitful cultivation, and thus extensive areas are now grown with alfalfa for livestock or grains such as barley or quinoa (a South American kind of cereal with high protein content).
    In both cases, the additional agricultural output provides much needed additional export revenue and (in the case of Bolivia) additional staple food supply for the subsistence peasant population of the area.
    The rise of CO2 concentrations to about 390 now is an important contributing factor, besides warming itself: CO2 fertilisation increases yields and reduces water requirements. Precipitation has also increased in the Bolivian Highlands, another climate change.
    This should not be construed as implying that “global warming due to anthropogenic GHG emissions” is the cause of such changes in rainfall or temperature in South America. I do not have the expertise for such attribution. But it shows that increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations, as well as increased temperatures in cold or temperate climates, and more rainfall in not very humid areas, entails beneficial impacts on agriculture.
    I do not see much mention of this in the literature or the press.

    • Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

      Hector – the most obvious beneficial effect of warming would be in the continuous open season for media pundits to declare it officially over at the first sign of a frost

  7. Jimbo
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Peter Gleick has been misinformed or he is trying to misinform us. Expect fewer tornadoes in a warming world.

    Read on……..

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/04/more-tornadoes-from-global-warming-thats-a-joke-right/

  8. Jimbo
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    More inconvenient facts pointed out:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/29/the-folly-of-linking-tornado-outbreaks-to-climate-change/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/29/never-let-a-good-crisis-go-to-waste-tornado-deaths-blamed-on-lawmakers-opposed-to-climate-legislation/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/28/it-would-be-a-mistake-to-blame-climate-change-for-a-seeming-increase-in-tornadoes/

  9. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

    If one can remove himself from the emotion of it all, Dr. Gleick’s writing is quite interesting in the context of confirmation bias.
    And in his Bio he extolls himself as a “visionary in environmental science”. In my experience when an otherwise very bright person is labeled a “visionary”, it is not necessarily complimentary. But Dr. Gleick is unable to see “visionary” as anything other than complimentary.

    • Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

      In academic circles, “visionaries” are those who never fail to predict that the future will be exactly the way their peers expect it to be.

    • John Carpenter
      Posted May 13, 2011 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

      If in his Bio he really extolls himself as a “visionary in environmental science”… I would say he also suffers from being a “legend in his own mind”.

  10. Dave L.
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    Quoting Gleick from his editorial: In the climate community, we call this “loading the dice.”

    He makes reference to “loaded dice” several times in his editorial. Gamblers who use “loaded dice” are cheaters. Hmmm… Is the association between “loaded dice” and the climate community just a coincidence?

  11. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

    Most will not have time to read its 589 pages of fine print, but the book “The Apocalyptics” by Edith Efron 1984 ISBN 0-671-41743-6 is an earlier version of the climate industry methodology. Her research refutes the prediction that man-made chemicals would case a large increase in human cancer. Similar philosophies, similar types of distortion, similar pressures on politicians – even some of the present climate notables, are dissected in a book that is outstanding because it quotes no industry sources (tobacco is often mentioned as a topic), only academic and governmental, then quotes them verbatim and referenced.
    Thus, the wrongdoers are condemned by their words; and the correct people praised by theirs, 25 years after the book.
    Besides, Edith was right. There is no epidemic. There is value in following through the Efron cycle, because the climate cycle is incomplete. Learn how the end game is played to be won.

    • srp
      Posted May 11, 2011 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

      That book is a classic. I believe Bruce Ames wrote a review of it and subsequently publicized his doubts about carcinogen hype. That was important, since his mutagen tests had become key components of the hysteria. I’m not sure that the damage caused by the pseudo-science has ever gone away, though.

      • Geoff Sherrington
        Posted May 12, 2011 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

        srp Yes, that is part of the end game. Bruce Ames, a recognised authority, inventor of useful science, changed his views over the years and is now writing commentary such as below:

        In: Human and Environmental Risk Assessment: Theory and Practice
        D. Paustenbach, ed., New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 1415-1460 (2002)
        Misconceptions About the Causes of Cancer

        Lois Swirsky Gold, Bruce N. Ames and Thomas H. Slone

        Summary:

        The major causes of cancer are: 1) smoking, which accounts for 31% of U.S. cancer deaths and 87% of lung cancer deaths; 2) dietary imbalances which account for about another third, e.g., lack of sufficient amounts of dietary fruits and vegetables. 3) chronic infections, mostly in developing countries; and 4) hormonal factors, which are influenced primarily by lifestyle.

        There is no cancer epidemic except for cancer of the lung due to smoking. Cancer mortality rates have declined 19% since 1950 (excluding lung cancer). Regulatory policy that focuses on traces of synthetic chemicals is based on misconceptions about animal cancer tests.

        Recent research indicates that rodent carcinogens are not rare. Half of all chemicals tested in standard high-dose animal cancer tests, whether occurring naturally or produced synthetically, are “carcinogens”; there are high-dose effects in rodent cancer tests that are not relevant to low-dose human exposures and which contribute to the high proportion of chemicals that test positive. The focus of regulatory policy is on synthetic chemicals, although 99.9% of the chemicals humans ingest are natural.

        More than 1000 chemicals have been described in coffee: 30 have been tested and 21 are rodent carcinogens. Plants in the human diet contain thousands of natural “pesticides” produced by plants to protect themselves from insects and other predators: 71 have been tested and 37 are rodent carcinogens.

        There is no convincing evidence that synthetic chemical pollutants are important as a cause of human cancer.”
        ……………………….
        Personally, I am staying silent on the subject of specific climate scientists who now have doubts about their earlier work. I do not want to see others sway them. They have to make the decision when they are ready. That way, it has more value. Also, it takes more guts.

  12. fredb
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 11:34 PM | Permalink

    On what basis do you title this fear mongering? Do you consider it am impossibility that Gleick might actually believe it? In which case he’s simply being true to what he believe and deserves respect for that, despite your disagreement. Else all you’re doing is shutting the door on debate by engaging in ad hominems. Play the ball, not the person!

    • Ron Cram
      Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

      Gleik’s statement “Fear is an effective tool” places the emphasis on “tool” and not on “truth.” I presume if he was concerned only for the truth, he would be concerned with properly communicating the evidence of the danger and uncertainties around the evidence. Such is standard scientific practice. By placing the emphasis on a “tool” to accomplish something, he is taking the emphasis off telling “the whole truth” which includes the inconvenient bit about uncertainty.

      • Posted May 12, 2011 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

        Re: Ron Cram (May 12 00:06),
        This is out of context quoting. Gleick’s complete sentence was “Fear is an effective tool — as hate groups and extremists know.”
        And it goes on. He’s not advocating fear as a tool.

        • Hoi Polloi
          Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:39 AM | Permalink

          I’ve read that inarticulate “Fear is an effective tool — as hate groups and extremists know.” piece of Gleick and found it completely garbage, he compares sceptics with repressive regimes like the Nazi’s, Iran, NKorea, Taliban, Stalin, Burma etc. etc. It’s incomprehensible that the BBC once accused him of being “visionary on the environment”. snip

          He’s not advocating fear as a tool.

          Have you read the piece? He’s doing a pretty good job using it.

        • DEEBEE
          Posted May 14, 2011 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

          Nick, almost never comments on the original, but beats up people for “mis-stepping”, when they comment on the original.

        • Bad Andrew
          Posted May 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

          Nick Stokes,

          A request from one rational human to another: Give it up, dude.

          Andrew

    • oneuniverse
      Posted May 12, 2011 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

      Fredb, even if Gleik believes it, he’s still fearmongering. Also, believing it despite the contrary evidence isn’t an act that deserves respect, imo.

      • oneuniverse
        Posted May 12, 2011 at 5:45 AM | Permalink

        Gleick not Gleik, sorry.

  13. Posted May 12, 2011 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

    Dr Tim Mitchell, Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia.
    (Tim from Harry_read_me)writing at Evangelicals Now (he is now a priest)

    http://www.e-n.org.uk/p-1129-Climate-change-and-the-Christian.htm

    “However, we feel in awe of its destructive potential, seen in such things as hurricanes and floods, which are part of the curse inflicted upon the earth following the Fall (Genesis 3.17).”

    “Although I have yet to see any evidence that climate change is a sign of Christ’s imminent return, human pollution is clearly another of the birth pangs of creation, as it eagerly awaits being delivered from the bondage of corruption (Romans. 19-22).”

    The high proportion of people that went into climate science over the last 20 years seemed to be wraped up in the saving the world/apocalyptic vision thoughts of climate and weather.

    like Sir John Houghton. saving the planet in the future, Before saving the poor now.

    http://www.realclimategate.org/2010/12/is-the-road-to-green-hell-paved-with-good-intentions/

  14. Posted May 12, 2011 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    The tendancy of warmists to relate any climatic event to global warming is astounding

  15. Mike Mangan
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    You are posting on a unlikeable, over-the-top Warmist who, although deserving of contempt, is in no way unique to the discussion. You have also included an….illustration.

    Who are you and what have you done with Steve McIntyre?

  16. Posted May 12, 2011 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    Gleick’s comment: “Of course we need to be careful interpreting such trends because tornado data is problematic” sounds reasonable to me, and I’m sure the stats community would agree on this, at least (it seems obvious that knock down arguments on extreme weather can’t be based a single – or even few – event). The graph is, of course misleading IF it is used by itself to show that there are fewer strong tornado events in the USA today than in the first half of the 20th Century. Death rates are NOT what we are looking for, but the strength of the event and the number of events. More people die in lower seismic magnitude events in badly built and crowded cities (79000 deaths in Kashmir 2005 – 7.6MMS) than in higher magnitude events in earthquake-proofed cities (11000 deaths in tohoku – 9MMS). It isn’t difficult to see through any such simplistic inferences whatever your views on climate science.

  17. Posted May 12, 2011 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. (C.S. Lewis)

    • Charlie
      Posted May 12, 2011 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

      C.S. Lewis quote was the basis for the TV show FireFly.

      Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain… (In reference to it being inaproriate to show actual data that show a decline in deaths)

  18. Stacey
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

    “Yet while we call this a “1-in-a-100 year” flood event, that term is losing its meaning. The August 1993 flood event was a “1-in-a-500 year” event. Yet in June 2008 there was another such event. Now, three years later, we see another massive flood on the Mississippi, and record floods elsewhere. Loading the dice. As FEMA’s director, Craig Fugate, noted in December, “The term ‘100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year.” And that was last year.”

    What is the point of the above other than to alarm with an incorrect use of the term 1/100 year flood. Which simply means that there is a 1% chance of those rainfall conditions occuring in 1 year. Certainly the term 1/100 year event has lost it’s meaning when mis-applied as above.

  19. AMac
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    From the body of this post

    In his response to Pielke, Gleick condemned Pielke’s use of a graph showing actual data [US tornado deaths 1875-2010] as “inappropriate and unsupportable”

    Following the link to Pielke Jr.’s post Peter Gleick Responds, I see that Pielke reproduced a NOAA/NCDC graph, “Number of Strong to Violent (F3-F5) Tornadoes” (US, 1950-2007). This graph, too, shows no upward trend. (2011 will obviously be a high year for both, but the observation holds.)

    In Comment #3, Ken Edelstein objects, noting that NOAA’s chart of all tornado activity 1950-2010 shows an unambiguous, significant rise over that period.

    In Comment #4, Roger Peilke gives reasons why charting reported weak tornadoes likely is an unreliable metric for actual tornado activity, for that time period.

    Commenter Rich (#22) follows up with a detailed explanation.

    Bart Verheggen closes the comments with a defense of Dr Gleick. #26:

    In a general sense, Gleick is correct to say that every weather event is in principle impacted by the changing climatic circumstances.

    Though that is more a philosophical than a practically useful statement, and it’s not the same as claiming that “AGW caused this”, which many of Gleick’s opponents are arguing against (i.e. strawman).

    #28:

    [A practically useless statement] still has a use in showing that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence: There must be some influence. The question is: How big is this influence? In which direction (if any)? Is it detectable?

    Contrast Bart’s version of Dr Gleick’s argument with the leading paragraphs of the Huffington Post article:

    Violent tornadoes throughout the southeastern U.S. must be a front-page reminder that no matter how successful climate deniers are in confusing the public or delaying action on climate change in Congress or globally, the science is clear: Our climate is worsening.

    More extreme and violent climate is a direct consequence of human-caused climate change (whether or not we can determine if these particular tornado outbreaks were caused or worsened by climate change). There is a reason it isn’t called global warming anymore. Higher temperatures are only one — and not the most worrisome — of the consequences of a changing climate.

  20. Hoi Polloi
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    Though that is more a philosophical than a practically useful statement, and it’s not the same as claiming that “AGW caused this”, which many of Gleick’s opponents are arguing against (i.e. strawman).

    Which in fact creates it’s own strawman, knowing that Gleick used the sentences “the tornadoes this week are a “reminder” that our climate is worsening” which will lead to more “death, injury, and destruction (now Dr.Gleick, whoz fearmongering here??). When in a hole, stop digging.

  21. Jeremy
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    I see… so discussing data is now inappropriate and insupportable while it is perfectly fine to inject emotional terms into expert witness testimony given to the public. Oh how silly of me, it has always been this way in politics. It’s just that we were lead to believe that it was scientists telling us that the world was coming to an end from fossil fuel use.

    Apologies to Vito Corleone, What I didn’t know until this day was that it was politicians all along.

  22. Paul Penrose
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Unfortunately Dr. Gleick’s statements are so laced with emotional appeal that it is not possible to debate them in a rational manner. It’s a waste of time anyway since true believers can’t be convinced with rational arguments to change their position.

    Paul Haynes:
    Thanks for the C.S. Lewis quote; it is wonderful and oh so appropriate.

  23. StuartR
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    snip – Please resist the temptation to editorialize on political figures and commentators. I realize that this topic treads closely, but resist the temptation nonetheless.

  24. Al Gored
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 3:06 AM | Permalink

    “the science is clear: Our climate is worsening.”

    By jove, I think he’s got it.

    Yes. We face the threat of “Climate Worsening.”

    That could just about cover everything.

  25. Ryan
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    The whole “faster and faster” and “accelerating” deal has been Gleick’s schtick for a while now. He wrote a book called “Faster: The Acceleration of Everything.” Seeing it as apocalyptic language isn’t really right given the context.

  26. Yancey Ward
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    There is nothing new under the Sun. Charlatans of all types have always appealed to fear of calamity to sell their wares or philosophies.

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