Debunking Climate Myths from Politicians

Climate Myths from PoliticiansSkeptical Science readers know that the main purpose of our site is to debunk climate-related myths.  To achieve this purpose, we have created the Arguments Database, and examined what the scientific literature says about each argument.  We have subsequently used this database to respond when we've encountered these myths being repeated and propagated, for example by Christopher Monckton,, and Reconsidering Climate Change.

At times we have also made use of the database to debunk myths and flawed arguments made by "skeptic" climate scientists, like Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen.  Recently we addressed a number of myths and misleading statements made by Dr. John Christy in his testimony to U.S. Congress.  In watching the associated Congressional hearing, we were disappointed to see many American politicians repeating the same myths which our database has debunked.  It appears that these myths have become very pervasive in American politics, and are being used to justify some very anti-science legislation.

As a consequence, we at Skeptical Science have decided that it would be a worthwhile endeavor to apply our Arguments Database to certain politicians who frequently perpetrate the myths we have debunked.  We have created a Climate Myths from Politicians Database which pairs quotes from politicians with the corresponding rebuttal in the Arguments Database, and the one-line summary of each rebuttal.  John Cook has also created a snazzy new button, as you can see above.  Here's a sample of the database:

  Climate Myth What the Science Says

Sarah Palin
"The e-mails reveal that leading climate "experts" deliberately destroyed records, manipulated data to "hide the decline" in global temperatures."
The "decline" refers to a decline in northern tree-rings, not global temperature, and is openly discussed in papers and the IPCC reports.

Joe Barton
"There are just as many glaciers that are growing that are shrinking."
Most glaciers are retreating, posing a serious problem for millions who rely on glaciers for water.

Ralph Hall
"Recent events have uncovered extensive evidence from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in England, which involved many researchers across the globe discussing the destruction, alteration and suppression of data that did not support global warming claims. Leaked email exchanges detail attempts to alter data that is the basis of climate modeling. These exchanges reveal actions that constitute a serious breach of scientific ethics."
A number of investigations have cleared scientists of any wrongdoing in the media-hyped email incident.

James Inhofe
"The claim that global warming is caused by man-made emissions is simply untrue and not based on sound science."
Multiple sets of independent observations find a human fingerprint on climate change.

Dana Rohrbacher
"The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, the OISM, released the names of some 31,478 scientists who signed a petition rejecting the claims of human-cased global warming."
The 'OISM petition' was signed by only a few climatologists.

Currently the database is limited to U.S. politicians, but in the near future we will expand it internationally.  We hope it will be a useful resource to continue debunking these long-lived myths, and help convince politicians to stick to the facts.  Never let it be said that we at Skeptical Science aren't optimists!

Readers are encouraged to add to the database by providing quotes and source links in the comments for any politician.  We did a thorough search for quotes from Democratic politicians, but were unable to find any which qualified (the myth must be debunked in our Arguments database); however, quotes from politicians of any political party are welcome and appreciated!

NOTE: The short URL for the Climate Myths from Politicians is:

Posted by dana1981 on Thursday, 31 March, 2011

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