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The Wall Street Journal keeps peddling Big Oil propaganda

Posted on 11 June 2018 by dana1981

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Opinion page has long had a conservative skew, and unfortunately that has extended to politicizing climate change with biased and factually inaccurate editorials.

Over the past several weeks, the WSJ’s attacks on climate science have gone into overdrive. On May 15th, the Opinion page published a self-contradictory editorial from the lifelong contrarian and fossil fuel-funded Fred Singer that so badly rejected basic physics, it prompted one researcher to remark, “If this were an essay in one of my undergraduate classes, he would fail.”

The WSJ did publish a letter to the editor (LTE) from real climate scientistsAndrea Dutton and Michael Mann rebutting Singer’s editorial. However, it gave the last word to science deniers in an LTE response rejecting the well-established facts that sea level rise is accelerating and Antarctic is loss is contributing to it.

A few days later, the WSJ opinion page was at it again, publishing an editorialby Stephen F. Hayward, who describes himself as having “spent most of my adult life in conservative think tanks in Washington, D.C.,” and it shows. Hayward has a long history as a climate naysayer, spanning over a decadeback to his days with the fossil fuel-funded American Enterprise Institute.

Playing Whack-a-Mole with Hayward’s Gish Gallop

Hayward’s arguments of course deserve to be judged on their own merits. I devoted my first-ever Tweetstorm to doing just that:

Dana Nuccitelli?@dana1981

Ok, let's do a Whack-a-Mole Twitter thread debunking all the nonsense in @stevenfhayward's @WSJ editorial (1/n)

Hayward falls into the category some describe as “Lukewarmers.” This group consists of people who think that – contrary to the body of available evidence– global warming will be slow and we don’t have to worry much about it. I prefer the term “Luckwarmer,” since they’re betting that Earth’s climate sensitivity is at the very low end or lower than the range of values supported by scientific evidence. In that sense, they’re gambling we’ll be very lucky that the climate dice will come up snake eyes.

Throughout his career, Hayward has spilled a lot of ink trolling those who are concerned about climate change. In this latest opinion piece, he argues that “climate change has run its course” because nobody is doing anything serious to solve it, and nobody cares about climate change anymore.

Hayward’s evidence to support this thesis is flimsy, to put it charitably. For example, when pressed on the fact that every country save America has agreed to implement policies to curb climate change, Hayward cited Japan as a counter-example that’s building more coal power plants since the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. Indeed, Japan’s climate policies are highly insufficient to meet the Paris goals. But Japan has nevertheless signed onto the Paris agreement, whose framework allows signatory countries to periodically strengthen their policies and commitments and thus eventually meet the targets. And Japan’s per person carbon pollution is already about 40% lower than America’s.

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Fred Singers many sea level claims are stated in this article. He claims recent sea level rise is just driven by historical warming going back many centuries before emissions significantly increased. He argues that sea level continued to rise even although ocean temperatures didn't increase over the period 1940 -1975 , showing sea level rise is independent of recent ocean temperatures (and by implication CO2 emissions), and is driven entirely by some very distant past historical processes.

    However he is wrong. While some of the sea level rise is from previous centuries of warming much isn't. Sea surface temperatures did actually increase over the period 1940 - 1975, its only land temperatures that stalled. Sea level rise also has some level of medium decade level intertia and could be responding to warming in the 1920's. In addition, much of the sea level rise is driven by melting ice - so land surface temperatures.

    I'm just an arm chair amateur, no atmospheric physics degree, so how can someone like Singer not even know sea surface temperature trends? The rest of what he claims makes no sense either, and is inconsistent with the evidence.

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  2. The Wall Street journal would beneft from knowing just a tiny little bit of history, and they would see climate science has never been some political scam. Climate science and greenhouse gas theory dates back several centuries now.

    Imho the only feasible solution to climate change is a combination of individual initiative and action, and government support for renewable energy and some sort of carbon tax or cap and trade scheme. This sort of combined individual and government response was how countries effectively dealt with other environmental problems historically. Sulphate aerosols form coal burning were partly resolved with a cap and trade scheme for example.

    However the science leads to a requirement for some level of government response and this upsets people who have anti government agendas, so they try to undermine the science, and falsely claim its somehow become politicised by the left. The so called left are happy with a revenue neutral carbon tax to avoid money being captured by "big government", and the left simply accept the science which is supported now by the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.

    However the fact that even a revenue neutral carbon tax is dismissed suggests vested business interests is probably an even larger driver of climate denial. Climate denial has it's own "gish gallop" of causes.

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