Global Warming Deniers Again Get Excited Over Weak Arguments

It was inevitable that the global warming deniers would be out in force after Al Gore’s energy speech. For the most part the global warming deniers are pretty much ignored by serious people as they increasingly resemble others on the fringe who think that the moon landing was staged, that 9/11 was an inside job, or that intelligent design presents a rational alternative to evolution. A decreasing number of people have taken them very seriously as their views have been at odds with a clear consensus of the scientific community. As much as we would prefer to pretend that there is no problem, the evidence simply can no longer be ignored.

While they try to ignore reality, many at least do recognize that having a view which conflicts with the consensus of scientific thought is an inconvenience to promoting their views. Therefore there was considerable excitement in the right wing blogosphere to an article at Daily Tech entitled Myth of Consensus Explodes: APS Opens Global Warming Debate. It would be great if it was true, but unfortunately it is not. It is simply yet another in a long string of examples of the global warming deniers latching on to any story which supports their ideological biases regardless of whether the story has any credibility.

Those citing the story ignore the update which states that, “After publication of this story, the APS responded with a  statement that its Physics and Society Forum is merely one unit within the APS, and its views do not reflect those of the Society at large.”  The American Physical Society has issued this response which is currently on the front page of their web site:

APS Position Remains Unchanged

The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

“Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS.  The header of this newsletter carries the statement that “Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum.”  This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.

Read: APS Climate Change Statement

Steve Benen summarized some of the responses to the initial story in the conservative blogosphere. Kevin Drum adds:

Lord Monckton, who triggered the original article in DailyTech, may be a lord, but he’s also a longtime global warming skeptic. There’s nothing new here, and, as you might expect, scientists continue to believe that climate change is largely driven by human activity. Nice try, though.

Nice try, but science is determined based upon experimentation and evidence, not based upon one’s personal whims and political opinions. As Climate Progress points out in their discussion of this story, Deniers say there’s no consensus about global warming. Well, there’s not. There’s well-tested science and real-world observations. As they also note, this evidence is more worrisome than a consensus alone, and “one ignorant editor at one unpeer-reviewed newsletter does not explode it.”  While such an unsound newsletter story certainly does not alter the scientific consensus, this is all it takes to get the right wing blogosphere excited once again. That by itself provides for evidence of why their political babbling on scientific issues can be ignored.

Obama and the Captains of Industry

The Delmarva Media Group is running a short op-ed item about Obama meeting with the captains of American industry:

Sen. Barack Obama has been meeting secretly with heavy industry CEOs in Washington to discuss issues that he would face as president.

On the campaign trail, Obama has been highly critical of corporate executives and promised them nothing but tougher regulation and higher taxes. But the unannounced, small evening sessions with them since he clinched the Democratic nomination have been nonconfrontational and cordial.

Obama scheduled the meetings without any hopes of winning the captains of industry over from Sen. John McCain, but to show them they would be able to do business with him in the White House and that the president’s door would be open to the corporate leaders. Their consensus was that he has largely succeeded in that purpose.

This is another example in a long list of cases where people’s misconceptions about Obama change after greater exposure to him and his views. I’m referring to the writer of this op-ed as well as the corporate executives. Those who have read Obama’s work and paid close attention to the influence of University of Chicago economists on his views would not characterize Obama as is done in the second paragraph. The ultimate conclusion is probably correct. Top business executives will vote more for McCain just as they vote Republican every year, but I also think that many have already seen through the stereotypes generally promoted by the right.

I’ve known businessmen who both concede that business does better under Democrats than Republicans but continue to vote Republican. The tendency for the stock market to also do better under Democrats might also help to reduce their fears of a Democratic president.

I fear there will be a handful on the left who will also point to this to claim that Obama is some sort of Republican turncoat. (That is also a segment of the left which tends to be as out of touch with reality as those who still think that George Bush has been a good president.) Obama’s willingness to meet with all segments of society and consider a wide variety of viewpoints is exactly why many of us back him despite how new he is to the political scene. We can be certain that Obama meeting with business leaders is quite different from some notable cases of Republicans doing so, such as with Dick Cheney’s energy task force. It is one thing to discuss their concerns and to understand the importance of business to America . It is quite different to pursue a course of corporate welfare as we’ve seen under the Republicans.