The Washington Post-er Child for Climate Bias

The Washington Post-er Child for Climate Bias

Milloy column on
March 13, 2008

Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin leads the pack in this year’s contest for biased climate journalism.

Eilperin’s March 10 article entitled "Carbon Output Must Near Zero
to Avert Danger, New Studies Say" has the same sort of journalistic
objectivity one might expect from totalitarian state-controlled media.

With nary a critical word about the computer models used to project
increases in global temperature, Eilperin touted two new
model-dependent studies that "suggest that both industrialized and
developing nations must wean themselves off fossil fuels by as early as
mid-century in order to prevent warming that could change precipitation
patterns and dry up sources of water worldwide."

And "Using advanced computer models to factor deep-sea warming and
other aspects of the carbon cycle that naturally creates and removes
carbon dioxide, the scientists, from countries including the United
States, Canada and Germany, are delivering a simple message: The world
must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from
rising further."

But none of the models in the studies — nor for that matter any
other mathematical model of global climate — has proven to be
particularly useful. No model has been validated against historical
climate data.

So why would any rational person assume that they can be used to
predict future climate or serve as a basis for developing national
energy policy? As reported in this column
last December, global climate models uniformly predict significantly
warmer atmospheric temperatures than have actually occurred.

Such model failure should come as no surprise since they have many
built-in biases, including the unproven assumption that atmospheric
carbon dioxide drives global climate. But all the available real-life
data — including 20th century records and ice-core samples stretching
back 650,000 years — fail to support such a cause-and-effect relationship.

The ice core samples show, in fact, an opposite relationship.
Eilperin, who has long reported on climate for the Washington Post,
must know about the models’ problems, but she apparently chooses not to
report it. In her March 4 Post article, Eilperin mentioned a report by a number of climate experts from around the world entitled "Nature Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate." She even interviewed one of the experts for her story.

A section of that report, entitled "Climate Models Are Not Reliable"
discusses in plain language how climate models don’t consider solar
dimming and brightening, don’t accurately control for clouds, don’t
simulate the potential feedback effects of water vapor, don’t explain
many features of the Earth’s observed climate, and don’t produce
reliable predictions of regional (let alone global) climate change.

At, we label climate modeling as Playstation®
Climatology, with no disrespect intended toward Sony since its
Playstation games are, in fact, what they purport to be — just games.

Not content with ignoring viewpoints she doesn’t like, Eilperin goes
on to diminish, if not ridicule, critics of her apparent point of view.
Eilperin’s March 4 article featured four ad hominem attacks from three
environmental activists, abusing those who question global warming
orthodoxy as members of a "flat Earth society" and participants in the
"climate equivalent of Custer’s last stand."

If Eilperin wants to poke fun at those who disagree with her on
public policy issues, she ought to write an opinion, rather than a news
column. Another disturbing aspect of Eilperin’s article was the
accompanying photo of downtown Beijing.
The photo was captioned, "A heavy haze could be seen in Beijing in
August 2007. Two recent reports call for a heightened global effort to
reduce carbon emissions."

The juxtaposition of the article and photo clearly implied that
unless we cut carbon dioxide emissions, U.S. cities would soon look
like Beijing. But as virtually anyone who breathes knows, carbon
dioxide is an invisible gas. Not only can you not see it, there’s no
possible way for carbon dioxide emissions to cause smog, haze or
whatever was fouling Beijing’s air in the photo.

The irrelevant and misleading nature of the photo has been pointed
out to Eilperin, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell and the
paper’s editors. As of the writing of this column, none have responded
and it remains to be seen whether the Washington Post has the
journalistic integrity to remove the photo from its Web site and
publish a correction in its print edition.

It’s quite possible that if Eilperin and the many other members of
the mainstream media who so far have been in the tank for global
warming started reporting on the very real debate about climate model
validity rather than simply regurgitating what the agenda-driven
modelers tell them, then we could avert the looming national economic
disaster that Congress is preparing for the next president to sign into

Steven Milloy publishes and He is a junk science expert, advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.