New Scientist: Skeptics are Meanies

The current issue of New Scientist magazine has a truly strange article on the impending release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report (or “assessment”). The logic, such as it is, seems to go like this: scientists and organizations who disagreed with some of the conclusions in the last assessment are preparing to critique this upcoming one in the same way. These criticisms are somehow so threatening that (the author fears) U.S. climate scientists will stop participating in the IPCC review process altogether, leaving the scientific world poorer as a result.

Well, you know what they say about global warming policy: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the debate.” Except that in this case, the “heat” being generated is so mild, one wonders how it can be perceived as a real threat. The idea that people like Kevin Trenberth, Michael Mann and Ben Santer (all mentioned in the story) are being driven out of science by a handful of press releases and skeptical quotes in news stories is not only laughable on its face, but actually more insulting to them than anyone.

But the really good stuff hits closer to home. The author of the article, Fred Pearce, then goes on to describe CEI’s own Myron Ebell as “a former climate negotiator for George W. Bush’s administration.” Um, does New Scientist have a fact checking department? Perhaps it’s just that they’re too busy writing essential scientific stories about the Loch Ness Monster to get basic biographical and career details straight. For the record, Myron has never worked, in any capacity, for the Bush administration. Or any other administration. In fact, when it comes to energy policy, Myron has had some pretty stern words for the President.