CEI Responds to Scientist's Criticism of Global Warming Ad Campaign
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Jody Clarke, 202.331.2252
Washington, DC, May 22, 2006—In a recent University of Missouri news release, Professor Curt Davis criticizes CEI’s global warming ads for “selectively using only parts of my research” and accuses CEI of “not telling the entire story to the public.” In fact, it is Professor Davis who is misrepresenting our ads.
This criticism is aimed on CEI’s 60-second television spot on glaciers, which states that, according to a relatively unpublicized study in Science, the “Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner.” The study, entitled “Snowfall-Driven Growth in East Antarctic Ice Sheet Mitigates Recent Sea-level Rise”, was published in June 2005. Professor Davis, one of its authors, says that “three points in his study unequivocally demonstrate the misleading aspect of the CEI ads.” Those are:
1. “His study only included the East Antarctic ice sheet, not the entire Antarctic ice sheet.”
CEI Response: In fact, Professor Davis’s study covered the entire Antarctic area. There are two major Antarctic ice sheets—the East and the West. As the study notes, the East sheet is five times as large. The study found that “the vast majority” of the East sheet is thickening, while “the West Antarctic ice sheet exhibits bimodal behavior”—that is, thickening in parts and thinning in parts. Because of the East sheet’s “vast size”, the study finds that its observed growth more than offsets the West sheet’s contribution to sea level rise.
2. “Growth of the ice sheet was only noted on the interior of the ice sheet and did not include coastal areas. Coastal areas are known to be losing mass, and these losses could offset or even outweigh the gains in the interior areas.”
CEI Response: Professor Davis admits that he doesn’t know whether the coastal losses offset or outweigh the gains in the interior. This is precisely our point—the public needs to hear both sides of the story, not just the coastal losses, if they are to judge whether we face an imminent catastrophe justifying policies that would drastically affect our way of life.
3. “The fact that the interior ice sheet is growing is a predicted consequence of global climate warming.”
CEI Response: What CEI’s ads attack is global warming alarmism, as illustrated by the lopsided press coverage of glacial melting as a worldwide catastrophe. Nowhere in those overheated press reports is there any indication that glaciers or ice sheets might actually be growing in certain parts of the world. But as CEI’s ad makes clear, this may well be happening in both the Antarctic and in Greenland.
“Professor Davis is to be commended for publishing research that demonstrates that global warming is not a simple story of black and white,” says CEI Senior Fellow Iain Murray. “Responsible scientists know this. The alarmists who ignore this inconvenient truth are doing a serious disservice to public discussion of this issue.”