Global environmental challenges
Wall Street Journal of Atmospheric Sciences
Stuart Gaffin is a climate researcher at Columbia University and a regular contributor with his blog “Exhausted Earth”. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial page occupies a uniquely obnoxious place in commentary on global warming. Over the many years that I have read with trepidation what they write, I have yet to see accurate presentation of the science issues.
They have fed their readers so much misinformation and confusion one can only conclude they consider complete fabrication fair play in the discussion.
The Director of the Columbia University Earth Institute, Jeff Sachs, has in the past invited the WSJ editorial board, along with any scientists they wish to bring, to discuss the science at the University — an invitation they assuredly have not accepted even though it’s a short subway ride away.
In response to President Obama’s revolutionary new efforts to cap CO2 emissions, WSJ editorial member Holman Jenkins Jr. tells us to “…Put away the global warming panic…” and writes an impressive number of fictions in two sentences:
“… Mankind’s contribution to rising CO2 levels raises serious questions, but the tens of billions poured into climate science have, by now, added up only to a negative finding. We don’t really have the slightest idea how an increase in the atmosphere’s component of CO2 is impacting our climate, though the most plausible indication is that the impact is too small to untangle from natural variability…”
What does “… contribution to rising CO2 levels …” mean — implying as it does that natural sources are raising CO2 levels? Does not Mr. Jenkins know that mankind’s activities are wholly responsible for the increasing CO2 emissions? This can be seen in many ways such as looking at the ice core records of stable CO2 concentrations since the end of the last ice age or from carbon isotope data for fossil fuel carbon for example.
What does it mean to write all “ … climate science has added up to a negative finding …”? Even if you have never seen an IPCC report, do you really believe that all the news you have been hearing for decades about global warming and IPCC has been due to a single “negative finding”? What is this so-called bottom line negative finding among the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of findings?
What does it mean to write “ …We don’t really have the slightest idea how an increase in [atmospheric] CO2 is impacting our climate …” Really? Scientists studying atmospheric physics don’t have the slightest idea how CO2 affects heat radiation and the Earth’s energy balance, not to mention the gazillion other facts we know about CO2 and climate?
Then, remarkably, in the same sentence that claims science knows nothing about CO2, somehow he (or science?) knows enough about it to conclude that “ …the impact is too small to untangle from natural variability …” Which one is it? Science knows nothing or science has actually demonstrated something very technically precise: “…the impact [of CO2] is too small to untangle from natural variability …”
By the way, the last statement is a flat out contradiction to current research which concluded with 90% confidence that current warming is due to human activities. But what the heck. This is the world of the Wall Street Journal of Atmospheric Sciences.