Year 3, Month 7, Day 24: I Never Understood The Designated Hitter Rule

Making up for lost time, the Washington Post continues its shrill campaign:

Most Americans say they believe temperatures around the world are going up and that weather patterns have become more unstable in the past few years, according to a new poll from The Washington Post and Stanford University.

But they also see future warming as something that can be addressed, and majorities want government action across a range of policies to curb energy consumption, with more support for tax breaks than government mandates.

The findings come as the federal government released a report Tuesday suggesting the connection between last year’s severe weather and climate change. According to the study issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, changes fueled by the burning of fossil fuels made the 2011 heat wave in Texas 20 times more likely to occur compared with conditions in the 1960s.

In the report, the scientists compared the phenomenon to a baseball or cricket player’s improved performance after taking steroids.

“For any one of his home runs (sixes) during the years the player was taking steroids, you would not know for sure whether it was caused by steroids or not,” they wrote in the report, which will be published in a forthcoming Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. “But you might be able to attribute his increased number to the steroids.”

This was fun to write. Sent July 13:

After years of muted scientific language, the American public’s got something it can understand: climate change’s influence on weather is like that of steroids on the performance of professional athletes, according to the recent report from the NOAA. Performance-enhancing drugs affect muscle size, response time, and a host of other factors — but it is impossible to attribute any single home run or touchdown to them. Rather, they “load the dice” in favor of extreme athletic accomplishment. Similarly, atmospheric carbon dioxide is a performance enhancer for Earth’s weather systems.

Steroid use “…makes the body behave unnaturally,” as columnist George Will noted in a 2010 interview with the Wall Street Journal; greenhouse emissions make our climate behave unnaturally, while triggering side effects that may very well endanger the future of our civilization, professional sports and all. Perhaps Mr. Will, a legendary baseball fan and a climate-change denier, will grasp the NOAA’s analogy.

Warren Senders

Month 8, Day 3: An Acorn!

The blind pig that is the Washington Post just published a genuinely good editorial about climate change.

Indeed, as the editorial points out, there is no longer a “controversy” of any kind with regard to the scientific factuality of anthropogenic climate change. The world is rapidly approaching a climatic tipping point which will almost certainly trigger a future profoundly inimical to human existence, and human activity is responsible. In a few years we will be far too busy dealing with the ramifications of the crisis to assign blame. Right now, however, there’s still enough breathing room to point out that the Washington Post has been “denier central” for years — muddying the waters and obscuring the truth in column after column by anti-science ignorati like George Will, Sarah Palin, Bjorn Lomborg, Robert Bruce and Robert Samuelson. As the “home-town paper” of our government, the Post has a responsibility to provide factual information and reasoned analysis to America’s policy-makers — and to refrain from printing misleading, inaccurate and scientifically unsound pontifications which provide our political class with convenient rationalizations to avoid action.

Warren Senders

Month 4, Day 4: I’d Loooove to See George Will Under Oath!

I thought I’d ask Ed Markey to hold some more hearings on all the industry-funded denialists we keep seeing on the boob tube and in print. I’d love to see George Will get quizzed, wouldn’t you?

And this piece at DK is the other part of the puzzle. Who’s giving the denialists all their funding? Koch Industries, that’s who.

Dear Representative Markey — Thank you for all you have done so far on the crucial issue of global climate change. The Waxman-Markey legislation is an excellent start on a realistic approach to this greatest of all threats.

Unfortunately, the Republican opposition and their enablers in the print and broadcast media are continually disseminating misinformation that serves to confuse the public and to render the debate unintelligible to the average person. This is tragic; since the effects of climate change don’t differentiate between Republicans and Democrats, the denialists are simply making their own futures more uncertain and terrifying.

Now that the so-called “Climategate” or “Climatehack” scandal has been conclusively debunked by the British House of Lords, can we ask you and Rep. Waxman to hold further public hearings on the industry connections of prominent climate change deniers? These people are mendacious in the extreme, and they’re doing it in large part because they’re paid well, often by Koch Industries, as Greenpeace’s recent report makes stunningly clear. Theirs is a malign combination of cupidity and stupidity that has done incalculable damage already (George Will comes immediately to my mind. How about you?)

It is up to the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate to expose these frauds and corporate shills for what they are. Without clearing the air of their misleading statements and deliberate obfuscations, genuinely robust climate legislation will be terribly weakened. And there is no time to waste.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 3, Day 31: Fire at Will!

It’s sad that “good news” on climate change is simply the information that the by-now-to-be-expected bad news is acknowledged to be true. Phil Jones and the rest of the East Anglia Climate Research Group have of course been exonerated completely by the British House Of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee.

There were any number of things I could have done with this news. As it happened, I decided to send a paronomasiac screed to the Washington Post, which has provided a forum for the odious George Will, a man of disproportionate influence whose glib mendacity has gravely damaged our planet’s chances of survival. The chance the Post will print this letter is probably slimmer than my winning the lottery (I never buy tickets), but it sure felt good. Especially calling Will a calumnist.

Now that the British House of Commons has exonerated Dr. Phil Jones and the rest of his Climate Research Team from charges of scientific malpractice, may we expect more from the Washington Post than a solitary Associated Press article? By printing effluvia like “Climate Tantrums” (February 21) the Washington Post has become complicit in an egregious misrepresentation of science. I hope I may be forgiven the obvious pun: the deception is indeed Willful. George Will, the Post’s glibly erudite house denialist, should be required to apologize for his mendacious pedantry. A single mea culpa, however, is insufficient: like many a juvenile offender against the common good, the Post’s errant calumnist should spend a year in “community service,” working as an unpaid assistant to one of the climatologists whose work he has so freely disparaged.

Warren Senders

Month 2, Day 23: George Will is an Utter Disgrace

As usual, the Washington Post disgraces itself by continuing to print George Will’s vacuous denialism. Here’s the latest example.

I am not a scientist, and I’m certainly not a mathematician…but I sure as hell know more about statistics than George Will. The fact that this guy is still read and heard in our media is depressing beyond belief. So I wrote them a letter.

It is beyond incredible that a mainstream newspaper like the Washington Post should continue to publish misinformation of the sort propagated by George Will. In his column of February 21st, Will distorted the words of climatologist Phil Jones, making it seem that Jones asserted that no human-caused warming is occurring. But Jones has stated in a BBC interview that he is “100% confident that the climate has warmed,” and notes evidence that “most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.”

Jones made a scientifically accurate statement to the effect that statistical significance was vastly more difficult to achieve in short-term measurements; this has nothing to do with whether global warming exists, as witness Jones’ own statements to the BBC. Either George Will doesn’t know what “statistical significance” means, in which case he’s incompetent — or he knows and doesn’t care, in which case he’s a mendacious hack. In neither case does he deserve to be heard on the subject of climate change.

It is a sad commentary on the state of our media that George Will’s scientific illiteracy is considered important commentary on the most significant threat human beings have ever faced. Will should stick to issuing quote-studded pronunciamenti on politico-cultural trivia, a genre in which his glib faux-erudition can remain relatively harmless.

Warren Senders