Special Report

The Amazing Revkin

Presto! Global warming consensus appears where there is none.

By 3.13.09

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It's a rare occasion when you find a global warming alarmist willing to debate a skeptic in public, as happened last month in North Carolina when atmospheric scientist John Christy went up against William Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. It's probably because alarmists don't like when their clocks get cleaned.

So what do the skeptics do when their cowardly opponents run away? They throw a party for themselves!

That's what happened this week in New York, when the Heartland Institute hosted its second International Conference on Climate Change. As opposed to staging a sad affair in which an imaginary consensus of scientists discharge doom-and-gloom scenarios due to excessive engine combustions and mammalian exhalations, my fellow challengers to anthropogenic global warming theory conducted an uplifting, thought-stirring summit. The goal: good science, and how to stop the alarmists from driving energy prices and business regulations upward in the name of averting a contrived climate emergency.

But if there's one flaw with these lovable libertarians, it's that they still crave attention from those who practice journalism-formerly-known-as-mainstream. Instead of contentedness with blogs and bursts of information rifling around the 'Net, they pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze from reporters on life support. It's like Derek Smalls eyeing Pamela Des Barres for a little intimacy after the show, but he gets dissed because she's transfixed by Jim Morrison.

Similarly the bass-playing Heartlanders got the enviro-groupie treatment from the New York Times' Andrew Revkin, who favors the established rock stars of environmentalism. The author of Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast (or "I'm with Al Gore's Band") and The North Pole Was Here (or "Let's Spend the Night Together, Jim Hansen") previewed the event -- held in Manhattan -- only because he couldn't ignore the up-and-comers in his own backyard.

Not surprisingly he dashed their hopes of groovin' around and around, and instead applied the usual Society of Environmental Journalists' marginalization template:

More than 600 self-professed climate skeptics are meeting in a Times Square hotel this week to challenge what has become a broad scientific and political consensus: that without big changes in energy choices, humans will dangerously heat up the planet.

As is common with sycophants who ingratiate themselves to the objects of their literary affection, Revkin defended their honor by ignoring two options that Encarta, for one, offers as the definition of "consensus:"

con·sen·sus

1.  general or widespread agreement among all the members of a group

2.  a concept of society in which the absence of conflict is seen as the equilibrium state of society

Neither entry would appropriately apply to Revkin's alleged scientific or political consensus. He cannot, without contortioned countenance, credibly claim there is widespread agreement – either scientific or political. Nor can he assert there's an absence of conflict over the issue, unless he only spends time in his SEJ/big government science echo chamber. Given that Revkin fits so snugly in the Times' journalistic lineup, where the themes of his books are a boon to his bio, it does not surprise that all he emphasizes are the enviro-reverbs.

It's not like he's unaware of the non-consensus evidence; he just suppresses or ignores it. While Sen. James Inhofe's list of 650 dissenting scientists and the Oregon Petition Project's less rigorous, but still significant, 31,000 names hang in the room like bong smoke, Revkin tries to overcome the aroma with IPCC incense:

But two years after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded with near certainty that most of the recent warming was a result of human influences, global warming's skeptics are showing signs of internal rifts and weakening support.

What a shock: Pro-big government media promotes big multi-government (that wants big one-world government) organizational effort to advocate for big government-sponsored computer modeling masked as big government pseudo-science. With all these heavy hands, it's a marvel that the IPCC could only muster 52 scientists to contribute to their alarmist Summary for Policymakers.

Then there's public opinion. In a January poll Rasmussen found that more respondents believed that global warming was due to planetary trends rather than human causes. And in another Rasmussen survey last month, 54 percent of respondents said the news media exaggerates threats to the planet from global warming. Pew also found in January that of 20 policy issues it asked people to rank in importance, global warming fell last. In addition, a poll by the National Center for Public Policy Research last summer found an overwhelming majority of Americans do not want to spend any more on gasoline or electricity to address global warming, as is proposed under the Lieberman/Warner bill.

And finally, this week Gallup found a record-high 41 percent believe the media exaggerates the threat of global warming. "This represents the highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade of Gallup polling on the subject," the polling firm reported.

The Amazing Revkin noted the Gallup findings on his blog with a inquisitive "what's going on" tone, inviting readers to fill up his comments section. Many fellow eco-toadies responded. Meanwhile the New York Times is selling both its building and its corporate jet, thanks to circulation and revenue declines. Go figure.

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About the Author

Paul Chesser publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, a news aggregator for North Carolina, and is a contributor of articles, research and investigative reports for both national and state-level free-market think tanks.