Primary tabs

The Mike Tidwell Dilemma, Part I

What responsibility does an environmentalist and science defender have to criticize one of his or her political allies for inaccuracy and the incautious treatment of complex information?

Must we be equal opportunity critics in all cases, or should we blunt our barbs lest they injure our friends?

The Paradox of Al Gore

The Paradox of Al Gore When Al Gore won the Nobel Peace prize last Friday–along with the very deserving U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change–the fulminations predictably followed. Previous victims of what Paul Krugman calls “Gore Derangement Syndrome” had new flare-ups of the disease, often in the most embarrassing of places. There was a rash of bad science reporting, suggesting that Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (the film version) is somehow much more inaccurate than it actually is.

And then came the powerful defenses of Gore, the skewerings of the Gore deranged, and just general voicing of reason. Alas, the Gore defenders, while being broadly accurate about Gore's “broadly accurate” film, also seem to have missed some key matters that bear addressing.

So let's add some needed perspective here.

A DeSmogBlog exclusive weekly column by best-selling author and science writer, Chris Mooney.

Wait, You Mean Republicans Aren't Totally Evil On Global Warming?

I have a confession to make. In a weird sort of way, I actually find it kind of fun to whale on various U.S. Republicans–like James “Flat-Earth-Doesn't-Only-Refer- to-Oklahoma” Inhofe–for their out-of-touch stances on global warming.

But in truth, as I recently surveyed the various presidential candidates' stances on global warming–helpfully compiled here–I actually found considerable grounds for optimism.

Even when it came to the Republicans…no, especially when it came to the Republicans.

Beating Around the Bush

At least to my mind, last week was extremely significant. Last week, George W. Bush for the first time believably acknowledged that human beings are the principal cause of global warming.

Now, I know, I know: There are a few instances from the past where if you listen really, really closely, Bush sorta kinda said as much. But then he would come out and say something else different and contradictory–or Dick Cheney would.

Or Bush would get revealed to have gotten his science advice from Michael Crichton.

Anyways, something would always happen to make you slide the administration right back into the “skeptic”/denialist camp again.

Nordhaus and Shellenberger: Overselling the Right Message

You probably heard already: The “Death of Environmentalism” guys are back, once again explaining the follies of the green movement.

Their new book, Break Through , has created a lot of chatter with its argument that enviros are too darn pessimistic, and repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot with command-and-control regulatory thinking and doom and gloom talking.

John Marburger, Climate Alarmist?

Poor Jack Marburger.

He’s played science adviser to an anti-science president for a long, long time. First, in 2001, Marburger was appointed very late to his post with a reduced and less than cabinet-level rank—a status considerably lower than that of his science advising predecessors from the Clinton administration. This led even Marburger’s presumptive allies in the scientific community to single him out as an ominous example of how the new administration seemed inclined to approach science. So before he even started his job Marburger was on the defensive.

That can’t have felt good.

Who 'Framed' Naomi Oreskes?

Watching the latest brouhaha over science historian Naomi Oreskes' now almost three-year-old article in Science–which found an extremely strong consensus on human-caused global warming in the peer-reviewed scientific literature–something struck me.

It occurred to me the global warming “skeptics” who repeatedly attacking Oreskes' study are, in their own way, dramatically dependent upon it. They need to have this study around to criticize. If it didn't exist, they'd probably have to invent it.

On Hurricanes and Global Warming, Don't "Cool It" Too Much

Chris Mooney's weekly DeSmogBlog dispatch.

The Danish environmental apostate Bjorn Lomborg is at it again.

Lomborg has a new book out, and just like his last one (The Skeptical Environmentalist), it's drawing strong criticism. Lomborg's argument isn't that global warming is a hoax–thank goodness, we're mostly past that. Instead, he merely argues that climate change is not as big a deal as some think (e.g., Al Gore)–and further, that it doesn't make good economic sense to take dramatic steps to address the problem by imposing mandatory emissions caps.