Thursday, April 9, 2015

"Death Blow" to Global Warming?

An unrepentant right wing blog, The Daily Caller, reports

Scientists Say New Study Is A ‘Death Blow’ To Global Warming Hysteria

First, we observe that the headline is a gross exaggeration, from this very article:

A study by scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology found that man-made aerosols had a much smaller cooling effect on the atmosphere during the 20th Century than was previously thought. Why is this big news? It means increases in carbon dioxide emissions likely cause less warming than most climate models suggest.

So in fact, all it might mean is less warming.  In spite of that the right wing press went crazy over this paper:

According to right-wing media, the study represents a "death blow to global warming hysteria." The reasoning behind the claim, which originated in a Cato Institute blog post, is that climate models rely on aerosols to offset much of the projected greenhouse gas effect from carbon dioxide. So if aerosols offset less warming than commonly believed, Cato claims "the amount of greenhouse gas-induced warming must also be less" and "we should expect less warming from future greenhouse gas emissions than climate models are projecting." The Cato blog post was picked up by the Daily Caller, American Thinker, Alex Jones' Infowars, Investors' Business Daily, and Rush Limbaugh

The author of that paper himself disputes(.pdf) the contention of those articles.

So contrary to some reports that have appeared in the media, anthropogenic climate change is not called into question by my study. I continue to believe that warming of Earth’s surface temperatures from rising concentrations of greenhouse gases carries risks that society must take seriously, even if we are lucky and (as my work seems to suggest) the most catastrophic warming scenarios are a bit less likely.

It's interesting that the right wing press gets so easily worked up.  This is not how people truly interested in climate change research act.  The only description of their approach is hysterical. They draw some conclusion far beyond the facts clearly not in the service of the science but rather in service of some ill-defined political ends.  I say "ill-defined" because the ends can't be described.  Are they lackeys of the oil companies?  Maybe.  Or is it that the inhabitants of the right wing are simply ideological and not really interested in evidence?  I think the latter.