Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Brothers Under the Scam

You've seen the headlines – the glaciers are melting! We're doomed! -- That's what several studies supposedly found. But other scientific studies found the exact opposite. The glaciers in Greenland are growing, not melting. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is getting thicker, not thinner. Did you see any big headlines about that?

The above is from a television advertisement produced by the Competitive Energy Institute (CEI), a group that, according to the article "Just a load of hot air" by James Morgan, is funded largely by Exxon. The ad implies that it is based in part on a paper published in the journal, Science: "Snowfall-driven growth in East Antarctic ice sheet mitigates recent sea-level rise" by Prof. Curt Davis. The only problem is that Prof. Davis has this to say about the ad:

These television ads are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate. They are selectively using only parts of my previous research to support their claims. They are not telling the entire story to the public.

Davis' paper had indeed found the ice sheet in the interior of East Antarctica had grown, probably due to an increase in precipitation. In fact, this was the precise result that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had predicted as a consequence of global warming. While the interior ice sheet would grow, coastal areas would lose ice mass, and these losses could offset or even outweigh the gains in the interior areas, with a net effect of a rise in sea levels.

The CEI's strategy has much in common with that employed by the proponents of intelligent design -- where there is doubt about science, there is room to tempt the audience with a more comfortable alternative. But among the world's leading experts on climate science, there is no doubt that the evidence for climate change is clear and incontrovertible.

Oh, yeah. There is much in common, isn't there?
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