Monday, August 26, 2013

WSJ Op-ED: Gore's sloppiness with facts powerfully rebuts any notion that global warmism is a serious scientific endeavor

By James Toranto, WSJ Best of the Web Today

WSJ.COM 8/26/13:  On Friday we made fun of Al Gore for asserting, in an interview with the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, that "the hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they're adding a 6." On Twitter we also mocked Klein for being gullible--for simply transcribing everything Gore said and not challenging him on this and other dubious assertions.

It turns out that Klein did not even perform competently as a stenographer, according to Klein himself. On Friday Gore asserted that he had been misquoted--that what he actually said was "some are proposing we add category 6." The emphasis is ours, and the italicized qualification makes the claim accurate. As we noted Friday, "some" are indeed "proposing" the addition of a Category 6.

Klein responded to the accusation Friday afternoon with a plea of nolo contendere. "I'm out-of-town and so away from my tape recorder," he wrote in a blog post, adding that Gore's version of the quote "doesn't offend my memory of the discussion and it's entirely possible I missed Gore's qualifying sentence while trying to keep up."

Although we have to give Gore the benefit of the doubt, the explanation doesn't entirely ring true. If Klein really still uses a tape recorder, he must be quite a bit older than he looks.

It turns out, meanwhile, that blogger Anthony Watts dealt last year with another of Gore's fanciful claims--namely that "amount of energy trapped by manmade global warming pollution each day in the earth's atmosphere is now equal to the energy that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima bombs going off every 24 hours"--when NASA warmist James Hansen put it forth. A Watts commenter ran the numbers and showed them to be trivial (quoting verbatim):

"To convert Hansen's figures to a per-square-metre value, the global surface area is 5.11e+14 [511 quadrillion] square metres ... which means that Hansens dreaded 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day works out to 0.6 watts per square metre ... in other words, Hansen wants us to be very afraid because of a claimed imbalance of six tenths of a watt per square metre in a system where the downwelling radiation is half a kilowatt per square metre … we cannot even measure the radiation to that kind of accuracy."
Klein's sloppiness with quotes and Gore's sloppiness with facts are of a piece. Both powerfully rebut any notion that global warmism is a serious scientific endeavor.

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