[Is anyone else fed up with the emerging meme from political power
figures of 'you can't check my facts; they're MY facts, so you're
wrong'? And the odoriferous commitments to stop spewing fake news, only
to see it continue within hours from multiple sources?
“You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own
― Daniel Patrick Moynihan
A few years ago a friend of mine - while running for elected office -
said (as close as I can remember): We need evidence-based policy
making, not ideology-based evidence making. Today, even more than a few
years ago in North America, we have more of the latter and less of the
former. How is it we are losing ground on this?]
Trump climate change adviser provides CBC with dubious sources
By Karl Nerenberg
November 24, 2016
On Wednesday, CBC Radio's Carol Off interviewed Donald Trump's climate
change adviser, Robert Walker, former chair of the U.S. House of
Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and she
seems to have got under his skin.
Walker disputes the assertion that the vast majority of climate
scientists believe the evidence of human-caused global warming.
Off quoted Walker as having said that only about half of scientists
actually agree with climate change.
He responded that he was talking only about climatologists, not all
scientists. If you take the climatologist group, alone, without other
disciplines, including social sciences, Walker said, you will see that
there is significant dissent from the so-called consensus.
However, when asked to provide a source for that assertion, the Trump
adviser could not, and made a vague reference to something he had read,
After the interview, Walker sent Carol Off's program, As It Happens, an
e-mail, in which he cited three sources: an organization called Open
Source Systems, Science and Solutions; another called the National
Association of Scholars; and something he called the Center for Climate
To start with the last group, Walker said it had showed that of 4,000
research abstracts on global warming only one per cent attributed it
exclusively to human causes.
The Center Walker cited may exist. If so, it does not seem to have any
There is a Centre for Climate Research in Singapore, an institute with a
similar name at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and a Center
for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin. All publish
research that confirms rather than negates the scientific consensus on
global warming. None have done the analysis of abstracts that Walker quotes.
Nor is it possible, through standard search methods, to find any
article, by anybody, anywhere, that makes Walker's claim. There are, on
the other hand, numerous scientific articles which analyze the research
literature on climate change and draw conclusions entirely at odds with
the figure Walker quotes.
In 2015, the U.S. interdisciplinary scientific organization, the Center
for Skeptical Inquiry, published a paper by geologist James Lawrence
Powell which asserted that it is not 97 per cent of scientist who agree
on human caused global warming; it is rather 99 per cent.
An Australian study published by the British-based Institute of Physics
reached a similar conclusion.
Walker said the National Association of Scholars has reported that 40
per cent of "scientists with a specialty with regard to climate do not
ascribe to human caused global warming."
The National Association is not, in fact, a scientific organization,
but, rather, a conservative group dedicated to advancing a libertarian
and conservative philosophy in research and higher education.
Even so, one can search their online offerings assiduously and find none
that make anything resembling the claim Walker attributes to them.
On its website the National Association says about climate change: "We
take no position on whether global warming is real, man-made, or
dangerous. The National Association of Scholars is not a body of climate
scientists, and we leave these questions to those with the relevant
They then go on to say: "The studies that claim 97 per cent of climate
scientists believe in dangerous anthropogenic global warming have
largely been discredited. The 97 per cent figure was achieved by
misleading questions and miscategorizing answers."
However, contrary to Walker, they do not complain that the consensus
figure would be lower if one included only climatologists. To the
contrary, they say quite the opposite, to wit: "The term 'climate
scientists' is itself mischievous -- a way of writing out scientists who
are experts in related fields, such as physics and geology, who disagree
with the consensus model."
As for the entity known as Open Source Systems, Science and Solutions,
its published material vigorously supports the scientific consensus on
climate change. It does not in any way whatsoever endorse the assertions
Walker made in the As It Happens interview and in his subsequent e-mail.
In the section of Open Source's web site dedicated to myths versus facts
on global warming it says:
"This news and analysis section addresses substance of arguments
such as 'global warming is a hoax,' 'global warming is a fiction,'
'global warming is created to make money for Al Gore.' The main fallacy
noted is that most arguments are facts out of context while others are
simply false representations. When the facts pertaining to the arguments
are viewed in context relevance becomes obvious. The data clearly
indicates global warming is happening and is human caused."
One has to assume that in providing CBC with these sources the U.S.
politician and senior Trump adviser assumed nobody would check them.
He was wrong.
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