Debra J. Saunders

Here's another reason why people don't trust newspapers. When science reporters write about, say, hormone therapy or drinking red wine, they report on studies that find that hormones or red wine can be good for you, as well as studies that suggest otherwise. Any science involving complex organisms is rarely black and white.

When it comes to global warming, newspapers play up stories that reinforce the prevalent the-sky-is-falling belief that global warming is human-caused and catastrophic. But if a study or scientist does not portend the end of the world as we know it, it rarely rates as news.

In that spirit, many papers (including The Chronicle) have reported on a UC San Diego science historian who reviewed 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed articles on global warming published between 1993 and 2003, and concluded, "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position."

Over 10 years, not one study challenged the orthodoxy -- does that sound right to you? If that were true, it would strongly suggest that, despite conflicting evidence in this wide and changing world, no scientist dares challenge the politically correct position on the issue.

No wonder, David Bellamy -- an Australian botanist who was involved in some 400 TV productions, only to see his TV career go south after he questioned global warming orthodoxy -- wrote in The Australian last week, "It's not even science anymore; it's anti-science." Bellamy notes that official data show that "in every year since 1998, world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased." Exhibit B: Richard S. Lindzen, the MIT Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, recently wrote, "There has been no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995."

Such findings rarely are reported, even as, Marc Morano, communications director for the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee told me, "Scientists keep coming out of the woodwork" to challenge the so-called consensus. "It's almost like a bandwagon effect."

The Global Warming Petition Project urges Washington to reject the Kyoto international global warming pact as there is "no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." So far, The Politico reports, more than 31,000 scientists have signed it.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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