On the whole I’ve been fairly sceptical of the whole global warming thing and have tended to side with those who suggested that either:
- Too little was known to be as conclusive as some are and want us to be
- A mountain was being made out of a molehill in terms of actual temperature change, or
- We didn’t know for sure what was causing rising temperatures and so attacking one cause might be a big waste of time and money.
I haven’t changed my views on this, and so I at first read this article in Investors’ Business Daily with interest. However, something about it didn’t ring true, and I eventually realised that it cited several people without actually quoting any of them. I figured the two people actually mentioned in the article shouldn’t be too hard to find, and sure enough I quickly dug up email addresses for both. I sent them each an email asking whether their views had been accurately represented and whether they agreed with the gist of the article.
Dr Ken Tapping, who is cited in the article as follows:
Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada’s National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity.
wrote back to my email. His first line is:
The article is rubbish.
An inauspicious start, to say the least. He goes on to say:
I believe that global climate change is the biggest problem facing us today. As yet we have no idea of exactly how serious it can get or where the tipping point may be.
The lateness of the start of the solar activity cycle is not yet enough to be something to worry about. However, even if we were to go into another minimum, and the Sun dims for a few decades, as it did during the Maunder Minimum, it could reduce the problem for a while, but things will come back worse when the cycle starts again.
So, in short, his views have been completely misrepresented (or, since he hasn’t actually been quoted and no views have explicitly been ascribed to him) he has technically only had his name used in a misleading way. Needless to say, he’s frustrated about this.
I note that the original article has no forum for comments of feedback so there’s no way to attach caveats to the article in a public place. In addition, it’s been picked up in other places across the web by global warming sceptics so it’s like any bad rumour and at this point very hard to rein in.
Since I’m largely sympathetic towards the thrust of the article, I find this all the more frustrating. Either there really are scientists out there who hold the views cited in the article, in which case they should have been the ones quoted, or there aren’t and therefore the article should not have been written. Either way, it’s extremely dishonest journalism. And it simply provides more ammunition for the global warming enthusiasts since it fits nicely with their narrative about scientific consensus.