Wall Street Journal feature on climate change rebuked

Leading climate change scientists rebuked the opinion piece carried by the WSJ (Image: NASA)

A group of leading climate change scientists rebuked an article published by The Wall Street Journal yesterday which promotes a widely discredited picture of global warming.

The article, No Need To Panic About Global Warming was signed by 16 scientists who argue that “the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true.”

“In fact,” the authors argued, “a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.”

In an open letter criticising the opinion piece, Kevin Trenberth a senior scientist at the Climate Analysis Section National Center for Atmospheric Research in California, says that the article’s authors were not recognised within the field of climate change, and therefore unqualified to make claims about the veracity of global warming.

“Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations,” the article said.

Trenberth went on: “On 27 January, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed on climate change by the climate science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert.

“This happens in nearly every field of science. For example, there is a retrovirus expert who does not accept that HIV causes Aids. And it is instructive to recall that a few scientists continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer, long after that was settled science.”

The letter concludes that 97% of researchers active within the field of climate science are in agreement that the phenomenon of climate change is real and is caused by humans. Trenbeth wrote: “It would be an act of recklessness for any political leader to disregard the weight of evidence and ignore the enormous risks that climate change clearly poses.”

In an article about the debate, The Guardian noted yesterday that the Wall Street Journal has a history of rejection of climate science, noting that “the paper had earlier refused to publish a similar letter from 255 scientists from the National Academy of Sciences that supported the mainstream view on climate change.”

The article has generated a wealth of debate from other publications on the subject.

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