Environment

Scrutinizing Outlandish Climate Claims

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorAug 18, 2011 7:43 PM

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Several weeks ago, I pointed out how several popular climate skeptic blogs had disingenuously parroted the headline from that skewed Rasmussen poll:

69% Say It's Likely Scientists Have Falsified Global Warming Research

Shortly afterwards, I noticed a similar copy and paste job by Ronald Bailey at his libertarian outlet. Like the climate skeptics I cited (Anthony Watts and Bishop Hill), Bailey wasn't at all skeptical about Rasmussen's methodology, particularly the phrasing of the question that elicited that eye-popping figure. Shockingly, Fox News played up the Rasmussen poll, too.

So I can't say I was surprised yesterday to hear Texas Governor Rick Perry, a darling of the Tea Party, and the newest Republican entrant into the 2012 Presidential race, state:

I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.

This, combined with other previous statements on climate change by Perry, has Marc Morano, the proprietor of Climate Depot, in full swoon. Back on planet earth, however, Perry's climate change-related claims get thoroughly vetted today by Glenn Kessler, who writes the "Fact Checker" column at The Washington Post. Kessler concludes that

the governor is willfully ignoring the facts and making false accusations based on little evidence. He has every right to be a skeptic "” all scientific theories should be carefully scrutinized "” but that does not give him carte blanche to simply make things up.

Several months ago, in a post lauding Kessler's "Fact Checker" column, I wrote that it was

important to gauge the accuracy of what newsmakers say about climate change, stem cell research, vaccines, evolution, and so on.

I also said that top newspapers should have a similar fact-checking column devoted just to science and precisely the kinds of high profile statements made recently by Perry. Today in the Washington Post, Kessler provides a shining example of how it would be done.

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