Another climate scientist responds to Rep. Joe Barton's false claims

Bad Astronomy
By Phil Plait
Oct 18, 2010 8:49 PMNov 20, 2019 5:31 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The story so far: Climate scientist Michael Mann is under constant attack by global warming denialists in the government. He writes an editorial for the Washington Post pointing out why these demagogues are wrong. Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) writes a fallacy-laden "rebuttal" in the Post misrepresenting quite a bit of what Dr. Mann has done. The Post declines Mann's request to followup, so he sends his letter to me, which I posted here on this blog. As usual, in the comments, noise-machine hilarity ensued. OK, so now that you're caught up... In his OpEd hit piece, Rep. Barton mentions a National Research Council report that he claims contradicts Mann's climate change research. This is utter nonsense. Jerry North -- the chair of the NRC committee that wrote that report -- makes this clear in this OpEd he wrote in the Post:

While we did find some of the methods used in Michael E. Mann's original papers to be less cautious than some of our members might have used, we have not found any evidence that his results were incorrect or even out of line with other works published since his original papers. Mr. Barton's reference to "Mr. Mann's global warming projections" is incorrect and quite misleading. Mr. Mann's work does not make projections about global warming. His work, and that of our committee, was concerned with the reconstruction of temperatures in the past. As stated in the report, this area of research does not attempt to make any inference about future temperatures.

Shorter version: Barton was wrong, and worse, doesn't appear to even understand what the report he was quoting was about. Have I mentioned that the Honorable Joe Barton is the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce? You'd think a person in a position of that much authority would know better. Mind you, when BP executive Tony Hayward was being raked over the coals this summer -- deservedly -- for the Gulf oil leak, it was Representative Barton who apologized to him for the treatment. So, I await Representative Barton's public apology to Dr. Mann with bated breath. <...crickets...>

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.