38 climate scientists respond to error-filled Wall Street Journal commentary

Posted on February 1, 2012


One of the many factual errors, misunderstandings, and misleading claims (I counted at least six) in a Wall Street Journal commentary denying human-caused climate disruption was that only four of the 16 co-signers had published on climate science, and only one has published anything significant on the topic recently. Many of the others were not even scientists (including celebrity aerospace engineer Burt Rutan), but rather engineers or physicians who were misidentified as scientists by the Journal‘s editorial page editor.

Today, the Journal published a response by 38 climate scientists to the commentary as a letter to the editor. This continues a pattern at the Journal of refusing to grant equal space and prominence to refutations of factually deficient commentaries. But given the Journal could have simply refused to publish any response, this is something a reasonably significant accomplishment. (Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway document the Journal‘s long and iniquitous history of refusing to publish rebuttals in great detail in their book Merchants of Doubt, reviewed by S&R here)

Here are the opening lines from the rebuttal:

Do you consult your dentist on 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.

On January 27, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed on climate change by the climate science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology….

Please click on the link above (or this one, which could move the rebuttal behind the Journal‘s paywall at any time) to read the rest.