Another Far-Right Hack Misrepresents Another Researcher

A couple of weeks ago the National Review ran a cover story by Jason Steorts claiming that fears of melting ice at the poles were over-hyped. Following a line of argument laid out by the ExxonMobil-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute, Steorts quoted a study by a scientist named Curt Davis.

Davis, director of the Center for Geospatial Intelligence at the University of Missouri-Columbia, promptly called the CEI a bunch of liars, saying it was part of a "deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public."

Think  Progress then went to the scientist for a comment specifically on Steorts’ story, and Davis said that Steorts "misrepresented" his work, "did his math wrong," and failed to consider "significant ice loss on the coasts of Antarctica" when calculating the mass of ice at the South Pole.

Now, another National Review writer associated with CEI and the National Review writes another story that misleadingly quotes another scientist. For the far-right TCS (which also takes money from Exxon) Iain Murray wrote a story claiming that there was some question as to whether climate change was anthropogenic and vaguely extolling local measures to adapt to climate change, as opposed to national or international efforts to reduce emissions. All through the story he implied that those advocating reducing carbon emissions for the sake of the health of the planet somehow were standing in the way of "freedom," "resilience," and "creativity," all activities apparently despised by environmentalists. He quoted exactly one scientist, named Indur Goklany:

Indur Goklany, in a study for the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), examined the effects of tackling infectious diseases, hunger, water insecurity, sea level rise and threats to biodiversity now as opposed to attempting to mitigate climate change now. In all cases he found that tackling them now would have considerably more effect and be cheaper than tackling climate change.

But although it’s true that Goklany advocates adaptation over mitigation (perhaps because the National Center for Policy Analysis he works for is also funded in part by Exxon) he himself said in a comment on Monday at Prometheus that "[mitigation and adaptation] don’t have to be mutually exclusive."

Once again, the Exxon hacks are forced to mislead to make an argument against reducing carbon emissions, claiming that it’s either/or when it comes to healing the planet.

Yes, of course we need to prepare for the worst now, just as a doctor presented with a patient running a fever will do what he must to get that fever down. And yes, of course we must prevent the fever from getting much worse in months and years and decades to come. But first and foremost, we must act, which is what ExxonMobil has spent millions to stall, all for the sake of profit, over five billion in the first quarter alone.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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