Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gorebal warmenist goes unstifled

Long, ridiculously enthusiastic article in the Post today on "swashbuckling" Denver paleobotanist and anthropogenic global warming evangelist Kirk Johnson. Amid much swoony-talk ("In China, townspeople erected a bronze statue of him, on his knees, inspecting a dinosaur footprint") is this:
"The plants are very much recording what is going on," [Johnson] says. "They are in direct equilibrium with the climate. Plants are finely tuned to the climate, so when they turn into fossils, they are fine recorders of when they lived and died. It's like buried thermometers and rain gauges."

And what they help show, among other things, is how rapidly Earth's climate has transformed over the years.

The big difference now, he says, is the human impact on these natural cycles. And the data suggest that "the rate at which we are changing things is startlingly fast."
Naturally, neither Johnson nor reporter Douglas Brown bothers to describe any of this data. No matter: "Johnson quickly converted from climate change agnostic to global-warming evangelist."

Yippee. Here's the interesting part:
[L]ast month, at the invitation of the American Petroleum Institute, he visited nine U.S. cities in about 12 days to lecture about global warming in front of audiences of skeptics. One day, he started in Norman, Okla., traveled to Billings, Mont., and finished in Anchorage, Alaska.
The American Petroleum What? The American What Institute? The What Petroleum Institute? You mean the organization CommonDreams says is "not fond of environmental education or data that puts their industry into a negative light," the organization that "lie[s] to children, omit[s] any substantive discussion on the negative effects of continued oil use and use[s] teachers as unwitting accomplices in a 'big lie'”? That American Petroleum Institute? They paid him to try to change skeptics' minds?

Needless to say, Brown doesn't pick up on this curious factoid, let alone ask Johnson how much he was paid for his little tour. That's probably because, as he notes, "Johnson does it, he says, because he finds the topic politicized, 'and it's one of my goals to depoliticize the discussion. Just the facts, ma'am.'"

Facts like these:
[Global warming is] a big deal," he says. "It's everything. National security. The economy. The environment. Human population."
Jack Webb has a lot to answer for.

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