Competitive Enterprise Institute Distorting Science

I don’t normally write much about global warming, but since this is kind of close to home I thought I’d mention it.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a university of Missouri – Columbia professor is crying foul over the way the Competitive Enterprise Institute is using his research in their ad campaign.

The ad in question refers to recent headlines about the shrinking of the ice sheets and the potentially catastrophic ramifications. The ad says some studies have found “exactly the opposite” and uses the study in which Davis was a lead author as an example.
The study, titled “Snowfall-Driven Growth in East Antarctic Ice Sheet Mitigates Recent Sea-Level Rise,” was published in Science magazine in June 2005.
It shows that the “Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner,” the ad says.
Not exactly, Davis said Monday.
First, the study showed that only the East Antarctic sheet is growing, not the whole sheet, he said.
Second, the area studied was the interior section – not the coastal areas that are known to be losing mass. While it is still unknown whether the coastal losses outweigh the interior gains, the latest evidence points to an overall loss of mass, he said.
Finally, and ironically, the fact that the interior areas are growing is a predicted consequence of global warming, Davis said.
Because Antarctica is so cold, scientists don’t expect the surface to melt right away from global climate change. Rather, it is expected that higher temperatures would lead to increased precipitation, which would lead to growth of the interior areas of the ice sheet, he said.
“The ads are a deliberate attempt to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate,” Davis said.


Davis’ study focuses on the growth of the eastern sheet, Murray acknowledged. But that sheet is five times larger than the western sheet.
Murray said the public needed to hear about the gains as well as the losses.

Added Later: Is it me, or does the italicized sentence above sound a lot like ID’s “Teach the Controversy”? Is this the new slogan for global warming skeptics “Teach about the Gains as well as the Losses”?
In the meantime, as Sir Oolius points out Bush refuses to see Gore’s global warming film. Bush says:

“New technologies will change how we live and how we drive our cars, which all will have the beneficial effect of improving the environment,” Bush said. “And in my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the environment.”

Gore replies:

Why should we set aside the global scientific consensus,” Gore said, his voice rising with emotion. “Is it because Exxon Mobil wants us to set it aside? Why should we set aside the conclusion of scientists in the United States, including the National Academy of Sciences, and around the world including the 11 most important national academies of science on the globe and substitute for their view the view of Exxon Mobil. Why?”

And of course MSNBC says:

Bush and Gore have had bitter disagreements about the environment and other issues. Bush defeated Gore in a disputed presidential election that was finally settled by the Supreme Court in 2000.

Translation: Why pay attention to a bitter, crazy guy?

Watch the movie, Mr. President!


4 Responses

  1. LOL! See my earlier spoof on the ads. It was so obvious they weren’t using that paper correctly…thanks for bringing that to light!
    Also, let’s get Bush to watch Gore’s movie

  2. ‘Global Warming” has always seemed such a red herring to me, although I believe it is true. It is dificult to explain, there is seemingly contradictory evidence (e.g. cooler temperatures in certain localities), and the lay person doesn’t really care about an extra degree or two. Why don’t we focus on pollution instead? Who would argue that pollution is nothing to worry about? If we reduce known toxins and dangers such as carbon monoxide, CFCs, mercury, etc., won’t we inherently reduce carbon dioxide at the same time? If we talk about skin cancer, lung cancer, asthma as the dangers, then the average person will understand.

  3. Unfortunately CO2 “pollution” isn’t quite the same as other pollutants, since it exists naturally and harmoniously in the life cycle of plants and animals. It’s the _excess_ CO2 added to the system by burning fossil fuels that causes GW.
    While a simple frame of CO2 as pollution is an improvement over those “We call it life” commercials, it is open to serious misinterpretation on both sides of the debate. On the one hand, I see people trying to dismiss the dangers of CO2 by comparing it to water vapour and natural events like forest fires. On the other hand, I’ve seen advocates for carbon reform dismiss biofuels because they produce CO2 when burned.

  4. Global Warming = GW
    George W Bush = GW
    Coincidence? I doubt it. 🙂
    On a serious note, I think that there should be a counterpoint made to the Exxon Mobil ads that have recently been airing. An ad campaign to set the record straight. It would take funding, but maybe it would get a good thought or 2 into the redneck fundamentalist mind. That, or maybe someone should point out to a major religious leader (Billy Graham?) things that are EXPLICIT in the Bible: God cast Man onto our Earth from the Garden, which means this is NOT the paradisic land he promised, which means there is NO justification for God to provide and protect us from the natural ways of the world. I don’t know how they justify it.

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