Saturday, June 05, 2010

Howard Friel's Lomborg deception

Interviewed on the ABC's The Science Show, The Lomborg Deception author Howard Friel engages in some deception of his own in giving a non-answer to a straightforward question on the population status of polar bears:

Robyn Williams: So what's the evidence now in 2010? The Canadians are studying polar bears and any number of biologists and other scientists are doing so. So what's the current state of the polar bear population?

Howard Friel: The condition of the bears has been declining in the regions of the Arctic that have most experienced global warming, and that's still the status of the bears and of the scientific studies, to my knowledge. So the overwhelming body of scientific evidence, including by Ian Stirling, probably the most important polar bear scientist over the last 30 years who read my book and who has endorsed it, clearly demonstrates that the polar bears are threatened as a species in the Arctic due to global warming.

Having failed to provide convincing proof of Lomborg's alleged deceptions, interviewer Williams sets up Friel for concluding innuendo:

Robyn Williams: One thing you don't say in your book is that he's in any way linked to a pressure group, a lobby group or anything like that, and that's the sort of thing that one would want to know, because suddenly this young man comes from nowhere, from Denmark, an economist, talking about environmental science. What's behind the Lomborg phenomenon?

Howard Friel: That's a very good question. I chose not to address it, as you say. Let me say this about that though, I find it very interesting that Lomborg's main plank which he repeats over and over again which has been completely consistent over the course of almost a decade now, that he is opposed to cuts in CO2 emissions. If you look at who that benefits that would be the coal and oil industries. I have no evidence that he's being paid by the coal and oil industries, I don't know one way or the other, but I do know that based on my research that his argument that it would be better for the Earth to forgo cuts in CO2 are ridiculous and absurd and reckless, and one would have to wonder why he is making this claim, especially since over and over again he cannot support the particulars of his claim with his own scholarship, even with his own footnoted sources.

So you raise a very important question, it's one that I'm not really prepared to answer at this point, but I do find it interesting that his one consistent plank...because he's sort of reinvented himself over the years, including now he's somehow this specialist on geo-engineering when he's not a scientist or an engineer, but all of this is designed to protect his claim that we should not cut CO2. For example, now he's claiming that we should engage in these geo-engineering projects instead of cutting CO2. Even assuming that some of these geo-engineering projects would work, and it's not clear that they would at all, that doesn't address the underlying problem, and the underlying problem is the CO2. And his position is that we should absolutely not cut CO2, and that's completely consistent with the interests of the oil and coal industries.

This gives rise to Beck's Law: As an online global warming discussion grows longer, the probability of a warmenist referring to "bogus" oil company-funded climate research approaches 1. Anyone so mentioning automatically loses the argument.



Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

"his position is that we should absolutely not cut CO2, and that's completely consistent with the interests of the oil and coal industries."

It's probably also in the interests of trees.

7:19 PM  

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