Politico’s Erika Lovley Promotes Toxic Stupidity About Global Warming

Erika Lovley
Erika Lovley

Erika Lovley, the Politico’s energy and environment reporter, today wrote a full-page article on the dying breed of global warming deniers that promotes their brand of toxic stupidity.

Lovley unquestioningly quotes extremist denier Joseph D’Aleo, Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) aide Marc Morano, and Cato Institute fellow Patrick Michaels in a piece littered with bald assertions and slanders against the scientific community without any basis in reality.

She talks of a “growing accumulation of global cooling science,” and a “growing number of scientists” who are “questioning how quickly the warming is happening and whether humans are actually the leading cause.” She claims Al Gore is a “crusader on climate change” who is “unconcerned” by the “growing science.”

The only specifics she mentions to support this extended screed are D’Aleo’s “Is Global Warming on the Wane?” in the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Global Warming Petition Project. The Almanac piece purports that global warming is due to sunspot variation, and the petition claims — as Lovley faithfully transcribes — to have the signatures of “31,000 scientists across the world” agreeing with the assertion that “man’s impact on climate change can’t be reasonably proven.” These are both zombie lies, animated by the efforts of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and credulous reporters like Erika Lovley, years after they have been pronounced dead by all reputable authorities:

The Sunspot-Global Warming Zombie Lie. “We at the Almanac are among those who believe that sunspot cycles,” D’Aleo writes, “and their effects on oceans correlate with climate changes.” Needless to say, the Old Farmer’s Almanac is not a peer-reviewed scientific journal. And the nonsense of sunspot correlation has been entertainingly refuted time and again and again and again and again.

The Global Warming Petition Zombie Lie. The Global Warming Petition Project began as the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine petition against the Kyoto Protocol in 1999. The Oregon Institute, a small right-wing fringe science group that minimizes the dangers of nuclear weapons, promoted the petition under false pretenses to members of the National Academy of Sciences. The petition’s signers are not limited to climate scientists or even PhD’s. The list includes veterinarians, civil engineers, and oil industry scientists. Names are repeated, and many of the signers are now dead, including the tobacco-funded scientist who started the petition, Frederick Seitz. As Chris Colose wrote after the republication of the petition this May, “Same crap, different year, different number.” Colose randomly reviewed 60 names on the list, 54 marked as Ph.D’s, and found not a single one who had published any work relevant to climate science.

Contra Lovley, zombie folderol is not “growing science.”

Lovley’s piece also promotes the anti-scientific idiocy of the “Gore Effect,” a listing of extreme weather events (or just bad weather) that coincide (or come near in time to) appearances by Al Gore (or other political action on global warming). Although such coincidences can be humorous — as when Tropical Storm Fay forced the cancellation of a global warming denier event — they’re utterly meaningless. However, the Politico illustrates the “Gore Effect” with a fancy infographic and speculates whether it’s “proof that the Earth’s temperatures are slow to rise.”

In fact, this piece only provides evidence that the Politico is comprised of stupendous hacks who scorn the very concept of responsible journalism.

UPDATE: ClimateProgress‘s Joe Romm retorts, “Even as pure political reporting, the piece is beneath rank amateurish — as if climate change deniers on the Hill are ‘quietly’ doing anything.”

The Way Things Break says Lovley’s piece “reads like a warmed-over Inhofe press release.”

Gristmill‘s David Roberts writes:

Today brings two of the must jaw-droppingly moronic stories I’ve ever seen, both in Politico, both written by Erika Lovley, who one can only assume is either the most dimwitted, gullible reporter in D.C. or … um, I can’t think of another explanation.

From Political Animal‘s Steve Benen: “Here’s hoping Lovley’s articles are an aberration, and not the kind of ‘journalism’ readers can expect as the political world transitions from campaign mode to governing.”

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