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Washington Post Drops Climate Hawk Ezra Klein, Adds Climate Confusionist Blog Volokh Conspiracy

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"Washington Post Drops Climate Hawk Ezra Klein, Adds Climate Confusionist Blog Volokh Conspiracy"

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Last year, the Washington Post removed its top climate reporter, Juliet Eilperin, from the environment beat, and its coverage of climate change dropped by one third.

This week, the Post announced two key changes that ensure continued miscoverage of the story of the century.

First, they are dropping star blogger Ezra Klein — one of their only consistent sources of science-based coverage of climate change. The Politico reported that the Post and new owner Jeff Bezos balked at spending $10 million on Klein’s proposal to create “an independent, explanatory journalism website.” Heck, the Post “never even offered an alternative figure, sources familiar with the negotiations said.”

But why spend millions to keep Klein for independent explanatory journalism when you can just glom onto a libertarian, confusionist website, The Volokh Conspiracy, and give them “full editorial control”? No one ever said Bezos wasn’t penny-wise.

As Brad Johnson explains at Grist, “The Volokh Conspiracy bloggers are aptly named, as many of them have promoted conspiracy theories about anthropogenic climate change and the scientists who study it.” As but one of many examples Johnson cites Volokh blogger Jonathan Adler, “former Competitive Enterprise Institute environmental director and Heartland Institute contributor,” writing in 2010: “As these stories make clear, several of the scientists whose e-mail and other documents were disclosed engaged in both unethical and illegal conduct.” Multiple, independent investigations found otherwise, of course.

But you don’t have to look at the past writings to see that the Volokh bloggers will fit in nicely with the Washington Post of George Will and Bjorn Lomborg. Here is Adler’s inaugural climate post for the Post:

Was a scientific journal canned for disagreeing with the IPCC?

Copernicus Publications, “the innovative open access publisher,” recently announced it was terminating one of its journals, Pattern Recognition in Physics due to concerns about the journal’s editorial practices. PRP was not even one year old. It seems the problems began when the journal’s editors agreed to a special issue on “Pattern in solar variability, their planetary origin and terrestrial impacts,” in which the issue’s editors had the temerity to “doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project.”(*) According to the original explanation offered by Martin Rasmussen of Copernicus Publications, as reported by JoNova, the expression of this conclusion was a motivating factor for the “drastic decision” to terminate a journal. A letter to one of the editors also expressed “alarm” that a paper in PRP would question the IPCC.

Reading this piece, you’d get the impression that Copernicus’s decision to shutter PRP –supposedly for having the “temerity” to question the IPCC — was unjustifiable. Yet in the longer version of this post at the Volokh website, Adler explains:

“… it appears that PRP did violate accepted peer review norms in producing the special issue — as Anthony Watts details here — and concerns were raised about the journal last year. So it appears Copernicus did have sufficient grounds to reconsider its production of PRP.”

D’oh! But you’d never know that from reading the version Adler ran on the Post’s website.

And if citing and linking to multiple denier blogs isn’t clue enough where the Volokh folk are coming from, the word “temerity” tells you all you need to know.

Adler never explains in the Post version that the IPCC “project” is hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists reviewing the scientific literature every few years. It takes much more than “temerity” to “doubt the continued … warming as claimed by the IPCC project.” It would take a Nobel-Prize-worthy theory of physics.

What Adler never explains is that it’s not the questioning of the IPCC that is at issue, it’s the questioning of decades of well-established and well-proven physics. You can read the reality-based reasons the journal was canned at Rabett Run.

Adler wants readers to think there’s something seriously wrong with writing a letter expressing ” ‘alarm’ that a paper in PRP would question the IPCC.” But, again, the alarm isn’t over “questioning the IPCC.” It is with disputing the well-established physics the IPCC is based on. Rabett has the full excerpt from the letter, which states:

… we read through the general conclusions paper published on 16 Dec 2013. We were alarmed by the authors’ second implication stating “This sheds serious doubts on the issue of a continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project”.

Note that, like Adler, the authors of the dubious conclusions paper seem to imply with their word choice that the “IPCC project” is some sinister conspiracy to stifle dissent, rather than what it is — our top scientists providing a comprehensive summary of the latest climate science.

It is an extraordinary claim that one could shed doubt on the issue of continued warming — even if the Sun went into a “new Grand Minimum.” It would
require extraordinary evidence, which has yet to be provided by anyone. Only an extremist fringe of the denial movement thinks we might stop warming even as we keep pouring tens of billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

It is alarming that the Volokh Conspiracy doesn’t seem to understand the basis for the overwhelming scientific judgment that we are warming and will keep doing so absent sharp cuts in GHG emissions. It is even more alarming that Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post would think such uninformed conspiracy mongering belongs at the Post.

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