In Must-Read WSJ Letter, 3 Dozen Top Climate Scientists Slam Murdoch’s 16 Posers: “Dentists Practicing Cardiology” upon a time there were 16 disinformers with PhDs posing as climate scientists on the pages of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal of Lies.  Then along came three dozen real climate scientists to call them out:

Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.

You published “No Need to Panic About Global Warming” (op-ed, Jan. 27) on climate change by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert. This happens in nearly every field of science. For example, there is a retrovirus expert who does not accept that HIV causes AIDS. And it is instructive to recall that a few scientists continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer, long after that was settled science.

Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter….

That’s just the opening salvo from a devastating letter to the editor by some of the world’s leading climate scientists (full list of names below).

The original op-ed was widely debunked, including its absurd claim that global warming has stopped (see “Murdoch’s WSJ Finds 16 Scientists to Push Pollutocrat Agenda With Long-Debunked Climate Lies“).

Here’s a good chart from Skeptical Science on the the difference between the cardiologists (aka realists) and dentists (aka skeptics aka posers aka disinformers):

skeptics v realists v3

The rest of the take down is well worth reading:

And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean. Such periods are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming.

Thus, climate experts also know what one of us, Kevin Trenberth, actually meant by the out-of-context, misrepresented quote used in the op-ed. Mr. Trenberth was lamenting the inadequacy of observing systems to fully monitor warming trends in the deep ocean and other aspects of the short-term variations that always occur, together with the long-term human-induced warming trend.

The National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. (set up by President Abraham Lincoln to advise on scientific issues), as well as major national academies of science around the world and every other authoritative body of scientists active in climate research have stated that the science is clear: The world is heating up and humans are primarily responsible. Impacts are already apparent and will increase. Reducing future impacts will require significant reductions in emissions of heat-trapping gases.

Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused. It would be an act of recklessness for any political leader to disregard the weight of evidence and ignore the enormous risks that climate change clearly poses. In addition, there is very clear evidence that investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy will not only allow the world to avoid the worst risks of climate change, but could also drive decades of economic growth. Just what the doctor ordered.

See “New study reaffirms broad scientific understanding of climate change, questions media’s reliance on tiny group of less-credibile scientists for ‘balance’: “Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that 1) 97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and 2) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.”

Here are the signatories of the WSJ letter.  It reads like a Who’s Who of Climate Scientists:

Kevin Trenberth, Sc.D.

Distinguished Senior Scientist

Climate Analysis Section National Center for Atmospheric Research

La Jolla, Calif.

Kevin Trenberth, Sc.D, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Richard Somerville, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D., Director, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University

Rasmus Benestad, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Gerald Meehl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D., Professor of Geosciences; Director, Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, Princeton University

Peter Gleick, Ph.D., co-founder and president, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security

Michael C. MacCracken, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Climate Institute, Washington

Michael Mann, Ph.D., Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University

Steven Running, Ph.D., Professor, Director, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, University of Montana

Robert Corell, Ph.D., Chair, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment; Principal, Global Environment Technology Foundation

Dennis Ojima, Ph.D., Professor, Senior Research Scientist, and Head of the Dept. of Interior’s Climate Science Center at Colorado State University

Josh Willis, Ph.D., Climate Scientist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Matthew England, Ph.D., Professor, Joint Director of the Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia

Ken Caldeira, Ph.D., Atmospheric Scientist, Dept. of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution

Warren Washington, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Terry L. Root, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University

David Karoly, Ph.D., ARC Federation Fellow and Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Kiehl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Donald Wuebbles, Ph.D., Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Camille Parmesan, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, University of Texas; Professor of Global Change Biology, Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, UK

Simon Donner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada

Barrett N. Rock, Ph.D., Professor, Complex Systems Research Center and Department of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire

David Griggs, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University, Australia

Roger N. Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Professorial Research Fellow, Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, Australia

William L. Chameides, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, School of the Environment, Duke University

Gary Yohe, Ph.D., Professor, Economics and Environmental Studies, Wesleyan University, CT

Robert Watson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Chair of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Steven Sherwood, Ph.D., Director, Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Chris Rapley, Ph.D., Professor of Climate Science, University College London, UK

Joan Kleypas, Ph.D., Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

James J. McCarthy, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University

Stefan Rahmstorf, Ph.D., Professor of Physics of the Oceans, Potsdam University, Germany

Julia Cole, Ph.D., Professor, Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

William H. Schlesinger, Ph.D., President, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Jonathan Overpeck, Ph.D., Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

Eric Rignot, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Professor of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine

Wolfgang Cramer, Professor of Global Ecology, Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology, CNRS, Aix-en-Provence, France




19 Responses to In Must-Read WSJ Letter, 3 Dozen Top Climate Scientists Slam Murdoch’s 16 Posers: “Dentists Practicing Cardiology”

  1. cervantes says:

    Yeah well, read the comments on the letter and you’ll see how futile it is to tell the truth.

  2. Colorado Bob says:

    And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean. Such periods are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming.

    Case in point :
    Rising Tasman Sea temps shock scientists

  3. Colorado Bob says:

    Link –
    The international scientific team working on the project said the ocean hotspots were a result of strengthening wind systems caused by greenhouse gases which had driven ocean currents beyond their known boundaries.

    The East Australian Current was around 350km further south, explaining the warming in the Tasman Sea.

  4. Chris Winter says:

    I noticed the third name down in the list of signatories! Looks like Katherine Kayhoe is getting some of her own back. I wonder if she’ll be voting Republican this time around.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Most people will not read this letter, cause it is somewhere buried on the website. The main letter from the 16 is accessible from almost every WSJ page (is featured because it has so many hits).

  6. prokaryotes says:

    This article should have the correct image

    Murdoch (who is responsible after all, for the screw up in reporting the science)

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    Good map with this article :
    ” All these major western boundary currents are in fact behaving in the same way,” he says. “It really points to a global increase in greenhouse gases as a cause.”

    Wenju and the team combined computer simulations with long-term observations, including monthly measurements that have been taken by the CSIRO since 1945, to understand how ocean circulation patterns are changing all over the world.

    The hotspots have formed where fast-flowing ocean currents carry warm water westward, to arrive at the eastern edge of the major continents. In Australia’s case, the East Australian Current has shifted around 350km further south, making the Tasman Sea “one of the hottest hotspots,” Wenju told Australian Geographic.

    What’s most surprising about the results, he says, is that changes in the hotspots have been highly synchronised, which points to a global cause.

  8. Mike Roddy says:

    Thanks to Trenberth and friends for this excellent letter. As for the goofy denier comments, who cares? They are just embarrassing themselves.

    WSJ must have really felt some heat to publish the rebuttal. It will be interesting to see if this affects future coverage. Prediction: not.

  9. MarkfromLexington says:

    I also encourage you to read a scathing response from Louis Derry, an assistant professor of geological sciences at Cornell University. He discusses each of the techniques the WSJ op-ed uses to make their case for inaction. Very comprehensive and well written.

  10. Jim says:

    So many hits…
    More and more it seems that this is exactly why they run garbage denier articles. It gets hits which means more $$ in the end. Joe always talks about the head vice. I’ve pretty much got a permanent vice on my head these days. And it’s getting tighter by the hour.

  11. Raul M. says:

    Meanwhile climate central has article saying that Southeast Texas may have to refuse water to farming as the lower Colorado River water reservoirs are too low in acre feet and they doubt that the water levels will gain before planting time.

  12. Teresa says:

    And so, instead of investing in cap and trade or clean energy, the gov’t will pay farmers for the crops that couldn’t be grown, and food prices will rise for Americans. Our systems can’t be protected by throwing money at the near-term symptoms instead of the long-term causes.

  13. Douglas says:

    As the lakes dry up and the rivers run lower, there will be much more pressure on the Oglalla and other aquifers.

    Do they take this effect into account when projecting aquifer life spans? I doubt it, but would be curious to know.

  14. Michael Ashley says:

    You say “16 disinformers with PhDs”, however, at least one of them, Kininmonth, as far as I am aware, does not have a PhD.

  15. otter17 says:

    Man, that .gif is totally awesome. Props to Skeptical Science.

  16. PeterW says:

    You would think this rebuttal would make some sort of impact with the press, but searching Google News, you find that the original WSJ piece has received much more coverage.

  17. John Mason says:

    Blimey, the deniers have swarmed the comments below that WSJ piece. If anyone hasn’t looked, be advised to wear an industrial-strength head-vise before doing so!

  18. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I read comments too Cervantes but the only blog I comment on is CP. Blogs seem to accumulate their own communities of supporters and protagonists. But it has been shown there is an organized cadre of deniers and fellow travellers/followers who can be relied upon to fill the comments on any article about basic data.

    These negative commentators do not represent the majority view as shown by reputable opinion polls and they certainly do not prove the futility of telling the truth, particularly when the scientific evidence is combined with first hand observations of climate change, often in its most devastating forms.

    “The times are a’changing” and this is not the time to be cynical – it is the time to capitalize on the observations of the effects of cc and get cooperatively organized for the real, on the ground, changes that must happen to preserve the future of our planet, the one that supports life and, therefore, our species.

    Get together with your neighbours, your communties of whatever types, and start making the action that counts. The ultimate outcome is up to the people now, ME