For those of you that aren't familiar with this person, Larry Bell is an architecture professor who has decided he is an expert in climate science and writes global warming denial articles for Forbes magazine. Forbes is a little strange in that I have seen both very good, scientific articles about global warming and I have also seen articles written by the deniers, such as Larry Bell. I guess they are willing to go both ways.
Typically, Bell's articles are merely ridiculous and easily debunked. But, I read one today that was particularly noxious. Hellfire and Heresy: Global Warming Hotheads Inflamed About Skeptical Challengers was a truly bad piece of writing. I would be very embarrassed to put my name on something like that and I hope Bell is, too. Let's take a look at some of the reasons I say this.
He starts out innocently enough by pointing out Nobel prize winner Ivar Giaever is a global warming denier. He also points out that the author Michael Crichton was also a skeptic. Neither of these points is relevant. Neither Giaever nor Crichton are climate scientists. The fact that Giaever won the Nobel prize for his work in quantum tunneling is somehow interpreted to mean he knows what he is talking about with regards to climate science. Unfortunately, he has never shown any kind of expertise in the area. And, Crichton was a well-known kook, believing in astral projection, clairvoyance and aura viewing. He may have been a great writer, but he was not a climate scientist.
So, Bell's great references are two men, neither of which knows much about climate science. This should be a red flag.
However, I have to agree with Bell in the next thing he takes exception to. He refers to an article (also in Forbes) by Steve Zwick. In this article, Zwick talked about keeping a list of names of people that contribute to global warming and making them pay for the damage that results later on. This was very extremist of Zwick and I don't agree with his sentiments. As a note, I would point out that I drove my car today and I bet Zwick drives on as well, at least on occasion.
Bell then goes on to point out that some environmental bloggers have compared global warming deniers to Holocaust deniers and even to Hitler. Again, Bell is correct in his condemnation of these people. I have a very low opinion of deniers, but they are not the criminals. I compare them to the scientists that took the tobacco industry money and then produced 'scientific' results showing smoking was not linked to cancer.
But, then he shows his true colors as someone who is out to deceive by complaining about individuals who point out that global warming deniers are funded by the fossil fuel industry. His response to these complaints? He complains that people like Al Gore take money from environmental groups. So what? What about the thousands of climate scientists worldwide whose work proves global warming is real and DON'T take money from environmental groups? Now, show me any reputable climate scientist claiming global warming isn't real and is not taking money from the fossil fuel industry.
I repeat a claim I have made before, the only way you can deny global warming is to deny science. The proof is that strong and conclusive.
Then, this is where Bell begins to just plain lie.
He talks about Peter Gleick, the scientist that obtained internal memos from The Heartland Institute. These memos were freely provided by the Institute without knowing who it was they were giving them to. Their bad, not Gleick's. However, Bell calls this an illegal act and further says Gleick forged some documents. Neither claim is true and Bell knows it. The problem is that The Heartland Institute was revealed as the fossil fuel industry tool that it is and is really upset about being exposed. By slinging lies like this they are trying to take the spotlight off themselves and focus it on someone else.
Then, Bell makes an incredible statement by stating emails were obtained from scientists at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit under the Freedom of Information Act. There are two gigantic lies here. First, the emails are well know to have been obtained by anonymous hackers that illegally hacked into the university's computers. This has become known as ClimateGate. Also, East Anglia is in the U.K. and the Freedom of Information Act doesn't apply there because it is an American law. Bell knows this, so, he made two amazing lies in one sentence.
But, he doesn't stop there. He goes on the misquote, quote out of context and selectively quote from these emails in an attempt to show the scientists were doing something illegal. Eight independent reviews of the emails has concluded the scientists did nothing wrong. In fact, reviews of the released emails and the originals show that some were altered.
Does anyone besides me think The Heartland Institute might be involved?
Those lies still were not enough for Bell, though. He had to attack NASA climate scientist James Hansen with misquotes before he could call it a day. Bell stated Hansen claimed sea levels would rise by more than 80 feet by the end of this century. In fact, Hansen did not state that and it has to be assumed Bell knew this, since he was supposedly quoting from the article. What Hansen said was
The Earth’s history suggests that with warming of two to three degrees, the new sea level will include not only most of the ice from Greenland and West Antarctica, but a portion of East Antarctica, raising the sea level by twenty-five meters, or eighty feet. Within a century, coastal dwellers will be faced with irregular flooding associated with storms. They will have to continually rebuild above a transient water level.
Notice, he did not say sea levels would rise 80 feet by the end of this century.
For most people that would have been enough. A pretty good day's worth of lies in print. But, he had to throw one more false argument out there. He referred to the 49 former NASA employees and astronauts that wrote a letter to NASA criticizing the agency for its role in climate research. First, the letter is ridiculous. Second, not one of the signers is a climate scientist. The fact that you can find 49 people that deny global warming is not relevant to any argument. I can find 49 people to support any claim you want to make. I can find that many people that claim the world is hollow and we are living on the inside of it. That isn't hyperbole, there really are people that believe that.
Am I exaggerating by comparing deniers to hollow Earth believers? Yes, I am. The point is, just because you have 49 people, even some notable people, signing a letter doesn't make the issue a real one. Those 49 people have rejected science and are wrong in their beliefs. Hopefully, that is the worst they have done. Unlike Larry Bell who has written some bald-faced lies.