Erroneous Claim in an AP News Article

UPDATE #2 October 24 2009: If Dina Cappiello, Seth Borenstein and/or Kevin Freking chose to reply in order to refute my criticism of their statement in the news article, we would be glad to post as a guest weblog.

UPDATE Oct 24 2009:  To make sure my text is clear, I repeated “the primary cause”in the text  below. As I weblogged on this morning, the human addition of CO2 from fossil fuel emissions is a first order global warming, and more generally a first order climate change forcing.  Efforts to reduce the magnitude of the human intervention into the climate system must include mitigation approaches with respect to CO2 emissions. However, by itself, this is only a part of the issue, as other human climate forcings are also of first order importance.

There is an Associated Press [AP] news article today by Dina Cappiello, Seth Borenstein and Kevin Freking titled “Poll: US belief in global warming is cooling”.  In this article the reporters perpetuate the myth that

“Though there are exceptions, the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that the primary cause is a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.”

This is not true and is a case of the media seeking to make up news.

We have already documented that a significant minority of climate scientists do not consider greenhouse gases as the primary cause for global warming, and, more generally, [as the primary] cause [of] climate change; e.g.  see

Brown, F., J. Annan, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2008: Is there agreement amongst climate scientists on the IPCC AR4 WG1?

and

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.

In the coming month, we will be presenting another article that documents that the AP authors are erroneous in their claim “that the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that the primary cause is a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.”

If the reporters want to be balanced in their presentations, rather than lobbyists and advocates, they would persue the validity of their claim.  So far, however, they have failed in this journalistic role.

 

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