Leader Post: Publishing Anti-Facts

In response to Herb Pinder’s July 16th op-ed “Climate change alarmists ignore nature’s role”, I wonder if the Leader-Post has decided to publish conspiracy theories as reasonable opinions. I think many have heard of “young earth creationists” who contend the Earth is only 6000 years old, but it’s news to me there are people such as Mr. Pinder who purport to have discovered it’s “almost six billion”, or 1.5 Billion years older than scientists determined in 1956. It seems Mr. Pinder’s opinion “cries out for historical and factual context” he claimed to provide to Mr. Prebble’s opinion piece.

There’s a fascinating episode of Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson, called “The Clean Room”. It’s about the scientist Clair Patterson who used lead-lead dating to determine the true age of the Earth, and inadvertently discovered that everyone was being poisoned by leaded gasoline. He spent the rest of his life fighting to change what the fossil fuel industry once insisted was of no consequence to our health.

I think that story provides valuable context when discussing Mr. Pinder’s error riddled op-ed he wrote in support of continued fossil fuel pollution.

leaderpost. com /opinion/letters/fossil-fuel-fan-short-on-facts

The Leader Post published a response also from Michael E. Mann.

Herb Pinder, who is associated with the free market advocacy group the Fraser Institute, did a disservice to your readers by promoting falsehoods about climate change and making untruthful statements about my own scientific work.

The headline to the piece is false, as climate scientists have spent decades studying natural influences on climate. That research has demonstrated that natural factors cannot explain the warming of the past century. Indeed, the globe should have cooled if natural factors alone were at work.

Pinder dismisses human-caused climate change as “a political construct” when in fact it is the conclusion of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the national academies of Canada and all other industrial nations, and more than 97% of scientists who have published on the topic.

Pinder offers up the usual litany of untruths, specious factoids and misleading sound-bites like: “climate is always changing!” (#1 on the Skeptical Science list of standard climate change denier talking points; yes climate has changed in the past, but natural factors cannot explain the magnitude and rate of modern-day global warming) and “global warming has stopped” (#9 on the Skeptical Science list. The claim is simply absurd: the last two years were globally the warmest years on record, and in the U.S. we just had our warmest June on record) and “the amount of CO2 we’ve added  is too small to influence climate” (#30 on the SkS list; global temperatures are very sensitive to atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and we’re well on our way to doubling them).

In attempting to malign my own work, Pinder cites fellow Fraser Institute climate change denier Ross McKitrick, someone with no scientific credentials whose specious claims have been rejected by actual scientists.

2 responses to “Leader Post: Publishing Anti-Facts

  1. Hi, John. When I read Pinder’s op-ed last week I was struck that there was still a newspaper that would publish such pap. That they also published Michael Mann’s devastating rebuttal still doesn’t take the Leader Post off the hook for publishing Pinder’s piece at all.

    • I feel the same way. I shouldn’t have to correct columnists in the daily newspaper, and they certainly don’t give me enough words at 250, to correct all of Pinder’s mistakes and misrepresentations.

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