Conservatives, both in the media and in Congress, consistently claim that climate change either doesn’t exist or, if it does, isn’t a result of man-made pollution. They frequently misrepresent widely-accepted scientific data, or, when that won’t work, rally behind the convenient excuse “I’m not a scientist.”
The Washington Times has taken this to a whole new level by completely misrepresenting a press release from NASA. The press release was to promote a lecture by atmospheric scientist Norman Loeb called “The Recent Pause in Global Warming: A Temporary Blip or Something More Permanent?” The release said,
“Loeb’s presentation will provide a summary on recent research related to a slow-down in surface warming referred to as the ‘Global Warming Hiatus.’ Over the past 15 years, the global mean surface temperature of Earth has increased at a rate that is roughly one- third of that over the past 60 years …
The global warming hiatus occurred despite record-breaking temperatures in the 2000s, retreating Arctic sea ice, rising sea levels and a record high global concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Opinions vary about the hiatus, as some view it as evidence that man-made global warming is a myth. Others explain that it is simply due to climate variability that is temporarily masking a longer-term temperature trend.”
The Washington Times article, titled “Paging Al Gore: NASA says that global warming could be ‘on hiatus,’” says “Mr. Loeb’s presentation offered the most recent research related to a slowdown in surface warming referred to as the “global warming hiatus,” the federal agency says.”
Somehow a press release with fewer than 400 words and the NASA version of a click-bait headline prove that global warming is just a hoax perpetrated by the former vice president.
A reporter from the Virginian-Pilot, who attended the presentation, said Loeb’s lecture “reflected the general complexity of climate science,” and that Loeb “cautioned against drawing conclusions about what 15 years of slower warming means, mainly because it’s a relatively short time period.” Loeb also stressed that “while the Earth is warming more slowly, it’s still warming.”
Apparently, Jennifer Harper, who wrote the Washington Post’s article, neither attended the lecture nor bothered to read the presentation documents NASA put online. If she had, she would have read:
“The observations indicated that Earth is continuing to accumulate heat despite the recent slowdown in surface warming compared with the late 20th century. Decadal periods of minimal surface warming, or even cooling, interspersing decades of rapid surface warming, are not inconsistent with a long-term warming trend. Rather, it characterizes the interplay between steadily increasing greenhouse gas forcing internally generated climate variability.”
You can read Loeb’s entire presentation here.