Climate Scientist to NYTimes. Cancel My Sub

April 27, 2017

New York Times hires more reporters for climate issues. And a climate denying columnist.
Oceanographer Stefan Rahmstorf cancels subscription

To the executive editor

The New York Times

27 April 2017, via email

Dear editor,

I am a climate researcher, professor for physics of the oceans and have worked for eight years as advisor to the German government on global change issues. I regret to have to tell you that hereby I cancel my subscription to the New York Times in the wake of you hiring columnist Bret Stephens. Let me explain my reasons.

When Stephens was hired I wrote to you in protest about his spreading of untruths about climate change, saying “I enjoy reading different opinions from my own, but this is not a matter of different opinions.” I did not cancel then but decided to wait and see. However, the subsequent public defense by the New York Times of the hiring of Stephens has convinced me that the problem at the Times goes much deeper than a single error of judgement. It concerns its attitude towards seeking the truth.

The Times argued that “millions agree with Stephens”. It made me wonder what’s next – when are you hiring a columnist claiming that the sun and the stars revolve around the Earth, because millions agree with that? My heroes are Copernicus, Galilei and Kepler, who sought the scientific truth based on observational evidence and defended it against the powerful authority of the church in Rome, at great personal cost. Had the New York Times existed then – would you have seen it as part of your mission to insult and denigrate these scientists, as Stephens has done with climate scientists?

The Times has denounced the critics of its decision as “left-leaning”. This is an insult to me and was the final straw to cancel my subscription. There is no left-leaning or right-leaning climate science, just as there is no republican or democrat theory of gravity. I have several good climate scientist friends who have been lifelong republicans. Their understanding of climate change does not differ from mine, because it is informed by the evidence.

Quite unlike Stephens’ views on climate change, which run counter to all evidence. He is simply repeating falsehoods spread by various “think tanks” funded by the fossil fuel industry.

In December 2015, Stephens called global warming “imperceptible” and the Paris climate summit a “meeting to combat a notional enemy in the same place where a real enemy just inflicted so much mortal damage”. My colleagues and I have analysed 150,000 temperature time series from around the world, finding that monthly heat records occur five times more often now as a result of global warming than in an unchanging climate (Coumou et al, published in Climatic Change2013). One of those record-hot months was August 2003 in western Europe. 70,000 people died due to this heat wave. Was global warming “imperceptible” to these people and the ones they left behind? On 15 August 2003, the New York Times reported: “So many bodies were delivered in recent weeks to the Paris morgue that refrigerated tents had to be erected outside the city to accommodate them all.” Was that just a “notional” problem?

Stephens doubts that global warming will continue, claiming that in hundred years “temperatures will be about the same”. That is a shockingly ignorant statement, ignoring over a century of climate science. Our emissions increase the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, it is higher now than in at least 3 million years. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, as demonstrated first in the year 1859 by physicist John Tyndall. CO2 traps heat – more CO2 means a warmer climate. That is basic physics, borne out by the history of climate. Denying these well-established facts is about as smart as claiming the Earth is flat, and best left to cranks, ideologues and fossil fuel lobbyists.

Stephens has claimed that “in the 1970s we were supposed to believe in global cooling.” That’s an age-old climate denier myth. It would have cost Stephens just 60 seconds with Google to find out it is wrong. (Try and google “Did scientists predict an ice age in the 1970s”.) But Stephens is clearly not interested in evidence or seeking the truth about matters.

Last Friday, you sent me an email with the subject: “The truth is more important now than ever.” It made me cringe seeing this in my inbox. It said “thank you for supporting news without fear or favor.” The hypocrisy of that is unbearable, and I will support your newspaper no more. Instead, I will give the money to, a worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in climate change media coverage. It is much better invested there.

Best regards,

Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf

I interviewed Rahmstorf, Michael Mann, and Jason Box for this vid about Atlantic circulation and climate change.


25 Responses to “Climate Scientist to NYTimes. Cancel My Sub”

  1. Tom Bates Says:

    Typical response of the left and thugs everywhere. The PHd’s of the time said the same thing when somebody dared to mention the world might be round and the sun did not revolve around it. The PHd who canceled his subscription knows the oceans are not rising from climate change more than a tiny bit, knows that the world is not warming from the increasing CO2 more than a tiny bit. He also knows his grants, power and prestige depend on the sky falling so he is either simply lying or is insane. This Phd is

    Based on a Berkeley lab study the world will be 0.025F warmer from CO2 in 2100 than it was in 2000 if one assume CO2 increases at the same rate it did from 2000 to 2010. Nevermind the rate in the study is 4150 times less than average solar gain.

    Based on NOAA tidal gauge measurement the oceans will rise about 3 to 4 inches by than. NASA figures on 5 inches in its installation as the ones on the east coast are sinking from ground subsidence which effects a lot of places around the coast like New Orleans or Miami.

    • REALLY.

      Please give the link to the specific paper or, hopefully, papers that document the 0.025F. Which emissions scenario did they use? Or will it go up 0.025F irrespective of how much is burned?

      As far as your second claim, it is a complete and utter fabrication, as the link from NASA shows.

      You show apply for a job at the White House. They use (and use up) creative thinkers like yourself.

      • Tom Bates Says:

        shows an increase from CO2 of 2/10ths of a watt. Since the average temperature of the earth is about 61F, doubling the CO2 increase in that ten years 9 times one arrives at about 0.025F. I suggest you look up the math which you can google and do the math yourself.

        The second link is to a NOAA tidal gauge measurement. If that measurement is fabrication it is news to NOAA. Since the oceans are connected except in your bizarro world you cannot have 10 feet in say Miami and 3 inches at Johnston Atoll. Since a rational person would look to what is happening at both you find the Atol is not moving up and down and Miami is sinking.

        According to global climate models (GCMs), sea levels are expected to rise at least 5 inches (13 centimeters) for most NASA centers by the 2050s. Those numbers rise significantly if ice sheets continue to melt rapidly. Note: the estimates for Michoud are especially high due to ground subsidence in the New Orleans area. (Data from NASA’s Climate Adaptation Science Investigators Working Group and the National Oceanography Centre’s Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level)
        based mostly on ground subsidence.

        • Torsten Says:

          And, as I’ve pointed out to poor old Tom on several occasions, the third paragraph of the news release he cites states:

          “The results agree with theoretical predictions of the greenhouse effect due to human activity. The research also provides further confirmation that the calculations used in today’s climate models are on track when it comes to representing the impact of CO2.”

          How about you do the Google search Tom, and show us the calculations as you would do them? That would be something to see!

        • A quote @Tom Bates neglected to point out from the source of the first link:

          Both series showed the same trend: atmospheric CO2 emitted an increasing amount of infrared energy, to the tune of 0.2 Watts per square meter per decade. This increase is about ten percent of the trend from all sources of infrared energy such as clouds and water vapor.

          Emphasis added, and that is “all sources of [additional] infrared energy.” Also, it would be useful to link the original paper, and not merely a press release. Who knows what horrors are done in preparing that!

          The inferred amount for the same interval for CO2 is 0.3 W/meter-squared, but okay. The problem is @Tom Bates has stepped sloppily into the deep poo of the surface budget fallacy.

          As to SLR, the oceans are not a bathtub. Nevertheless, the Pacific Islands, like Johnston atoll, will indeed suffer prodigious SLR by 2100. And, no, these cannot be obtained by mere extrapolation of tide gauge rates. For my dear Northeast United States, another climate-related effect on SLR is the slowing of the AMOC, due to the sub-Greenland cold spot and surface freshening. This is apparently causing water from the Gulf Stream to pile up along our coast, causing “nuisance sunny day flooding” in, for instance, Boston inner harbor, on structures which were recently built way above prevailing tides.

    • mbrysonb Says:

      You really need to read a little history, Mr. Bates. The ancient Greeks knew the world was round (in lunar eclipses it always casts a curved shadow on the moon). The people objecting to Copernicus’ hypothesis were Church authorities and their reasons were religious, not scientific. There is no reason why climatologists would ignore evidence undermining their views about CO2 and climate change. They’d be pleased (and relieved) to find it. Trouble is, there isn’t any.

      • Tom Bates Says:

        I bet 97 percent of the people objecting were just as knowledgeable about the universe as Copernicus as the church had a long term interest in the natural world. Most of the people like Copernicus had been employed by the church or were employed by the church. The church objection was not to the earth going around the sun idea, the objection was Galileo’s rather obnoxious personality and calling the pope names.

        You are simply doing the same thing the church did when the pope got mad at Galileo, you are ignoring any contrary evidence that your religious beliefs in AGW are simply wrong.

  2. […] Rahmstorf, head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research, posted his letter to The New York Times editor on why he was canceling his […]

  3. Interesting article

    How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies and Decided to Fight for Science
    Sharon Lerner

    April 29 2017, 5:04 a.m.

    The hardest part of reversing the warming of the planet may be convincing climate change skeptics of the need to do so. Although scientists who study the issue overwhelming agree that the earth is undergoing rapid and profound climate changes due to the burning of fossil fuels, a minority of the public remains stubbornly resistant to that fact. With temperatures rising and ice caps melting — and that small minority in control of both Congress and the White House — there seems no project more urgent than persuading climate deniers to reconsider their views. So we reached out to Jerry Taylor, whose job as president of the Niskanen Center involves turning climate skeptics into climate activists.

    It might seem like an impossible transition, except that Taylor, who used to be staff director for the energy and environment task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and vice president of the Cato Institute, made it himself.

    A clue. evidence and intelligence

  4. […] From Peter Sinclair at Climate Denial Crock of the Week: Climate Scientist (Stefan Rahmstorf) to NYTimes. Cancel my Sub […]

  5. […] precede l'editoriale di oggi. Non è stata pubblicata dal giornale, ma da Desmog, Tamino, Climate crocks e altri siti. Secondo me, sarebbe da mandare a ogni direttore di un giornale cerchio-bottista e non […]

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