Justin Gillis, tell us again about “the Bigger Picture”

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen

If the year were 1965 AND this were the Soviet Union AND he was writing in Pravda AND CAGW was required Party Line THEN I would understand Justin Gillis’ latest piece in the New York Times.

Justin Gillis, New York Times’ Environmental journalist, has been at it again attempting to shore up the Great Global Warming cause in his latest “opinion column” somehow erroneously placed in the Science News section of the International New York Times online at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/science/freezing-out-the-bigger-picture.html

I’d like to really lay into Mr. Gillis for this bit of party-line propaganda, but he says so little that it would be difficult to do so.

He correctly points out that one cold winter does not mean that the world has not warmed up since the Little Ice Age — which is mostly what all those graphs that the NY Times used to put in Mr. Gillis’ articles about Global Warming would show, rising temperatures since 1850 or so. Neither Mr. Gillis nor the NY Times’ editors ever seemed inclined to mark the graphs showing the period from about 1975-2000 as being the part in which the IPCC believes the AGW signal began to be seen.

All readers here know why Justin Gillis no longer includes global temperature graphs in his articles. They tell a different story than his words — the world is a little warmer than it was during the Little Ice Age – thank God or your Lucky Stars — opinions vary – but not quite as warm as the Medieval Warm Period.

He points out as well that Alaska, which most people think of as the cold part of America, has been warmer lately, and that California – the state of my birth and childhood — has been having yet another drought — those in my lifetime alone being 1958-59, 1961, 1977, 1986-91, 2001-02, 2006-07.

Here’s Mr. Gillis’ winning hard-science punch line:

“Though the case is as yet unproven, a handful of scientists think the 50-degree temperatures in London and the frigid weather in Minneapolis might be a consequence of climate change.”

Wait for it now…it gets better:

“Fortunately, we are not stuck with human perception alone. Nowadays we have sophisticated thermometers scattered all over the place. On land, aboard boats, attached to satellites, floating in the ocean — wherever we put them, they are telling us a pretty consistent story.

No matter how cold it got in Wisconsin last week, the world really is warming up.”

I’m sorry, but I’ve just got to wonder who he thinks pops out and reads the thermometers “attached to satellites” and what temperature readings they get out there in space. Maybe Josh could do a cartoon of Gillis checking one for us.

The link on “warming up” goes to the three-year out-of-date — up to 2011– BEST Results paper (published in the very first issue of the journal GIGS: An Overview). You have to be pretty sharp to see it, with the way the material is presented, but, of course, the paper confirms the then-so-far 14-year hiatus in Global Warming.

The main point is: Why is Justin Gillis writing such an article in the NY Times? There is no news in it. His concluding sentence is blatantly incorrect. It contains little journalistic effort, other than finding some scientist that will say something warmish without mentioning the hiatus or the pause. He couldn’t mention the IPCC because they have admitted the pause and can’t explain it, yet he presses on in spite of them. The NY Times editors have been fairly calm on the CAGW issue lately, so it is unlikely they are pressuring him to write such tripe, in fact, they recently closed the Environmental Desk altogether. The NY Times is one of the world’s “newspapers of record” and should be above this sort of sloppiness.

[If there are any secret sympathizers on staff at the Times, weigh in in the comments. The moderators here at WUWT know how to reach me privately, I am intensely curious as to why and how such a piece could be published.]

MODERATION NOTE: I will reply to appropriate comments on journalism, the NY Times, propaganda and its uses in modern society, and the sloppy weather we are having in Florida this week.

87 thoughts on “Justin Gillis, tell us again about “the Bigger Picture”

  1. A journalist of the NY Times Magazine who wrote a book on energy policy that neglected nuclear according to Amazon.com reviews has a very broad readership as the main climate alarmist on the BoingBoing.net blog:

    “Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy.”

    http://boingboing.net/author/maggie_koerth_baker

    The link lists her blog articles there too.

    Activists are fond of getting skeptics banned there since they are easily outnumbered with complaints. Site cofounder and 3D printing hype guru Cory Doctorow enjoys bashing skeptics too by equating them to young Earth creationists. I hope skeptics here take more note of this aging youth culture crowd who still command the attention of the urban tech demographic who have failed to delve into the Gorey details of climate alarm. There are a handful of climate bullies in their comments, rather unsophisticated ones, full of condescension over substance.

  2. When distinguished institutions like the New York Times can no longer differentiate between factual content and editorial opinion, but rather mix both freely on their front page, then who will hold anyone to a higher standard?

    – Michaël Crichton, 2003. Aliens Cause Global Warming

  3. I predict the thermometer on the satellite will read something around 2 or 3 Kelvin. You know, unless they forgot the screen or put in in front of the satellite exhaust pipe….Maybe with all the junk up there we have to correct for the UHI effect as well… hmmmm….

  4. Shore up, not ashore up!
    In the UK, the Met Office & BBC have been desperately trying to hint that our recent wet &windy weather, is more than slightly, probably. maybe, consistent with Global Warming! Whilst pointing out there’s no clear evidence either way, really.

  5. We’re having sloppy weather? I hadn’t noticed.

    You mean because it’s been rather rainy for the dry season, I guess. I don’t know about this week, where I am. This week hasn’t been that wet, but recent weeks have been.

  6. A certain weariness has crept into the Warmist rhetoric.
    Not that long ago, at the turn of the century, they out did one another with ever bolder predictions of catastrophe and their audiences hung on every fatal proclamation, longing for doom…addicted to that great Millenarian event that would – no, that MUST, result in the transformation of the world.
    Oh how times have changed, the audience has moved on, the auditorium is empty now and full of shadows.
    But every now and then on dark and stormy nights you can hear hear a faint ghostly echo of those heady days…garbled, half lost in the static….
    Cue Justin Gillis.

  7. @ Adam Gallon,

    They always try but have been imho rather reticent about just coming out & saying it, almost like the elephant in the room. The problem they have is when they trot out “records”, you know the good old, “worst for 20/50/75/100 years” just pick the appropriate number! Although their immense arrogance makes them look down upon everyone else in the view that we can’t work it out that it’e happened before! Their just of language is silly too. Weather presenter Ms Powel I think it was, when asked to explain the inclement weather by the lunchtime news reader only the other day, (emphasis mine) said “It’s ALL to do with the Jet-Stream, we ALL know about the Jet-Stream, BUT for those who don’t, it’s a fast flowing ribbon of air at high altitude……….”! Even they don’t think about the language they use at times. It’s just plain stupid! Of course the Wet Office play the politics game, when confronted with a direct question from the usual on message biased if not technically ignorant media, they seem to play the “plausible deniability” card, e.g. “No single weather event can be attributed to Climate Change, but yes this is the sort of event that we expect to see more of in the future!”. The good old “No it isn’t but yes it is” message! Lenin & Goebells would be oh so proud of their progeny, & more than a little jealous of the total control of language! Yes our weather is the result of CLIMATE CHANGE, but there appears no credible evidence that Human’s are responsible for it! We have to all intense & purposes, an august body of self-appointed experts, making pronouncements about weather & climate, with no formal secondary independent review system, that ignores contrary evidence opposing their singular stance! Ip se dixit?

  8. For those of us illiterate armchair scientists, I had to look up what 2-3 Kelvin actually was in Celsius and Fahrenheit as stated it would be the temperature in space.
    1 Kelvin is Minus – 272.15 Celsius and minus 457.87 Fahrenheit. I think that might be pretty damn cold as no human would survive that without artificial heating assistance.

  9. Apart from the usual slap downs we can use it would be a good idea for Gillis to contact NASA with regard to the concerns they and the Solar Physicists have about the Sun. Magnetic field issues, polarity changes not as expected and a drop in Sunspots….scary stuff. It’s the first stage of real Climate Change and its scary stuff.

  10. Adam Gallon says @ February 13, 2014 at 12:47 am

    “In the UK, the Met Office & BBC have been desperately trying to hint that our recent wet &windy weather, is more than slightly, probably. maybe, consistent with Global Warming! Whilst pointing out there’s no clear evidence either way, really.”

    Adam, I think, maybe, that probably you’re right – well, 50/50, say. :-) Radio 4 TODAY prog was at it again this morning trying to ‘debate’ whether CC was responsible for all the flooding in the UK. As the ‘debate’ started out with an initial caveat of “probably (it is CC)” what followed was all BS.

  11. “Though the case is as yet unproven, a handful of scientists think the 50-degree temperatures in London and the frigid weather in Minneapolis might be a consequence of climate change.”

    Or it COULD be the consequence of natural variability!

  12. I gave up on the NYT long before CAWG hit the scene. I’m surprised anyone is surprised at the nonsense they publish considering it’s been going on for decades and on a laundry list of subjects.

  13. The right to stupidity is absolute in a free society. In China “The Great Leap Forward” is still hotly debated at the highest levels. Altough its critics have a 40 year record of economic achievement to point to the debate continues.

    I agree with others who have posted that there will not be a moment of surrender in the present struggle. To many personal and institutional reputations have been put on the line for that. Doing the right thing is its own reward and often that’s the only reward. Seeing the liked of Gillis off is a bonus.

  14. A nice article – particularly as I just commented about the “science advisers” in the UK government having very much the communist role of “enforcing the party line”.

    But the key to your article is here: “in fact, they recently closed the Environmental Desk altogether.” It is happening all over the place and not just on in the Environment as recently I found out the Glasgow Herald would not publish any of our material – because it had just got rid of its only science correspondent.

    In the UK two papers specialised in promoting the global warming scare: the Independent (closing) and the Guardian (will close at present rate of decline within a few years).

    The more a paper specialises in “global warming”, environment and even “science”, … the faster they are going to the wall.

    And why? Because people are now reading articles like yours in the CNM (citizen news media) on the internet and not articles like there’s in the DNM (Dinosaur news media).

    These journalists are on the verge of extinction! Soon we will have to open special game reserves for them.

  15. ren says:
    February 13, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Such a temperature fluctuations in the stratosphere predict the long winter.

    ========================

    As did the Farmers Almanac.

  16. “Whats unusual about 50 degree temperatures in London in February?”

    Nothing. From my childhood in London it was just as likely to be 50 degrees in February as in January, June or October. Northern Europe weather in a small maritime nation is very unpredictable (and always was). Though I must say British weather changed when the brits joined the EU but now seems to be back where it was in the fifties Shades ot the winter of ’47!!!.

    As for CAGW; seems to be slowly passing away. The new crisis slowly emerging from the wings is “the sixth extinction” – attributed of course to CO2……

  17. “Though the case is as yet unproven, a handful of scientists think the 50-degree temperatures in London and the frigid weather in Minneapolis might be a consequence of climate change.”

    A ‘handful’? Not 97%? Is the number of Scientists that fit in your hand akin to the number of Angels that can dance on the head of a pin?

  18. So let me get this straight, the bitter cold all over the US breaking cold and snow records daily is not even a tiny bit of proof against CAGW, but the milder winter in England (which I think May not be breaking long standing records but correct me if I’m wrong) is actually firm proof of CAGW????? All in the same winter, and the same time, in the same hemisphere?

  19. The NYT has retired to behind its paywalled garden, walling off its nonsense from the sensible world, me anyway. Still there are barkers, touts and chapsmen selling, “Step right up, only a dollar for a chance at ultimate truth. Thank you. This way to the egress. Please birth another!”

  20. Many good points well made.
    One unfortunate point I wish hadn’t been raised. There’s nothing wrong with the phrase ‘thermometers attached to satellites’ as a metaphor, or even as a turn of phrase that simplifies the discussion.
    NikFromNYC phrases it much better than I when critiquing commentators in boing boing ..’their comments, rather unsophisticated ones, [are] full of condescension over substance.’ I appreciate that to a weatherman the ‘thermometers’ appears particularly foolish, but keep in mind that this is not the case to most of your readers. The substance of (that part of) his comment is that ‘we measure temperature from satellites’, a perfectly valid claim.
    As bad as Justin Gillis’s news-free sermon to the alarmist faithful is, in my opinion my local rag the Hobart Mercury in Tasmania is far worse. Their ‘reporter’ Peter Boyer has been making Gillis-like multi-page preachments repeatedly, for years. Not only does he fail to give reasoned responses to the arguments of sceptics, as far as I’ve seen he has neve given any indication that he understands them, or has considered them, or is capable of considering them. When I first became interested in CAGW as an issue I checked 50 articles from that paper against the peer-reviewed science they were supposedly reporting on. They accurately reported one news release, from the WWF. Every other release was misreported, to be more alarmist, by leaving out every statement that did not support the alarmist narrative. The news release from the WWF was quoted accurately- but the WWF release itself misreported the article as they removed every part of the report that did not support the narrative.
    I seldom have any reason to purchase dead tree news- but their reportorial bias is the reason I never buy that newspaper. They make the New York Times look unbiased.

  21. I have noticed something that I think is very important: Much of our “news” consists of the agenda-driven presentation of a distorted version of events.

    Seekers of truth might do well to ask of what they read in the “papers” (Really? People still read those? Can you get versions for the vision-impaired on 8-track tape?) and see on TV: “If I were a thinly-disguised agenda hiding in this story, what would I be?”

    Same goes, of course, for what you read on the Internet, although at least on the Internet, if you’re so inclined, you can find an opposing presentation, whereas the traditional, old-fogey, media seems pretty much incapable of presenting anything other than neo-Marxist propaganda.

    What I will observe, though, is that many of the people I know (who generally tend to exhibit superficiality commensurate with their youth) are rejecting more corporate social institutions (hint: it’s the dirty little secret about Facebook that portends its ultimate, AOL-like demise) such as newspapers, TV and advertising-oriented websites, and are simultaneously tuning out of “national news”: Their concerns are local and immediate — they have no time for ideology. Many realize that Obama is like last years’s American Idol: a groupie-driven, transient phenomenon who, having reached reality escape-velocity, is now entering his late Justin Bieber phase — the carefully crafted PR facade of wholesomeness is crumbling, and the ugly, cynical face of a power-mad, narcissistic, politician is revealing itself. To those who care (most don’t) “Global Warming” is a running joke to which they may show superficial assent in polite company, but, when pressed, will express grave doubts, whether for scientific reasons, or, most likely, not.

    Of course, I don’t know everybody, and don’t claim that the people whose paths I cross represent anything like a representative sample. Therefore, I make no claim to my observations applying to a more general population, Facebook prediction notwithstanding.

  22. David L says: @ February 13, 2014 at 4:16 am

    Don’t forget they are only talking the UK and not the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.

    You do not hear about these February 2014 storm events from the NYT
    (Someone should nail this list to the NYT door)

    February 12, 2014: – Storm, snowfall to blame for Algeria plane crash. 78 people crashed in Algeria’s mountainous northeast The military plane was on its way from Tamanrasset in the Sahara to Constantine. “Very bad weather conditions, involving a storm and heavy snowfall, were behind the crash,”
    (wwwDOT)news24.co.ke/Africa/News/Storm-snowfall-to-blame-for-Algeria-plane-crash-20140212-3

    February 11, 2014: Parts of northern Japan were hit by heavy snow on Sunday, a record of 15 inches, the heaviest snowfall in the region in two decades.
    screen(DOT)yahoo.com/major-snowstorm-hits-northern-japan-190103898.html

    February 10, 2014: Rare snowfall in Tokyo leaves 11 dead – Whether it broke a record or not, the heaviest snow in decades in Tokyo and other areas of Japan has left at least 11 dead and more than 1,200 injured across the country, reports said Sunday. As much as 27 cm (10.6 inches) of snow was recorded in Tokyo by late Saturday, the heaviest fall in the capital for 45 years, according to meteorologists.The northeastern city of Sendai saw 35 cm (13.8 inches) of snow, the heaviest in 78 years.
    washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/tokyo-hit-by-rare-heavy-snowfall-trains-(wwwDOT)delayed/2014/02/08/55a35492-90a0-11e3-878e-d76656564a01_story.html (and several others)

    February 9, 2014: Record snow in the Alps
    (wwwDOT)youreporter.it/video-foto/neve-forte-31-gennaio

    February 9, 2014: Snowstorms in Xinjiang kill livestock, disrupt lives – Continuous snowstorms in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have killed more than 300 livestock and disrupted the lives of 13,000 people,… 900 people have been relocated after heavy snowstorms and snowslides toppled 150 houses and damaged another 4,630 in seven counties or cities, according to a statement issued by the prefecture government. It snowed continuously for 119 hours and reached up to 2 meters near Guozigou between Jan. 27 and Feb 1, said the statement.
    (wwwDOT)ecns.cn/2014/02-09/99980.shtml

    February 7, 2014: Record snowfall turns Italian village white – Record snowfall in the north of Italy has left some people trapped in their homes. Villagers in Madesimo had to dig their way out of their properties after several days of wintery weather.
    (wwwDOT)bbc.co.uk/news/world-26091449

    February 6, 2014: Record lows for British Columbia Some going back to 1929. Weather summary for Interior British Columbia issued by Environment Canada… A strong ridge of high pressure has persisted over the province for several days. Cold temperature records that were set this morning include…

    February 5 2014 Record lows in Alberta – Weather summary for Southern Alberta issued by Environment Canada Record minimum temperatures were set in a few locations in Southern Alberta this morning…..

    Iran Blanketed In Heaviest Snow In 50 Years – About 500,000 villagers are trapped in northern Iran…The white storm is “unprecedented for the past 50 years, with two metres (almost seven feet) of snow falling since Friday”, a Mazandaran provincial official said…. About 11,000 people have had to be rescued during the past four days, with some being rehoused in emergency shelters, while at least seven Iranians have been taken to hospital…
    news(DOT)sky.com/story/1205832/iran-blanketed-in-heaviest-snow-in-50-years

    February 4, 2014: Slovenia hit by severe blizzards – A quarter of Slovenians have been left without electricity, as parts of Europe battle some of the worst winter blizzards in decades
    (wwwDOT)bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26028321

    February 1, 2014: Southern Austria on highest avalanche alert after heavy snow – Parts of Austria are on the highest alert for avalanches amid some of the worst snow conditions for 15 years. In the south at least two people died… Many trains were cancelled, and with more snow forecast over 1,000 soldiers were put on standby, with five helicopters ready for rescue operations.
    (wwwDOT)euronews.com/2014/02/01/southern-austria-on-highest-avalanche-alert-after-heavy-snow

    January 28, 2014: Heavy snowfalls and blizzard hammer southern Romania – Up to half a meter of snow in 24 hours paralyzes 18 counties in Southern and Southeastern Romania.

    We do not want to leave out Russia. They got hit this fall.
    November 30, 2013: Heavy snowfall in central European parts of Russia, heavy snowfall continues.
    indian.ruvr(DOT)ru/news/2013_11_28/Heavy-snowfall-continues-in-central-European-parts-of-Russia-1361/

    November 9, 2013: Heavy snowfall in Russia – …According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia in Khabarovsk region , the movement of vehicles will be prohibited until further notice. Due to blowing snow and icy conditions on the roads, MOE has asked residents not to leave their settlements…
    (wwwDOT)rg.ru/2013/11/07/reg-dfo/sneg-anons.html

    October 17, 2013: Russia – Heavy snowfall paralyzes Murmansk traffic – “Even the Russians are surprised by this kind of early and heavy snowfall,” says reader. “And winter hasn’t even started yet.”
    (wwwDOT)1tv.ru/news/social/244023

    October 10, 2013: Russia – Blizzard Paralyzes Traffic on Novosibirsk Highway – …According to updated information, the snow completely paralyzed traffic in both directions on a 50-kilometer stretch of highway K19R…. In Tuva, snow drifts closed the pass to neighboring Khakassia, where about 80,000 residents remain without electricity.
    (wwwDOT)meteonovosti.ru/index.php?index=1&ts=131010115000 (and several other links)

    South America Also got cold in their winter season
    July 23, 2013: Record low temperatures hit Chile as fresh snow falls in the Andes
    October 28, 2013: Worst cold spell in 80 years hammers Chile fruit crops – One billion dollars damage.

    August 30, 2013 Historic snowfall in Brazil – Snow in 113 Santa Catarina cities.
    “The record snow for sure is historic , because never in our files , we have the record of the phenomenon in so many cities,”

    October 2, 2013: Argentina – 2,200 cattle die in snowstorm
    July 1, 2012: Argentina – Serious frosts lead to declaration of agricultural emergency and disaster – “An unheard of phenomenon for this time of year.”
    June 30, 2012: Argentina – More snow in two weeks than an entire normal winter season

    September 2013: More than 25 000 animals killed in southern Peru, Drugs sent to combat illnesses caused by cold and snow

    H/T to Ice Age Now who gathers info on weather events never reported in the MSM in the USA.
    (This is a VERY SHORT version)

  23. Gail Combs says:
    February 13, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Bet we HAVE to come up with examples that show it gets warm SOMEWHERE don’t we? Else we are TOAST for sure. :-)

  24. Leo Morgan says: @ February 13, 2014 at 5:33 am
    You could always use my list to hand out to people seen buying the newspaper. (Nothing like killing the circulation to put snake oil salesman out of business.)

    Unfortunately your ist would not be understood or appreciated by most. But a reference to it at the top of the hand-out might help.

  25. RichardLH says: @ February 13, 2014 at 5:45 am
    …Bet we HAVE to come up with examples that show it gets warm SOMEWHERE don’t we? Else we are TOAST for sure. :-)
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    No we are just revealing what has been hidden.

  26. Why the NYTimes pays Gillis to write for them, I do not know, but they are committed to their AGW line. It is clear from their headlines, which are written by editors, not reporters, on all sorts of topics. One article on creationists and school boards in TX linked “deniers” with it, though they were not mentioned in the story.

    I think the Times is a fine paper, but their journalism on this topic is very poor.

  27. The NYT … are they making a profit yet (is their product in demand/are they are a growth curve – or are they producing the same old tired tripe)? When was the last year they made a profit … anyone? … anyone … Bueller?

  28. Gail Combs says:
    February 13, 2014 at 6:00 am

    “No we are just revealing what has been hidden.”

    Single minded people – with sure and certain conviction – do have or need a rug to put stuff under. They just don’t see it exists in the first place. :-)

  29. _Jim says: @ February 13, 2014 at 6:23 am

    The NYT … are they making a profit yet…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Looks like they have gone leaner and meaner…

    The New York Times Company Reports 2013 Third-Quarter Results
    NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) announced an operating profit of $12.9 million in the third quarter of 2013 compared with $8.9 million in the same period of 2012. Excluding depreciation, amortization, severance and a special item, operating profit rose 35.1 percent to $39.9 million from $29.6 million in the third quarter of 2012.

    There was a third-quarter 2013 diluted loss per share from continuing operations of $.03 compared with a loss of $.02 in the same period in 2012. Excluding severance and a special item, there was a diluted loss per share from continuing operations of $.01 in the third quarter of 2013 compared with a loss of $.02 in the third quarter of 2012.

    Total revenues increased 1.8 percent in the third quarter of 2013, with circulation revenues up 4.8 percent. In the third quarter, the Company added more net digital subscribers than in the second quarter of 2013. The total number of digital subscribers at the end of the third quarter was approximately 727,000, a 28 percent year-on-year increase. Total advertising revenues declined 2.0 percent in the quarter – the lowest quarterly year-on-year decline in advertising in three years.

    “The third quarter of 2013 was a strong one for the Company,” said Mark Thompson , president and chief executive officer. “We increased our revenue, decreased our costs and, as a result, significantly increased our operating profit compared with the same quarter last year….

  30. Hi all,

    I’m a longtime reader of, and subscriber to, the Times. While they do have a political bent (which I somewhat agree with), I think the real problem is rampant, raging, innumeracy–and it’s not confined to the Times, it’s epidemic across journalists of all stripes. In general writers not only don’t understand mathematics, they’re downright afraid of it, and that makes them incapable of sensible reporting

    This came thunderously home to me when I was reading some of the reporting on Fukushima. I wish I could remember what it was, but I remember reading the radiation readings, and looking at the pictures of folks in their protective suits, and saying to myself, “There’s a multi-order-of-magnitude error in what the Times is saying, this can’t make any sense, they wouldn’t be wearing suits if the radiation emission were as low as the Times says”. (Something like that, again I can’t remember). The Times has never acknowledged it or, to my knowledge, is even aware of it.

    The real problem here is not so much “agenda-driven lefties”. It’s people who look at numbers or equations and go into a minor blackout mode. They can’t read or understand this stuff, and they treat anyone who can, or says they can, as a deity. Then when deities disagree, they pick the winner based not on the argument but on which deity is telling a more beautiful narrative.

    I say this as an engineer with some graduate work in particle physics under my belt, and someone who has written for a living. I understand that people are scared of math, but it should be required training for all science reporters (and editors). Otherwise they simply aren’t qualified to report.

  31. The NY Times is one of the world’s “newspapers of record” and should be above this sort of sloppiness.

    Yes indeed.

    150 Years of Global Warming and Cooling at the New York Times

    http://newsbusters.org/node/11640

    PS “Nowadays we have sophisticated thermometers scattered all over the place…floating in the ocean…” I wasn’t aware of this. Can someone point me to the various kinds? Thanks.

  32. they recently closed the Environmental Desk altogether.

    I think they’ve just renamed it, taking off the “Environ” part.

  33. London 50 degree Fahrenheit = 10 degree Celsius in February. What does this mean? I lived in London for many years and 10C was just 10C, no alarm, not unusual, not odd.

    They say one winter does not disprove CAGW, true. Yet one heatwave does.

  34. Replies to Comments:

    Thanks to all of you that have weighed in. I am disappointed not to see any staff from the venerable ‘Old Grey Lady’ (NY Times) checking in to give us some insider guesses as to why our aging Mr. Justin Gillis has written such a content-free CAGW party-line piece for the Science News section of the paper.

    Adam Gallon ==> ashore indeed! My nautical fingers are in need of shoring up now that we are unfortunately ashore. Mayhaps a kindly moderator will nip in and correct the offending typo. Thank you. (Truth be know, my dear wife was busy last evening with her own affairs, and not available for her usual ‘final edit’).

    Andrew ==> Yes, rainy and windy and curtailing our beach and birding walks. Some nights requiring turning on a heater of all things – and using a blanket!

    GeeJam ==> RIP Delingpole. I hope he survives his political appointment. This happened to a friend of mine in NY State, appointed to office under Gov. George Pataki. He was never the same.

    charles nelson ==> Sad isn’t it. Gillis’ best shot is reduced to a whimpered “the world really is warming up.”

    Ceri Phipps ==> “What’s unusual about 50 degree temperatures in London in February?” I don’t know? Brits? Is it unusual? See comment further down from chris moffatt, who says its not.

    Leo Morgan ==> I did apologize in advance for that bit — riffing on the thermometers “attached to satellites” — but I did so exactly because, for an article in the science section of one of the world’s leading newspapers, I agree, it “appears particularly foolish”, as did most of the points made in the entire article. I am going to judge a high school science fair this weekend, and I expect to find a higher grade of understanding expressed there than I found in Mr. Gillis’ NY Times article.

    [Ah sure y’all, we shore nuf done did shore it up, shore ‘nough. Mod]

  35. Ceri Phipps says:
    February 13, 2014 at 1:55 am
    Whats unusual about 50 degree temperatures in London in February?

    Ceri, to most of the world 50(C) would be exceptional, but I guess if we convert what I expect is your archaic F temp to 10C – then, yes, it is not unusual?

    (A global focus from contributers would be welcome)

  36. This is battlespace preparation for Obama’s new environmental push. It is simply preparing your typical NYT reader on how to react.

  37. “The NY Times is one of the world’s “newspapers of record” and should be above this sort of sloppiness.”

    It is a simple bit of logic to draw a conclusion from this statement: “Since the NY Times is no longer above this sort of sloppiness (in fact, this level of sloppiness defines today’s NY Times), then the NY Times no longer deserves to be considered one of the world’s “newspapers of record”.

    Today’s NY Times has no more credibility than the National Enquirer – perhaps less.

  38. I have a near-thirty year journalism career behind me, and my question for the NYT would be “Why would you employ an ‘environment reporter’ who betrays such a woeful lack of expertise in the environmental sciences?” Be that as it may, these types of full-throated, propaganda-filled opinion pieces will continue apace, but I console myself with the notion that the audience for them is steadily dwindling. Turns out, we media consumers don’t like having our intelligence insulted. Thanks to the internet and blogs such as this, the audience has now gained far more expertise in ‘the environment’ than the reporters assigned to cover it.

  39. That Anchorage was having a extreme heat wave while much of the U.S. froze was a big deal in media reports. That temps at Anchorage Int’l Airport are now ranging from 2 to 13 degrees F is not.

  40. “Why would you employ an ‘environment reporter’ who betrays such a woeful lack of expertise in the environmental sciences?”

    Evolution? Mankind has evolved to a level of purposeful, selective & optional morality whereby an agenda itself becomes the overriding belief system which compels random adjustments without the constraint of judgement.

    Under this modern man 2.0 a mission can be predicated upon an entirely fictitious and limitless array of notions and causes unrelated to achieving any objective at all.

    It’s chaos of the preposterous falsely presented as calculated and designed.
    Haphazard and disheveled yet certain, driven and emboldened by authoritative decree and regulatory tyranny.

    Or….It could also be the implementation of a plot to take over a species.
    Sort of an invasion of body snatchers scenario. Infect the bulks of academia and governments with a destabilizing parasite of wholesale deceit and retardation of analysis causing mass disruption of intellect and governance. Rendering the populations incapable of addressing the needs of the species.

    I live where there is abundant evidence of either possibility and it is getting worse every day.

    Eeeek! Has become my favorite expression. :)

    Is there something going horribly wrong and without any possibility of remedy?
    That’s a bit too doomsday to believe.
    .
    Are we simply being slowly suffocated under intensifying swarm of unanswerable questions?
    And who are really asking? Our browsers.

    Please snip me?

  41. When I grew up in a Communist country, a joke was that there were three kinds of news:
    – True ones: sports results
    – Probable ones: a weather forecast
    – and all the rest.
    NYT is getting there.

  42. Here in Glen Rock PA., I have just cleared 14 inches of Global Warming/Climate Change from my driveway. And as I look at the radar maps on the T.V., I see the ice and snow storm hammering the East Coast from Georgia to Maine. Meanwhile, the AGW proponents are becoming more strident in their claims that this is all because of man made Global Warming/Climate Change. My guess is they believe if they say it loud enough and often enough it will be perceived as true. unfortunately for them, most of us know the only climate man can change is the climate enclosed in the structures he builds.

  43. ‘I’m sorry, but I’ve just got to wonder who he thinks pops out and reads the thermometers “attached to satellites” and what temperature readings they get out there in space.’

    Maybe it’ll be Leonardo DiCaprio when he takes his first ride aboard Virgin Galactic (paid for, of course, by a veritable ocean tanker full of carbon credits or, more likely, through good intentions on that $80,000 thrill ride).

  44. “I understand that people are scared of math, but it should be required training for all science reporters (and editors). Otherwise they simply aren’t qualified to report.”

    Hear, hear!

  45. Ah yes, the New York Times…

    Wasn’t that the paper that Jayson Blair used to write for?

    Doesn’t seem to have improved much.

  46. Satellites have been measuring their temperatures for quite some time, but the data is usually not of much interest other than to maintenance staff. Sputnik I was broadcasting its internal and external temperature.

  47. Excerpts from a story by:
    By JILL LAWLESS and SETH BORENSTEIN
    Associated Press

    “LONDON (AP) – Britain’s weather service says it sees the tentacles of climate change in a spate of storms and floods battering the country, but has stopped short of saying that global warming directly caused the extreme conditions.”

    Britain’s Met Office, the nation’s weather agency, said in a paper published this week that “there is no definitive answer” on the role played by climate change in the recent weather and floods. But it said there is “an increasing body of evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense,” probably due to a warming world.
    ==========
    I don’t have a direct line to the AP newswires, I found the above here:

    http://www.kfvs12.com/story/24701398/storm-with-106-mph-gusts-hits-flooded-britain

    The two newspapers I have delivered, had short excerpts of the story.
    They both mentioned the uncertainties.

  48. RichardLH says:
    February 13, 2014 at 2:54 am

    “Though the case is as yet unproven, a handful of scientists think the 50-degree temperatures in London and the frigid weather in Minneapolis might be a consequence of climate change.”
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    I just took a look at MeteoFrance24 weather page, London is a little above average for this month. Then I clicked on Dublin and was surprised to see that Dublin is below average for this time of year. Obviously global warming does not strike everywhere at once. Glasgow is also below average at this time and for the rest of this week, per the forecast. Amsterdam is above average, as is all of Northern Europe and the Scandinavian nations.

    The Arctic map clearly shows that from Iceland through into Europe is above average at this time. However, take a look at what the rest of the northern latitudes are experiencing…http://www.weather-forecast.com/maps/Arctic?symbols=none&type=lapse

  49. More Replies ==>

    heysuess ==> In our years of humanitarian service in the Dominican Republic, we had many friends with the same name. Mr. Gillis was, at one time, a hard-hitting, articulate environmental journalist. John Tierney used to be his counterweight in the Science section, a bit to the right. Now Gillis seems to have lost it altogether. That’s what I am trying to explain. I have tried to engage Andrew Revkin in a conversation but believe he is constrained by collegial loyalty — and takes the high road of remaining mum.

    nutso fasst ==> Is this “vox populi” — on the spot reporting from Alaska?

    Steve Oregon ==> Ah, a choice phrase “chaos of the preposterous” — precisely, I’m afraid. I would be careful with the phrase “Please snip me.” — way to dependent on context.

    Curious George ==> I think we got “all the rest” from Mr. Gillis yesterday. Another commenter (tmtisfree) gave us the venerable, late Michael Crichton quote, always worth repeating:
    “When distinguished institutions like the New York Times can no longer differentiate between factual content and editorial opinion, but rather mix both freely on their front page, then who will hold anyone to a higher standard?”

  50. Large parts of Canada and Europe have bizzarely warm temperatures? Huh?bizzarely? Being in Canada I would have heard this in the lamestream media. They have been reporting how utterly bitter cold it has been across the country. And is -10 C in Alask that unreasonably warm?
    Im in BC where it did get record cold breaks but now back to seasonal 7-10 C , In my 47 years I have not ever said you know something is different about the weather. I remember on Christmas day in 1988 or so, it being warm enough to drive my convertible with the top down. But it was a one-off. Hasnt happened since. I wish it would. Good thing I brought my windmill palms indoors this year, I almost didnt.

  51. @Kip Hansen: What part of Florida? I’m in Palm Beach County, more specifically Lake Worth.

    (I am Andrew, by the way)

  52. The intelligentsia vanguard at the NYT leading us to a dictatorship by elites and fellow travelers based on “science.”

    That’s so 20th century. Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

  53. Lichanos says:
    I think the Times is a fine paper, but their journalism on this topic is very poor.

    As it has been in a number of other cases, which leads me to wonder why anyone would think it’s a ‘fine paper’.

  54. The gradual growth of the internet, blogs and access to them, has revealed starkly a thing many of us had observed personally but not considered sensible to extrapolate forward.
    The media people are rushed and lazy, having been involved in certain events, I was appalled by the divergence of the news coverage.
    As year passed and the internet grew, I noticed the laziness of coverage and a word for word sameness of coverage regardless of medium.The rest of the story found only on the net.
    The CAGW meme is propaganda.
    The old media has been behaving as they always have, we viewers/readers have changed.
    Having caught the institutional misinformation, it is no longer possible to trust.
    That they will lie to support their cause is not in dispute.
    We who were trained to trust authority are the battlefield.
    The man,Gillis has not changed, he still does what he always has, but the wish to believe falters when contradicted by the evidence of our eyes, pocketbooks and physical senses.

  55. @TonyG

    …which leads me to wonder why anyone would think it’s a ‘fine paper’

    Well, I can cite many instances where I thought their reporting and editorial stance was bad, but with most other papers, I could cite vastly more. A “perfect” paper with which I always agree doesn’t agree, and wouldn’t be much good anyway.

  56. If it’s “climate change” it must be an impending catastrophe! We know the climate never changes naturally, right?

  57. Justin Gillis, please tell us again about “the Bigger Picture”
    If you don’t like what is in the picture or the graphs, you can always look at the “Bigger Picture”, but it will not change the facts which we are slowly beginning to see.

  58. Alan the Brit says:
    February 13, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Yes our weather is the result of CLIMATE CHANGE, but there appears no credible evidence that Human’s are responsible for it! We have to all intense & purposes, an august body of self-appointed experts, making pronouncements about weather & climate, with no formal secondary independent review system, that ignores contrary evidence opposing their singular stance.

    Humans
    all intents and purposes

    Yes, the concept of weather being the result of change in the average run of weather (as opposed to a component or data point) is a problem. A change in climate would require some alteration of the workings of the planetary forces that balance each other. CO2 is too feeb to achieve much in that regard, and even has credentials as a cooling agent (see Jinan Cao). The Chinese are very pleased with its effects on their arid regions.

    Delingpole now has gone to work inside the establishment, DECC no less. Lets see if he gives them a stomach-ache.

  59. It was an opinion piece, not a news piece, right? I think that liberates the author from the usual “Republicans claim Earth is flat, some Democrats disagree” false balance that burdens the news side of those operations.

  60. Replies to Comments ==>

    Gail Combs ==> Personally, I don’t believe stockholders have much sway over the content of newspapers with the exception of the battles that deal with endorsements at election time. If CAGW were important money-wise to the NY Times owners, they would never have closed the Environmental desk. I have read the NY Times every day for over twenty years and there AGW/CC coverage has been slip-slidin’-away with spurts matching IPCC gab-fests only. Opinions vary, of course.

    Lichanos ==> The NY Times is generally a fine newspaper, that’s why I read it — if I could find a better paper, I’d read it. I do wonder why they keep Gillis on. He used to be quite good until he was suckered into the la-la-land of CAGW and had the rug pulled out from under him.

    Johna Till Johnson ==> Innumeracy is a big part of it and worse when anyone starts in with anything that smacks of statistics. Gillis did a whole piece on flooding in the NE US and left out all the important numbers. I filled them in for him in this essay http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/27/what-to-do-about-the-flood-next-time/

    timetochooseagain (aka Andrew) ==> Cape Canaveral. You’ll be pleased, I hope, to know that by afternoon the West wind has blown nearly everything, including the clouds and rain, away and it is bright and cold, but sunny now.

    nutso fasst ==> In journalism (I was a radio journalist in university in the 60’s, which means I had a press pass on either side of the motorcycle helmet I wore to protest marches) “vox populi” — usually shortened to ‘vox pop’ — officially means the opinions or beliefs of the majority and comes from Latin, literally ‘the people’s voice’. In radio, it meant getting a recording of the man or woman on the street saying something on topic that would make “good radio”. In this case I just wondered if you lived in Anchorage and were reporting your local weather.

    catweazle666 ==> I thought the NY Times did an exemplary job with the Blair situation once it discovered it. No cover-up, no shirking responsibility. Admitted that their internal system had failed to catch the fake journalism. How they justify Gillis, I don’t know. Editorial ignorance, I suppose.

  61. Replies to Claimsguy ==> “It was an opinion piece, not a news piece, right?” That’s the rub, it was published in the Science section as news, yet the content was what one would expect to find in the Opinion section.

    At the NY Times, they do have an Environmental Opinion columnist, Andy Revkin, with the Dot Earth blog. Revkin IS allowed to opinionate to his heart’s content.

  62. Kip,
    Over the years, I’ve enjoyed and greatly benefited from your climate commentary. Thank you. Keep up the good fight for scientific integrity and common sense !!

  63. “Fortunately, we are not stuck with human perception alone.”

    The only truthful passage in his diatribe. Unfortunately, we also have human mental impotence.

  64. Kip Hansen;
    You have to take as given the whole leftist Weltanschauung to regard the NYT as anything but passé propaganda, from whence results its implosive loss of reach and circulation .

  65. Reply to Brian H ==> The leftist Weltanschauung [the worldview of an individual or group] may be true but the loss of readership? Not according to Bloomberg last year.
    “New York Times Tops USA Today to Become No. 2 U.S. Paper — By Edmund Lee Apr 30, 2013 The New York Times (NYT) posted an 18 percent gain in daily circulation, vaulting it past USA Today as the second-largest U.S. newspaper, according to figures released today by the Alliance for Audited Media. The Times’ average daily circulation rose to 1.87 million in the six-month period ending March 31, the alliance said in a statement.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-30/new-york-times-leads-major-newspapers-with-18-circulation-gain.html I’m not rooting for them, but they are my daily paper, until I find a better one.

  66. Reply to Brian H ==> As always, Opinions Vary …. not everyone likes the Old Grey Lady. I am more often than not critical myself, as you can see. Just haven’t found a better paper that fills my need. Let me know if you have any suggestions — I need broad coverage of world events, broad representation of a wide spread of liberal world viewpoint, must be considered one of the world’s “newspapers of record” (which kind of limits the choices). I do appreciate your input.

  67. Notice to readers ==> This Guest Essay has had the dubious honor of being expressly attacked by Suzanne Goldberg, U.S. Environment Correspondent, The Guardian in a discussion at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. While she did have difficulty reading the first sentence, and had to admit she wasn’t familiar with the acronym “CAGW”, it was disappointingly apparent that she had not actually read the entire essay, as she erroneously thought it was a political essay. Of course, the first sentence was just a ploy, a hook, to get readers interested; the essay was about poor journalism.

    If someone can post an email address for Ms. Goldberg, I intend to write her and attach a copy of the essay for her to read, as a collegial courtesy.

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