New York Times Forwards Climate Propaganda

Comment by Kip Hansen

NYT_Climate_FwdThe always amusing NY Times’ Climate section has begun offering a new feature:  Catastrophic Climate Propaganda, forwarded to your email inbox.  They have named it “ClimateFwd:”.  There have been two issues so far, two weeks apart.

The journalist involved seems to be “Kendra ‘Gloom is My Beat’ Pierre-Louis” — no kidding, her self-chosen Twitter identity — who writes mostly content-free pieces for the climate desk at the Times.  Her contribution to the first installment of ClimateFwd: starts with this:

“At Climate Fwd: we love when you send us your questions. And one of the most frequent questions you ask is, what can I do to shrink my climate footprint?”

And offers three cutting-edge scientific answers:

  1. “If your goals for 2018 include getting more exercise, consider committing to walking or bicycling distances under a mile.”
  2. “One way is to waste less food.”
  3. Use phone apps that “quantify the carbon emissions associated with [your] purchases, investments, dietary choices and preferred modes of transport.”

Each of these hard-hitting, sure-fire planet-saving suggestions is accompanied by incredibly science-free, inane explanations of how they will make a difference.

I apologize in advance — I am being less than collegial in my opinion of the work of a fellow journalist — but the first installment of ClimateFwd: is so silly that I can hardly contain myself.  It seems to be written for ‘tweenagers (you know, middle-schoolers) who brains have been blended into a semi-colloidal mass of misunderstandings about how the world works through constant exposure to social media, television, and the curricula at their schools.

Their latest offering, received today, is hardly better.  [Apparently, ClimateFwd: is meant to be viewed in your email so when using the “View in Browser” link in the email it brings up a not-quite-functional web page.]

The feature article “Its Getting Hotter”, written by Ms. ‘Gloom Is My Beat’, is about NASA’s ranking 2017 as the “second-warmest year since reliable record-keeping began in 1880, trailing only 2016.”  Which the Times covers in this story.  Remember, the Global Average Temperature for 2017 is somewhere south of 15°C [59 °F] which is neither warm nor hot.

When I accuse the NY Times’ Climate desk of propaganda, I do not do so lightly.  Here is the graph they offer,  labeled  “Source: NASA”:


I have increased the text size of several elements so that the “doctoring” of the graph by the NY Times’ interactive graphics department is more visible.

NASA never ever made a graph of global temperature anomaly with a base period of 1880-1899 — two decades, during which Global Average Temperature and its [nearly imaginary] anomaly are based on rough guess-work at best.    The NASA standard is 1951-1980, the usual 30-year climatic period.   The clever little eager-beavers at the Times have moved the zero point down to the 1880-1899 level thereby increasing the “anomaly” to nearly 1.2 °C.

Apparently, NASA’s official figures of “1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York” did not seem “hotter” enough, so they felt it necessary to sex-it-up.

Without belaboring the point any further, I will simply show the NASA GISS MONTHLY temperature index graph for the same period [some commentary in blue]:


This is the Met Office Monthly graph:


The year 2017 apparently had two warmer months (looks like January and February) and through the magic of “anomalization” this has made 2017 the second [or, if you’d like a second opinion, the “scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded that 2017 was the third-] warmest year on record.

You could ask me why I have posted only these monthly graphs to offset an annual graph — I look forward to your answers in the comments.

 But, wait, there’s more: 

 The second installment of ClimateFwd: includes a piece by Brad Plumer — “Reporter at @nytclimate. On the apocalypse beat, more or less.” —  honest, I am not making these Twitter handles up, click the link on his name — in which he talks about a controversy in the suburbs of San Francisco on proposals to “Add… more housing near transit stops [which] could allow more people to be less dependent on car travel, reducing emissions significantly.”

This irrelevancy is followed by Ms. “Gloom Is My Beat” answering the burning climate question [admit that you’ve been dying to know…] a question sent in:  “from Chris Brooks in Noblesville, Ind.: “I live far from the coasts. They will be spending billions/trillions on saving cities from rising seawater. Many have purposely put themselves in danger through coastal living. Why should I have to pay higher taxes to support their chosen lifestyles?”

Luckily, we are spared having to read an answer, since, although there are paragraphs of writing, there is no  answer to the question offered, and nothing is really said about sea level rising or why it is a tax  issue.  We are informed though, as filler, that wildfires (I guess she means forest fires)  caused a lot of damage last year “partly because climate change is making wildfires more likely” — that clever thing — climate change — magically fiddling with probabilities [ for a second opinion, see this link h/t Climate Etc.] .  Glad we have that issue settled.

The ClimateTeam at the NY Times would like to hear from you, they say so themselves:


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Author’s Comment Policy:

Honestly, I’ve probably said too much already —  Happy to discuss any of the above with the readers here, though.

If you are talking to me in comments, please begin with “Kip…” so I can be sure to pay attention.

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95 thoughts on “New York Times Forwards Climate Propaganda

  1. “How do I shrink my climate footprint? Use an app…”. Have we reached peak stupid yet, or do we still have some way to go?

    • “Use phone apps that “quantify the carbon emissions associated with [your] purchases, investments, dietary choices and preferred modes of transport.” ”

      Can you imagine a better way to send all mobile phone users completely psychotic?

      This stuff is like intellectual Thalidomide, stopped morning sickness just pity about the deeformed babies. Try to look like you are save the planet but shame about sending the population mad.

    • I’m surprised she didn’t offer the suggestion of the Hollywood set that people should hang their laundry out to dry on a clothes line instead of using the dryer. That would go over well in NYC I think.

      • icisil: I always thought those rolling clotheslines were quite clever. I have no real desire to hang my laundry out, even though I can, but in a day and age when clothes dryers were not common, the laundry lines made a lot of sense.

      • Seriously, I stopped using cloths dryers years ago.

        I’ve been using one of those dog cables as a cloths line for some time now, or just hang stuff inside the warm house. I still use a washing machine, however.

        And, oh, is it more proper now to say “climate footprint” instead of “carbon footprint”? How about assessing people’s stupid footprint. Let’s assess some stupid credits. Create a new financial instrument called “stupid futures”.

        To reduce your stupid footprint, however, you have to walk distances over a mile and read at a level beyond Twitter or CNN.

      • Clotheslines ==> Gone are the days of sheets hung in the hot summer sun to dry and then ironed before being put on the bed. I do still remember the smell of southern California air dried clothing — nothing like pulling a sun warmed t-shirt over one’s head after shower.

        [Nor the cold of still-damp clothes mildewing after two days on the line stretched across the kitchen in winter. .mod]

      • Clotheslines – in the summer, they were great fun. In the winter, the sheets froze into place and had to be brought indoors. I loved parting the sheets folded over the clothesline and running through them. They smelled like sunshine.
        Thanks for the memories. I

      • Robert,
        Don’t forget the requirement to intelligently produce sentences over 150 characters without using leet speak
        1337 5P34K that would be GR8

    • Hokey ==> No matter how stupid the general media appears to me, it always surprises me with new lows….

    • Had me confused as well. WTF is a “climate footprint”? Then it dawned on me that when they rebranded it to “climate change” you no longer created a “carbon footprint” (which was quasi-calculable) but a far more nebulous “climate footprint”. A whole new form of transgression.

      Your climate foot print was made when you were born. it’s the same one you’ll leave when you return to the elements whence you came. Its a closed loop integration.
      …of course some could reduce their annoyance to the rational members of this planet by shortening their loop. 😉

      • My only brother died very young (age 28) from a rare and nasty cancer. Therefore, I have been “using” his carbon footprint all my life … I spawned THREE children (1.5 for each of our footprints), and I have been DOUBLING whatever other footprint restrictions are advised by the climate champions. I routinely run the dishwasher TWICE a day, wash my car in the driveway (weekly), run the furnace at 78deg. F, burn lots of wood in my fireplace, buy lots of Amazon products that have to be shipped via carbon-gobbling transport, and drive my 15mpg Land Rover to the local market less than a mile from my home … it’s what my brother would have wanted.

        BTW … he was an auto mechanic, so I should actually be quintrrupling my Climate footprint … for all the automobiles that weren’t serviced as a result of his death.

    • The Climate Cause™ is a great excuse to give incompetent people jobs. I don’t think there’s much doubt of that.

    • “ClimateFwd:” Spotted a spelling error – they spelt ‘fraud’ incorrectly, or was it a Freudian slip?

  2. “consider committing to walking or bicycling distances under a mile.” Damn, there goes 3.5km of my 5km walk.

  3. I clicked on the NYT wildfires link because I suspected they may have been taken in by the Katharine Hayhoe meme that the Santa Ana winds are extending into December (due to climate change) and thus fanning the 2017 December fires. Sure enough, after clicking through to another NYT story on the fires, it referred to the same author whos paper Hayhoe had tweeted out. That paper shows a *drop* in the December Santa Ana wind events for the 2005-34 period (i.e. now) and an increase from 2077-2100. I tweeted her, pointing this out in the very same paper’s conclusions and asking her to delete her tweet in the name of good scicomm:

    That was a month ago and her tweet is still up with an extra few dozen retweets and more sycophantic, unquestioning thank-yous.

    Meanwhile, NYT referred to Miller (the Santa Ana winds paper author) saying “some of his work” shows an increase in the December occurrence of the winds. There’s no link to the paper but I assume it’s the same one and that the “some of” means the completely irrelevant 2077-2100 period which does show an increase in December occurrences (all modelled of course). So here we have yet another piece of prestidigitation by NYT and all their unquestioning readers will lap it up.

    Whether NYT got the idea from Hayhoe, we shall never know. I’m sure they’re just as capable of spinning it once they see the potential for ‘supporting’ their story.

    BTW the link to the Santa Ana winds paper in Hayhoe’s tweet is now broken. It was working for a week or so after the tweet. I also sent her a reminder to delete it when she tweeted out, asking how we could all help in climate action.

    • Scute ==> The very suggestion that a local wind condition (not even regional) can be predicted, even probabilisticly, out 60 to 80 years in the future is totally fruit-cake nutty — it just falls into the classification of saying “anything’s possible.”

      • “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”…
        Subterranean Homesick Blues – Dylan

      • Kip

        You’re falling into the trap where you’re so triggered by the stupidity of the models/output that you ignore the dishonesty of the climate scientist. They’re two separate things.

        I too think that predicting Santa Ana wind event frequency in 2077-2100 is crazy. And I was triggered too because it’s just plain annoying. I was triggered enough to read the whole paper so I had the ammunition to call her out on it. But the whole point of my comment was that having deceived us with dodgy model outputs, she then goes on to misrepresent those ‘scientific’ findings. That is a different form of dishonesty: it’s far worse, every-day dishonesty. They can always argue that they believe their models are accurate and inputs/outputs meaningful and I’m sure many of them reply do believe this so they can’t be called out unequivocally as being dishonest. If, however, they go on to misrepresent their ‘scientific’ results, that’s a) a far worse transgression and b) a clear case of everyday dishonesty that can be called out. Only then, having made a clear delineation between the clear everyday case and the less clear “our models are accurate” case can you start to nail them to the floor as being inherently dishonest.

        That’s why I spent so much time reading the paper, calling her out and writing my long comment above. Your conflation of the clear dishonest misrepresentation of the data with the less clear inaccuracy of the models completely misses the point. Just because the models are crazy wrong doesn’t mean you should ignore a case of clear, brazen misrepresentation of (what she thinks is) scientific data.

    • Whenever the “some” appears in a NYT-article the reader knows that they enter fiction territory.
      That is my experience since 4 decades.

  4. Elsewhere on the net the alarmists will tell you its not their fault when the media goes full blown climate chaos.

    Not their fault they say, yet they rely on such hysteria and fully embrace it.


    • Daisy ==> Well there are some, like Steve Nerem, who publish things in the mass media such as predicting 270 feet of SLR. Certainly it is HIS fault.

  5. “…NASA’s ranking 2017 as the “second-warmest year since reliable record-keeping began in 1880, trailing only 2016.” 

    The venerable BBC broadcast it a little differently. They said (2018-01-19) that 2017 was the warmest non-El Niño year evah!

    Well then, I guess that means it was pretty warm!

  6. From long ago and far away and from a world that maybe never really was: “Sad movies always make me cry.”

  7. The New York Times and other reputable journals promote human related climate change science.
    WUWT and other media platforms promote anti-human climate change science.
    I’m not sure what the point of Mr.Hansen’s post. Is debate no longer allowed?
    Should we be criticising Fox News, Breitbart, The Telegraph, Daily Mail etc. for their opposition to climate science in the same way as Mr. Hansen criticises the New York Times?
    Or is WUWT a propaganda site to promote climate science scepticism?

    • “The New York Times and other reputable journals promote human related climate change science.”
      Bahahahahahahaha! You climate trolls, with your koolade-addled “brains” are hilarious.

    • Gareth, since you seem quite knowledgeable on the subject, can you please show us some real evidence that man’s CO2 is causing serious global warming?

      • Funny thing. Policies to fight AGW have killed 2 to 3 orders of magnitude more people than AGW ever did.

    • “anti-human”. To wit:
      How about the fact that all global climate change for 4 Billion years prior to 1950 was natural variation.

      Now under “human-related climate change science” it apparently means natural variation of climate magically ceased working simultaneous to an additional human-caused mole fraction of The MagicMolecule was added.

      That “human related climate change science” I conclude is pseudoscience at its finest.

    • “Should we be criticising Fox News, Breitbart, The Telegraph, Daily Mail etc. for their opposition to climate science in the same way as Mr. Hansen criticises the New York Times?”

      Sure, go ahead. The conservative news media tell the truth to the best of their ability, imo, so I don’t think any criticism you level at them will have any substance. So go ahead and give us some specifics.

      The Leftwing News Media peddle distortions and half truths fueled by their leftwing bias. The Rightwing News Media don’t distort or tell half truths, at least from my point of view.. Feel free to try to prove otherwise.

    • Gzreth ==> You do understand the concept of propaganda? and what makes it different than “another opinion”?
      Quote: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
      The production of altered graphics, altered so as to increase apparent warming, while claiming the graphic to be sourced from NASA, intentionally both biased and misleading == propaganda.
      If you really follow what I write here, I speak out against all sides when they produce propaganda.
      Thank you for checking in.

    • “Is debate no longer allowed?”

      Like most AGW/socialists, Gareth defines lying as dialog, and ridiculing those lies as being repression of free speech.

    • No Gareth, you, like so many others still fail to see the distinction between SCIENCE, and SCIENTISTS. The NY times promotes SCIENTISTS, not SCIENCE. WUWT supports more actual science on a daily basis than your favorite sources of misinformation ever will. If you really can’t see the difference between criticising certain scientists and their self serving methods, versus criticising actual science, then you need to go back to 1st grade and start all over again. Preferably not at a public school.

    • Still, scepticism is part of the scientific core of any type of science. Without it, you are standing with at least one foot in politics and/or religion.

    • “The New York Times and other reputable journals”

      You mean the Guardian, don’t you?

      Dear me…

  8. The New York Times (the so called paper of record) ran a front page story this week by Kristof –

    “Swallowed by the Sea You doubt climate change? Come to this island — but hurry, before it disappears.”

    Actually a quick check of the science reveals that although the sea level is slowly rising the real cause here is these islands are sinking because of land use (embankments) and local conditions:

    Liberals don’t care about the truth. They think if they can alarm people enough they wil l gain more power.

      • Kip, There was a similar article written in 2015 titled “Senegalese planting mangrove to fight climate change”.
        I did some research and would like to send it to you.
        Your email?

    • They think They’ve learned if they can alarm people enough they wil l gain more power. (there – fixed it)

  9. The New York Times (the so called paper of record) ran a front page story this week by Kristof –

    “Swallowed by the Sea You doubt climate change? Come to this island — but hurry, before it disappears.”

    Actually a quick check of the science reveals that although the sea level is slowly rising the real cause here is these islands are sinking because of land use (embankments) and local conditions:

    Liberals don’t care about the truth. They think if they can alarm people enough they wil l gain more power.

    • Leo ==> To tell the truth, Ms. Pierre-Louis seems to have trouble fact-checking her material. Many journalists today to “confirmation-checking” in place of true fact-chdcking — that is, they do Google or Lexus/Nexus searches to see if any other journalist ever used the same info, and if so, print it as “defensible” — — “the Washington Post carried the same bit, so I can use it too.” This creates the MSM echo chamber in which journalists quote other papers instead of checking original sources themselves.

      • As liberal Neal Gabler once said while a panelist on Fox’s “Newswatch” program many years ago: ‘The problem with many journalists todays is that they are lazy and stupid.’ To the best of my memory that is verbatim but even if not it is the essence of what he said. I will never forget it.

      • “The problem with many journalists todays is that they are lazy and stupid.”

        I know a college graduate who majored in journalism who did not know how William Randolf Hearst made his fortune.

    • The campaign to promote CAGW has stepped up a notch. Maybe its advocates are feeling the heat (of not being able to convince the public that danger looms).

      • Kip,

        I looked through a number of the comments to the Kristoff piece by NYTimes readers and there were quite a few that pointed out the obvious errors implicit in the piece. It makes me wonder if the editors or Kristof ever even read the comments and if so how they get away with not correcting their misrepresentations. Is this the essence of “fake news”?

  10. Kip,
    Your issue with the anomaly base period is one I and several others always have with anomalies. The size of the anomaly ( + or -) is totally dependent on the base period used. This is just a shell game used to dupe the majority of readers of an anomaly graph into believing what you want them to believe.

    • Tom ==> It is much worse than just that. The “anomaly” thing is a sort of INDEX, like a stock exchange index. It does not show how much the Global Average Surface Temperature has changed between measured times…..The GAST changes very little, far less than even the officially acknowledged error bars for that metric [which are about a factor of ten too low]. Publicizing the actual GAST in degrees centigrade looks foolish and accomplishes nothing — maybe even a negative — for The Cause. You can imagine the headlines “Global Average Surface Temperature last year reached a dangerously hot 58.73°F ! “
      That is Gavin Schmidt’s figure for 2016 given as 288.0±0.5K to obscure how cool it is — sweater weather. You see, in order to keep from being called out, he must include the +/- 0.5K — which is the same as +/- 0.5°C. Gavin says the temperatures for the last four years, at least, “All ….appear to be the same within the uncertainty.”
      Then comes the miracle of “Anomalization!” saving the day for The Cause.

      • OOPS ==> Gavin Schmidt does acknowledge the minimum 0.5°C error bars for surface temperature, but GISS does not show them, ever, on their graphs. NOAA shows no error bars either. Nor NASA. All these major groups show the temperatures in the 1800s with the same certainty as today’s temperatures….which is a huge misrepresentation.

    • Thnx, Tom for raising the “anomaly” procedure issue where latest and warmest is referenced to some arbitrary period.

      Let’s be frank, I DON’T LIKE IT.

      I prefer absolute values and can easily see trends and variations WRT any point on the plot, can’t you? Sure, and most, if not all here can too.

      Gums from NW FL sends…

      • To be fair, it doesn’t really matter which base period you use, 2016 & 2017 are still going to be the warmest, 2nd warmest or 3rd warmest (or thereabouts) since accurate thermometers (or whatever) . My problem with making anything out of that is, so what? The planet has been warming for quite a while. How many years since 1850 or 1880 were “the warmest” at that time?

      • Anomalies tend to blend well with the Hockey Stick indoctrination, which paints a mental picture of static and peaceful, downright comfortable pre-industrial weather, made crazy by everything humanity has done to better its existence. That invokes a simpleton logic that every anomalous weather event comes from our activities which liberate Carbon and explain part of the rise in CO2 since the LIA.
        It also appears to be more scary to look at an anomaly map due to the chosen coloration. There is some psychology involved in that, IMHO.

  11. According to the first chart, there was no warming from the depths of the Little Ice Age till 1960.
    Somebodies been doctoring their data.

    • MarkW ==> Ya think so?
      Honestly, only the BEST project puts any kind of realistic uncertainty bars on these 19th century/early 20th century global figures — and even theirs are far too low. Plus or minus a degree or two — maybe three that far back — there is no way to tell — the data is just not there.,

      • I would put 1 to 3C error bars on the individual temperature readings. Given the issues with equipment and maintaining local environments. Not to mention equipment changes and site moves.
        However the idea that a few hundred readings, concentrated in western Europe and the northeastern US can represent the temperature for the entire world is ludicrous beyond description. Trying to reconstruct the world’s temperature from that is a fools errand.

      • MarkW ==> Measured occassionally, with uncalibrated thermometers known to have wide uncertainties a temperatures away from the zero and 100 C (which were pretty carefully marked), at a few random locations around the world…….
        Even Magic Anomalization can’t fix those problems.

  12. Here is a great example of journalistic malpractice.

    No Joke. During Record Cold Spell, The Guardian Warns of Global Warming
    This isn’t a joke. On 01/01/2018, during a record cold spell, the Guardian is running an article about Edward Teller warning the Oil Industry about Global Warming. Yes, “Global Warming,” not “Climate Change.” Clearly, the evidence since 1959, and the complete and absolute failure of the IPCC to model this theory mean nothing to them.

  13. “Kendra ‘Gloom is My Beat’ Pierre-Louis”…
    Wow, that’s a mouthful.
    “Debby Downer” would be easier to type…

    • Mark Twain — “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis- informed.”

  14. Kip,

    I wonder if our erstwhile Dot Earth host might be inclined to help budding climate reporters at the Paper of Record take a deep breath and actually attempt to report reality as opposed to the currently en-vogue hyperbole narrative? Or dare one climate reporter call out other climate reporters for silly propaganda / fear-mongering during the Trump era?

    • Kurt ==> Andy Revkin, of Dot Earth fame, is not longer with the NY Times, he has movecd on to Pacifica.

  15. “Remember, the Global Average Temperature for 2017 is somewhere south of 15°C [59 °F] which is neither warm nor hot.”

    It’s also not a temperature. It’s an imaginary, derived number.

  16. The temperature here in my kingdom is forecast to reach 50F on Monday (1/22/18), which means we’re having another mild, wet winter after the cold snap in December. Fine by me. I can walk to the bank instead of worrying about slipping on some ice. That part of winter is no fun.

    ‘ a fellow journalist’ – no, Kip, she’s not a journalist. She’s a bimbo who got lucky to have NYT give her a column to write. She probably gets paid by the word. I say that because they’re having financial issues right now. They have lost relevance and they know it. My local newspaper has better copywriters than this ‘gloomseeker’. I’m sure that rain never touches her hair.

  17. Kip: Both graphs appear to show an upward trend in temperatures (both from 1996 and from 2014). Do you accept the data you presented, especially the second set of data from the UK met office? If so, hasn’t the data contradicted your assertion that there isn’t any warming?

    • Barry ==> I have made no such assertion.
      Are you attempting to answer “Why I’ve shown monthly graphs?”

Comments are closed.