Snookering the Wall Street Journal

Even though the Wall Street Journal is skeptical about climate change claims and has been very critical of the climate orthodoxy, it agreed to run 11 climate change ads by a group called The Partnership for Responsible Growth. Unfortunately, in attempting to be fair and open minded, the Journal did not do a good job of fact checking the factual foundation of the  June 16 ad titled, Carbon Traps Heat.  It got snookered.

This group begins by stating that “IF WE CAN AGREE ON THAT (carbon traps heat), WE CAN HAVE A CONVERSATION.” Actually you can agree with that statement and still not be able to have an informed conversation because this so called Partnership wraps its political agenda in the cloak of science. It is true that scientists have known for almost 200 years that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to warming by absorbing solar energy that otherwise would be reflected back into space. That observation about CO2 is where the Partnership’s statement of fact ends and its political rhetoric begins.

Asserting that CO2 acts “like a blanket” and that “excess heat remains trapped on earth” are gross distortions intended to imply that absent reductions in CO2 emissions warming will go in only one direction, up. The creator of theses ads are attempting to convince readers that CO2 emissions from using fossil fuels will cause run away warming that will cause a climate catastrophe. When advocates draw such extreme images, it is a virtual certainty that facts and reality have been abandoned.

If the Wall Street Journal had held this group to any reasonable standard of proof, it would have summarily rejected, at least, this ad as being nothing more than special interest propaganda. Last year, a new scientific organization, the CO2 Coalition published a report, Carbon Dioxide Benefits the World: See for Yourself that provides the scientific basis for refuting the Partnership’s erroneous claim about the effects of CO2 and its image of future dread.

One of the most important, but neglected, facts that this group ignores is that CO2’s warming effect decreases in efficiency because the relationship between CO2 concentrations and warming is logarithmic; not linear. As CO2 concentrations have increased the incremental warming is less than that from prior levels. While advocates focus their attention on CO2, they neglect to mention that water vapor is the most potent greenhouse gas and that atmospheric levels have not been increasing.

The Partnership also neglects to mention that CO2 is a nutrient that is necessary for live. It contributes to the efficiency of plant and crop growth and to making them more drought resistant. Satellite imagery clearly shows a greening of the earth as atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased.

If the Partnership is truly interested in a “conversation” about CO2 and climate change, it should first abandon its campaign style rhetoric and its selective use of scientific facts and engage scientists like those who comprise the leadership of the CO2 Coalition in a serious debate.





Founder and president of Solutions Consulting which focuses on public policy issues, strategic planning, and strategic communications.

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