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This item was posted on January 7, 2011, and it was categorized as Climate Change, Shrieking Stupid Heads, Wackazoids, climate change coverage.
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I’m talking about Forbes magazine, which today published another howler

Yesterday, Real Climate deconstructed a post at Forbes in which Larry Bell bludgeoned journalists for failing to report “good news” about climate change. The trouble was, almost all the alleged good news Bell referred to was absolutely bogus.

Today, Forbes is at it again, this time with a blog post by William Pentland (that’s him to the left) in which he asks:

Does a liberal democracy have sufficient resolve to stomach the economic and political sacrifices required to stabilize global warming?

Here’s his answer:

A growing number of climate scientists believe the answer is “no.” In their view, democratic institutions are perpetuating climate change by precluding implementation of the politically unpalatable actions needed to reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

His evidence that a “growing number” of climate scientists believe this? The text from the jacket blurb of a book published three years ago and co-authored by a man who appears to be an Australian MD. I’m not kidding. That’s it.

Here’s what Pentland says:

The back-of-the-book blurb, which I would strongly urge readers NOT to buy, describes the author’s argument like so:

And what does the blurb say?

Having brought the reader to the realization that in order to halt or even slow the disastrous process of climate change we must choose between liberal democracy and a form of authoritarian government by experts, the authors offer up a radical reform of democracy that would entail the painful choice of curtailing our worldwide reliance on growth economies, along with various legal and fiscal reforms.

The book, titled “The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy” (HURRY! Only 1 left in stock!), is by David Shearman, whom Pentland describes as a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Adelaide. Except, he’s not. Or at least you won’t find him listed among the staff or faculty at the university. I checked. Maybe they just forgot to list him because he’s a visiting professor. Who knows?

But Shearman was one of literally hundreds of contributors to Working Group 2 of the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, and he’s co-authored other books on climate.

In his post, Pentland predictably invokes Godwin’s law, with references to Hitler and the Nazis. You get the idea. A growing number of climate scientists are promoting Nazi-like policies . . .

Look, I really don’t know anything about this. I didn’t read the book, and I have no intention of doing so. And in 25 years of covering climate, I’ve never heard of Shearman. He’s written about climate, but apparently he’s not a climate scientist. Like I said, I don’t know.

And most important, neither does Pentland — because he obviously hasn’t read the book, or even part of it, or even bothered to check ANYTHING out about it and the co-authors. He’s so shameless he even admits that his sole bit of evidence that a growing number of climate scientists are becoming like Nazis comes from the bloody book jacket.

It also turns out that his post is simply regurgitated bloviation that has been making the rounds in the conservative echo-chamber for the past few days. (Examples: here, here and here.)

So first Larry Bell and then this? I realize that we’re talking about a blog here, and that it’s a challenge to feed the blogbeast every day. But are there ANY editors over there trying to uphold even MINIMAL journalistic standards?

How can anyone ever take this publication seriously?

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This thing has 7 Comments

  1. Posted January 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Keep at it, Tom… Wack Wack.. Recruit this guy:

  2. spyder
    Posted January 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I am sensing a push by the corporate capitalists to secure policies that promote energy profits at the expense of the environment. China and India are growing huge energy needs, particularly gasoline and coal. The capitalists are legitimately fearful that climate change policies in the US would limit their access to the cheap fuels and massive profits over the next decades. Forestalling those policies is their MO, therefore we have Forbes, WSJ, NYT, Fox etc., pushing hard now (with the GOP House) to resist any substantive legislation.

  3. hunter
    Posted January 9, 2011 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Disagreeing with your religious views is not a howler.
    Particularly views that are showing up as less-and-less connected to reality.

  4. hunter
    Posted January 9, 2011 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    And, by the way, since you have not red the book, have you at least read the Amazon link on it? There was more than one author. Both are nice lefty enviro extremists.
    They specifically call for a totalitarian state to handle what you believe is a worldwide crisis.
    Why did you pick on just one of the authors?
    Both are multi-book authors of enviro-extremist views.

  5. Posted January 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Allow Eli to explain this to you. It is clear that if we don’t do anything serious about atmospheric carbon contamination there are going to be seriously huge global disasters in the later part of this century and certainly beyond.

    Dealing with those problems is going to require fleets of black helicopters, which is why people like Eli advocate strong action now to protect liberty in the future. If you doubt this, go read Durant or anyone else on what happened to governance after Rome fell.

  6. tomasyn
    Posted January 10, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    @ hunter – so having ‘enviro-extremist’ views makes you a climate scientist? and here I thought it involved hard stuff like math and statistics, and you know, climate science.

  7. Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Dear Tom,

    I am the author of the article you have unfairly criticized in this blog post. You have no reasonable basis to conflate my views with those of Larry Bell. I have worked at Forbes for several years. There is no editorial policy on global warming — official or unofficial. If there were an institutional policy regarding global warming, I would never have been asked to write for Forbes. I work for an environmental advocacy organization that promotes a strong policy response to the very real threat of global warming.

    Like it or not, I am on your side of the political divide — NOT Larry Bell’s. I find it disappointing that you reflexively dismiss anyone who expresses concerns about emerging political currents in climate science as a “climate skeptic.” This is unfair, petty and counter productive.

    While you may not appreciate it, the issue I raised about democracy and climate change is extremely important. A growing number of climate scientists have lost confidence that the political process will establish binding emissions cuts soon enough to avert dangerous climate change, which has led many to support geoengineering.

    Shearman’s book expressed the political perspective that I believe is implicitly driving many highly-respected climate scientists to embrace geoengineering. These sentiments are similarly expressed in the late Stephen Schneider’s book “Science As A Contact Sport.” Other giants of climate science have said the same in scores of articles and interviews.

    I wish you would have invested half as much time addressing the substance of my concerns rather than trying to make me look stupid. I am not stupid but I am concerned about the future of our planet. Are you?

    Best regards,
    Bill Pentland

This thing has 3 Trackbacks

  1. Posted January 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jfleck, John S. Wilkins. John S. Wilkins said: Argumentum ab blurbum RT @yulsman: Forbes: "growing number" of #climate scientists promote Nazi-like authoritarianism http://bit.ly/epm202 [...]

  2. Posted January 8, 2011 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    [...] false;});}); Font size: There they go again[Via CEJournal]I’m talking about Forbes magazine, which today published another howlerYesterday, [...]

  3. Posted January 17, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    [...] confirms Forbes’ (10) reputation as clueless ideologically driven twonks with “There they go again.” [Aside: if anyone cares, background on David Shearman may be found [...]

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