As if in answer to a prayer, James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole has shown magnificently how the Breitbart sites pass off opinion as “news”. On a subject close to his heart, climate change, Breitbart London’s star turn – and celebrated “interpreter of interpretations” – has used a “news” item to reinforce his own agenda, rather in the style of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
Not even a little fair and balanced
“The planet is not in danger of catastrophic man made global warming. Even if we burn all the world's recoverable fossil fuels it will still only result in a temperature rise of less than 1.2 degrees C” tells Del Boy. So who has provided the basis for this highly dubious assertion? “ The Right Climate Stuff Research Team, a group of retired NASA Apollo scientists and engineers”, that’s who.
And they, don’t you know, are “the men who put Neil Armstrong on the moon”. Except we don’t know that: the only names given are retired oil and gas executive H Leighton Steward, and lead author of the study Delingpole cites, Harold H Doiron. What any of the rest had to do with the Apollo program we don’t get to find out. And in any case, that does not make them climate scientists.
The analysis Del so eagerly supports is “Using calculations by George Stegemeier of the National Academy of Engineering”. A career oilman. Again, not a climate scientist. But this project shows that “Many NASA employees and former employees found [James Hansen’s] views an embarrassment”. This project has 40 of those. NASA, at present, employs almost 18,000 people.
In other words, that’s less than a quarter of one percent. Although, as Delingpole says, it is supported by “scientists such as the Cato Institute's Pat Michaels”. Ah yes, the Cato Institute, a sceptical voice on climate change. Then Del tells “There is no empirical data indicating Anthropogenic Global Warming will produce catastrophic climate changes. AGW can only produce modest global warming, likely to be beneficial when CO2 benefits to crop production are considered”.
In support of which Delingpole brings forth precisely nothing. But it’s good to see that he is re-using his latest favourite word, empirical. This, in his mind, instantly validates any work in the field of climate change which meets with his approval, while anything incurring his displeasure is drenched in abuse.
But enough of my own particular scepticism of yet another pile of denial: The Right Climate Stuff project has already passed before the inspection of the people at Skeptical Science, and their concerns addressed. What Delingpole has done is, not for the first time, homed in on a minority view, exaggerated its authority, and then presented it as “news”, when it is nothing of the sort.
Not even the “news” is reliable at Breitbart. No surprise there.