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Wednesday, July 1, 2009
MRC Ignores Full Story of 'Suppressed' Report
Topic: Media Research Center

Various Media Research Center outlets have touted claims that the Environmental Protection Agency suppressed a report by an EPA researcher that criticized the idea of global warming. But these outlets aren't telling the whole story.

A June 30 article by Christopher Neefus repeats the claims made by Alan Carlin, whom he describes only as a "career professional" -- that "raised questions about the validity of the agency's conclusions that carbon emissions are a cause of global warming and a danger to human health." But Carlin has no demonstrated expertise in climate science -- indeed, he doesn't appear to be a scientist. According to his bio, he holds degrees in physics and economics.

Neefus also uncritically repeats a claim from Carlin's report that  "Global temperatures have declined for 11 straight years." That's false -- annual global average temperatures have both risen and fallen over the past 11 years, and most climate scientists not on the take from oil companies reject the idea that those temperatures are any indication that global warming is slowing or does not exist.

Neefus' bias is evident in the way his article was structured -- the EPA was not permitted to respond to the claim until the final four paragraphs of his 36-paragraph article.

NewsBusters has also been enthusiastic about promoting Carlin's claims. Noel Sheppard, in a June 28 post, copied part of a article on Carlin -- but not the part where the EPA stated that "Claims that this individual’s opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false."

A June 30 NewsBusters post by Sam Theodosopoulos similarly treated Carlin as trustworthy by failing to note that the EPA disputes Carlin's version of events.

UPDATE: Also missing from these MRC reports is a critique of Carlin's study from an actual climatologist:

One can see a number of basic flaws here; the complete lack of appreciation of the importance of natural variability on short time scales, the common but erroneous belief that any attribution of past climate change to solar or other forcing means that CO2 has no radiative effect, and a hopeless lack of familiarity of the basic science of detection and attribution.


So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at. 

Meanwhile, Carlin himself tells TPM that he put together the report in just four days and that "I didn't have time to fix all the problems -- and they still aren't fixed."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 11:21 AM EDT

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