Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
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A big story in New Mexico the last couple weeks has been the nomination of moon walker, geologist and Heartland friend Harrison “Jack” Schmitt as the state’s energy secretary. The moon dust really hit the fan when The New Mexican, the state capital’s biggest newspaper, published an op-ed by Mark Boslough on January 24, titled “Climate-change deniers ignore science.” It was full of false statements about Schmitt and Heartland.
Because The Heartland Institute has for many years been at the forefront of advancing science (as opposed to politics) on the matter of climate change, and because Boslough’s defamation of Schmitt and Heartland was so egregious, Heartland president Joseph L. Bast demanded and eventually received equal space in The New Mexican to correct the record. The paper ran Bast’s counter op-ed with the title “Writer owes Schmitt, readers apology.”
The paper used the headline we put on the piece and ran it — word for word — as Bast wrote it. As a former op-ed editor for two newspapers, I can attest that such things are rarely done. Opinion-page staff don’t like being told what to do by outsiders, and are reluctant to give equal space to a person or organization that has been wronged. They will accede to every half-measure possible to quiet the complainer — such as allowing a letter to the editor, or even just posts in the comments section under the piece. But The New Mexican knew they messed up. The editors didn’t even make a simple phone call to check on the defamatory claims Boslough made about Heartland. So the editors of the paper deserve credit for doing this right: giving us equal space to correct the record.
Since then, a letter or two sticking up for Schmitt and Heartland has appeared in their pages (as well as those opposing him). But so has another op-ed taking cheap and false shots at The Heartland Institute. We’re used to cheap shots. It comes with the territory of countering the climate alarmist machine. But if you’re gonna go after us, at least have your facts straight.
Helpfully, another Heartland friend had a piece published in The New Mexican to stick up for Schmitt and Heartland. Ronald A. Wells, Ph.D., is a planetary astronomer and computer specialist. This piece by Wells, titled “Climate-change alarmists fear science” (a play on the headline the paper gave Boslough’s piece), was published in the paper on January 31. It was edited, and some of the key parts were left out. So read here for the unedited version.
UPDATE: Apparently the link to the unedited version above is a little balky, so below I’ve pasted Wells’ unedited version below, including links:
I have followed with dismay recent criticisms in the New Mexico press of Gov. Martinez’s nomination of Harrison Schmitt as her Energy Secretary. The remarks of Kevin Bixby, (Las Cruces Sun-News, 01/20/2011), Michael McCally (Albuquerque Journal, 01/22/2011), Mark Boslough (Santa Fe New Mexican, 01/24/2011) and others represent typical knee-jerk ideological reactions. All describe Schmitt as a “global warming denier” and build their flawed op-eds on that premise. But Schmitt has never “denied” global temperature fluctuations. And his conclusion that current climate changes may be more related to natural causes than to human activity is based on true science— not on political science or popular misconceptions (as his well-referenced, published papers attest). McCally, Bixby, and Boslough, on the other hand, rely on fear and invective to spread their unproven claims.
Dr. Schmitt, a professional scientist (CalTech, Harvard), is highly qualified for his new post. His varied experiences in science, education, government and business are perfectly matched to the position. Moreover, Schmitt enjoys the respect of his colleagues in the scientific community— not only geologists, but also meteorologists. In fact, Dr. Schmitt was given a special award by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for his meteorological observations of the Earth while traveling to the Moon. He also organized NASA’s Energy Office, serving as its first administrator. Harrison Schmitt’s distinguished exceptionalism will serve New Mexico well.
Many eminent scientists, not dependent on governmental funding, agree with Schmitt’s views. “Climate Change Reconsidered” was written by independent Ph.D. scholars from 16 countries. It is a comprehensive study with peer-reviewed references which thoroughly refutes the UN-sponsored 2007 IPCC report purporting to substantiate the anthropogenic (human) origins of increased CO2 as the primary cause of global warming.
Section 3.2.1 of this book discusses Michael Mann’s 1998 “hockey stick” graph which purports to show an unchecked rise in 20th century global temperatures after exhibiting little change since 1000 A.D. This diagram was the foundation of the science that Boslough says has been ignored. Climate change proponents have built their arguments supporting anthropogenic global warming (AGW) on it. But statisticians McIntyre and McKitrick, utilizing Mann’s data, demonstrated that his graph was incorrectly analyzed. In addition, many measurements were defective. Hence, the graph does not support increased global warming.
Incredibly, Mann admitted the errors; but maintained his conclusions about global warming remain unchanged. That isn’t science. It’s ideology. True science follows three basic precepts— accurate observation, correct analysis and verifiable prediction— which AGW proponents have yet to adopt successfully. Yet, it is Boslough who haughtily maintains that AGW opponents ignore science.
A report, written in 2010 by meteorologists Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts, provides another highly relevant example. “Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven Deception” examined temperature records of hundreds of observation stations around the world. The authors showed how the data have been so distorted that they are no longer reliable enough to indicate whether we are experiencing global warming … or cooling!
Unfortunately, climate change alarmists continue to use the phrases “global warming consensus” and “mainstream scientific opinion.” There is no such common agreement. But the general public and mainstream media seem unaware that more than 31,000 Americans holding university degrees in science, engineering and related disciplines, including over 9,000 holding Ph.D.’s, have signed a petition against global warming as a result of increased CO2 caused by human activity. In terms of Ph.D.’s alone, that number is fifteen times greater than those connected with the UN-sponsored IPCC.
So much for false claims and vitriolic smears.
Ronald A. Wells, Ph.D.
Dr. Wells is a planetary astronomer and computer specialist. He is currently the authorized organizational representative of Tranquillity Enterprises, a small company specializing in the photogrammetry of the Moon and planets.