Monday, November 26, 2018

I'm Not A Surgeon But I'll Repair Your Heart Valve

It's fair, and good, to invite on to the Sunday morning news shows individuals from all ends of the political spectrum. However, the journalists- or television personalities- moderating a discussion must have both a working knowledge of the topic they will be discussing a willingness to challenge blatant falsehoods.

Instead, when Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked (at 39:07 of the first video below) about the Fourth National Climate Assessment, the work of 300 scientists and 13 federal agencies which the Trump Administration and its allies are undermining, he ignored obvious disinformation. Doris Keans Goodwin remarked, blandly though constructively, "if you can't look past yourself and the greater good and not the future, it's not leadership." Only slightly more controversially, Elise Jordan noted that the California fires "would, you hope, start to wake up Republican politicians."   

However Danielle Pletka of the AmericanEnterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank funded primarily by dark money, claimed

The problem for many is that they perceive this as an agenda that is much more about corporate and much more about law and much more about the kind of governance that America has and much less about climate. So from the standpoint of those who have doubts about this, and I don't think we can have any doubts that there is climate change, whether it's anthropogenic, I don't know, I'm not a scientist. I look at this as a citizen and I see it so I understand it. On the other hand, we need to also recognize that we just had two of the coldest years, the biggest drop in global temperatures that we've had since the 1980s, the biggest in the last 100 years. We don't talk about that because it's not part of the agenda....

We don't talk about it because it's not true.  Pletka's claim that "we just had two of the coldest years... since the 1980s" is a Trump-sized lie. In January NASA reported

Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA.

Continuing the planet's long-term warming trend, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. That is second only to global temperatures in 2016.

In a separate, independent analysis, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded that 2017 was the third-warmest year in their record. The minor difference in rankings is due to the different methods used by the two agencies to analyze global temperatures, although over the long-term the agencies’ records remain in strong agreement. Both analyses show that the five warmest years on record all have taken place since 2010.

Theoretically, a reversal may be taking place in 2018. Theoretically, but not actually, because as earlier this month NOAA found

October 2018 also marks the 42nd consecutive October and the 406th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average....

The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.39 degrees above the 20th century average of 57.4 degrees Fahrenheit- the fourth highest for January-October in the 139-year record. The years 2014-2018 comprise the five warmest January-October periods on record, with 2016 the warmest such period at 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

Todd undoubtedly knew that Pletka was pulling thing(s) out of her posterior. The problem could be mitigated by more transparency than simply introducing such people as "Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute." Admittedly, that could prove awkward, unwieldy, or vulnerable to inaccuracy or bias.  

In the short term, in the matter of climate change, Dan Rather has the best recommendation:

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