New York Times’ Krugman off-base on GOP’s climate stance

Blog, Energy, Tom Harris

Paul Krugman tells us in his Nov 22 OpEd “Grand Old Planet” that the Republican Party denies science, or, in Krugman’s words, they use the approach:

“If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence.”

But one of the primary examples he uses to bolster his stance is so childish as to be laughable. Indeed, it demonstrates that Krugman, a professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, is totally out of his depth commenting about the state of modern climate science. He asserts:

“The most obvious example [of the supposed Republican denial of real science] other than evolution is man-made climate change. As the evidence for a warming planet becomes ever stronger — and ever scarier — the G.O.P. has buried deeper into denial, into assertions that the whole thing is a hoax concocted by a vast conspiracy of scientists. And this denial has been accompanied by frantic efforts to silence and punish anyone reporting the inconvenient facts. “

Of course, Krugman has the situation backwards when it comes to who is suppressing whom. Main stream media such as his own New York Times give regular high profile coverage to the ridiculous climate claims of UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, Al Gore and President Obama and their alarmist allies in and Greenpeace, but with few exceptions, never publish the opinions of highly qualified experts who disagree with the fashionable view of climate change.

When he worries about “a warming planet”, Krugman has obviously not looked at the actual data. The evidence from the U.K. Met office, a leader in the climate scare, tells us clearly that global warming has stopped for the past 16 years even though humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions have continued to rise. Take a look at the following graph that displays all the temperature averages determined from satellite and ground weather stations:

Although carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, global warming has stopped for the past 16 years, all data sources indicate.

So, the “evidence for a warming planet” is becoming weaker and certainly nothing anyone should find even remotely “scary”.

Krugman is also wrong to say that the G.O.P. has “buried deeper into denial.” The Republican position that we do not know the future of climate change is a realistic one. Those who pretend that the “science is settled” and that we are able to even forecast whether warming or cooling lie ahead are the ones in “deep denial.”

Trying to unravel the causes and consequences of climate change is arguably the most complex science ever tackled. Professors Chris Essex (University of Western Ontario, Canada) and Ross McKitrick (University of Guelph, Canada) write in their book Taken by Storm:

“Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved.”

As I explained in past posts, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change demonstrates that much of what we thought we knew about climate is wrong or highly debatable. Indeed, the science is becoming more unsettled as the field advances.

Krugman should stick to topics he understands. Climate science is clearly not one of them.


Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition, and a Research Fellow to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.