John Abraham: Jason Lewis misled readers on global warming

  • Updated: March 23, 2011 - 7:56 PM
John Abraham

John Abraham

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Counterpoint

Jason Lewis's recent article on global warming ("Getting warm. Or cool. Let's make policy!" March 20) contained so much misleading and inaccurate information that it requires a response.

Someone reading this article might believe that Lewis knows more about climate science than the 97 percent of scientists who agree that humans are causing the Earth to warm.

Rather than focusing on what solutions are best, he wrote a confusing and conflicting piece that gives the impression that the Earth is not warming, and that scientists are manipulating data.

In his article, Lewis:

•Made an unsubstantiated and untrue claim that scientists hid a "decline in temperatures." Where is the evidence of this? No scientists made any statement that they were hiding a decline in temperatures. This is a distortion of a stolen e-mail that was actually referring to increasing temperatures.

•Took aim at reputable institutions, including NASA. He claims that NASA has "erroneously reported that readings over the last decade were warmer than the 1930s, when in fact the opposite was true." This statement is inaccurate, as is his claim that NASA recanted 1998 as being the hottest year in U.S. history.

•Claimed that temperatures have been declining since 1940. They have not. No scientist would agree with that statement.

•Alleged that climate change theory is based on models and not real data. This, too, is inaccurate. The fact that increasing greenhouse gases cause the earth to warm is known from data that go back 800,000 years. Is that a long enough record?

•Suggested that since 1998, temperatures have leveled off and might be decreasing now. It turns out that the hottest three years on record, according to NASA, were 2010, 2005 and 2009. It is tough to have this trend occur in a cooling world.

I could go on, but you get the point. Lewis knows very little about climate issues, and much of what he knows is provided by think tanks, not scientists.

We desperately need good information to move forward collectively on solutions to this problem.

I'll bet Lewis is deeply suspicious of regulatory solutions to climate change; if so, he should come up with alternative, market-based ways to reduce global warming. Then we can select the best plans that offer the highest payback on investment.

If we act wisely, our solutions to global warming will give us many benefits, including more jobs, energy diversity and improved national security. Who can be against that?

John Abraham is an engineering professor at the University of St. Thomas.

 
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John Abraham