Debunking Charles Krauthammer’s climate lies: A drinking game

The Washington Post pundit got his recent column very, very wrong

Topics: Charles Krauthammer, climate skeptics, Climate Change, Michael Mann, Washington Post,

Debunking Charles Krauthammer's climate lies: A drinking gameCharles Krauthammer (Credit: CBS News)

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer published a head slapper of a column last week, in which the conservative pundit managed to spew an enormous number of misinformed, misleading claims, all couched in this “disclaimer” of an opening graf:

I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

The column already received a deserved takedown in the Post’s own Op-Ed pages, courtesy of his colleague Stephen Stromberg. The same day it was published, coincidentally, protesters with CREDO and Forecast the Facts delivered a petition to the Post’s D.C. offices demanding that the paper stop publishing Op-Eds that spread misinformation about the science of climate change.

But prominent climate scientist Michael Mann doesn’t think Krauthammer’s chicanery is worth taking that seriously. “[Krauthammer's] commentary is a veritable laundry list of shopworn talking points,” Mann writes over at LiveScience, “so predictable now in climate change denialist lore that one can make a drinking game out of it.” What makes this great is that’s exactly what Mann proceeds to do (emphases his):



His cry that it is “anti-scientific” to declare climate change a “fact?” A swig of vodka to start things out. [The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has concluded that "Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities , and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems."]

Trotting out a solitary maverick scientist willing to defy the conventional scientific wisdom? A chaser of beer. [The physicist Freeman Dyson has impressive credentials in physics, but he is clearly beyond his depth in his forays into climate change. And despite Krauthammer's implications to the contrary, Dyson does not deny that humans are warming the planet and changing the climate.]

Quoting University of Alabama Huntsville scientist John Christy on climate models being “consistently and spectacularly wrong?” A double-swig of scotch for this one. [Christy recently co-authored a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed where he argued that temperatures haven't warmed as much as climate models predicted, based on an extremely misleading and inappropriate comparison of models and observations. Adding to the irony is the fact that Christy is largely known for a satellite temperature estimate that was once used to argue that the globe wasn't warming. When other scientists finally got ahold of his data and reverse-engineered his calculations, they determined this to be an artifact of errors in his algorithm  in algebra and sign (i.e. a "-" sign in his calculations where there should have be a "+" sign).]

The game goes on — you, depending on your level of tolerance for alcohol and outright climate trolling, may not be able to.

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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