Hannity & Lomborg on Global Warming

05 September 2007

College dropout Sean Hannity recently hosted author and political scientist Bjorn Lomborg to discuss global warming. It's worth pointing out right away that the show labeled Lomborg as a "scientist" despite the fact that Lomborg has absolutely no scientific training whatsoever.

The interview was very short, and pretty much what you'd expect. Hannity stuck to the basic formula.

Step 1: Portray global warming as a religion:

HANNITY: Our next guest's new book debunks numerous popular myths about global warming, such as sea levels rising, decreasing polar bear populations and the recent increase of hurricanes, all of which Al Gore sells as gospel in his movie
LOMBORG: global warming, unfortunately, I think, has very easily become somewhat of a religion

[Despite the fact that the vast majority of scientific organizations and peer-reviewed literature support it.]

Step 2: Turn it into an issue about Al Gore.
Al Gore... Inconvenient Truth... Al Gore... Al Gore... Al Gore
[I don't know if Sean Hannity has ever been able to discuss this issue without talking about Al Gore personally.]

Step 3: Without naming even a single one, claim that there are plenty of scientists on your side.
HANNITY: What frustrates me about this is there are so many scientists, well-credentialed scientists, experts, meteorologists that have studied this for 30 years, and they dispute that this is actually happening.

[If that's so, then perhaps they should be publishing their papers in the peer-reviewed journals. As it stands, they're really not. Also, Lomborg doesn't count, and it's dishonest to bring him onto the show labeled as a "scientist."]

Step 4: Mention the popular press articles about global cooling in the 1970s, and act as if all climate science is just a passing fad:
HANNITY: Why 30 years ago were they so convinced the next ice age was coming?

LOMBORG: That's a very good question. And the point was we had much poorer models. And we were just starting out.

HANNITY: But wait a minute. The same hysteria was there, the same quotations of the experts were happening.

LOMBORG: You're right.

[No, Bjorn. He's not right. This is in no way "the same." In the 1970s, you had a handful of popular press articles (in non-scientific magazines such as Time and Newsweek) hyping global cooling, based on the then-recent discovery of interglacial cycles, coupled with a brief period of mid-century cooling. Practically all respectable scientists, however, believed that it would be a mistake to predict any sort of imminent ice age based on such a short trend. You absolutely did not have "the same quotations of the experts." In fact, the National Academy of Sciences investigated the issue of global cooling in the1970s and explicitly found that there was not enough evidence to make any such predictions. In contrast, the NAS (along with the National Academies of pretty much every other industrialized nation) took a position in 2001 that the last 50 years of global warming have mostly been due to greenhouse gas emissions.]

It's great that Bjorn Lomborg wants to take a cost/benefit approach to this issue, and examine which approaches might work best towards greenhouse gas reduction. That's exactly the debate we should be having on this issue. However, Hannity & Colmes is not the place to go to for a measured discussion, and it certainly hurts your credibility when you give credence to the "global cooling" meme.

1 comment:

Samuel Brainsample said...

The title of this segment was actually "Scientist Pens Book Contesting Global Warming."

Once again, I'd like to point out that Bjorn Lomborg is not actually a scientist. You'd think that the show's producers would find that detail out before hyping this piece.