Keeping an eye on the ‘wingers
(Part of a series of posts keeping an eye on Planet Gore, the National Review blog devoted to obfuscating on climate change.)
New research finds low cost for tackling climate change. But not when that research is reported by Planet Gore. Sterling Burnett recently authored a classic example of PG’s disinfotainment. He writes:
Has the media completely lost objectivity and the search for the “truth” with regard to the issue of global warming. The latest reason that made me ponder this question arose with the “non-story” of the recent reports by MIT and the CBO detailing the substantial costs and regressive nature of the costs that are estimated to arise if any of the current domestic proposals restricting carbon emissions to combat global warming are enacted. Despite the best efforts of Senator James Inhofe, among others, to get these studies publicized, I have barely seen a mention of the findings of either of these reports in the mainstream media.
He goes on to say, “it has surprised me how economic and science reporters have also ignored the MIT and CBO reports.” The same week I read this, however, I saw a science news article on the MIT report (“Damn you, Science magazine,” as Jon Stewart might say). The article requires a subscription, but I have copied the key figure below:
I believe Science has mislabeled the figure as to which line refers to which Congressional plan — indeed, the main reason the media probably didn’t cover this study more is that 1) it is quite confusing and 2) the results are not terribly exciting, since, like most studies, MIT finds a low cost for cutting emissions.
The middle line represents a 50% cut in U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 (which is relatively close to the McCain-Lieberman targets the way M.I.T. does the math). Now that is a very deep cut — a 60% cut from current levels in just four decades.
Yet even with that deep GHG cut, as the figure clearly shows, welfare — the average citizen’s wealth — drops only 1% or less through 2040. Only PG would claim that is a “substantial” cost. That is the disinformation in PG’s post. But where is the entertainment?
Some entertainment can be found in the post’s headline: “Has the Media Completely foregone all objectivity?” Some can be found in a later statement:
On perhaps no other issue than global warming is the media so ready to highlight panglossian, completely unrealistic, studies that basically say that the government efforts can be efficient, effective and deliver benefits far exceeding their costs. Usually, if it bleeds it leads, but the MIT and CBO reports, despite delivering bad news — there is no free lunch; efforts to halt global warming will will (sic) be costly (sic) — have been met with a collective yawn by the press.
A 60% GHG cut from current levels drops average wealth by under 1% from 2015 to 2050. That ain’t costly. That is delivering “benefits far exceeding their costs.” The lack of media coverage of this report isn’t evidence of a liberal bias. Quite the contrary. If anything, the media underplays the low-cost nature of the solution to global warming because the media likes drama. They like the story that pits “jobs versus the environment.”
I can’t resist citing PG’s final pathos-filled line:
Perhaps, my family and freind’s (sic) fears that I have am (sic) more jaded than naive are misplaced.
Doesn’t Sterling read his stuff before posting? PG has a dozen experts doing this blog, and they must have at least a few readers. So how come there are three writing mistakes in a single post that is now more than a week old?
Maybe everyone’s fears are misplaced, and Sterling is neither jaded nor naÃ¯ve, but simply very mistaken — a view supported by the fact that this PG post has two more pieces of disinfotainment, which I will cover in later posts.