The good news is the video of episode one of Showtime’s climate series, Years of Living Dangerously, has been getting great reviews in The New York Times and elsewhere.

The bad news is the Times has published an error-riddled hit-job op-ed on the series that is filled with myths at odds with both the climate science and social science literature. For instance, the piece repeats the tired and baseless claim that Al Gore’s 2006 movie An Inconvenient Truth polarized the climate debate, when the peer-reviewed data says the polarization really jumped in 2009, as you can see in this chart from The Sociological Quarterly:

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Percent of Americans who believe the effects of global warming have already begun to happen, by political ideology, from Aaron M. McCright and Riley E. Dunlap. Click to embiggen.

As I said, Years of Living Dangerously — the landmark nine-part Showtime docu-series produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — has been getting great reviews. Andy Revkin, often a critic of climate messaging, wrote in The New York Times Monday:

… a compellingly fresh approach to showing the importance of climate hazards to human affairs, the role of greenhouse gases in raising the odds of some costly and dangerous outcomes and — perhaps most important — revealing the roots of the polarizing divisions in society over this issue.

George Marshall, “an expert on climate and communication” — who is also often a critic of climate messaging — wrote me:

What impressed me about the two episodes I watched was the respect that it showed to conservatives, evangelicals and ordinary working people. … it is still the best documentary I have seen.

The New York Times op-ed is from the founders of the Breakthrough Institute (BTI) — the same group where political scientist Roger Pielke Jr. is a senior fellow. It pushes the same argument that Pielke made in his fivethirtyeight.com piece — which was so widely criticized and debunked by climate scientists and others that Nate Silver himself admitted its myriad flaws and ran a response piece by MIT climatologist Kerry Emanuel eviscerating Pielke.

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, two widely debunked eco-critics who run BTI, begin by asserting “IF you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime.” But they never cite anything other than the trailer in making their case, dismissing the entire enterprise on the basis of two minutes of clips!

They base their entire argument on a misrepresentation of climate science and a misrepresentation of social science. They assert: