Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The latest scam from the reflexive global warming denialists.

Shades of Kent Hovind here: Steven Milloy's (ironically named) JunkScience.com is purportedly offering a $100K reward to a person who "proves, in a scientific manner", that the following hypotheses are false.

  1. Manmade emissions of greenhouse gases do not discernibly, significantly and predictably cause increases in global surface and tropospheric temperatures along with associated stratospheric cooling.
  2. The benefits equal or exceed the costs of any increases in global temperature caused by manmade greenhouse gas emissions between the present time and the year 2100, when all global social, economic and environmental effects are considered.

If #1 was all that was needed, the winner can be found in the pages of (e.g.) Geophysical Journal. #2 is tricky and largely subjective.

Don't think for a minute that this is an honest offer. JunkScience.com--read, Milloy--makes the final call, which means that the objection to any submitted argument doesn't even have to be scientifically valid! Milloy has yet to voice any bona fide and quantitative objections to the prevailing theory, yet persists in denying it, even calling it a scam.

Furthermore, #2 is a weasel clause, especially from someone who thinks that air pollution, even in 1970, was "more of an aesthetic than a public health problem." That's false in itself (consider urban ozone, smog, and pollution related asthma), but it's also equivocal; one can't call (e.g.) acid rain and the associated ecological damage merely "aesthetic." We can expect Milloy to similarly discount ecological damage this time around. Even if not, the 93-year window provides an out; if AGW is a problem for our great-great grandchildren in 2201, it doesn't matter.

It gets better: Data cited must be readily available to the public. Scientific journals, as I've been reminded of late, aren't.

This contest is a scam, and its 14th Rule prohibits the defrauded from suing over it. Presumably, anyone smart enough to understand AGW also has a good nose for BS.

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