Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Do We See a Pattern Here? Jim Inhofe Invites Another Controversial Author to Testify at Environment Committee Hearing

It seems Jim Inhofe is up to old tricks in the Environment and Public Works Committee. Tomorrow, the committee Inhofe chairs will hold a hearing on the Asia-Pacific Partnership, a six country agreement to boost private investment in climate technologies. The partnership is designed to help member nations reach strategies for improving energy security, reducing pollution, and addressing climate change. Inhofe has decided to invite as his star witness Bjorn Lomborg, controversial author and professor, best known for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, which was widely criticized by environmental scientists. (Greenwire, 9/18/06) Looks like this could be a Michael Crichton repeat!

The Skeptical Environmentalist challenged the claims of the world’s environmentalists, characterizing them as grossly exaggerated. The book received much criticism from the scientific community. (Oregonian, 8/21/06) In fact, after a group of scientists brought formal complaints against the assertions made in the book, the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty, a body under Denmark’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, found that the book was scientifically dishonest, citing among other things: fabrication of data, distorted interpretation of conclusions, plagiarism, and deliberate misinterpretation of others’ results. (BBC News, 12/22/03)

A number of science publications, including Scientific American, Grist, and Nature Magazine published extensive criticism of the book. The Nature critique argued, “the text employs the strategy of those, who, for example, argue that gay men aren’t dying of AIDS, that Jews weren’t singled out by the Nazis for extermination, and so on.” (Nature, 11/8/01)

In addition, the Union of Concerned Scientists strongly criticized the book, claiming it to be “seriously flawed and fail[ing] to meet basic standards of credible scientific analysis.”

It is no wonder that Jim Inhofe, renowned climate change skeptic, invited someone like Bjorn Lomborg to testify at a hearing concerning climate change and pollution reduction. After all, this is not the first time this has happened. In a 2005 Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on climate change, Inhofe called as his star witness author Michael Crichton, and tried to make his book, State of Fear, required reading for all senate members, arguing, “while ‘State of Fear’ is a novel, it is fiction, the footnotes are incontrovertibly scientific.” (Congressional Transcripts, 9/28/05)

In fact, the book had been largely dismissed by the scientific community and the science employed in the book was dismissed as distorting actual research. “The best face I can put on this is he doesn’t know what he’s doing. The worst is that he’s intentionally deceiving people as he accuses environmentalists (of doing) in ‘State of Fear,’” said NYU physics professor Martin Hoffert. (Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 1/28/05)

With Inhofe at the helm and skeptic Bjorn Lomborg the featured guest, this promises to be a circus hearing aimed largely at debunking the current science on climate change and global warming.


At 9:28 AM, Blogger Tommy Mandel said...

I have a confession to make: I once sent Inhof a donation! I was suckered by this piece he wrote on the importance of Israel and the jews, to world history. (I'm a NY jewish Liberal.)

I'm so so sorry! Once I found out who this guy was, I, of course, vowed never again. He even sends me solicitations for further donations from time to time.

He's a bad man. After reading how he now intends to call another Bad Science "global warming skeptic" to testify to his committee, I'd like to send him an email. This is what it would say:

Dear "Senator", You once again bring up the perennial question: "Evil or just Stupid?"
signed, A former supporter.


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