Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 02:02:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: Mitch Golden
To: paw
Subject: Letter to the editor

"Temperatures rising" [PAW 3/17/2010], about faculty "climate
skeptics", is a disappointing example of the poor coverage climate
science gets from journalists.  The evasion "Harper says X" is used to
avoid discussing the merits of X - often, as in this case, leaving the
impression that X is true.  If PAW is incapable of determining the
truth of X then they ought to find the necessary expertise, readily
available at Princeton.

Just two examples:

1) "According to Harper, computer models developed by the
   IPCC ... fail to account for recent periods of global cooling."

First, the IPCC is not in the business of developing models; theirs
are from the peer-reviewed literature.  Is it plausible that the
scientific community accepted them without testing on past data?  If
Harper can show that something's wrong, why hasn't he published a
journal article, rather than arguing with Sen. Boxer?  It's absurd
that these questions didn't occur to PAW.

The earth cooled slightly from 1940-1970.  This was a period of high
sulfite aerosol pollution, which produces cooling, outweighing the
warming from CO2.

Far from being ignored by scientists, this was IPCC report chapter 9.
Lay readers can see "Attribution of recent climate change" on

2) [Stolen] e-mails ... seemed to suggest that researchers have modified
   data to support global warming theories..."

"Seemed to suggest" are weasel words - none of the accusations here
stands up to scrutiny.  *No* results were faked; *no* results have
been called into question.  The real scandal of "Climategate" was the
media frenzy of lazy reporters repeating baseless charges, as PAW does

Our grandchildren will wonder why we failed to take action when the
science of climate was clear.  Poor journalism will get much of the
blame.  PAW has done some great reporting on climate science at
Princeton.  It is a shame that it failed here.

Mitchell Golden '81