As Romm linked, Stephens called worries about climate change “hysteria” and “mass neurosis,” and suggested those those who pay attention to the scientific consensus are cultish “true believers” with a “totalitarian impulse.” He described research on the melting of Himalayan glaciers and polar ice caps as “flimsy studies.” Because although he likes to pretend to accept the overall proof that climate change is happening, his goal seems to be to undermine both the science and those who understand and accept it. But the New York Times hired him. And he immediately used his new platform to disinform and misinform a new, wider audience:
Bret Stephens writes his first column for the New York Times, attacking what he claimed were unacceptable levels of claimed certainty around climate science. Stephens’ column prompted a wave of responses in other media outlets. Times public editor Liz Spayd wrote there had been “thousands” of complaints about the column, including public criticisms from reporters at the newspaper.
On The Guardian, blogger Dana Nuccitelli said the column was “textbook hippie-punching”. In a long rebuttal, David Roberts at Vox said it was clear the Times had hired a “climate change bullshitter.” On ClimateFeedback, a site where scientists check media stories on climate change, Professor Stefan Rahmstorf said the column was “vague, general and full of innuendo, and not supported by any evidence or specific examples. This style of discourse is characteristic for people that do not have the evidence on their side.”
Speaking to ThinkProgress, climate scientist Professor Michael said the column “confirms my worst fear: That the NY Times management is now willingly abetting climate change denialism.”
Prof. Robert Brulle said Stephens’ column was “climate misinformation.”
Just a week later, Stephens was back at it, dishonestly conflating the failure of biofuels as a clean alternative source of energy to condemn other policies attempting to address climate change:
The column suggested that environment campaigners had almost uniformly supported policies to back the production of ethanol from biofuels, but that this support had in later years turned out to be misplaced. Several writers pointed out that, in fact, many environment groups had been critical of the corn-based ethanol policies from the beginning.
And in the same column, Stephens misrepresented the results of German renewable energy programs.
German climate scientist Professor Stefan Rahmstorf accused Stephens of cherry-picking the year 2009, when emissions were especially low, in order to disguise the steady reduction of Germany’s emissions over decades.
So, why would the Times publish such trash? Why would the Times give a man with a proven history of climate mendacity a regular platform from whence to further promulgate it? This isn’t about differing opinions, it’s about obfuscating and lying about scientific facts.
It no longer should need to be stated, but the scientific consensus on climate change is overwhelming. The consequences of climate change make it it the most important issue humanity has ever faced. And as time passes, the crisis only proves worse than was predicted, faster than was predicted. But an ostensible news organization such as the New York Times hires and publishes an anti-science ideologue who addresses this unprecedented global crisis by disinforming and misinforming. Because that’s what the New York Times does. That’s what the New York Times is.
The climate news this summer was what has become routinely alarming. July was the hottest month on record. The United Nations just warned that climate change presents an unprecedented threat to the world’s food supply. The genetic diversity of Central Europe’s plants are at risk of collapse. Spy satellites showed that Himalayan glaciers have lost billions of tons of ice in just this century. Arctic permafrost is thawing 70 years earlier than was predicted. Ocean temperatures were the highest ever recorded, as were sea levels. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which just six years ago broke 400 parts per million for the first time in human history, in May hit 415 parts per million.
But these are mere scientific facts. And Stephens dismisses scientific facts, apparently because they don’t accord with his deluded ideology and his hopes of deluding his readers. And the New York Times apparently considers climate change and science itself of such minor importance that it publishes someone who has built his career by disinforming and misinforming about them.