Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Climate Panel Cancelled For Lack of Balance

A few weeks ago I noted that an upcoming (tonight) panel on climate change lacked balance, heavily skewed towards the denialist position. Today the panel was cancelled for... lack of balance.

It was a presentation of the Oregon chapter of the American Meterological Society, to be held at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and History). OMSI said no.
...Mark Patel, OMSI's vice president of marketing, said the museum told organizers in early November that they needed a balanced panel and offered to move the meeting to its "science pub" event at the Bagdad Theater, picking up half the cost of the move. With no progress made, the museum cancelled the event last week.

"By the very fact that we're holding it here, people are going to assume it's OMSI's point of view," Patel said. "Our intention is far from trying to shut anybody up. We're trying to encourage proper debate, and not allow OMSI to be used as a mouthpiece for one group or another."
Last month Steve Pierce, a local meteorologist and president of OR-AMS, told me the group "takes no position on the subject of climate change" and they had hosted panels on the anthropogenic side in the past and wanted to provide "equal time for all."

Tonight's panel was to consist of:
  • George Taylor, a former manager of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU whom Oregon governor Ted Kulongowski asked that he stop using the title "state climatologist."
  • Chuck Wiese, a former TV weatherman who says he writes "papers" for Watts Up With That. I debated Wiese a few years ago at the Multnomah Athletic Club, where he presented this graph as proof of a cooling trend. (The graph is apparently generated by fitting 1980-2007 temperatures with a 6th-order polynomial, and screams JUST BECAUSE EXCEL LETS YOU DO IT DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT.) 
  • Gordon Fulks, a man who insists even his postman know he has a PhD and who writes inanities for the Oregonian like "All plants and animals owe their very existence to carbon dioxide." It has been alleged that he has connections to Americans for Prosperity, funded by the Koch Brothers. Fulks says he is part of something called "Gordon Fulks and Associates," but strangely the only place that  organization seems to appear is next to his signature on his climate denialism. 
OMSI was right to cancel this event -- they have a great place there (especially for kids), and a reputation to maintain. This panel would have been an insult to science and the true skepticism it honors and practices.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Balance? The very people who will not tolerate debate decry the lack of balance? The very people who have owned the worldwide media for the last 20 years are claiming there's no balance?