Wash. Post Shows Balance in Climate Debate As Inconvenient Hassle For Science Teacher

     Portraying an angry parent as an enemy of sound science, reporter Blaine Harden shared with Washington Post readers the story of Federal Way, Wash., science teacher Kay Walls and her struggle to show “An Inconvenient Truth” to her students.


     Walls planned to show her class a screening of Al Gore’s Oscar-nominated film, but an e-mail from a student’s father caused the school board to have Walls balance her presentation with skeptics of climate change.


     The science teacher is “struggling to find authoritative articles to counter the information in the Gore documentary,” Harden lamented as he closed his article.


      “The only thing I have found so far is an article in Newsweek called ‘The Cooling World,’” the Post staff writer quoted Walls in his January 25 story. Harden incorrectly wrote that the Newsweek piece was published 37 years ago, but it actually appeared in the April 28, 1975, edition of the magazine.


     There are plenty of climate change critics and skeptics about Gore’s particular claims, but Harden’s article closed with no mention of any of them, not even a scholar who sifted through “An Inconvenient Truth” (AIT) and documented numerous misleading or outright incorrect statements.


     Marlo Lewis of the Washington, D.C.-based Competitive Enterprise Institute penned “A Skeptic’s Guide to An Inconvenient Truth” in November 2006. In Lewis’ executive summary, he promised readers a chapter-by-chapter refutation of the book that Gore’s documentary is based on.


      “The present paper, a running commentary on AIT, finds that nearly every significant statement Gore makes regarding climate science and climate policy is either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or wrong,” wrote Lewis, including 25 such statements in his executive summary.


     Lewis has plenty of company when it comes to scientists who have a decidedly less dire view of climate change than those held forward in Gore’s book and documentary, including:


    Patrick Michaels, University of Virginia environmental sciences professor and author of the 2004 book “Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.” Michaels told Harden’s Post colleague Joel Achenbach in May 2006 that he believes “in climate change caused by human beings,” but is skeptical about “the glib notion that it means the end of the world as we know it.” Meteorologist James Spann, who believes in global warming and wants to reduce carbon emissions, but disputes that manmade factors are the primary cause of climate change and the notion that it’s a dire threat. John Christy, atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who told the Post’s Achenbach that he is “skeptical that the observations” on climate change “are indicating catastrophic change” or that it’s possible now “to truly understand the climate system” and “predict its evolution.”