Published by on 18 Apr 2010
Tom Pederson, director of British Columbia’s Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, got some cheap laughs at the expense of Rex Murphy and Murphy’s journalistic reputation at a University of Victoria panel on climate and the media in April.
The panel members were Pederson, Lucinda Chodan, editor of the Victoria Times Colonist, Peter Calamai, a science journalist, and James Hoggan, author Climate Cover-up, which claims that unscrupulous right-wing think tanks are trying to brainwash the public against belief in global warming. There was, thanks to Pederson (see why below), no one representing the skeptical side of the issue.
In his 15-minute segment, Pederson accused Murphy of breaching journalistic ethics in a July 24, 2009, Globe and Mail column entitled “So where’s that global cooling alert?” Murphy’s crime? He ignored what Pederson considers the global warming “facts.” Pederson’s point was that a newspaper columnist can have whatever opinions he/she wants, but these opinions must be based on facts, not just ideology. As a former columnist myself, for the Times Colonist, I also believe this is true.
Murphy’s column noted that temperatures in Ontario had been cool in July 2009 and he wondered why nobody had bothered to issue a global cooling alert; if the temperatures had been unusually warm, wouldn’t that have been blamed on global warming? Murphy wrote:
What we do not hear from them [the global warming believers], from any one of them, is the slightest indication of puzzlement over how or why so suddenly, in this age of the greatest emergency our planet has ever faced—global warming—things have gotten cool. Not a furrowed brow among the lot over the consideration that, contrary to the visions of Al Gore and David Suzuki or NASA’s own anti-global warming Nostradamus, James Hansen, the great trend line of an ever-warming world is being contradicted nightly in their own forecasts.
To show how wrong Murphy had been, Pederson presented a PowerPoint slide showing that, contrary to Murphy’s column, July 2009 was quite hot in most of the planet, and suggested—to audience laughter—that Murphy was foolishly guilty of assuming the weather in Toronto represented the world. Below is the map Pederson used, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website. Continue Reading »