NASA Climate Alarmist Attacks NewsBusters' Sheppard

Updates at end of post: Schmidt responds to (and ignores!) NBers' questions.

Last Saturday, one of the nation's leading climate alarmists -- a government employee with a history of attacking people that don't agree with his views on anthropogenic global warming -- wrote rather disparagingly about a somewhat satirical NewsBusters piece.

Despite claiming he typically doesn’t comment on things “written about climate change in the more excitable parts of [sic] web,” NASA’s Gavin Schmidt took time out of his busy Saturday schedule to respond to something he described as “probably the most boneheaded article that I have seen in ages.”

Was this an effort by one of the founding members of RealClimate – the world’s leading website specializing in climate change hysteria – to correct errors he felt existed in my article? Or, was this a predictable attack on a popular conservative blog that not only regularly exposes the one-sided nature of media reports about global warming, but also frequently brings attention to studies that go counter to RealClimate’s, and maybe more importantly, Schmidt’s views?

After all, to climate alarmists like Schmidt, media shouldn’t be reporting the realist (nee “skeptical”) side of this issue as was made perfectly clear by Nobel Laureate Al Gore during an interview with NBC’s Meredith Vieira during the November 5, 2007, installment of the “Today” show (photo via NPR):

[P]art of the challenge the news media has had in covering this [global warming] story is the old habit of taking the "on the one hand, on the other hand" approach. There are still people who believe that the earth is flat. But when you're reporting on a story like the one you're covering today, where you have people all around the world, you don't take, you don't search out, for someone who still believes the earth is flat and give them equal time.

Ironically, even though Schmidt probably thinks NewsBusters and its readers believe the earth is flat, he did indeed search me out, and wrote (emphasis added throughout):

I occasionally marvel at the amount of nonsense that is written about climate change in the more excitable parts of [sic] web, and most of the time, I don't bother to comment. But in relation to the issue of aerosols, chemistry and climate, I read yesterday (h/t Atmoz) probably the most boneheaded article that I have seen in ages (and that's saying a lot).

Schmidt then attacked my piece by employing a well-known albeit dishonest debate tactic of putting words in your opponent's mouth: "they confuse aerosols with photochemical smog."

Did I? Well, not really. Although the word “aerosol” does appear in the NewScientist article I cited about cleaner air being responsible for rising temperatures in Europe, Reuters didn’t mention “photochemical” in the piece I referenced concerning global warming increasing smog levels…and neither did I.

This, of course, is why it’s customary to cite, by direct quotation, when challenging a supposed mistake in another's work. I guess Schmidt is unaware of such journalistic etiquette.

It is also expected that when you suggest someone has misinterpreted articles written by others, you refer to and link to the same articles the author in question did. Schmidt didn’t do this either:

The hook for this piece of foolishness were two interesting articles published this week by Ruckstuhl and colleagues and a draft EPA report on the impacts of climate on air quality.

No, not really, for the links inside “Ruckstuhl and colleagues” and “the impacts of climate on air quality” go to the American Geophysical Union and the National Center for Environmental Assessment respectively, the websites that published the studies in question.

My piece linked to neither. Nice sleight of hand, wouldn’t you agree?

Regardless of what was likely an innocent faux pas on Schmidt’s part, assuming I had written about the relationship between aerosols and photochemical smog, it appears his concerns put him at odds with his beloved Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which defined the former:

A collection of airborne solid or liquid particles, with a typical size between 0.01 and 10 mm and residing in the atmosphere for at least several hours. Aerosols may be of either natural or anthropogenic origin. Aerosols may influence climate in two ways: directly through scattering and absorbing radiation, and indirectly through acting as condensation nuclei for cloud formation or modifying the optical properties and lifetime of clouds.

Embedded inside Schmidt's "photochemical smog" was a link that included the following (readers should take note that it goes to Wikipedia! Don't you love it when "scientists" use that website as a resource? We’ll have more on that later.):

This forms when sunlight hits various pollutants in the air and forms a mix of inimical chemicals that can be very dangerous. A photochemical smog is the chemical reaction of sunlight, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere, which leaves airborne particles (called particulate matter) and ground-level ozone.

Nitrogen oxides are released by nitrogen and oxygen in the air reacting together under high temperature such as in the exhaust of fossil fuel-burning engines in cars, trucks, coal power plants, and industrial manufacturing factories. VOCs are released from man-made sources such as gasoline, paints, solvents, pesticides, and biogenic sources, such as pine and citrus tree emissions.

It would be interesting to get Schmidt’s opinion about whether or not the "various pollutants in the air" described by Wikipedia fit under the IPCC's definition of aerosols? If so, aren't aerosols, therefore, involved in photochemical smog?

Speaking of Wikipedia and its use by folks like Schmidt, Lawrence Solomon wrote on July 8 about how this website is used by climate alarmists to spread misinformation about global warming around the world (emphasis added):

Ever wonder how Al Gore, the United Nations, and company continue to get away with their claim of a “scientific consensus” confirming their doomsday view of global warming? Look no farther than Wikipedia for a stunning example of how the global-warming propaganda machine works.

Not surprisingly, RealClimate recommends Wikipedia as a resource “that people can use to get up to speed on the issue of climate change.” Nothing like indoctrinating folks by sending them to sources that almost completely and exclusively agree with your views, don’t you think?

Moving forward, Schmidt was also displeased by the following in my piece:

The next error is to equate changes in temperatures in Europe to the globe. While it would be true that if global aerosol levels declined it would lead to increased global warming, aerosol trends in Asia are increasing strongly, even while those in the US and Europe are dropping. The net effect is possibly a slight drop, but the impact on global temperature is as yet unclear.

This represented either a lack of arithmetic acumen that is totally astounding for someone of Schmidt’s stature, or another attempt to discredit NewsBusters by misrepresenting the truth: since global temperature is an average of data-points around the world, a temperature increase in Europe due to cleaner air DOES drive up the mean. Any suggestion to the contrary is totally devoid of logic.

Does that mean the average can't drop? Certainly not. But, it assures that such a declining average is still HIGHER than what it would be if that continent's numbers were not being positively skewed by cleaner air.

Moving forward, along with irony and simple arithmetic calculations, it appears hypothetical questions also challenge Schmidt, for as part of my conclusion, I posed the following:

Wouldn't it be fascinating if such efforts [involved in complying with the Montreal Protocol] lead to cleaner air around the world which ended up warming the planet, and that additional warmth is now breaking down the very ozone we thought we could save?

Schmidt seemed to miss the importance of the question-mark in that suggestion:

Every part of this sentence is wrong. The Montreal Protocol had no impact on cleaning the air, it stopped the growth of CFCs which are powerful greenhouse gases (in addition to their role in depleting stratospheric ozone), therefore it slowed global warming, rather than increasing it, and we aren't trying to save ground-level ozone. Had any of this been true it would indeed have been fascinating.

"Had any of this been true it would indeed have been fascinating." And that, indeed, was the point - wouldn't it be fascinating if true, especially since it might be?

For instance, since Schmidt loves Wikipedia as a scientific source, it defines the 1990 Clean Air Act as "a piece of United States environmental policy relating to the reduction of smog and air pollution."

Smog and air pollution. Taking this a step further, isn't it interesting that the Act directly discussed the Montreal Protocol, as well as ozone protection (emphasis added):

In June 1989 President Bush proposed sweeping revisions to the Clean Air Act. Building on Congressional proposals advanced during the 1980s, the President proposed legislation designed to curb three major threats to the nation's environment and to the health of millions of Americans: acid rain, urban air pollution, and toxic air emissions. The proposal also called for establishing a national permits program to make the law more workable, and an improved enforcement program to help ensure better compliance with the Act.

By large votes, both the House of Representatives (401-21) and the Senate (89-11) passed Clean Air bills that contained the major components of the President's proposals. Both bills also added provisions requiring the phaseout of ozone-depleting chemicals, roughly according to the schedule outlined in international negotiations (Revised Montreal Protocol). [...]

The most widespread and persistent urban pollution problem is ozone. The causes of this and the lesser problem of carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM-10) pollution in our urban areas are largely due to the diversity and number of urban air pollution sources. One component of urban smog - hydrocarbons - comes from automobile emissions, petroleum refineries, chemical plants, dry cleaners, gasoline stations, house painting and printing shops. Another key component - nitrogen oxides - comes from the combustion of fuel for transportation, utilities and industries.

Let's recap the history of this Act, shall we?

The Montreal Protocol went into effect January 1, 1989, with the first meeting in Helsinki, Finland, in May of that year. The following month, President George H. W. Bush proposed a new Clean Air Act, signed into law in 1990, which, along with addressing ozone depletion and meeting the requirements of this Protocol, allowed the EPA to establish limits on the quantity of any pollutant that can be present in the air anywhere in this nation.

As a result, as far as the U.S. is concerned, the program designed to comply with the Montreal Protocol did IN FACT result in cleaner air. I guess Schmidt hadn't heard about this; it makes one wonder how many other nations did the very same thing at the very same time thereby making my hypothetical question even more fascinating.

In the end, two articles were published last week -- by NewScientist and Reuters -- which provided an example of just how contradictory global warming information can be, and why the assertion "the debate is over" defies reason. Yet, folks like Schmidt want people to think there's actually a consensus concerning this matter.

It seems obvious from their behavior, and from this piece by Schmidt, that one way alarmists create the appearance of a consensus is by attacking anyone that doesn't agree with them.

Maybe it's because some of these folks demolished Schmidt and two of his fellow alarmists in a March 2007 debate in New York City. Representing the realists at that event was Richard Lindzen, who Schmidt attacked the very next month.

In fact, attacking the opposition seems to be a prerequisite at RealClimate as Roger Pielke, Jr., wrote on January 14, 2005 (emphasis added):

The site's focus has been exclusively on attacking those who invoke science as the basis for their opposition to action on climate change, folks such as George Will, Senator James Inhofe, Michael Crichton, McIntyre and McKitrick, Fox News, and Myron Ebell. Whether intended or not, the site has clearly aligned itself squarely with one political position on climate change.

I guess this puts me in good company. Yet, potentially more disturbing is the power RealClimate has within the mainstream media, as well as who appears to be funding and/or supporting this website. Press members love to cite RealClimate as the final word on global warming, and virtually always refer to it and its writers in nothing but glowing terms as this piece at Time.com demonstrates:

The Internet wasn't invented for RealClimate specifically, but it's hard to imagine a site more in line with the Web's original purpose: scientific communication. An assembly of climate researchers gives readers what's lacking virtually everywhere else — straightforward presentation of the physical evidence for global warming, discussed with patience, precision and rigor.

Yes, a straightforward presentation that gives readers only one side of this controversial issue, a fact that some believe is guided by those behind RealClimate. In a February 14, 2005, article about the debate concerning Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” theory of global temperatures -- which alarmists like Gore and Schmidt base much of their hysteria on, and was thoroughly debunked by Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick – the Wall Street Journal reported:

On a Web site launched with the help of an environmental group (www.realclimate.org), [Mann] has sought to debunk the debunking, and counter what he calls a campaign by fossil-fuel interests to discredit his work.

The folks at RealClimate responded quickly to this accusation:

Readers of the Feb. 14th, 2005 Wall Street Journal may have gotten the impression that RealClimate is in some way affiliated with an environmental organisation. We wish to stress that although our domain is being hosted by Environmental Media Services, and our initial press release was organised for us by Fenton Communications, neither organization was in any way involved in the initial planning for RealClimate, and have never had any editorial or other control over content. Neither Fenton nor EMS has ever paid any contributor to RealClimate.org any money for any purpose at any time. Neither do they pay us expenses, buy our lunch or contract us to do research.

Maybe so, but ActivistCash.com wrote the following about EMS et al (emphasis added):

EMS is the communications arm of leftist public relations firm Fenton Communications. Based in Washington, in the same office suite as Fenton, EMS claims to be “providing journalists with the most current information on environmental issues.” A more accurate assessment might be that it spoon-feeds the news media sensationalized stories, based on questionable science, and featuring activist “experts,” all designed to promote and enrich David Fenton’s paying clients, and build credibility for the nonprofit ones. It’s a clever racket, and EMS & Fenton have been running it since 1994. […]

It’s called “black marketing,” and Environmental Media Services has become the principal reason Fenton Communications is so good at it. EMS lends an air of legitimacy to what might otherwise be dismissed (and rightly so) as fear-mongering from the lunatic fringe. In addition to pre-packaged “story ideas” for the mass media, EMS provides commentaries, briefing papers, and even a stable of experts, all carefully calculated to win points for paying clients. These “experts,” though, are also part of the ruse. Over 70% of them earn their paychecks from current or past Fenton clients, all of which have a financial stake in seeing to it that the scare tactics prevail. It’s a clever deception perpetrated on journalists who generally don’t consider do-gooder environmentalists to be capable of such blatant and duplicitous “spin.” […]

[W]hile Environmental Media Services was started, and is still run, by staffers of Fenton Communications, it was officially instituted as a “project” of the Tides Center in 1994. This gave Fenton some plausible deniability and initially shielded him from the suggestion that EMS was just a shill for his clients. It has also provided a ready-made funding mechanism for foundations, “progressive” companies, and other Fenton clients who don’t want their contributions to EMS noted for the public record [Editor’s note: despite the logistical roadblocks set up by Tides, our research still has been able to reverse-engineer several million dollars in foundation grants to EMS].

For those that have forgotten, Tides is the far-left organization Teresa Heinz-Kerry contributes millions of her former husband’s fortune to. Making things more interesting, the founder of EMS, Arlie Schardt, has “moonlighted” as a project director for Tides:

Schardt’s career connections have resulted in a collaboration that has made EMS much more influential than its small size would suggest. Schardt, moonlighting as a project director at the Tides Center, saw just a hair under $1 million directed from Tides to EMS in 1999.

Upping the ante, Schardt has ties to Al Gore and the environmental group Friends of the Earth which runs BushGreenwatch.org. This is significant, for the EMS employee that registered RealClimate’s domain name, Betsy Ensley, “manages BushGreenwatch.org, a joint EMS-MoveOn.org public awareness website.”

As for Fenton Communications, recent announcements at its website are sure to raise some eyebrows. For instance, “Fenton Communications Launches Green-Tech Division” from May 27 (emphasis added):

Fenton Communications has been deeply involved in environmental issues since its founding in 1982. The firm publicized the first reports of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, helped environmental NGOs at the Kyoto Global Warming Summit, and worked with Vice-President Al Gore to publicize the issues.

Or how about “Ad Age: Fenton, MoveOn Form Democratic Advertising Network to Help Win 2008 Elections from May 6 (emphasis added):

Fenton Communications and client MoveOn.org announced today that the still unnamed "network" would use mainstream advertising executives to help produce advertising to help change the playing field this year. […]

At the moment, the team has no clear candidate to support. So it will go after presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. Mr. Fenton said the first ads to come out of the group will be aimed at McCain, "telling the truth about John McCain and his policies, some about McCain's reputation and his turnabout on bunch of positions as he panders to the right." […]

While MoveOn isn't going to be the only group to use the team, MoveOn will get the first ads, which the team hopes to have ready within six weeks.

Add it all up, and although RealClimate’s website is hosted and supported by an organization with ties to Al Gore, George Soros’s MoveOn.org, Tides, Friends of the Earth, and Fenton Communications, I’m sure none of these entities has any involvement in its content or funding.

If you believe that, you probably also think humans can control the temperature of the planet.

*****Update: In the comments section, I pointed out that NBer abeautifulperson notified the good people at RealClimate about this post. Schmidt replied:

Thanks for stepping in. If you go back you might want to point out the irony of a journalist not actually recognising what the source material for his original post was. A little fact checking might go a long way. - gavin

Now that's hysterical. The source material for my original piece was NewScientist and Reuters which were not only linked to, but named. Any suggestion to the contrary is another misrepresentation on Schmidt's part.

A bit later, NBer Clear Thinker commented:

I am a long time member of News Busters and can assure you that ‘a beautiful person’ has never been threatened. The problem is that whenever abp is asked a question, we only get insults as a reply. But I will admit, once a person like abp starts with the insults we are sure to do likewise. It’s only natural that people will defend themself and we are no different than you in that regard.

Anyone willing to debate the science of, or the media response to AGW is welcomed, but keep in mind that NB’s focus is bias in the media.

As an aside, NB has a wonderful archive, and if you really want to question Noel Sheppards arguments I suggest you review the archives because he has written a mountains worth of info. The only reason people don’t like his findings is they go against the present day alarmism that is AGW, Climate Crisis, or whatever the heck it’s called nowadays.

Schmidt once again responded:

Umm…as the target for the latest smear, I’ll withhold comment on your site’s penchant for character assassination in lieu of fact-based argument. But on the off chance you are serious, stick around here and see how discussions can actually evolve without people resorting to ad homs. - gavin

Character assassination? Ad homs? Smears? You mean like those in your article about my original piece such as "nonsense," "boneheaded," "foolishness," and "dumb"? Or your conclusion: "For them complexity is something to be abused rather than a challenge to be understood, underlining quite clearly (again) the difference between science and propaganda."

Mr. Schmidt seems to forget that he published an article attacking me at his blog on July 12, and that the above was posted six days later. I guess along with irony, arithmetic calculations, and important pieces of legislation related to his work, chronology also eludes Schmidt.

Yet, this shouldn't be at all surprising, for this is standard operating procedure for climate alarmists: they are allowed to besmirch, belittle, and denegrade anybody they want with total impunity. However, if you respond, you're guilty of ad hominems.

Honestly, do my tax dollars really pay this man's salary?

*****Update II: Schmidt continues to defend his erroneous assertion that I confused aerosols with photochemical smog even though neither of the sources I linked to referred to photochemical smog.

First, he answered a question from NBer PopTech:

Gavin, can you show me where Noel used the word ‘Photochemical’ in his post.

[Response: I, unlike, Mr. Shepherd read the EPA report that the media piece was based on (linked above). It is a report about about ozone and photochemical smog. I would advise you and Mr. Shepherd to check your sources before pontificating. - gavin]

Well, he's at least getting closer to the truth here, and that is that I was referring to media reports of the studies involved and not the studies themselves. However, Schmidt still hasn't addressed my point that using the IPCC's definition of aerosols, and Wikipedia's description of photochemical smog, they are indeed interrelated.

In fact, a person named Ryan Sullivan took issue with Schmidt's claim about photochemical smog and aerosols in a July 14 comment to his hit piece on me (emphasis added):

I think in your attempt to clarify the issues you have confused things a bit by over-simplifying.

Your statement that “aerosols are not smog” is not correct. Aerosols are an important component of photochemical smog, forming through similar reactions involving hydroxyl radicals, nitric oxides, ozone, VOCs, and sunlight that also produce the gaseous component of smog. These secondary aerosols have important impacts on visibility, health, and regional climate.

Also, stating that aerosols are “dominated by sulphate emissions from coal burning power plants” is overly simplistic and inaccurate. Yes, coal power plants are major sources of primary combustion aerosols (i.e. soot, coal fly ash) and also sulphur dioxide which can produce secondary sulphate aerosols. But sulphate aerosols are not the major aerosol component by particle mass or number. The lagest [sic] sources of aerosol mass are from sea salt and mineral dust. By number, it is typically a mix of sulphate, nitrate, ammonium, and a wide spectrum of carbonaceous (elemental and organic carbon) compounds. Most tropospheric aerosols are internal mixtures of these components, as opposed to pure single-component aerosols, which is how climate models frequently inaccurately represent them. This mis-representation and can have significant ramifications for estimating the direct and indirect effects of aerosols on climate.

Sorry to be nit-picky but I was surprised to see such inaccurate and simplistic statements made on this blog which typically goes to great lengths to be both detailed and accurate. These misconceptions regarding aerosols are commonly stated not just in the media but also in the atmospheric sciences community and are very troubling.

Fascinating, wouldn't you agree?

On a personal note, Schmidt doesn't understand the other journalistic courtesy of properly spelling the name of an author you're referring to. I guess we should add that to the growing list of things that somehow elude this person that has so much power concerning this controversial issue.

*****Update III: NBer PopTech has Schmidt backtracking about his photochemical smog/aerosol position bigtime! It marvelously begins with a PT question:

Gavin, you seem to be confused with the multiple definitions of some words. By admitting aerosols are pollution then you are admitting that when aerosols are present in the air and restrict light they can be defined as smog as defined by NOAA:

Smog: “Originally smog meant a mixture of smoke and fog. Now, it means air that has restricted visibility due to pollution” - NOAA.

Thus your statement that “Aerosols are not smog” is not truthful.

[Response: I’m sure you are holding NB to as high a definitional standard. But literally you are confused. Aerosols are any atmospheric particle - sulphates, nitrates, dust, pollen, organics, sea salt etc. - they are not exclusive to anthropogenic sources and for the most part are not pollution (sea salt in the southern ocean? dust in the Atlantic?), though of course they can be (especially in Beijing now, Pittsburgh in the 1950s etc). Smog, as all the definitions state, is an amorphous mix but it isn’t specifically aerosols and in the context of the original press report referred specifically to ozone. The confusion is not mine but Shepherd’s who took a paper about sulphate reductions in Europe and a report about ozone in the US and thought they were the same thing. My statement is literally true - Shepherd’s very confused. How about acknowledging that before accusing me of lying? - gavin]

How delicious. Now, finally, Schmidt is linking to the article I did. About time. Only took seven days. And, his comment "The confusion is not mine but Shepherd’s who took a paper about sulphate reductions in Europe and a report about ozone in the US and thought they were the same thing" is totally absurd, for the point of my article was how contradictory these reports were NOT THAT THEY WERE THEY SAME!

Schmidt is dissembling in front of our eyes, folks, just as he always does when confronted with facts. And this is why he and his group got DESTROYED by Lindzen, Crichton, and Stott in New York City last year!

This is really getting good; come on in, the water's fine!

*****Update IV: More dissembling by Schmidt who now is finally admitting that "Aerosols can be pollutants, they can be part of smog." Hmmm. That was a big peeve of his last Saturday, but NBer PopTech has gotten him to change his mind on this:

Gavin, you seem to be contradicting yourself:

First they confuse aerosols with photochemical smog. Both are pollutants

Aerosols are any atmospheric particle - sulphates, nitrates, dust, pollen, organics, sea salt etc. - they are not exclusive to anthropogenic sources and for the most part are not pollution

First you define them as pollution and then for the most part not. So which is it? It is clear from the many and varying definitions of smog, it can be composed of Aerosols.

Smog, as all the definitions state, is an amorphous mix…

Actually all the definitions do not state this…

Smog - “a mixture of fog and smoke or other airborne pollutants such as exhaust fumes” (Encarta)

Smog - “fog or haze intensified by smoke or other atmospheric pollutants.” - Compact Oxford English Dictionary

Smog - “air pollution, especially in cities, that is caused by a mixture of smoke, gases and chemicals” - Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

Smog - “a haze caused by the effect of sunlight on foggy air that has been polluted by vehicle exhaust gases and industrial smoke” - Wordsmyth

Smog - “Mixture of particulate matter and chemical pollutants in the lower atmosphere, usually over urban areas.” - American Geography Glossary

Smog - “Originally smog meant a mixture of smoke and fog. Now, it means air that has restricted visibility due to pollution.” - NOAA.

You are correct your post is confusing because it states that Aerosols are not smog but are a pollutant, yet the definition of the word smog allows for it to be defined as composed of Aerosols and you then change your mind and claim it is not really pollution. This sort of inaccurate information coupled with links to an unreliable source such as Wikipedia makes one question the scientific integrity of this site. Someone reading you post would come to believe that smog cannot be composed of Aerosols which is not true.

[Response: You seem to be under the impression that all words must define single things that must either be exactly equal to or exactly orthogonal to all other words. Aerosols can be pollutants, they can be part of smog, they can also be natural. However they are not the same as smog - you cannot use the two words interchangeably. The two studies that were being discussed were related to sulphates (mainly) in Europe and tropospheric ozone in the US. Ozone is not an aerosol, though it does create photochemical smog and is also a pollutant. I’m sorry if this is confusing to you, but keep reading around and maybe it will get clearer. Meanwhile, I am still waiting for your acknowledgment that the equating of aerosols and smog was incorrect in the NB piece. - gavin]

Extraordinary equivocation from someone that's supposed to be a scientist: Aerosols can be pollutants, they can be part of smog, they can also be natural. However they are not the same as smog - you cannot use the two words interchangeably...I am still waiting for your acknowledgment that the equating of aerosols and smog was incorrect in the NB piece.

And I'm still waiting for Schmidt to acknowledge that I didn't equate aerosols and smog; it isn't so all because he said I did.

*****Update V: Over the weekend, Schmidt demonstrated how he manipulates comments at RC, and how his website is anything BUT a free and open discussion about global warming.

On Saturday evening, NB's Clear Thinker tried to submit a second comment to RC. He posted it here. In it, he asked a specific question of Schmidt concerning what the NASA employee had written in his July 12 post:

Could you reply to Sheppard’s contention that your arithmetic was flawed concerning temperatures rising in Europe due to cleaner air not having an impact on global warming? Since average temperatures are a collection of data-points from around the world, if one continent’s temperatures are rising, doesn’t this impact the average? Isn’t this basic arithmetic?

It appears Schmidt wasn't very comfortable with CT's comment for it didn't get posted at RC for at least 18 hours, with several submitted later than CT's getting published first.

Maybe more disquieting, although CT was responding to direct questions by another member, Schmidt has chosen not to respond to CT's question; this is not due to Schmidt's absence as he has responded to two other comments since CT's was submitted.

CT resubmitted his question Sunday evening. Schmidt still hasn't responded. Bear in mind that in his answer to CT's first post, Schmidt wrote:

I’ll withhold comment on your site’s penchant for character assassination in lieu of fact-based argument. But on the off chance you are serious, stick around here and see how discussions can actually evolve without people resorting to ad homs.

CT did stick around, and saw his question get buried for at least 18 hours thereby reducing the likelihood that readers would see it...and Schmidt refused to answer a pertinent and direct question. Is this how conversations evolve at RC?

In the end, the answer is yes. From what I've been told by scientists all over the world that have tried to post at RC, the "mods" decide what will get through, and, as Pielke pointed out, comments are freely edited by them.

This all led by someone that works for the U.S. government.

*****Update VI: Readers should review "Global Warming Is No Laughing Matter."

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.