Monday, March 22, 2010

A Change in the Wind at Dot Earth?

Wind's in the east,
Mist coming in,
Like somethin' is brewin'
And 'bout to begin.

Doubtless you remember that quote from watching Mary Poppins over and over in the 60s. Of course you do; don't try to deny it. What Bert has noticed brewin', you will recall, is the impending arrival of practically perfect M.P. herself to put things right with the Banks family.

If you're a follower of Andy Revkin's Dot Earth blog over at the Times, maybe you've noticed a change in the wind there, too.

There's no shortage of fact-challenged climate change "skeptics" commenting at Dot Earth, but in the past Revkin has rarely engaged directly. This seems to have suddenly changed. A few examples:

To a poster who stated bluntly that Mann's hockey stick has been proven to be fraudulent:
Fraud is a serious charge and there's no evidence to support such a charge.
To a poster who ranted about the IPCCs "unequivocal" embrace of human-induced global wrming:
I'm pretty sure you understand that the only thing described as "unequivocal" by the IPCC was that there has been warming. All the statements attributing that to human activities or other influences have caveats. Are you saying you dispute that it's warmer now than it was a century ago? Or are you trying to build a challenge to something the IPCC hasn't concluded? (That human-driven warming is unequivocal?)
To a poster who states that the IPCC always overstates and never understates AGW's consequences:
Actually the folks at have made a decent case that, on sea level, the IPCC did precisely that (knowingly downplay a risk)....
To a poster who seems to think that scientific judgments on AGW are worthless because there have been no controlled experiments:
So what would you propose given a situation where there is no way to run a case-controlled study (we're in the one test tube where the experiment is under way)?

If the traditional method is not available, do we just sit on our hands and conclude, well, that can't be tested, therefore we don't consider it a risk?
You get the idea.

In the past, such posts would rarely have merited a Revkin response. Suddenly they're everywhere. What's going on?

Well, surely the fact that he's no longer a Times reporter has something to do with it. It has to be somewhat liberating to be freed of the responsibility to provide "balanced" coverage, right?

But...there has to be more to it than just that. After all, it's been three months since he left the Times. Why does he just start now? What is it? Time will tell, I suppose.