Anthony Watts’s political push poll, “Gore or Obama?”


Al Gore and Barack Obama together in Detroit, June 2012, Rebecca Cook photo for Reuters, via NBC News photo

Al Gore and Barack Obama don’t appear to be on the opposite side of most issues, especially not climate change. Here they appear together in Detroit, circa June 11, 2012 – Rebecca Cook photo for Reuters, via NBC News photo

Anthony Watts strays farther and further from science with every passing day, and most of his new posts.

At the moment he’s got a doozy of a post, citing a bovine excrement question on a CFACT billboard, and offering a push-poll with three choices designed to push Watts’s preferred political answer, that ‘Obama and Gore go in different directions on global warming and climate change, and maybe they are both wrong.’   The end message Watts pushes is wrong, as you can see in the full texts below.(Morgan, here’s the link so you don’t have to flounder around with Google.)

Who do you believe?

◊  Barack Obama
◊  Neither one
◊  Al Gore

It’s based on these two quote mine products from the CFACT billboard:

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

“Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come.”  — Al Gore, 10/30/2012

“We can’t attribute any particular weather event to global warming.”  — Barack Obama, 11/14/2012

Lying with quotes, demonstrated by CFACT

Propaganda group CFACT’s quote mining billboard, on which Anthony Watts’s push-poll is based.

Watts doesn’t offer a “both correct” choice.  That would be the accurate answer.

Gore’s comment at his blog on October 30, 2012, noted that while we can’t attribute the formation of Sandy to climate change, the effects of the storm were magnified by climate change.  Gore called that “disturbing.”

Obama, noting that while we can’t say for certain that any particular storm is caused entirely from human-created global warming, the long-term effects clearly have human causation and we need to act to stop it.

In short, Gore and Obama take the same side on this issue, the side of science and making sound public policy.  Watts works the old tobacco company strategy, suggesting that wherever studies showing health harms from tobacco differ from each other in the slightest jot or tittle, that means scientists can’t decide whether tobacco is harmful — substitute “human-caused climate change” for tobacco in that argument, and you see what Watts is trying to do.

Meanwhile, the Earth still warms:

Gore’s blog post in full:

Statement on Hurricane Sandy October 30, 2012 : 1:21 PM

This week, our nation has anxiously watched as Hurricane Sandy lashed the East Coast and caused widespread damage–affecting millions. Now more than ever, our neighbors need our help. Please consider donating or volunteering for your local aid organizations.

The images of Sandy’s flooding brought back memories of a similar–albeit smaller scale– event in Nashville just two years ago. There, unprecedented rainfall caused widespread flooding, wreaking havoc and submerging sections of my hometown. For me, the Nashville flood was a milestone. For many, Hurricane Sandy may prove to be a similar event: a time when the climate crisis—which is often sequestered to the far reaches of our everyday awareness became a reality.

While the storm that drenched Nashville was not a tropical cyclone like Hurricane Sandy, both storms were strengthened by the climate crisis. Scientists tell us that by continually dumping 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day, we are altering the environment in which all storms develop. As the oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, storms are becoming more energetic and powerful. Hurricane Sandy, and the Nashville flood, were reminders of just that. Other climate-related catastrophes around the world have carried the same message to hundreds of millions.

Sandy was also affected by other symptoms of the climate crisis. As the hurricane approached the East Coast, it gathered strength from abnormally warm coastal waters. At the same time, Sandy’s storm surge was worsened by a century of sea level rise. Scientists tell us that if we do not reduce our emissions, these problems will only grow worse.

Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.

President Obama’s statement, excerpted from his November 14, 2012, press conference:

THE PRESIDENT:  Mark Landler.  Where’s Mark?  There he is right in front of me.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  In his endorsement of you a few weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg said he was motivated by the belief that you would do more to confront the threat of climate change than your opponent.  Tomorrow you’re going up to New York City where you’re going to, I assume, see people who are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which many people say is further evidence of how a warming globe is changing our weather.  What specifically do you plan to do in a second term to tackle the issue of climate change?  And do you think the political will exists in Washington to pass legislation that could include some kind of a tax on carbon?

THE PRESIDENT:  As you know, Mark, we can’t attribute any particular weather event to climate change.  What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago.  We do know that the Arctic ice cap is melting faster than was predicted even five years ago.  We do know that there have been extraordinarily — there have been an extraordinarily large number of severe weather events here in North America, but also around the globe.

And I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions.  And as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.

Now, in my first term, we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks.  That will have an impact.  That will take a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere.  We doubled the production of clean energy, which promises to reduce the utilization of fossil fuels for power generation.  And we continue to invest in potential breakthrough technologies that could further remove carbon from our atmosphere.  But we haven’t done as much as we need to.

So what I’m going to be doing over the next several weeks, next several months, is having a conversation, a wide-ranging conversation with scientists, engineers, and elected officials to find out what can — what more can we do to make a short-term progress in reducing carbons, and then working through an education process that I think is necessary — a discussion, a conversation across the country about what realistically can we do long term to make sure that this is not something we’re passing on to future generations that’s going to be very expensive and very painful to deal with.

I don’t know what either Democrats or Republicans are prepared to do at this point, because this is one of those issues that’s not just a partisan issue; I also think there are regional differences.  There’s no doubt that for us to take on climate change in a serious way would involve making some tough political choices.  And understandably, I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth, that if the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody is going to go for that.  I won’t go for that.

If, on the other hand, we can shape an agenda that says we can create jobs, advance growth, and make a serious dent in climate change and be an international leader, I think that’s something that the American people would support.

So you can expect that you’ll hear more from me in the coming months and years about how we can shape an agenda that garners bipartisan support and helps move this agenda forward.

Q    Sounds like you’re saying, though, in the current environment, we’re probably still short of a consensus on some kind of attack.

THE PRESIDENT:  That I’m pretty certain of.  And, look, we’re still trying to debate whether we can just make sure that middle-class families don’t get a tax hike.  Let’s see if we can resolve that.  That should be easy.  This one is hard — but it’s important because one of the things that we don’t always factor in are the costs involved in these natural disasters; we just put them off as something that’s unconnected to our behavior right now.  And I think what — based on the evidence we’re seeing, is that what we do now is going to have an impact and a cost down the road if we don’t do something about it.

In context, can you point to any points of conflict between what Al Gore said in October, and what President Obama said a couple of weeks later?  To me it looks as if they’re singing very much from the the same hymnal or songbook, and they’re in harmony, if not unison, especially in what I’ve turned into red-letter text.

Here’s the video of the entire Obama press conference (climate question comes at 42:19 in the video transcript):

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4 Responses to Anthony Watts’s political push poll, “Gore or Obama?”

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    What are you missing? People like Morgan assume Watts is correct, because he stokes their biases. Watts never challenges Morgan’s perceived need to protect himself from big gubmint — and who are we to say he can’t handle snakes?

    If doing something about climate change means not allowing snake handlers the limelight, well, so long Planet Earth!

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  2. jsojourner says:

    Do intellectuals and scholars take Watts seriously anymore? I certainly can’t think of any. At least none that are not on the payroll of oil, coal or gas.

    I put Watts, more or less, in the same camp as the Agenda 21 tinfoil hatters, the creationist snake handlers and the inbred, slack-jawed ridge runners who are whining about needing guns to protect themselves from big gub’mint.

    Am I missing something, Ed?

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Sheesh! Morgan’s barking at the trees again, complaining they don’t know forest:

    So I responded over there:

    It’s called quote mining, poring over someone’s longer statement to find a sentence or phrase that can be ripped out of context and made to appear to say the opposite of what the speaker actually said.

    I posted the entire statements of both men. They said the same thing, that it’s time to act against climate change. They agreed that human-caused pollution has altered the climate so that storms do more damage than they did before.

    Why are you in a tizzy about this, that you claim others are in a tizzy, and then you fall victim to the hoax Watts set up?

    Are all conservatives so gullible, or just those of you with verbose blog posts?
    – edarrell | 02/09/2013 @ 18:31

    Oh, and Goddard? You trust that guy after he so badly screwed up his predictions about Sandy?
    – edarrell | 02/09/2013 @ 18:33

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  4. [...] has liberal blogger Ed Darrell in an absolute tizzy. In a move that would do Hillary Clinton proud, he’s lunged for the “taken out of [...]

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