Trial Balloon from Barton Staffer

July 28th, 2005

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

Yesterday The Toledo Blade published a letter from Larry Neal, Deputy Staff Director of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In the letter Mr. Neal seems to offer a few olive branches, calling MBH “three honest men” and accepting that the world is warming. Read the whole letter here.

My sense is that the letter in a small newspaper by a staffer is a trial ballon. It may represent the possibility of a more conciliatory approach on this issue for Mr. Barton.

5 Responses to “Trial Balloon from Barton Staffer”

  1. Jim Says:

    The letter does not sound very conciliatory to me. The tone is that while the scientists are nice, the media is naughty. Barton’s letters were not about the data at all, but about things like funding sources and computer code. The letters are obviously about harrasment, not an honest attempt to understand the science.

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  3. Michael Seward Says:

    Larry Neal’s letter to the Toledo Blade looks like a trial balloon representing a more conciliatory approach? The outrage from the scientific community at this blatant politicization of the global warming debate has been very strong. To me, Neal’s letter looks more like an attempt at damage control.

    Neal says Barton “wrote a letter to three honest men and asked for some facts.” Sounds reasonable, a lot more reasonable than the actual tone and content of the letters.

    “The three scientists say the facts finger you and me and our cars and our jobs…” Only a politician with an agenda could characterize MBH98 in this way. This is precisely the problem with this “inquiry”. The science is being contaminated and misrepresented by inflammatory political rhetoric. Call the cops: those climate scientists are after our cars and our jobs!

    “At stake is potentially billions of dollars in taxpayer spending to fix the problem.” At stake are potentially billions of dollars in oil industry profits, as well as the future welfare of life on earth. Yes, it will be very expensive, perhaps impossible to fix this problem. So let’s deny the science and carry on with business as usual.

    “Much of the news media reaction goes something like this: Forget facts and get on with the spending.” Much of the scientific community’s reaction goes something like this: A politically motivated congressional hearing is focused on single paper, implicitly ignoring a sea of scientific evidence that The Earth is absorbing more energy from the Sun than it is emitting back into space, due to an accumulation of human sources of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    The balance of the evidence indicates that potentially dire consequences to the web of life on the planet are a reasonable expectation, given what we know with confidence now. Just yesterday the Journal Science reported that the variety of species in the world’s oceans have dropped by as much as 50 percent in the past 50 years due to a combination of overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change. According to the paper’s author, “That’s a recipe for ecological collapse and disaster.”

    “In the end, Mr. Barton wants their facts to speak for themselves.” The facts will show Barton and company to be politically motivated advocates representing the interests of the energy industry, bent on denying a body of scientific evidence in order to promote the idea that global warming is no big deal. But it is by no means certain that Mr. Barton will illuminate the facts with this political effort to sway the debate in favor of doing nothing to address global warming.

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  5. Doug L Says:

    There is another side to the story,

    The untold story of the Global Warming Fiasco:

    “Barton Investigation Uncovers
    Key Puzzle Piece In
    Global Warming Mystery

    (July 24 2005)

    Howling yelps of protest are yipping: “Inquisition”! “Intimidation”!, and “Witch Hunt”! after the sending of some letters by Rep. Joe Barton Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to key figures in the Global Warming Mystery.

    Concealed by the volume and hysteria of the biteless bark of protests by promoters of Global Warming Alarmism, was a quiet voice of caution displayed by key figures in the investigation and their most prominent supporters. Carefully hidden in their subdued message was a reluctance to support what once was a major pillar of Global Warming Theory, the claim that

    “It is likely that the rate and duration of the warming of the 20th century is larger than any other time during the last 1,000 years”. ”


    Not mentioned in the link, is that the House Science committee has been caught flat footed on this, so their response is to attack Joe Barton!

    Also not mentioned much is the idea that republicans are likely to be eager to give at least lip service to human caused global warming so that more nuclear power plants can be built. Those can provide the kind of jobs that will not be shipped overseas.

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  7. Steve Bloom Says:

    Doug, you seem to be posting this all over the internet. As you have been unable to support your conclusions with references to specific language in the letters, I hope you’ll stop. Using language like “howling yelps” doesn’t help your credibility. I suppose I should be grateful you at least stopped describing your screed as “the real deal.”

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  9. Doug L Says:


    You’re more concerned with this than anyone on the planet. Climate variability is not the be all and end all of AGW

    Relax, it’s good for your health.