It seems to have become axiomatic in some parts that Gore can do no wrong; Joe Romm has a long column (disclaimer: the column is too long for me to bother read it all) devoted to this implausible assumption, with which I disagree. It’s yet more of that tedious business with the slide that got pulled. As RP Jr apparently says Gore was right to admit that the slide was problematic and then pull it from his talk. Romm’s answer is Gore never admitted the slide was “problematic,” in the way Pielke is implying. He simply agreed to remove the slide after the Belgians backtracked about what they will [sic] had previously said about their data. I have talked to the Gore folks. Has Pielke? I don’t think the plucky little Belgians have backtracked about anything. But more interesting is Romm’s description of Gore’s fact-checking process. It is so comically inept that it’s astonishing they are prepared to admit to it (as we shall see, I also consider it to be implausible).
Romm reports: Charles Blow publishes an article in the New York Times (May 31, 2008) that uses a cute graphic of disasters derived from the CRED report that the Gore folks like, so they ask the CRED folks for a copy of their report. They don’t ask the CRED folks “we want to say X, backed up by your slide: do you agree with that interpretation”, presumably because that would be far too easy. Oh no, what happened is that the Gore folks monitored the NYT to see if CRED was critical of how Blow used their slide. Can you imagine this? Every morning they open the paper and scan though it looking for something from CRED. A week goes by, then a month. Still nothing. “Do you think we have waited long enough?” they say to each other. “I don’t know. How long does the post take to reach Belgium?” they reply. “Do you think we might perhaps simply ask CRED what they think of Blow’s column?” inquires one of the more sensible people. “Oh no, that would be too easy” says another. Apart from the obvious stupidity of this approach, there is always the possibility that CRED did write in bitterly complaining, but the rag didn’t print them. Perhaps CRED don’t even read the rag concerned. More likely, CRED shrugged their shoulders at yet another misinterpretation of their data.
The following twaddle dancing around the word “this” is just too embarassing to read.
Meantime, my apologies for wasting my and your time with this trivia. I need to get back to the runaway stuff (thank you for your comments), and there are piles of other things to finish off.
[Update: the lapine one provides a transcript -W]