• McClaughry full of hot air
    November 12,2012
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    Although I share John McClaughry’s apparent distaste with our governor, I do not share his distaste for facts and science. In my opinion, it is inexcusable for the Rutland Herald to regularly give this man a page-height mouthpiece and to lend authenticity to his ramblings which range from misleading to patently false.

    Recently, John attempted to debunk a 2008 survey of climatologists. The full paper in question, including methodology, is available on the UIC website, titled “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.” According to John, the respondents lacked qualifications and Ph.D.s, 3,146 were cherry-picked in order to exclude space scientists (because who better to ask about Earth’s climate than, for example, an expert at calculating the band frequency of distant quasar pulses?) and then 79 were arbitrarily selected to give the researchers their human-caused climate change approval number of 97 percent.

    In fact, an online survey link which was valid for one submittal only was sent out to earth science specialists in both public and private facilities. Three thousand one hundred forty-six responded; of these 90 percent held Ph.D.s, 7 percent held masters, and 82 percent in total agreed on human-caused climate change. Seventy-nine respondents were practicing and actively publishing climatologists and of these, 75 out of the 77 who answered both questions agreed that human activity causes global warming, i.e. 97 percent.

    John prefers to hold up the online Oregon Petition as the exemplar. This is the one famously “signed” by Charles Darwin and a Spice Girl, but the flaw is deeper than nonexistent vetting. A survey and a petition are completely different — the former is a random sampling which measures a belief as a percentage per capita, the other is circulated among select persons with a common belief and simply establishes for others that their belief exists at all. If there were only 100,000 climatology degrees in the world, a petition could come up with 3,000 degree-holding climatologists denying global warming, while still being in perfect agreement with the survey results. That would still leave 97,000 experts who do believe.

    Perhaps John is withholding some ground-breaking research which disproves the experiments, known since the 1800s, that established carbon dioxide as a “greenhouse gas.” Or possibly he has discovered that the hydrocarbons in our fuels actually contain no carbon at all? Or if not, perhaps how the special carbon they do contain fails to react with atmospheric oxygen to form carbon dioxide like all other known carbons. Until we see the full results of his research, I feel comfortable in saying that John McClaughry is full of hot air.


    Mount Holly
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