Rosen's Rocky column repeated global warming misinformation, echoed other attacks on Gore's Nobel Prize


In a column that appeared in the October 19 editions of the Rocky Mountain News and The Pueblo Chieftain, Mike Rosen repeated misinformation about global warming and applied the Nazi-era term "brownshirts" to those who have criticized global warming skeptics as "deniers" of global warming. Rosen also dismissed 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former Vice President Al Gore as "a politician looking for a new career and a new cause," and omitted key details of a British judge's ruling about the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

In an October 19 column that also appeared in The Pueblo Chieftain, the Rocky Mountain News' Mike Rosen repeated numerous points of misinformation related to global warming and disparaged the awarding of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to former Vice President Al Gore as "preposterous," asserting that Gore "fann[ed] global warming hysteria with selective propaganda and gross exaggerations." Additionally, echoing a comment he made on his October 18 Newsradio 850 KOA show, Rosen used a Nazi allusion to describe how some of those who believe in human-induced climate change characterize those who do not, saying of the latter, "they've been branded by global-warming brownshirts attempting to equate them with Holocaust 'deniers.' "

Rosen's column continued a pattern identified by Colorado Media Matters (here, here, and here) of conservative Colorado media outlets and figures attacking Gore while omitting any mention of the numerous Colorado scientists who shared the prize with Gore for contributing research to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Similar to Gore's thesis, the IPCC also recently concluded in its 2007 report that the Earth's climate is warming and that most of the observed warming is "very likely" due to human influences.

From Mike Rosen's October 19 Rocky Mountain News column, "Al Gore's ignoble Nobel," which was published under the headline "Inconvenient truths about Gore's alarm" in the October 19 edition of The Pueblo Chieftain:

Here's a prediction: Someday, when future generations look back on the Great Global Warming Panic of the early 21st century and Al Gore's 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (for fanning global warming hysteria with selective propaganda and gross exaggerations), Gore's award will be regarded as even more preposterous than Yasser Arafat's Nobel for bringing peace to the Middle East.

Yes, there's been a modest increase in mean global temperatures over the last hundred years, about 1 degree Fahrenheit. Big deal. And most of the warming in the 20th century occurred from 1900-1940, when man-made greenhouse gases were even less of a factor. The impact of human activity continues to be overwhelmed by myriad other variables, most of which we don't fully understand or have the ability to accurately predict.

Rosen's assertion that "most of the warming in the 20th century occurred from 1900-1940" is misleading in light of an analysis of "global-mean surface temperature[s]" revised in January 2006 by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies -- including figures for the years 2001-2005 -- that concluded, "It is no longer correct to say that 'most global warming occurred before 1940,' " as Media Matters for America has noted:

Global warming is now 0.6°C in the past three decades and 0.8°C in the past century. It is no longer correct to say that "most global warming occurred before 1940". More specifically, there was slow global warming, with large fluctuations, over the century up to 1975 and subsequent rapid warming of almost 0.2°C per decade.

Later in his column, Rosen repeated the misleading claim that "[s]olar activity dwarfs all other factors" as a cause of climate change:

Climate change is a natural and age-old phenomenon on this planet, predating humanity by millions of years. Ice ages have come and gone, long before industrialization and SUVs.

Solar activity dwarfs all other factors. Picture a huge medicine ball side by side with a BB gun pellet. That's the relative size of the sun to the Earth. It's a grand conceit that the activity of relatively microscopic humans on that BB has any significant impact on climate change. And who says today's climate is the optimal one? As it changes, we'll adapt. Marginally warmer may be better.

As Colorado Media Matters noted when Rosen made this claim on his October 12 broadcast, the IPCC's 2007 report found that "[t]he rapid warming observed since the 1970s has occurred in a period when the increase in greenhouse gases has dominated over all other factors." The report further stated, "The human influence on climate very likely dominates over all other causes of change in global average surface temperature during the past half century." Specifically addressing the possible contributions of solar activity and other "natural external forcing factors," the report noted that such factors "would likely have produced cooling" in the past half a century in which warming has occurred:

It is extremely unlikely (<5%) that the global pattern of warming during the past half century can be explained without external forcing, and very unlikely that it is due to known natural external causes alone. The warming occurred in both the ocean and the atmosphere and took place at a time when natural external forcing factors would likely have produced cooling.

Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years. This conclusion takes into account observational and forcing uncertainty, and the possibility that the response to solar forcing could be underestimated by climate models. It is also robust to the use of different climate models, different methods for estimating the responses to external forcing and variations in the analysis technique. [emphasis in original]

Additionally, Rosen likened some critics of those whom he called "legitimate dissenters, not deniers" of global warming to "brownshirts":

There are qualified climatologists, meteorologists and astrophysicists who've had the courage to take on the so-called consensus, just as Galileo and Copernicus took on the conventional wisdom of their day. And let's be clear, these are legitimate dissenters, not deniers, as they've been branded by global-warming brownshirts attempting to equate them with Holocaust "deniers." To deny the Holocaust is to deny a historical infamy that undoubtedly occurred, for which there are eyewitnesses and physical evidence. To disagree about the likelihood of highly debatable, alarmist forecasts of what might occur hundreds of years in the future is quite another matter.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines "brownshirts" as "a paramilitary organization whose methods of violent intimidation played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power." Colorado Media Matters previously noted that on his August 3 show Rosen stated that "gratuitous comparisons to Hitler and Nazis always annoy me, because they trivialize the seriousness of what Nazism was all about." That remark came only weeks after Rosen referenced Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl, director of the 1935 Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, by saying of Michael Moore's documentary Sicko: "If you admire propaganda of the Goebbels variety, of the Riefenstahl variety, then this ... is well-done propaganda, as long as we recognize it as that."

In his October 19 column, Rosen also cited an October 10 British court ruling in a case challenging the distribution of Gore's 2006 global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, May 2006) to public schools to suggest that the overall thesis of the film was flawed:

In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore's apocalyptic fantasies include his claim that sea levels will rise 20 feet "in the near future." The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, with which Gore shared his prize and which he frequently cites, predicts something closer to 20 inches by the end of the century. British High Court Justice Michael Barton recently ruled that Gore's film "promotes partisan political views," is "distinctly alarmist" and is not an impartial scientific analysis. He said it should only be shown in British schools with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination. [italics in original, emphasis added]

However, Rosen omitted the fact that, as Colorado Media Matters has noted, the ruling also stated that the film is "substantially founded upon scientific research and fact." The judge also said he had "no doubt" that the defendant's expert was "right when he says that: 'Al Gore's presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate.' "

Furthermore, Rosen dismissed Gore as "a politician looking for a new career and a new cause":

So count me among the skeptics. Of course, I'm no scientist. But neither is Al Gore, a politician looking for a new career and a new cause. My opinion on this has been shaped by scientists, experts in the field, who have refuted the alarmists, point by point. There are many more of these dissenters than you've been led to believe by the liberal mass media, which have been driving the global warming bandwagon.

Far from "looking for a new cause," Gore has for many years been an outspoken advocate for measures to combat climate change, as the Associated Press reported on October 13:

He spent decades trying to get the world to listen and believe as he did that global warming would destroy the planet unless people changed their behavior, and fast. But after former Vice President Al Gore and a host of climate scientists were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their warnings, Gore took only the briefest of bows on a live world stage. He avoided the issue of a U.S. presidential run to "get back to business'' on "a planetary emergency.''


From the late 1980s with his book "Earth in the Balance,'' Gore championed the issue of global warming. He had monthly science seminars on it while vice president and helped negotiate the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that called for cuts in greenhouse gases.

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