Joe Romm, Distilled

Well, here’s a shot across the bow.

Time for a flashback, to put things in context.

A few years ago, Joe Romm got quite perturbed at former Real Climate contributor William Connolley over this post at Stoat and the comments William made in the thread. At one point, Romm couldn’t take it anymore and came over to “set the record straight.” He got more than he bargained for in this exchange with William, who deconstructed all of Romm’s distortions. William also distilled Romm’s modus operandi, with this eternal quip:

You’ve done so much out-of-context quoting that no-one is going to trust you any more.

Same as it ever was.

9 Responses to “Joe Romm, Distilled”

  1. laursaurus says:

    What’s a “stalking horse?”
    Time to make popcorn!

  2. RickA says:

    Just ignore Romm – he is a hack.
    When you are balanced in your views, you tend to get attacked by the extremes of both sides.
    I applaud you for your balance and even handedness on climate issues.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. JD Ohio says:

    Even more significant than Romm’s distortions are the fact that he has been proven wrong on a major foundation of his positions.  His website currently has 36 articles on “Peak Oil” arguing that current energy sources are being depleted with terrible consequences to society as an adjunct to his position that the U.S. needs to invest in “renewable” energy.  However, the huge shale gas formations totally obliterate any energy availability concerns  for at least the next 50 years.  (I acknowledge that oil may run out, but the availability of gas renders the potential depletion of oil as irrelevant, much the same as the depletion of whale oil in the mid-18th century became irrelevant when crude oil was discovered.)

  4. kdk33 says:

    Some advice (Sergio Leone) on Shooting

    One Armed Man: I’ve been looking for you for 8 months. Whenever I should have had a gun in my right hand, I thought of you. Now I find you in exactly the position that suits me. I had lots of time to learn to shoot with my left.

    [Tuco kills him with a hidden gun]
    Tuco: When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.

  5. Paul Kelly says:

    MT has a cogent post about the negative effects of partisanship in the climate debate and educational efforts. He sees that partisans bring additional agendas, which become baggage. There’s a question whether there is a single issue climate voter and if that voter should be represented by a candidate in a primary or general election.
    Romm and the Progressives whose agenda he serves led climate voters to the wrong candidate in the 2008 Presidential election. The stick in the eye they’ve gotten from this coal and corn ethanol promoting administration is well deserved.

  6. Alexander Harvey says:

    The day Hansen went off-message

    A little over 10 years ago, James Hansen wrote: “An Open Letter on Global Warming” to Natrual Science which they published here:

    Concerning the reception of a paper: “Global Warming in the 21st Century: An Alternative Scenario” available here:

    In his letter Hansen makes statements about how he was misrepresented and his thoughts on an UCS “Information Update” that was circulated.

    One of the percieved misrepresentations seems to be a piece in Nature by Paul Smaglik, Lacking a subsrciption all I can find is this part:

    “Opponents of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change have found fresh ammunition in the shape of a new scientific paper. The controversial article suggests that gases other than carbon dioxide are mainly to blame for the rapid global warming seen over the past few decades.”

    which is here:

    I read the Hansen at all (2000) paper long ago and would say that “… gases other than carbon dioxide are mainly to blame …” is an interpretation of the paper that I fin both misrepresents and misleads.

    Hansen has this to say:

    “In contrast, Nature (3) made several misstatements and quoted only critics of our paper. They described our “alternative scenario” as “Hansen’s assumption” and “his prediction”, while in fact we made clear that it is only a scenario that we think can usefully accompany the “business-as-usual” (BAU) scenario, thus providing a basis for discussing what is needed to avoid large climate change.”


    “My primary objection to the Nature article is that it was published as a “News” article, while in fact it was an editorial. This was made clearer to me when I submitted a “letter to the editor” to correct their misinterpretations, because they objected to my letter and edited it in a way that altered the meaning. Perhaps they concur with the negative construction of our paper (see below). That is their right, but they should put it on an editorial page, not under “News”.”
    I cannot say what the UCS had to say in their IU, Hansen states:

    “The essence of their discussion seems to be that our paper is controversial, potentially harmful to the Kyoto Protocol, and not a helpful contribution to the climate change discussion as it “may fuel confusion about global warming among the public”. They describe “first reactions from within the scientific community”, which perhaps are accurate but they seem a bit like commissioned criticisms.”

    The spur to writing the open latter is described in his reaction to two posts in the NYT, here:

    A.C. Revkin:

    which opens: “An influential expert on global warming who for nearly 20 years has pressed countries to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases now says the emphasis on carbon dioxide may be misplaced. Instead, he and a team of scientists have concluded that the quickest way to slow warming is to cut other such greenhouse gases first.”

    and here:

    Hansen comments:

    “The first New York Times article on our paper (8) was not as far off as some other newspaper reports. But the first sentence implied that I had changed my opinion, and that I now said that “emphasis on carbon dioxide may be misplaced”. First, we are not de-emphasizing CO2, and, second, we have long championed the importance of the other forcings. In fact, in 1976 five of us at GISS published a paper in Science pointing out for the first time that gases such as CH4 and N2O provided a forcing that was not negligible compared to that of CO2.
    A second article (9) aggravated the misunderstanding. It did not mention the half of our strategy aimed at preventing the CO2 forcing in the next 50 years from exceeding 1 Watt. Instead it repeated the statement that we proposed to focus first on non-CO2 gases, and the entire article discussed only non-CO2 gases and black carbon. After the first article, I sent a “letter to the editor” of The New York Times to try to correct the mis-impressions, but it was not published. After the second article I decided to write the present “Open Letter”.
    Now I have a lot of time for Hansen and I also thought the paper to be informative. That Hansen should be percieved as being “unhelpful”struck me as bizarre but it seems that even he is to be constrained to tow a line lest he be misrepresented and briefed against. What is detailed above It is not much of a tiff, but Hansen does seem to be aggreived. I must wonder if he was also surprised. What is worrying and the link to this thread is that the criticism is concerns not what Hansen wrote but seems a counter to how he might be interpreted, and that misrepresentation, and misdirection was the correct way to handle a small problem with Hansen. I mean Hansen of all people, one would have thought that he might get a fair hearing.

    If Michael Tobis passes this way, he did ask if I had some links to this affair, and I have included most of what I have found above.


  7. Keith Kloor says:


    Michael Tobis, in that post (I think you are referring to), wrote something generally true of most climate blogs here:

    “…because nobody is really following the argument in detail. It is the tone, the contempt, the snark that is the purpose of the whole thing.”

  8. Paul Kelly says:

    I was referring to this post at MT’s.

  9. Keep going, Andy. Thanks for all you are doing.

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