The Los Angeles Times newspaper has made explicit a ban on letters to the editor which assert there are no signs humans have caused climate change. The ban came under immediate criticism from proponents of an open debate on global warming.
Paul Thornton, the paper's letters editor wrote:
"Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying 'there's no sign humans have caused climate change' is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy," he maintained.
Scientific skeptics denounced the ban as silencing discourse about global warming. "In a word, the L.A. Times should be ashamed of itself," William Happer, a physics professor at Princeton,told Fox News
It is becoming near-impossible to present contrary evidence on climate change, say opponents of the letters ban. Happer, one of 38 scientists who co-signed a "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" letter published in The Wall Street Journal in Jan. 2012, has argued that there is no compelling scientific justification for sweeping steps to "decarbonize" the global economy.
Thornton defended the L.A. Times' policy as not aimed against "skeptics," only those who assert outright that no evidence exists that humans have driven global warming.
Critics are concerned that other newspapers will follow the L.A. Times' lead. They charge that "belief" in climate change has become religion-like and that "catastrophic anthropogenic global warming" advocates do not tolerate non-believers.
Thornton cited the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report
– issued by "the world's top climate scientists" – which strongly reasserted that humans are driving global warming by burning fossil-fuel.
"The debate right now isn't whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does), but what this evidence means for us," said Thornton.
The Richmond Times Dispatch, which generally takes a conservative viewpoint, also declared as "indisputable" in a recent editorial
that human's had contributed to climate change.
Overseas, meanwhile, Nir Shaviv, a professor of astrophysicist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, dismissed the IPCCs latest report in a recent blog
: After "perhaps billions of dollars invested in climate research over more than three decades our ability to answer the most important question in climate has not improved a single bit."
Shaviv charges that the climate panel is captive to its own preconceptions, "still doing its best to avoid the evidence that the sun has a large effect on climate."
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