Monday, January 9, 2012

Cornell Profs Smackdown Howarth: Guess What NYT Reports?

Climatic Change, the journal that printed the original Howarth paper, published online on January 3rd, 2012 the latest smackdown of the false Howarth paper. This paper was authored by 4 Cornell University professors who plainly could not stomach the intellectual dishonesty that riddles the original Howarth paper. For the smackdown, see  Readers of this blog can find previous postings about this paper and other studies that have exposed Howarth's dangerous game so I will not now discuss further the substance of the new Cornell study.

When the original Howarth paper was published in 2011 in Climatic Change, the NYT prominently reported on the study, with the NYT gas reporter almost breathlessly repeating its falsehoods. 

How did the NYT cover the smackdown of Howarth by four of his Cornell University colleagues in the same journal that published the original Howarth piece?

I wish it were a surprise, but nothing has appeared in the paper so far.  Instead just a posting at, Andrew Revkin's blog, on the evening of January 6th, is the NYT coverage.

Revkin's posting itself has a link to the Cornell Smackdown paper, without any real discussion, but then is mostly an unedited rebuttal statement from Howarth.  Many readers of the Revkin post will likely conclude Howarth is right and that is the equivalent of concluding that Senator Inhofe deserves a Nobel science prize.

The Revkin post makes no mention of the Carnegie Mellon University study financed by the Sierra Club, the University of Maryland study, and the Worldwatch Institute Study, all of which reach diametrically opposite conclusions to Howarth, and confirm that coal emits twice the carbon as gas.  Of course, Revkin makes no mention of the IHS paper that also pointed out major, important factual errors in Howarth. Indeed the whole NYT has generally said little or nothing about the avalanche of studies that destroys Howarth's work.

While Revkin does mention in passing the National Energy Technology Laboratory study that also rebutted Howarth's conclusion, Revkin's post leaves the impression that the science features one study "for" and one study "against," a scientific version of he-said-she-said, while giving voice mainly to just Howarth or he-said. Revkin does not look closely at the demolition of Howarth by his 4 Cornell colleagues but simply provides a link to their paper.

Revkin's treatment of this issue is the beginning and end of the NYT's coverage. Weep for a once great newspaper. Fear for the fate of the truth.

1 comment:

  1. Concerned ScientistJanuary 9, 2012 at 12:00 PM


    Perhaps if you wrote Revkin with links to all those other papers he would post them. I think he would take someone with your credentials seriously. He actually seems quite reasonable on this issue.

    I think he was trying to appear to be fair in his post but he did make some good points against Howarth. He is in the same position that a lot of reasonable environmentalists find themselves in. He might lose support from readers or even lose his job if he appears to be too supportive of shale gas.

    I have heard that some environmental groups know that the Howarth study is junk but won't say so publicly because the backlash against them would mean a huge decrease in contributions.