Monday, January 9, 2012

Wikipedia Spreads Howarth Disinformation

Take a look at what every student scurrying to write a paper for class will encounter when they go to Wikipedia to learn about shale gas.  With a footnote that cites only the Howarth paper, Wikipedia states, "However there is growing evidence that the extraction and use of gas results in the release of more greenhouse gasses than conventional natural gas, and may lead to emissions greater than those of oil and coal." 

Wikipedia has got it backwards. In fact, there is more than growing evidence that the Howarth paper is junk science.  An avalanche of studies--at least six--refuting Howarth has been published.  Perhaps, Wikipedia could be persuaded to more accurately reflect the science.

In the meantime, the Howarth study is an example of a lie that gets around the world, while the truth is putting on its boots.


  1. Concerned ScientistJanuary 9, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    I am sure Howarth or one of his minions wrote this piece. I know that it is possible for anyone to go ahead and edit the Wikipedia entry. I am not sure how to do it myself. Perhaps one of your readers knows and would be willing.

    This really is like a wartime propaganda machine. Amazing. My son brought something home written by Abraham Lustgarten of Propublica stating as fact that thousands of wells have been contaminated with cancer-causing frac fluids.

    This is an interesting read:

    It is of course written from a right-wing perspective, but it is very interesting about the efforts of the Park Foundation to get anti-fracking disinformation into schools.

  2. The AEI paper is worth reading, though it does see the world through a rigid ideological prism and plunges off a cliff or two. The AEI folks need to understand that renewable power plant investments exceeded fossil fuel investments globally as of 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Neither the left nor the right is comfortable with the energy world that is unfolding in front of them: Rising use of both renewables and gas over the next 20 years.