Steven Milloy on Climate

Steven Milloy, proprietor of a site called, has earned something of a reputation for tackling what he calls “Junk Science.” Lately, you can find his work on the Fox News web site, including his latest climate change screed. What you won’t find mentioned there is the remarkable tale laid out by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber about how Big Tobacco helped launch Milloy’s career as a science debunker. And we all know about Big Tobacco’s long-standing interest in ensuring that the best science is used to bolster public policy. More recently, Milloy has served as a registered lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, which might seem relevant for a news organization such as Fox to disclose to its readers.

In today’s episode, we see Milloy plying his trade, using the work of Ohio State climate researcher Lonnie Thompson to argue, essentially, “Hey, climate change happens all the time. What’s the big deal?”

Specifically, he quotes Thompson as follows, in an apparent attempt to use Thompson’s words to bolster his argument that our understanding of climate is not good enough to support the claim that greenhouse gases are a bad thing:

?Any prudent person would agree that we don?t yet understand the complexities with the climate system,? said Thompson.

Now let’s look at the entire quote, helpfully linked for us by Ray over at RealClimate:

“The climate system is remarkably sensitive to natural variability,” he said. “It?s likely that it is equally sensitive to effects brought on by human activity, changes like increased greenhouse gases, altered land-use policies and fossil-fuel dependence.

“Any prudent person would agree that we don?t yet understand the complexities with the climate system and, since we don?t, we should be extremely cautious in how much we ?tweak? the system,” he said.

Rather different, don’ t you think?

(The RealClimate crew considers some of Milloy’s other climate writing here.)