New Fraser Institute video both patronizing and wrong

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In an embarrassing – and failed – effort to speak the hip language of youth, the Fraser Institute has launched a YouTube video dismissing climate change as a matter of natural variability, saying:

“The climate changes naturally; always has; always will.”

Obviously aimed at high school students (sample voiceover: “all because you ride the bus to school every day”), this seems to steal from the tobacco maker’s playbook for selling cigarettes to children.

There are so many offensive and incorrect elements in this two-minute video, it’s hard to know where to begin. But how about this: having set up the concern about climate change, the overwrought announcer says, “In medieval times it was 10 degrees warmer than today.” This is somewhere between a clumsy misrepresentation of cherry-picked data and a barefaced lie.

For evidence, I recommend the graph on Page 37 of the Fraser Institute’s own Independent Summary for Policymakers, which was itself a thinly disguised, corporate-funded attack on the Nobel-prize winning work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change.

The really creepy aspect of the video, however, is the effort to use the kind of language that a bunch of 60-somethings at the Fraser Institute imagine sounds youthful. It’s patronizing at the least and in incredibly bad taste at the worst. (Whose idea was it to put the quote, “Get the @#$% outta here!” in the mouth of the only black person featured in the video?)

The Fraser Institute has humiliated itself in the past, taking money from Exxon Mobil and then supporting climate change denial efforts like the Independent Summary. But the organization deserves no credibility whatever – on any issue – if this is representative of the quality of work coming from this particular “think” tank.

PS

If you have a little time, read through the highlighted comments in the Independent Summary. This version is annotated by the good folks – and credible scientists – at RealClimate.org, led on this occasion by University of Chicago computational ocean chemist David Archer. His analysis will give you one more nail that can be used for the coffin holding the Fraser Institute’s credibility.

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