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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Joseph Romm: Video Anthony Watts does not want you to see: The Climate Denial “Crock of the Week”

The video that Anthony Watts does not want you to see: The Climate Denial “Crock of the Week”

by Joseph Romm, Climate Progress, posted 29 Jul 2009, 06:59 a.m. PDT

This is the video that Anthony Watts demanded YouTube take down. This is what the former TV weatherman who runs a leading anti-scientific website, WattsUpWithThat, is afraid to let the public see:

Fortunately, Anthony Watts knows even less about copyright laws than he does about climate science, if that’s possible [see "Diagnosing a victim of anti-science syndrome (ASS)"]. So YouTube has put it back up after temporarily removing it, which is standard practice for them.

Here’s some background on the terrific video from DeSmogBlog:

Peter Sinclair producer of the well-known “Climate Crock of the Week” video series, posted a video debunking weatherman Anthony Watts who runs a Climate Denier Den also known as his Watt’s Up With That blog.

The video was auto-scrubbed by YouTube after Watts claimed the video broke YouTube’s copyright rules. The video has since been reviewed by a number of US copyright experts and (big surprise) there appears to be nothing that could be construed as anything but fair use.

As any viewer can plainly see, there is nothing in the video that infringes on any copyrighted work by Watts — it is apparently just the devastating content that Watts is afraid of.

Watts is capable of dishing out the most virulent attacks on leading climate scientists, like James Hansen and Mark Serreze (see Exclusive: New NSIDC director Serreze explains the “death spiral” of Arctic ice, brushes off the “breathtaking ignorance” of blogs like WattsUpWithThat) — but he can’t even take a factual and, by WattUpWithThat standards, relatively mild attack on himself.

This whole situation has raised the ire of even some of the more ardent commenters on DeSmogBlog who normally disagree with pretty much everything we say on this site. One such commenter, Rick James wrote:

I have to admit it doesn’t look good for the skeptic side when something gets scrubbed like this. Watts loses some stature here unless he can post something convincing about why he did it on his blog. Silence won’t get it done.”

One could speculate that Watts had a problem with the clips Sinclair used of Watts being interviewed by Glenn Beck on Fox News (Watts formerly worked as a weatherman for a Fox News affiliate), but that would be pretty weak given that Watts has no problem excerpting large swaths of print articles like this one posted tonight from the BBC on his own website.

As I have asked on two posts here on DeSmog and on Huffington Post: tell me Mr. Watts, what part of this video is it that gives you the right to have it removed from the public discourse on climate change? You can email me at desmogblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Ironically, if Watts understood the law, he never would have asked YouTube to take it down, since it is standard operating procedure for them to take down such a video in response to such a request — and then put it back up when the author of the video asks them to.

But then Watts also has no understanding whatsoever of scientific matters. His life’s work — to discredit the U.S. temperature record — has itself just been utterly discredited, as the video shows (see also Must-read NOAA paper smacks down the deniers: Q: “Is there any question that surface temperatures in the United States have been rising rapidly during the last 50 years?” A: “None at all”).

Watts publishes stuff by deniers like Roger Pielke, Sr. that is so lame, so willfully anti-scientific in its effort to confuse short-term weather with long-term climate trends, that it actually tries to dismiss the startling 30-year record of Arctic sea ice loss with the statement that “since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased” (see “Like father, like son: Roger Pielke Sr. also doesn’t understand the science of global warming — or just chooses to willfully misrepresent it“). And, just for the record, there is no evidence whatsoever that the anomalies have decreased since 2008 (see “Will we see record low Arctic ice VOLUME this year?“).

Watts is so desperate to respond to the record warming the planet is now seeing that he trotted out a 2-year-old post on cold temperatures in Argentina (see “Unscientific America: From the moon-landing deniers to WattsUpWithThat“).

So please distribute the video as widely as possible. Everyone should see what Anthony Watts is afraid of — the scientific truth.

UPDATE: Pielke, Sr. has commented on the video, complaining that it links deniers like Watts to the tobacco issue. GetEnergySmartNow explains why the link is a fair one.

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