Prof. Spreads False Warming Stories

Published December 1, 2007

University of Montana forestry professor Steven Running has interjected himself into the global warming debate by actively lobbying for expensive greenhouse gas restrictions and criticizing those who oppose his view.

In the October 25 Missoula Independent, Running labeled “ridiculous” those who have publicly corrected his many false and misleading statements about global warming. A brief examination of Running’s statements, however, indicates he has either an embarrassing lack of knowledge about the facts or a disturbing willingness to play fast and loose with the truth.

Temperature Trends

Running frequently cites warming temperatures in Missoula and then misleads people into thinking those trends are typical for the state. But the U.S. Historical Climatology Network reports most of the temperature stations across Montana show steady or cooling temperatures in recent decades.

In a September presentation before the Montana Environmental Quality Council, a bipartisan committee consisting of Montana legislators and members of the general public, Running asserted Antarctic temperatures are rising dramatically, and he presented a temperature chart appearing to support his claim. However, Antarctic temperatures have been cooling for decades.

Running failed to mention his chart applied only to the West Antarctic Peninsula–one of only a few small areas in the Antarctic where temperatures are warming.

Melting Ice

Running also claimed the Greenland ice melt is accelerating. He presented a map showing a sharp spike in ice melt during the final two years of the chart.

Running conveniently failed to mention his chart presented data only through 2005. Yet Greenland ice data exist through 2007 … and the 2005-2007 data confirm Greenland’s ice melt has returned to normal.

Either Running was unaware of the freely available data or was more concerned with spreading propaganda than speaking the truth in making his decision to ignore the 2006 and 2007 data.

Montana tax dollars are being spent to employ Running as a university professor. How many taxpayers would approve of that expenditure if they knew Running was dishonest or ill-informed?

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

For more information …

“NASA Examines Arctic Sea Ice Changes Leading to Record Low in 2007,” October 1, 2007: