Marc Morano has long been Senator James Inhofe’s top global warming spinmeister and talking head. His special ability is to argue super-fast, spewing out questionable claims, a kind of howitzer of climate “skepticism.” (Below, for example, see Morano’s recent debate with Joe Romm provided in its first installment, with the second here. Joe tries to be patient in debating Morano, and to correct him as much as possible–a valiant attempt, but it’s simply impossible to correct everything Morano says as he bowls you over with dubious assertions.)
In recent months, Marc Morano has left the employ of Senator Inhofe a launched Cimate Depot, a Drudge-style aggregator which links almost exclusively to material from AGW denialist sources. All the "big name" skeptics appear--McIntyre, Monckton, Watts--as well as somewhat more credible researchers like the Pielke's. The end result is a seeming torrent of "counter evidence" to AGW theory, all ready for the picking by journalists willing to hack for the denialist cause, whose columns are then recycled onto the front page of the site to keep the flow of fake news coming.
The response to Mooney's proposal among those following the climate science debate has been, for the most part (but not entirely) negative, largely because people have interpreted Mr. Mooney's proposal as meaning "our side needs a lying ass of its own". But he brushes against an excellent point--those members of the scientific community that want to see real action taken on the AGW file need some kind of PR counter to the work of Morano and people like him (Joseph D’Aleo for example, who runs Icecap, which was one of the first denialist "news" sites though now but a pale shadow of Climate Depot).
So here's my take on Mooney-- a counter aggregator, a rapid response website that would:
1) publish links to new papers/newspaper stories dealing with new developments in the actual science as these appear in the MSM. Links would go to material featuring the work of legitimate researchers like Landsea, who question certain details of the overall picture, but would exclude folks like Monckton, who essentially spout nonsense.
But more importantly, the site would
2) aggregate on-line refutations of junk science papers as soon as these become available. For example, blogs like Deltoid, DeSmog, and Tamino have developed well-deserved reputations for debunking AGW related pseudo-science, but there are many other science bloggers out there with expertise to share. In fact, an attempt might be made to solicit responses from these people to whatever the pseudo-science story du jour might be.
3) Since the vast majority of AGW denialists simply do not engage in rational debate(witness this outburst of literal gibberish from Ian Plimer), the website should encourage and participate in various campaigns to ridicule and prank the lower echelons of the denier community. For example, why attempt to parse Monckton's pages of senseless equations and foamy denunciations when it is simply enough to post (or link to) a picture of him? See? Refuted already. In fact, every time someone gets a look at Monckton, the credibility of the whole movement is shaken. The method is the same as that employed against creationists. The message is: you don't deserve to be included in an honest discussion, you deserve only to be mocked. It sounds harsh, but in Canada at least we have learned that it can also be highly effective as a political strategy.
The point of all this of course would be to provide a place for sympathetic journalists and other members of the on-line citizenry to find ammunition for the ongoing debate. More specifically, it would (hopefully) create a conduit from the blogs to the professional press on issues surrounding AGW (the way National News Watch serves to get political news from Canada's blogging underground to our community of journalists).
Now, one of the problems with bringing such a plan to fruition lies in the science blogging community itself. With a few exceptions, these folks present as a cross between Dudley Do-Right and a bunch of leaf eating vegans. Some are still pushing the line that "The Public" needs to be "better educated" around science issues. And that's all very nice but its also something I've heard throughout the entire length of my adult life and it appears that any attempts in this direction have failed quite utterly.
So why not try Plan B, which is to develop a killer instinct politically and build an on-line war room.