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Andrew Revkin Loses The Plot, Episode XXXVIII

By Willis Eschenbach | Watts Up With That? | February 22, 2014

I went over to Andy Revkin’s site to be entertained by his latest fulminations against “denialists”. Revkin, as you may remember from the Climategate emails, was the main go-to media lapdog for the various unindicted Climategate co-conspirators. His latest post is a bizarre mishmash of allegations, bogus claims, and name-calling. Most appositely, given his history of blind obedience to his oh-so-scientific masters like Phil Jones and Michael Mann, he illustrated it with this graphic which presumably shows Revkin’s response when confronted with actual science:

revkin monkeys

I was most amused, however, to discover what this man who claims to be reporting on science has to say about the reason for the very existence of his blog:

By 2050 or so, the human population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life. In Dot Earth, which moved from the news side of The Times to the Opinion section in 2010, Andrew C. Revkin examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits. Conceived in part with support from a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Dot Earth tracks relevant developments from suburbia to Siberia.

Really? Let’s look at the numbers put up by this charmingly innumerate fellow.

Here’s how the numbers play out. I agree with Revkin, most authorities say the population will top out at about nine billion around 2050. I happen to think they are right, not because they are authorities, but because that’s what my own analysis of the numbers has to say. Hey, color me skeptical, I don’t believe anyone’s numbers.

In any case, here are the FAO numbers for today’s population:

PRESENT GLOBAL POPULATION: 7.24 billion

PRESENT CHINESE POPULATION: 1.40 billion

PRESENT POPULATION PLUS REVKIN’S “TWO CHINAS”: 10.04 billion

So Revkin is only in error by one billion people … but heck, given his historic defense of scientific malfeasance, and his ludicrous claims about “denialists” and “denialism”, that bit of innumeracy pales by comparison.

Despite that, Revkin’s error is not insignificant. From the present population to 9 billion, where the population is likely to stabilize, is an increase of about 1.75 billion. IF Revkin’s claims about two Chinas were correct, the increase would be 2.8 billion. So his error is 2.8/1.75 -1, which means his numbers are 60% too high. A 60% overestimation of the size of the problem that he claims to be deeply concerned about? … bad journalist, no cookies.

Now, for most science reporters, a 60% error in estimating the remaining work to be done on the problem they’ve identified as the most important of all issues, the problem they say is the raison d’etre of their entire blog … well, that kind of a mistake would matter to them. They would hasten to correct an error of that magnitude. For Revkin, however, a 60% error is lost in the noise of the rest of his ludicrous ideas and his endless advocacy for shonky science …

My prediction? He’ll leave the bogus alarmist population claim up there on his blog, simply because a “denialist” pointed out his grade-school arithmetic error, and changing even a jot or a tittle in response to a “denialist” like myself would be an unacceptable admission of fallibility …

My advice?

Don’t get your scientific info from a man who can’t add to ten … particularly when he is nothing but a pathetic PR shill for bogus science and disingenuous scientists …

February 22, 2014 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment