This week the Argus saw the return of a darling activist issue to its pages—an issue whose inherent emotional appeal to many students on this campus can only be compared to the formulaic emotional appeal inherent in the struggle against all forms of “inequality,” and the emotional appeal of Joss Whedon-directed Saturday morning cartoon shows. In the Argus op-ed article “350: What’s Behind the Number?”, Sam Bernhardt ’10 and Daniel Fischer ’12, both members of the Environmental Organizers Network (EON), Wesleyan’s self-appointed set of environmental moral guardians, inform their readers that “either we change our destructive ways, or we face a self-induced annihilation.”
I hate to rain on Bernardt and Fischer’s parade—who am I kidding, with these temperatures, I’d be sleeting on it—but there is a third option: that we maintain our “destructive” ways and when nothing happens, radical environmentalism suffers yet another self-induced annihilation of its own scant credibility.
It has been a long time since I last wrote on this topic, so for those who are unfamiliar with my position on the theory of anthropogenic global warming—that is, global warming caused by human activities—allow me to clarify: my view on anthropogenic global warming is precisely the same as my view on Santa Claus—it is an unabashed lie, intended by paternalistic social planners to make us dutifully follow their edicts. Global warming may be happening, but the argument that it is caused by humans (or that it is redeemable by them), to put it mildly, is still unsettled. What’s more, the arguments supporting anthropogenic global warming are just as often motivated by a priori political concerns as they are by genuine science, sometimes leading to the willful distortion of the facts.
But the reader doesn’t have to take this author’s word for it. They need only refer to some arguments made on the blog of Roger Pielke, a professor of Environmental Science at the University of Colorado and a senior fellow at The Breakthrough Institute (yes, a progressive think tank). The most notable of these claims include: “There is no greenhouse gas signal in the economic or human toll record of disasters” or that “leading scientific assessments have botched major issues (like disasters)” or, finally, that “the climate science community is fully politicized.”
Bewilderingly, Mr. Pielke does not see this last point as a reason to question the notion of anthropogenic global warming, but merely as a reason to criticize the work of individual scientists. Nonetheless, we do not need him to raise the question for us. It is obvious that, if the climate science community is “fully politicized,” their numerous proclamations about “scientific consensus” should be taken with a grain of salt.
This is especially true when they willfully ignore those elements that don’t fit into their consensus. Take the response to Alan Carlin, Senior Operations Research Analyst for the National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE). According to a set of emails recently released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act, a senior EPA official essentially refused to even make Mr. Carlin’s 98-page study highlighting the holes in climate change science public. His reasoning?: “The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round…. I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.”
The email itself contained no mention of scientific credentials, and no comment on the validity or invalidity of the science at all—merely that the “time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed.” One is reminded of a professor who cuts off a class discussion once a student has reached the conclusion the professor wants.
So what was in the suppressed report? From page six: “The idea that warming temperatures will cause Greenland to rapidly shed its ice has been greatly diminished by new results indicating little evidence for the operation of such processes.” From page seven: “The IPCC used faulty solar data in dismissing the direct effect of solar variability on global temperatures.” Page 16: “Global temperatures have declined significantly.” Finally, from page 20: “If the increase in temperatures is not largely due to larger GHG [greenhouse gas] levels, as currently hypothesized by the IPCC, reducing GHG emissions may have less effect than the advocates of GHG emission controls now believe.”
I invite my readers to read the document itself, regardless of their background. But for those who find a 98-page scientific report on climate change to be too dense, I offer yet one more piece of evidence that the supposedly ironclad science behind climate change alarmism is, in fact, politically prejudiced. Two years ago, British High Court Justice Michael Burton cited nine inaccuracies in Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth,” many of which are parroted by Bernhardt and Fischer in their column. For instance, their warning of a “subaqueous New York City” is especially laughable, considering that, according to Justice Burton, “The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change concluded that sea levels might rise 20 feet over millennia—and it waffled on that prediction. The IPCC envisions a rise of no more than 7 inches to 23 inches by 2100.”
Perhaps, lacking the ability to tell self-evident junk science from actual-but-politicized science, Bernhardt and Fischer also need a lesson in math, so I will spell out the conclusion for my readers: 350 parts per million, minus nine lies, multiplied by zero convincing arguments, equals zero credibility. As long as this remains true, I, Senator Lieberman, and anyone else who is unafraid of childish labels and mud-slinging alarmism will stand firm in our opposition to the religious myth of anthropogenic global warming.