Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

11/08/2010 (1:51 pm)

Climate Alarmists Rise For Battle

The Chicago Tribune’s Washington Bureau correspondent, Neela Banerjee, ran a piece in the Tribune’s Nation section today that began with the following, instructive bit of propaganda:

Climate scientists plan campaign against global warming skeptics

Faced with rising political attacks, hundreds of climate scientists are joining a broad campaign to push back against congressional conservatives who have threatened prominent researchers with investigations and vowed to kill regulations to rein in man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The still-evolving efforts reveal a shift among climate scientists, many of whom have traditionally stayed out of politics and avoided the news media. Many now say they are willing to go toe-to-toe with their critics, some of whom gained new power after the Republicans won control of the House in Tuesday’s election.

On Monday, the American Geophysical Union, the country’s largest association of climate scientists, plans to announce that 700 climate scientists have agreed to speak out as experts on questions about global warming and the role of man-made air pollution.

John Abraham of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, who last May wrote a widely disseminated response to climate change skeptics, is also pulling together a “climate rapid response team,” which includes scientists prepared to go before what they consider potentially hostile audiences on conservative talk radio and television shows.

Notice the roles cast for the players by the author. The subject group is “climate scientists.” The object of their activism is “global warming skeptics.” These “scientists” are faced with “rising political attacks.” “Prominent researchers” are threatened with investigations. There’s a shift afoot among “climate scientists, “many of whom have traditionally stayed out of politics and avoided the news media.” She even names an organization, the American Geophysical Union, which has plans to announce that 700 “climate scientists” have agreed to speak out as “experts.”

This is a propaganda piece attempting to revive the public’s concern over climate change by puffing air into the activism of habitual climate alarmists. The author is an activist trying to create the appearance of a movement. The real news story here is that a mechanical engineering professor from Minnesota is organizing a speaker’s bureau to try to talk down conservative audiences. This is hardly news.

While some of the participants here are, in fact, climate scientists, they are not the ones who have been reluctant to engage the public. Indeed, the charge most aptly arising from last December’s “Climategate” scandal was that several of the most prominent scientists in the alarmist camp were biased politically and were attempting to promote their political aims by manipulating data, skewing peer review, and bullying opponents. When, at the end of the article, the author gets to naming a few of the intrepid scientists who are now uncharacteristically marching forth to brave the slings and arrows of outrageous conservatives, we’re told that Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will lead the charge, along with Richard Feely of NOAA and Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton. Trenberth, one of those dishonorably named in the Climategate affair, and Oppenheimer were both lead authors on more than one IPCC report and have been active in promoting climate alarmism for years, while Feely has been active in promoting the scare over ocean acidification. Some “shift.”

Next, the author attempts to make you think that all climate scientists agree to this activism by name-dropping the American Geophysical Union (AGU) as the “country’s largest association of climate scientists.” This particular attempt constitutes journalistic malpractice. The AGU does not specialize in climate science; this is misleading. The organization has announced nothing to date, it simply “plans to announce;” and the plans are not sourced by the author. The author, in effect, is creating a ghost army. Notice, in the article, how the entire American Geophysical Union becomes 700 scientists, then shrinks to 39 Special Forces skeptic-refuters, and finally gets named as three special scientists to engage the public. One wonders exactly which box on what survey those 700 AGU members checked in order to be included in this statistic, and whether they know they’ve been named as willing activists in an unprecedented political putsch. Nor would 700 AGU members constitute as large or authoritative a number as it’s represented to be; the AGU boasts some 58,000 members, and they represent all scientific disciplines, not just climate science.

Likewise, John Abraham of St. Thomas University, named in the article as the organizer of a “rapid response team,” is not specifically a climate scientist, either. He’s a mechanical engineer. That does not mean he is not competent to understand climate science, mind you; it’s just that the alarmists invariably sniff at skeptical scientists whose degrees lack the specific “climate” label. I’m returning the favor, and noting that they know perfectly well that disciplines apart from “climate scientist” are competent to comment on the topic.

The article warns of threatened investigations of “prominent scientists.” If you read further in the article, what’s actually been threatened is an investigation of the activism of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has attempted to implement cap-and-trade and central economic planning without the approval of Congress. Recall my article from 2008 discussing their announced plans. If, in fact, this has been accomplished based on deliberately manipulated data, it would constitute the largest attempted power grab in the history of the nation, something along the lines of a political coup. I can’t imagine a responsible citizen not demanding an investigation of such an attempt.

The author of the piece attempts to deflect the Climategate affair as a non-issue by sniffing at it dishonestly:

Climate change skeptics argued that the sniping in some e-mails showed that scientists suppressed research by skeptics and manipulated data. Five independent panels subsequently cleared the researchers involved and validated the science.

This, again, constitutes journalistic malpractice. It’s far from just skeptics who were incensed at the contents of the emails. What was being complained about was a great deal more serious than mere “sniping,” and generated investigations of possible criminal activity. Most importantly, no panel anywhere has discovered that the science was accurate. Some panels have concluded that no crimes were committed, which is a very different thing. And I’m really curious: since the scurrilous behavior uncovered in the emails included systematic attempts to rig professional panels with co-belligerents who would look kindly on the works of alarmists and not critique their work severely, what measures did these “five independent panels” put in place to guarantee to the public that these were not just another series of rigged juries? Indeed, the review of Prof. Michael Mann’s hockey stick high-jinks by his superiors at Penn State (Michael, as in “Mike’s Nature trick”) consisted of nothing more than reviewing a collection of emails hand-selected and submitted by the defendant himself!

The article constitutes political activism dressed as journalism, to cover political activism dressed as research. Dressing up political activism as something more authoritative is the primary tactic of the progressive movement, which has been using science as its sock puppet to change the culture for at least sixty years. Do not be fooled, and do not relax your guard; they’re aiming to steal your liberty.

Postscript: In a move that indicates the genuine shift that is taking place, the Chicago Carbon Exchange, established in November 2000 solely for the purpose of trading carbon emissions credits, announced on October 21 of this year that they will cease operations this year. The event passed without media notice of any significant sort.

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