Guest opinion by Dr. Tim Ball
Recently, in reply to a charge that John Holdren made false claims about climate change by Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) ruled he was expressing his “personal opinion” not “a comprehensive review of the scientific literature”. The charge is correct and the ruling false. It may be his personal opinion, but it was given from the White House in his position as adviser to the President.
Watch the video. It is filmed in the White House, released by the White House and urges people to visit the White House web site for additional information. Holdren never says it is personal opinion; there is no disclaimer. The only thing personal was his choice of location. He is playing the manipulative game of being a private citizen when it suits and a senior official when that suits. Holdren clearly tried to give credibility to his inaccurate science by using the White House as venue and his position as Assistant to the President on Science and Technology. It is a form of Argumentum ad Verecundiam (appeal to authority), although the literal translation is “appeal to reverence”.
Lord Acton, who said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, also said,
“There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”
Holdren exploits this fault, because too many Americans sanctify the holder of the Presidency. Maybe that is changing because as Washington commentator Irving Stone said,
“When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it”.
James Hansen played the same game, being Joe Citizen or Director of NASA GISS, as he calculated what was most advantageous.
Holdren was involved in creating the myth of overpopulation, the original false basis for using global warming to establish a political agenda. He co-authored Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment with Paul Ehrlich Economist Julian Simon challenged Ehrlich’s claims about resource exhaustion, well documented in The Bet. Holdren selected the metals and the time period. Simon won the bet.
In Ecoscience Holdren illustrated the methodology involved in the White House pronouncements. Create a straw man that becomes justification for draconian, controlling policies. Among many proposals for population control he wrote,
Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.
Who concluded? He did. The straw man for using the Constitution is, “if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger society.” He implies, falsely, there is a population crisis? So, he will decide when it is sufficiently severe? He has already decided this will give him authority to force abortions. He is now using the straw man of global warming as justification for imposing total control.
Holdren used his authority for personal attacks and to distort or misrepresent the science and facts before. He is currently on leave from his position as Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. (Teresa Heinz, wife of US Secretary of State John Kerry).
While at Harvard he participated in the attacks to discredit Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas and their work. It was part of a two-pronged attack. One was revealed in David Deming’s testimony to Congress.
With the publication of the article in Science [in 1995], I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”
The now infamous attack involved creation of the “hockey stick”. Proud authors of the hockey stick literally rewrote history. But what history did they rewrite? They got rid of Lamb’s troubling graph (7c) shown in the 1990 IPCC Report.
Above: Original 1990 IPCC Figure 7c.
One little known attack involved Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas and their publication “Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1,000 years” (2003 Climate Research, 23, 89–110), the most recent and definitive synopsis of evidence for the Medieval Warm Period.
Disclaimer: I have known solar physicists Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon for a long time. I published an article with Willie and have enjoyed extensive communication. I was on advisory committees with Sallie when she suddenly and politely withdrew from the fray. Undoubtedly, it was due to the vicious attacks orchestrated by Holdren and others.
Soon and Baliunas’ work confirmed the existence of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) from a multitude of sources. It was a direct threat to the 2001 IPCC Report claim that the latter part of the 20th century was the warmest ever. Michael Mann effectively got rid of the MWP with the hockey stick, but Soon and Baliunas remained. Instead of discrediting their work they discredited them. Holdren was the powerful academic who participated in the attacks.
On 16th October 2003, Michael Mann sent an email to people involved in the CRU scandal,
Thought you would be interested in this exchange, which John Holdren of Harvard has been kind enough to pass along…
An October 16, 2003 email from John Holdren to Michael Mann and Tom Wigley reports:
I’m forwarding for your entertainment an exchange that followed from my being quoted in the Harvard Crimson to the effect that you and your colleagues are right and my “Harvard” colleagues Soon and Baliunas are wrong about what the evidence shows concerning surface temperatures over the past millennium. The cover note to faculty and postdocs in a regular Wednesday breakfast discussion group on environmental science and public policy in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is more or less self-explanatory.
Use of the word “entertainment” is deeply disquieting. Here is what Holdren sent to the Wednesday Breakfast group:
I append here an e-mail correspondence I have engaged in over the past few days trying to educate a Soon/Baliunas supporter who originally wrote to me asking how I could think that Soon and Baliunas are wrong and Mann et al. are right (a view attributed to me, correctly, in the Harvard Crimson). This individual apparently runs a web site on which he had been touting the Soon/Baliunas position.
The engagement is an exchange with Nick Schulz, editor of Tech Central Station (TCS). On August 9, 2003 Schulz wrote:
In a recent Crimson story on the work of Soon and Baliunas, who have written for my website, you are quoted as saying: My impression is that the critics are right. It is unfortunate that so much attention is paid to a flawed analysis, but that’s what happens when something happens to support the political climate in Washington. Do you feel the same way about the work of Mann et. al.? If not why not?
Holdren failed to answer Schulz’s questions despite long responses on October 13, 14, and 16th. Schulz’s reply to the October 13 email:
I guess my problem concerns what lawyers call the burden of proof. The burden weighs heavily much more heavily, given the claims on Mann et.al. than it does on Soon/Baliunas. Would you agree?
Of course, Holdren doesn’t agree. He replies:
But, in practice, burden of proof is an evolving thing—it evolves as the amount of evidence relevant to a particular proposition grows.
Too bad Holdren’s “burden of proof” on global warming hasn’t evolved. He continues his political science, but now using the power of the White House. He ignores the evidence that broke the hockey stick. (Apparently he doesn’t know it is illegal to play with a broken stick). More problematic, as a scientist he ignores the evidence. A graduate of Stanford, his decision was likely based on the challenge of fellow Stanford denizen Stephen Schneider’s challenge that
“…each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest.”
Schulz (at Techcentral Station) provided a solid summary:
I’ll close by saying I’m willing to admit that, as someone lacking a PhD, I could be punching above my weight. But I will ask you a different but related question. How much hope is there for reaching reasonable public policy decisions that affect the lives of millions if the science upon which those decisions must be made is said to be by definition beyond the reach of those people?
We now know they deliberately placed it beyond the reach of the people and restricted it to the group that he used to ridicule Soon and Baliunas. It appears he was blinded by his political views, which are central to the Club of Rome theme of overpopulation, and as his record shows, are frightening. One web site synthesizes his position as follows: “Forced abortions. Mass sterilization. A “Planetary Regime” with the power of life and death over American citizens.”
Now the straw man is the false science of the IPCC and the deception of the “Polar Vortex”, proclaimed from the biggest bully pulpit in the world. Shutting down industries and economies to save the planet is child’s play for a person, who proposed,
A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men.
The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control. The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births.
At his Senate confirmation hearing Holdren claimed he no longer held his 1970s views on overpopulation.
Senator David Vitter: In 1973, you encouraged “a decline in fertility well below replacement” in the United States because “280 million in 2040 is likely to be too many.” What would your number for the right population in the US be today?
John Holdren: I no longer think it’s productive, Senator, to focus on the optimum population of the United States. I don’t think any of us know what the right answer is. When I wrote those lines in 1973, uh, I was preoccupied with the fact that many problems the United States faced appeared to be being made more difficult by the greater population growth that then prevailed. I think everyone who studies these matters understands that population growth brings some benefits and some liabilities; it’s a tough question to determine which will prevail in a given time period.
This is a political answer and worked because he was approved. Now he is in the White House and pursues his objective from a position of power. We know from his actions, such as the video, he substituted global warming/climate change for overpopulation. However, global warming was the vehicle chosen to allow draconian action to destroy industrial economies, and reduce resource-gobbling populations. Here is a quote from the Club of Rome 1994
“The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
“Changed attitudes and behavior”, means reduction of population. Holdren hasn’t changed. As Oscar Wilde said,
At every single moment of one’s life, one is going to be no less than what one has been.”