Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Current attacks on those who question the science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are signs of desperation. You can detect the exasperation in this comment by President Obama.
“So unfortunately, inside of Washington we’ve still got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they’re wasting everybody’s time on a settled debate,” Obama said, doubling down on remarks made during his State of the Union Address this year by adding that, “Climate change is a fact.”
Whoever said it wasn’t a fact? Does the President believe that if humans disappeared climate change would stop? If he does, it is a reasonable, but ludicrous conclusion to draw from the IPCC claim that 95+ percent of climate change since 1950 is due to human production of CO2.
Why is the most powerful person in the world ranting against a few people expressing different views? If they are so wrong why does he bother? He insults people by suggesting they are dupes. John Kerry made even more irrational comments.
“We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”
These are uneducated, intemperate, dismissals, even for politicians. Why do they feel so threatened by what the deniers are saying? It is a classic example of protesting too much.
There is clearly a counterattack emanating from a siege mentality White House driven by four major conditions.
- It is the avowed primary policy driver for President Obama’s domestic and foreign policies.
- The last chance for a global climate policy occurs December 2015 in Paris (COP21).
- Polls, especially from the UN, show the public does not consider climate change a concern.
- Major countries, such as India, are already announcing ambivalent positions on CO2 reduction and refusal to limit burning coal.
Responses to claims by scientists who challenged IPCC science were always political. IPCC defenders know a scientific response to the scientific challenges were a waste of time because of the general lack of scientific knowledge. They know the IPCC Report of Working Group I The Physical Science Basis is indefensible because the document lays out all the severe limitations of the science. They know the science is wrong because the predictions are always wrong. If they don’t know these things, then their ignorance is willful. Something apparently confirmed by their failure to acknowledge the problems and correct the science. Instead, they ignore the evidence and resort to ad hominem attacks.
Labeling legitimate scientists as “global warming skeptics” exploited the public failure to know that skepticism is the role of science and scientists. Those pushing the IPCC claims did not look at the scientific evidence that skeptics produced to contradict the hypothesis. They knew the public didn’t realize the implications of the fact that CO2 continued to increase, but the temperature didn’t. It was only when cold winters conflicted with claims of global warming that they acted (Figure 2). They could no longer ignore their frozen lying eyes.
Figure 2 (Published in 2008)
Evidence of the impact appeared in a 2004-leaked CRU email from the Minns/Tyndall Centre on the University of East Anglia (UEA) campus that said,
“In my experience, global warming freezing is already a bit of a public relations problem with the media.”
To which Swedish Chief Climate Negotiator Bo Kjellen replied,
“I agree with Nick that climate change might be a better labelling than global warming.”
They didn’t address the science. They changed the label to “climate change” and amplified the personal attacks, as skeptics became deniers, with all the holocaust connotations. The name “climate change denier” is wrong on many levels. Its creation and use prove the creators and users do so to exploit the public lack of understanding. As usual, IPCC proponents ignored or deflected all scientific challenges. The overarching theme of the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) illustrates a similar response. Ignore the scientific questions and attack the individual. One of the most egregious examples disclosed by the emails was the attack on Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas by John Holdren.
Holdren moved the goalposts again in 2014 and launched a full assault with the 840 pages “National Climate Assessment”. In that publication, he initiated the term “Climate Disruption”. It achieved Holdren’s objective as CBS News explained in, “Report Uses Phrase ‘Climate Disruption’ As Another Way To Say Global Warming.”
Climate change’s assorted harms “are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond,” the National Climate Assessment concluded Tuesday. The report emphasizes how warming and its all-too-wild weather are changing daily lives, even using the phrase “climate disruption” as another way of saying global warming.
It is interesting because it is the first label that is not just scientific. A disruption is a break or interruption in normality, so the inference is that an abnormal disruption in climate is due to humans. So far, an ad hominem name is not attached. Maybe it’s because denier still works, but more likely it is built in and unnecessary. The ad hominem attacks prove that the entire IPCC process was and remains political. If it were about science, it couldn’t fulfill George Will’s comment that,
“When a politician says, “the debate is over,” you can be sure of two things: the debate is raging, and he’s losing it.”
If you are in the group who call challengers, climate change deniers, it implies that you deny that climate changes. The distinction between human-caused change and natural change is irrelevant at this point because the public knows virtually nothing about natural change. If they did, they would not be so easily misled. I wonder how many understood what Dr. Philip Lloyd said in his assessment of temperature records?
Holocene century-on-century changes have a standard deviation close to 1 deg C, so if there is a signal due to carbon dioxide, it still has not emerged from the background noise.
You are also in the group that believes “the science is settled” and “the debate is over”, which allows you to ignore the evidence and pursue personal attacks. People in this group, including the mainstream media, have a political agenda,.
In the countdown to Paris and the end of the Obama administration we see; increasing personal attacks on scientists doing their job properly; false claims about extreme weather; continued denial that current climate change is within the range of natural variability; and continued denial or avoidance of contradictory evidence. We are experiencing the supposed, but unnecessary, emancipation from fossil fuels. Irving F Stone (1907-1989), a true investigative journalist, described what is happening.
Every emancipation has in it the seeds of a new slavery, and every truth easily becomes a lie.