Skeptics aren’t funded or organized but they can still have an impact.
Guest essay by Matt Manos
In my previous post, Why It’s So Hard to Convince Warmists, I introduced the concept of bellwethers and rational ignorance to explain why it’s so hard to convince warmists using empirical evidence. The obvious next question is, how can skeptics move the needle on belief in CAGW? To figure that out, I have been researching various movements that have succeeded in achieving their goals despite entrenched social bias.
Climate Change exists in a larger political context best know as the culture war. Very few targets of the culture war have successfully combated the forces of “all right thinking people.” Like them or hate them, the NRA and #gamergate have been successful largely by motivating their membership to lobby state governments or put social pressure on companies. These avenues aren’t available for skeptics because the climate change pushers aren’t local and the skeptic community isn’t organized or well funded. Skeptics must find other ways to influence public policy.
Climate Change is different than most public policy issues. Little social pressure can be put on local governments because the funding for climate change usually comes from national governments and international organizations. While frustrating to anyone who wants to directly lobby their government, climate change’s top down approach should be seen as it’s greatest weakness. Instead of being forced to lobby in every state or district, climate change presents itself with large, ripe targets.
Since traditional organizing doesn’t apply or can’t be afforded, I only see one avenue left for skeptics. Lawfare is a combination of the words law and warfare. It’s a form of asymmetrical warfare that uses the legal system to tie up the resources of an opponent. The Greens have been using lawfare for decades. Michael Mann’s defamation suit is but one of the latest examples. In addition to lawsuits, lawfare can be used by legislative bodies to alter public policy funding and to investigate climate change financial impropriety.
Perhaps the quickest way to disrupt the message of climate change is to change the funding. Don’t eliminate the funding, change it. The NASAs, the NOAAs, the NSFs of the world must be co-opted. The big government institutions see skeptics as a threat to their power and influence. That needs to change. Institutions need to see that skeptics aren’t out to defund them, just refocus their efforts onto different types of projects. That is exactly what the US House did earlier this month when it passed a bill that would raise overall science spending but reduce NSF spending on climate change. The bill has an uphill battle to become law but the approach is correct.
Other ways that skeptics can influence the debate is through lawsuits. Skeptics need public policy lawyers filing FOIA requests every week. One obvious target is how Greens often seem to get their funding directly from the taxpayers. If corruption is exposed, it could cause a government to collapse much like the sponsorship scandal helped topple the Canadian government in 2006. Another obvious issue for skeptics would be FOIA requests around how NCDC functions and emails around why the GISS dataset keeps being adjusted only in ways that suggest AGW. Maybe there is a smoking gun email exchange. I predict that there is a lot of low hanging fruit out there.
Climate gate did more to disrupt CAGW belief than any amount of skeptical science. Instead of waiting for another leak, skeptics need to force the next climate gate with FOIA requests and legislative investigations. Since climate change isn’t a grassroots effort, it’s top down nature should make it especially vulnerable to lawfare.
Skeptics need to engage public policy lawyers and take control of their own destiny.