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The Changing Climate of Climate Change

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February 23rd, 2014

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The Climate

 

After a period of calm, climate change came storming back into the verbiage of Obama Administration officials earlier this month, including the President himself. In a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, Secretary of State John Kerry labeled climate change as possibly the world’s “most fearsome weapon of mass destruction”. Just two days earlier, Barack Obama blamed historic drought conditions in California’s San Joaquin Valley on the same cause.

 

Both men were referring, of course, to anthropogenic, or man-caused, change. Kerry was trying to motivate restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. Obama was announcing federal aid for farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods are threatened by the lack of water. Both politicians made dire, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it predictions unless immediate action is taken to remediate the source of the problem.

 

Kerry also used a two-part artifice commonly employed by lay climate change enthusiasts such as the once notable, Al Gore. They claim that the change is an irrefutable fact of science. And they malign those who differ with unscientific epithets ranging from stupid to evil.

 

In Jakarta, Kerry claimed that 97% of scientists agree that humans are the cause of climate change. He also labeled those who disagree as Flat Earthers and/or financially motivated. Al Gore prefers to call them racist and Nazis.

 

Regardless of the choice of disparaging adjective, both men refuse to debate their claims of either a changing climate or its cause. In fact, Gore once derided the press for giving a platform to those who disagree with him. Apparently, freedom of the press ends where Gore’s passions begin.

 

The Change

 

In their refusal to debate, Kerry, Gore and others without scientific credentials take their cue from climatologist, Michael Mann, and others who do hold credentials. In fact, since 1995 when the UN first referenced the notion of anthropogenic climate change, debate has been unscientifically absent. Many scientists jumped on the bandwagon at the outset and the movement snowballed without critical examination, but with plenty of funding.

 

That the train left the station so quickly turned out to be a negative for climate change proponents, scientists and otherwise. Beginning in 2009, the anthropogenic cause of climate change began to lose ground. The downturn was the result of revelations that challenged the integrity of both the science and supporting scientists.

 

In 2009 and 2010, “climategate”, admitted inaccuracies in UN reports and financial conflicts of interest came to light. These problems encouraged a flood of opposing science, so much so that the public has rejected as uncertain the once uncontested theory.

 

Today, climate change remains hotly contested. Michael Mann’s controversial hockey stick graph of global temperatures since 1000 CE has come under renewed fire. It is at odds with the earlier graph of Hubert Lamb. Also a climatologist, Lamb plotted a significant medieval warm period that Mann’s graph ignores. The temperatures during the medieval warm period exceed those of today. Lamb, who died in 1997, also believed that any made-made pollutants contribute insignificantly to global climate change.

 

In 2002, Mann attempted to qualify Lamb’s research. Rather than denying a medieval warming period, Mann claimed that it occurred only in the North Atlantic and neighboring regions rather than globally. The affected locations included Europe, portions of North America and the like. This limitation is contrary to Lamb’s thesis.

 

Mann himself is also a source of climate change controversy. Unlike other scientists, he is thin-skinned to the point of suing colleagues and others who criticize his work. He also rails against media outlets, such as the New York Times, when they provide print space to opposing viewpoints. And, he steadfastly refuses to debate the issue, claiming that to do so would give unwarranted credence to pseudo-science. He forgets, of course, that debates are for the audience, not the participants. His surprisingly childish hissy fits only undermine the credibility of his theories.

 

Lest it be forgotten, climate change has political as well as scientific drivers. The driver that knocked it back on the Administration’s election year agenda is $100 million in campaign funding from wealthy believer Tom Steyer. That much money can turn contests with dim prospects into needed victories. It explains why Obama’s people are now pushing an issue that resides very near the bottom of voter interest polls.

 

It also explains both Obama’s and Kerry’s claim that drought is caused by climate change. The correlation is unsupported by science, even that of Michael Mann. But, there’s nothing as convincing as campaign financing.


 





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