Famed Nobel laureate in physics Richard Feynman once described science as “the belief in the ignorance of experts.” The very first scientific society, The Royal Society, adopted the motto: “Take nobody’s word for it.” Questioning is the stock-in-trade of scientists; it is the way we discover new things and the way we keep science honest. Without the ability to question conclusions, science degenerates into politics and pseudo-religion.
Yet fanatical proponents of the prevailing climate paradigm, like historian Naomi Oreskes, argue that such questioning is equivalent to the tobacco companies questioning the link between smoking and lung cancer. That is pure political nonsense, because the arbiter in science is always robust data, not opinion. And we scientists relish the opportunity to point out again the very sturdy statistical links between smoking and lung cancer.
The problem with climate science is that the robust data that should backup the alarming conclusions of the establishment are not there. In fact the robust data show no link between man-made CO2 and global temperature. To be sure, propagandists are forever promoting natural climate variations as “proof.” But these are merely proof that our climate continues to cycle in response to natural forces, as it always has. The Minoan, Roman, and Medieval Warm Periods were all warmer than the Modern Warm Period and had nothing to do with our ancestors pulling their chariots with Hummers. This simple logic puts those scientists who earn their living from climate hysteria on the defensive.
Knowing that the robust data is running solidly against them, they are looking elsewhere for a way to win the argument. Climate modelers who have been predicting far more warming than has been observed are particularly on the defensive, because their failures are well documented. To try to salvage something, they have asked President Barack Obama to invoke the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act to prosecute as mobsters their fellow scientists who dare to disagree with them. When 20 scientists, led by Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University, demanded such action, hurricane expert Peter Webster told atmospheric sciences Professor Judith Curry of Georgia Tech that these scientists had “signed the death warrant for science.” And Lamar Smith, R-Texas, began a congressional inquiry to question such a brazen attack on science and those who practice it. No one imagined how this drama would unfold. It soon became apparent that Shukla had diverted a portion of his $63 million in government contract funds to his family. It seems he was not content with just a lucrative salary.
This scandal is unfolding as the United Nations is about to convene another climate conference in Paris later this month. To make matters worse, well-known French TV meteorologist Philippe Verdier was abruptly removed from French government television for writing a book charging that we “are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear.”
Will these latest scandals overshadow the Paris conference, as the “Climategate” scandal hung heavily over the Copenhagen conference? My sense is that the participants are now very well-practiced at weathering the perpetual setbacks swirling around them. Total denial has worked for them in the past. Why not now?
What will slow them down is the enormity of what they demand: enormous payments to developing nations and enormous curtailment of industrial activity in the developed world, further shifting it to those developing nations. None of this legitimately addresses any concerns about carbon dioxide, however misguided. It only shifts carbon emissions from one location to another, giving corrupt politicians and bureaucrats a chance to claim success before people realize that they have been duped again by the pervasive propaganda.
One can only hope that Paris will finally mark the unraveling of the vast and greedy climate cartel. The world must move on to far more pressing — and real — problems.
Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at email@example.com. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research.