January 26, 2009
How The World Was Bullied Into Silence
One of the most disturbing aspects of the global warming story is the number of prominent people and entire segments of society bullied into silence. Consider the case of Dr. Joanne Simpson described as follows:
“the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.” Then consider her statement. “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical...The main basis of the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system.” No, we don’t all know the frailty of the models! Certainly most of the media and thereby the public and politicians don’t know, otherwise the latter would not be planning completely unnecessary, incredibly expensive and society altering policies. But the opening comment is actually frightening and speaks to why the scam has progressed so far. “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receive any funding, I can speak quite frankly.”
Undoubtedly, there are positions and times when people are muzzled; national security is a good example. I sympathize with young people starting out on careers. I understand the pressure of maintaining a family and paying mortgages. But none of this should apply to science. It’s a measure of the degree to which climate change has become political. It’s also a measure of the degree of bullying that has occurred. Why would a scientist in an organization directly involved in climate science not feel free to speak out? But they are not the only ones who have kept quiet. Entire segments of society have either remained silent or taken evasive action. Few had the courage to even ask for a full and open debate. Now everything is changing as the claims of warming are offset by the realities of cooling.
Cold weather is doing more to raise questions about the scam of global warming than all the appeals to scientific reason. Even people who don’t understand the science recognize the illogic of arguing that colder temperatures are due to warming. This is causing advocates of human caused global warming to take increasingly ridiculous positions to defend the indefensible. They are making more strident calls for action accompanied by claims the tipping point, beyond which action is too late, is ever closer. Politicians are warned not to let economic woes divert them from saving the planet. Consider this incredible and totally unfounded position reported in the Observer - Guardian newspaper; Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of NASA scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen, who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth.
Hansen must know that if the cooling trend continues, as many scientists anticipate, he is in a dangerous position. When a bureaucrat convinces a politician of a scientific position, as Hansen has so forcefully done with Gore and Obama, and they make it a major part of their political positions he is on a treadmill. He has to keep spinning the story and avoid the facts while increasing the threats. Further, Hansen must make sure political actions he advocates, such as carbon taxes, must be implemented before more cooling occurs and Obama’s four-year term ends.
On the other side of the debate, an increasing number of scientists are speaking out for a variety of reasons. The most likely is because the public is showing signs of disbelief in the entire global warming claims. An Angus Reid poll showed a decline in public concern about global warming in 2008.
Consensus was a major argument throughout the debate even though it’s a meaningless argument in science. Consensus is not a scientific fact. It is important in politics, which underscores the political nature of the debate. U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA recently said, “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.”
Some are being more cautious and looking for ways out. Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden notes, “Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.”
Decades ago Tolstoi provided another explanation for failing to acknowledge the growing evidence. “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”The Tools of Bullying The tools of bullying used against those who question the claim that humans are causing global warming include:
Expropriating the moral high ground of environmentalism. If you don’t agree with their position you are accused of not caring about the planet, the children, the future. How do certain people claim the title of environmentalist? We are all environmentalists. If you are not a member of Friends of the Earth does that mean you are not a friend of the Earth?
Claiming that funding from some sources is tainted. Why is money from a private source considered more controlling and directing than money from government? Is funding from an environmental group less directing than money from anywhere else? Last year, Exxon announced they would not fund anymore climate research. Why? A company involved in energy use should know what the climate experts are saying for proper management decisions. Companies that don’t do diligent research do not impress shareholders. Actually, it doesn’t matter who funds research because the real test is scientific credibility.
Assuring that the many scientists who try hard to avoid politics continue to do so. They want to stay out of the limelight and do their work. This view is reinforced when they see the attacks and threats against scientists who dare to speak out. With climate they also want to avoid being automatically politically pigeonholed. If you agree with the view that humans are causing global warming you are left wing, if you disagree you are right wing. I know many scientists who disagree but are left wing so they remain silent.
Questioning credentials of those who speak out against the hypothesis, but never mentioning it for those in support. Few ever ask about Gore’s credentials.
Belittling opponents by calling them skeptics, or deniers. Referring to them as “flat-earthers,” or comparing them to supporters of the tobacco industry.
Forcing large corporations and governments to waste money by pretending to be green because they fear the accusations they are not good citizens.
The bullying is over and the bullies are in a panic
It was a child who said the Emperor had no clothes because the adults were afraid to speak up. Now scientists of all political persuasions are speaking out. Consider the views of Dr Martin Herzberger. In a letter to USA Today he wrote; “As a scientist and life-long liberal Democrat, I find the constant regurgitation of the anecdotal, fear mongering clap-trap about human-caused global warming (the Levi, Borgerson article of 9/24/08) to be a disservice to science, to your readers, and to the quality of the political dialogue leading up to the election. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows that the Gore-IPCC theory that human activity is causing global warming is false.”
Even those directly involved in the process have joined the shift as the extremist positions grow. Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, and former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee became a skeptic because of Al Gore.
“Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.”
The function of extremism is to determine limits for the majority. Gore’s extremism provided Mr.Smit with a limit. Cold weather is providing another limit. It is driving proponents of human caused global warming to increasingly extreme positions. This, in turn, is encouraging even those who should have spoken out to take positions. The bullying is over and the bullies are in a panic.
Tim Ball, Senior Fellow
has an extensive scientific background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history. He is a regular contributing writer for Country Guide magazine and a researcher/author of numerous papers on climate, long-range weather patterns, the impacts of climate change on sustainable agriculture, ecosystems, historical climatology, air quality, untapped energy resources, silting and flooding. He had a long academic career at the University of Winnipeg until he moved to Victoria in 1996. He has a BA from the University of Winnipeg, an MA from the University of Manitoba and a PH.D (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England. On Dr. Ball as a climate change "denier" - more . . . and more . . .