The new Climategate scandal
Science is all about testing hypotheses with real-world data. “Climate change” is not science. It started as an outright scam, an alarmist creed field-tested through various incarnations that sounded scary and indicted human activity, for the purpose of pulling down bigger research grants. Version 1.0, the “new Ice Age” global cooling scare of the Seventies, had the most actual science associated with it – we might indeed be heading into a new Ice Age – but it couldn’t be tied to human activity, and it was too difficult to frighten people in most of the Western world with the image of a gradual temperature reduction. “Global warming,” in which smokestacks people could easily see were going to rip open the ozone layer and wipe out coastal cities with apocalyptic floods, sold better, but alas it was too specific, too easily disproved… so we got “climate change,” and when it turned out the climate hasn’t really been changing much over the past two decades, the final devolution to “climate disruption” was rolled out this year. “Climate disruption” is perfect, because it’s literally impossible to disprove – no matter what happens, even if nothing very much happens, the con artists can claim human industry is severely disrupting the ordinary processes of nature.
Along the way, “climate change” metastasized into a malignant intellectual cancer, as it became infused with big-dollar politics. Socialist politicians realized it was the perfect vehicle for unlimited centralized power. Oppose their agenda and you want to murder the Earth!
“Climate change” also provides an intellectual framework for hysterical fantasy, because its adherents – including a number of heavily credentialed scientists – are willing to either actively or passively endorse all sorts of alarmist nonsense pumped out by their pop-culture allies. They justify this by saying that it’s important to “raise awareness,” so even the most absurd, anti-scientific doomsday horror story is defensible. This, again, is contrary to the principles of science, which relies upon clarity and honesty. Committed scientists don’t look at some Hollywood director’s pile of 99 percent absurd claptrap, shrug, and say “What the heck, close enough… as long as it gets people talking about global warming, it’s all good.”
As time went on, and actual data turned more and more against it, climate change became more an example of bad politics than bad science. It’s a full-blown fanatical cult now, using thug tactics to silence dissent and intimidate critics into line. The level of pressure brought to bear against “deniers” in the scientific community is enormous. All of my life, the scientific community has told itself stories about closed-minded fanatics suppressing inquisitive minds and crushing dangerous ideas in the Middle Ages. The Church of Global Warming has become a perfect example of what scientists in my youth despised.
The climate change cult is so important to socialist politicians, and so protected by the media, that it survived the massive Climategate scandal, which featured the publication of emails that demonstrated climate scientists were conspiring to suppress inconvenient data. The dirty little secret of the Church of Global Warming is that its apocalyptic warnings are based entirely on computer models that can supposedly predict the future. There is very little empirical evidence to support the notion of man-made climate change, few experiments that claim to prove out any of the key hypotheses linking human activity to disastrous changes in the global environment. Not even the shibboleths taught to schoolchildren about carbon emissions and “greenhouse gas” rest on any conclusive experimental proof. Efforts to “prove” a climate surge due to Twentieth Century industrial technology, such as the famous “hockey stick” graph, have utterly collapsed under sustained inquiry. Everything else is just conjecture based on computer models, which include a variety of assumptions about the interaction of complex forces… and as the intensive data-mining of the past half century moves forward, it becomes increasingly clear that many of those assumptions are dubious, because the climate models have been almost entirely wrong. Nothing predicted in 1980 or 1990 has come to pass. The actual behavior of the real world is overwhelmingly different from what it was supposed to do.
It would be fair to say that the idea of human industrial activity having minimal impact on the planetary climate (or maybe even beneficial impact, if we really are fated for a new Ice Age, which human activity is holding at bay) is also a hypothesis. The issue is whether people should allow themselves to be dominated by politicians and robbed of their livelihoods on the basis of apocalyptic theories that get repeated more loudly and insistently as the science behind them grows weaker. Nobody’s calling for an end to climate science… except for the Church of Global Warming, that is.
Which brings us to ClimateGate 2, the new scandal about climate-change cultists using Stalinist tactics to suppress inconvenient data and destroy a “denier,” in this case Swedish climatologist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson. Bengtsson declared himself skeptical of climate change dogma and joined a London-based think tank called the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is not explicitly dedicated to denying either natural or man-made climate change – they’re concerned with exaggerated alarmism for political gain.
All hell broke loose as fanatics from the Church of Global Warming came after Bengtsson with a zeal that would make any old-time Inquisitor proud. Bengtsson’s stature in the meteorological community – particularly with respect to those computer models, in which field he was considered a pioneer – made him more of a target, rather than affording him any protection.
Bengtsson was forced to resign from his advisory capacity at the GWPF after just one month… and spoke of McCarthyism in his resignation letter:
I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen.
It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years. Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.
The surprising thing is that his treatment came as a surprise to him. Has he really been unaware, until now, of the way climate change “science” has degenerated into a feral cult? How could he have so thoroughly underestimated the threat his shift to skepticism – which he clearly regarded as a fairly modest adjustment, saying in various interviews that he’s always considered himself skeptical, as every good scientist should – would pose to the fanatics, and the political interests who both fund them and profit from them?
What turns this into a full-blown Climategate 2 scandal is that Bengtsson says he wasn’t just personally attacked – his research was suppressed as well. As the UK Telegraph reports, he “believes a paper he co-authored was deliberately suppressed from publication in a leading journal because of an intolerance of dissenting views about climate change by scientists who peer-reviewed the work.”
“The problem we have now in the scientific community is that some scientists are mixing up their scientific role with that of climate activist,” he told the Times.
Professor Bengtsson claims a scientist advised that the paper, which challenged findings that global temperature would increase by 4.5C if greenhouse gases were to double, should not be published in a respected journal because it was “less than helpful.”
The unnamed scientist, who was asked to peer review Professor Bengtsson’s paper, said in his comments: “Actually it is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of ‘errors’ and worse from the climate sceptics side.”
The paper, co-authored with four other scientists, challenged the findings of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but was rejected by Environmental Research Letters published by the Institute of Physics, one of the most highly regarded journals in the area.
And Bengtsson wasn’t even calling total B.S. on the sacred dogmas of the Church of Global Warming. He merely wondered if the rate of potential climate change due to greenhouse-gas emissions might be considerably less than previously supposed. He didn’t offer a definitive answer to the question – he wanted more work to be done in the field.
But even that level of modest scientific skepticism was too much for the climate change cult, which is keenly aware that its power is slipping, and cannot afford to have skeptical taxpayers asking uncomfortable questions… or give young up-and-coming scientists the idea that disagreement with the ayatollahs of man-made climate change is acceptable.
What is the proper term for describing an idea so fragile that it cannot survive even the most restrained intellectual challenge? Not “science,” that’s for damn certain.