Climate Science, Red in Tooth and Claw: Yapping Hyenas Attack a Lion
William Happer is one of the most important scientists in the United States. He is an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton and a long-serving adviser to the federal government. His scientific discoveries and inventions are extensive. Currently, he serves in the White House as a senior adviser to the National Security Council.
The Trump administration is thinking of forming a "Presidential Committee on Climate Security." The press has been told to direct questions to Dr. Happer. That is enough to bring out the climate hyenas. They can't stand the thought that Trump might have some solid scientific advice concerning climate change. The hyenas are running an all-out attack against Dr. Happer.
Following Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, the camp followers of the global warming industry try to create polarization. In a Time magazine article, a former admiral says Happer is a fringe figure. A climate scientist at Georgia Tech says Happer has "false, unscientific notions." We are reassured that the global warming scare is absolutely solid science, as everyone except climate deniers knows.
What everyone may not know is that climate science is an industry, and the product is the global warming scare. If the global warming scare is discredited, the huge industry will collapse. Climate scientists used to be unimportant academics in an unimportant academic field. The global warming scare made them into celebrities jetting around the world. They won't give up the glory without a fight.
Climate computer models, the basis of the doomsday predictions, disagree with each other and disagree with the climate of the Earth. But according to the climate science mafia, anyone who brings up such embarrassing information is a tool of the fossil fuel industry. As far as the climate mafia is concerned, the business plan of the fossil fuel industry is to wreck the Earth and wreck the global warming industry. The reality is that the fossil fuel industry is wimpy and not inclined to take on the global warmers.
Climate science has gone off the rails. President Eisenhower nailed the problem in his 1961 farewell address. He expressed the fear that because science had become heavily dependent on federal financial support, scientists would color the science in order to increase the flow of federal money. Nothing works better for increasing the flow of federal scientific money than predicting a future disaster. If scientists predict a disaster, we have to give them more money to research methods of preventing the disaster.
Since Eisenhower's address, we have been treated to a parade of scientific doomsday predictions, none of which measured up to the hype. There was global cooling that preceded global warming. There were acid rain, DDT, the ozone layer, overpopulation, and many others. It is not only scientists who use a parade of disaster predictions. Environmental organizations need doomsday predictions, too, in order to keep their members interested. The press has a bias for sensationalism, so it too promotes the latest doomsday predictions.
Many professions are supposed to adhere to high ethical standards. For example, lawyers are supposed to put the interests of their clients above their own interests. Doctors are supposed to put their patients' welfare above their own pecuniary interests. Journalists are supposed to be objective and not color their work with their own political preferences. We know that not every professional adheres strictly to his ethical code. Scientists are not different. They are supposed to search for scientific truth and to exercise objectivity in their work. They are not supposed to hype weak theories in order to improve their professional standing. But these things happen.
Most scientists are not in a position to contradict global warming hype. Science is a profession characterized by ideological schools and groupthink. Groupthink is worst in sciences where the rules are not clear and the data are confusing — for example, climate science. Young scientists depend on older, more senior scientists for recognition and promotion. They are in no position to contradict groupthink. They have families to feed. The senior scientists may be running large scientific enterprises financed by federal money. To express doubts about the mission or the truth of the groupthink would be to threaten their money and the jobs of people in their organization.
The consequence of the groupthink atmosphere is that dissenters come from the ranks of scientists removed from the pressure to conform — for example, retired scientists, amateur scientists, and scientists so accomplished as to be immune to threats and group pressure. There are thousands of such scientists who are skeptical of the global warming hype. When they speak out, they are attacked, and the attacks are usually vicious. The members of the global warming establishment will almost never debate skeptics. When this was done years ago, the skeptics were too credible.
Science is great, and our modern world is a product of science. But scientists are humans, not gods. They play the same games that other beneficiaries of federal money play. We have been fooled over and over again by fake predictions of disasters or one sort or another. The fake predictions are never completely fake. There is usually some real science buried in all the hype. For example, it is reasonable to expect that some global warming might be caused by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. What is probably a modest effect has been twisted and exaggerated into a doomsday scenario that demands that we save the planet. The good effects of CO2 that are well known and that are solid science are ignored. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere makes plants grow better with less water. Greenhouse-operators use CO2-generators in their greenhouses. CO2 is greening deserts. How often to you hear about these benefits of CO2?
DDT was banned because it supposedly thinned birds' eggs and perhaps because some people screamed cancer. But DDT is highly effective against mosquitos that cause malaria. The World Health Organization finally lifted the ban on DDT because thousands of children were dying in Africa. DDT will never be rehabilitated in the U.S. because the propaganda has been permanently imprinted in the minds of the populace.
Science has created institutions that serve to enhance the image of science. For example, peer review often degenerates into pal review. Scientific journals are often filled with papers of dubious value generated by a system that values quantity over quality. The National Academy of Science pretends to give objective advice to the government, but often the advice is to appropriate more money for science.
Typically, when science invents a new doomsday theory, the environmental organizations embellish it with unscientific flourishes. The scientist inventors of the theory don't correct the environmental organizations because that would slow the momentum toward a new surge of federal money. That should be an ethical violation. Scientists should have a duty to set the record straight in such circumstances.
There is no simple solution to the parade of doomsday theories. It would help if the government understood better that throwing more money at an alleged problem may exaggerate rather than alleviate the problem. Massive spending may not solve difficult scientific problems, but massive spending always creates bureaucracies that exist to sustain the spending.
Norman Rogers is the author of the book Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar Energy.