Global Warming Promoters’ Unsustainable Accusation Tactic

by Russell Cook on May 26, 2011

in Blog

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GlobalWarming.org’s blog features highly credentialed Competitive Enterprise Institute analysts along with a few others of equal caliber. Why is complete nobody like me here? The importance is not who I am, but instead what I represent:  any run-of-the-mill citizen who sees a massively expensive, unsound decision relying on only half the information available. Any rational person seeing such ill-informed decisions feels a gut level urge to yell, “Stop! Are you crazy? What about these (fill in the blank) problems?!”

One of the main priorities for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) promoters is to steer the general public away from hearing the skeptics’ side of the story. They’ve been amazingly successful so far, aided by legions of environmentalist bloggers. But these efforts require constant maintenance. When people notice contradictory elements and other details that don’t square up, tough questions start getting asked. Evasive answers or dead silence to those only speeds the erosion of credibility for the issue. If nobody can legitimately explain why skeptic scientists should be ignored, then the whole idea begins to erode uncontrollably.

Allow me to explain what led to my tough questioning. In the early ’70s when I was around nine years old, I saw a Greenland map and asked, “Why is it called Greenland? It’s all snowy.” I don’t recall who responded, but they knew of my Norwegian heritage and said, “Your Viking ancestor Eric the Red discovered it, but was a con man and lied about it being green.” It sounded plausible to me at the time.

In the mid ’70s during a school discussion of the then-current global cooling crisis, a classmate asked if I was concerned about advancing ice sheets. I replied, “No, I’m sure I can outrun a glacier.”

In the late ’80s, Al Gore declared we must fight global warming. “What happened to global cooling?!”, was my reaction. “No worry,” one of my relatives cautioned, “He’s wrong, there’s an article saying only one set of computer models shows the planet heating.”

On March 14, 2001, when the PBS NewsHour reported President Bush’s decision not to push CO2 regulation, I immediately wrote a congratulatory letter to him, while also suggesting his staff should find a 2000 copy of a PBS Nova/Frontline “What’s Up with the Weather?” program where global warming was significantly questioned (Speaking of missing sides of the story, it seems odd that the main PBS page for the program does not currently contain the above transcript link, or a complete video of the broadcast).

After watching that program’s reasonably balanced assessments of AGW, I became concerned about the PBS NewsHour‘s lack of skeptic scientists as guests counterbalancing AGW claims. When they aired a program on 8/15/05 about Seattle Mayor Nickels and other mayors agreeing on a need to take the initiative in reducing CO2 emissions, I promptly emailed Nickels’ office to ask why his Northwest climate ‘warming’ observations contradicted an apparent ‘cooling’ of the desert Southwest I was seeing, and then I asked why his assertions on current unprecedented global temperatures were contradicted by conclusions about the Medieval Warm Period being warmer.

The reply from his Office of Sustainability and Environment completely failed to address the contradictions.

I began asking various other politicians, policymakers, and internet forum posters what justified their pro-AGW positions, and invariably received the same answers: ‘the science was settled, don’t listen to skeptics, they’re paid by fossil fuel industries to confuse the public’. They never said how skeptics’ science assessments were wrong. I ignored the corruption accusations, wondering why they resorted to such a weak defense tactic.

In late October of 2009, while debating Society of Environmental Journalists board member Robert McClure at his blog, I was prompted to look deeper into the accusations. He said, “The first person to document widespread payments by industry to “skeptic” scientists, as far as I know, was journalist Ross Gelbspan in his book, circa 1997, “The Heat is On.” But it’s been documented since then, too.” Rather than simply take his word, I attempted to prove it myself.

I couldn’t find independent corroboration of the accusation. Instead, many journalists justified a lack of skeptic scientists interviews by saying there was no need to ‘apply equal balance to a settled issue’ – without ever saying how it was settled. More unnerving were multiple assertions that such interviews would constitute “laziness committed in the name of journalistic balance” that erodes media credibility and slows efforts to solve the AGW crisis.

These particular assertions invariably traced back to……………. Ross Gelbspan. (Including a rather strange recent twist on this, as I detailed at my May 9 American Thinker article, “Warmist Mantra Wearing Out“)

Only days after my debate with McClure, I saw how viral a specific accusation phrase was against skeptic scientists, best summarized by Al Gore in his 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth” movie’s companion book: “One of the internal memos prepared by this group to guide the employees they hired to run their disinformation campaign was discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan. Here was the group’s stated objective: to ‘reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact.’” In the movie itself, the “reposition global warming” phrase is shown full screen in capitalized red letters, receiving one of the two biggest applause responses in Gore’s presentation when the next screen compared it to old tobacco industry campaign attempts to portray science studies about smoking as inconclusive.

However, my initial November 2009 searches of that phrase immediately revealed contradictions to widespread assertions of Gelbspan as the first to expose it. More than sixteen months later, I’m finding a sea of red flags associated with the accusation, my most recent article at ClimateDepot describes a very troubling contradiction within Gore’s own assertion about Gelbspan finding the memos. In a nutshell, Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer, he didn’t discover the memos, they prove nothing when read in their full context…… and it turns out Gore received the memos long before Gelbspan.

New York Times writer David Brooks said on the 7/23/2010 NewsHour, “I guess the one thing that sort of frustrates me is that we have had a lot of information about global warming from Al Gore and many others. And, yet, while that has happened…  support for a response to global warming has gone down.” Sorry, Mr Brooks, it was not ‘a lot’ of information, it was only one side of it.

So, here we are. No climate bills have any hope of passing in Congress, centrist pundits wonder why Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and President Obama are such ineffective environmental leaders, environmentalist bloggers strategize how to educate an ‘ignorant public’, and far-left zealots have nightmares about a burning planet while shivering through nasty cold snaps.

And here I am, yelling, “Stop! Are you insane? Nobody ever told how skeptic scientists’ criticisms were wrong, or proved their conclusions were outright fabrications created in coal and oil industry executive conference rooms!!”

Please join me. It should be a wild ride on a roller-coaster of imminent collapse, and despite all I’ve heard about the loyalty of the mainstream media to the cause, all these problems must smell like blood in the water to some of them………..

 

John Howard May 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Collectivists believe that individualism is a mental disease. Disagreement is not just a position, it is a sin. Say anything to a collectivist that he does not agree with, and his first move will be to shame and humiliate you. He will take the position that since you are a shameful sinner, you do not deserve polite conversation. You deserve to be punished rather than refuted. This saves him the trouble of thinking through a valid refutation.

Now imagine thousands of such collectivist savages pouring out of the government-run institutions of higher propaganda – all of them equipped with motor mouths, arrogant attitudes, dismissive psychobabble, and snide sarcasm as their primary intellectual talents, and you have our present intellectual climate: hordes of superstitious savages who can’t prove a thing they say and believe that because you dare to question them, you no longer deserve an answer, thus excusing them from the responsibility of proving anything.

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