In today’s Wall Street Journal, atmospheric scientists Richard McKnider and John Christy respond to Secy. of State John Kerry’s Feb. 16 pejorative-laden climate change speech in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Kerry lambasted so-called climate skeptics as members of the “Flat Earth Society” for doubting the reality of anthropogenic climate change. He declared, “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists” and “extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts.”
McKnider and Christy note that they “embrace many of the facts” people like Kerry claim they deny (for example, greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, greenhouse gas concentrations are rising due to industrial emissions). What skeptics deny is that there is solid evidence – scientific or economic – of an impending climate catastrophe. Many also argue that because global economic development is overwhelmingly fossil-fueled, abandoning carbon energy before commercially-viable alternatives are available is perilous and likely a “cure” worse than the alleged disease.
Kerry opines that “climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” Big picture data suggests otherwise. A century and more of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and global temperatures has also seen unprecedented improvement in the abundance of human life (population), health (average life expectancy), and per capita income.
Name-calling used to be considered beneath the dignity of the Secy. of State. But if it works for President Obama (“We don’t have time for a meeting the Flat-Earth Society”), who is Kerry to abstain from slinging snark?
The Flat-Earth hypothesis was once the “scientific consensus.” So who’s the real Flat-Earther in today’s climate debate? Someone, like Kerry, who exaggerates the “findings” of flawed climate models, or someone who is skeptical of climate models because of their growing failure to replicate climate reality?
McKnider and Christy post a chart that is one those pictures worth a thousand words.