Stelter on climate change: “Some stories don’t have two sides.” Delingpole on Stelter: “He makes Piers Morgan look like Einstein.”
“Some stories don’t have two sides,” claims CNN’s Brian Stelter.
He’s talking about “Climate Change”–a subject on which, apparently, the science is settled.
“Depending on which study or which expert you consult, between 95 and 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is happening now, that it’s damaging the planet, and that it’s man-made. That seems pretty definitive, right? So, why does television news too often feel compelled to stage debates between those who represent the 97 percent and those who represent the fringe?”
Where do we begin in countering this barrage of straw men, Appeals to Authority, and ill-digested, brain-dead liberal half-truths?
Let’s start with those spurious 95/97 per cent artefacts.
They first surfaced during the discredited Doran Survey–a 2009 online poll of scientists conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois.
As I note in The Little Green Book of Ecofascism, they asked two questions:
When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen or remained relatively constant?
Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
To both of which questions, even most skeptics would answer “yes.” The only room for dissent would be over that term “significant.”
But even with such carefully loaded questions the researchers were disappointed by the lack of unanimity of response from the more than 10,000 scientists they originally surveyed. So, in order to stack the odds still further–in what was always a shamelessly political exercise, not a scientific one–they decided to exclude all save the respondents who self-identified as “climate scientists.”
Even here, after reducing their 10,000 scientists to fewer than one hundred, their respondents were incapable of achieving that much-desired consensus. But it was near enough: seventy-five out of a total of seventy-seven “climate scientists”agreed with a premise roughly equivalent to “Does night follow day?”, “Do bears defecate in subarboreal environments?”, “Is the Pope Catholic?” etc.
That 97 per cent figure, in other words, has about as much credibility as the IPCC’s “Himalayan glaciers to disappear by 2035″ claim or the one about polar bears being an endangered species when in fact, in the last 50 years, their population has quintupled.
As for Stelter’s suggestion that climate science is best left to the expert scientists, I’d totally agree with him if a) those expert scientists were capable of demonstrating any actual expertise (which–see Climategate–they clearly don’t possess) and b) if this whole debate were limited to a handful of wonkish eco-loons in white lab coats indulging in the “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” argument as to how much of the modest 0.8 degrees centigrade rise in mean global temperatures in the last 150 years is the result of anthropogenic CO2.
But it’s not just a scientific argument, is it? It’s also a political argument (how dramatically should our taxes be hiked and our lives overregulated in order to combat a potentially non-existent problem?), an environmental argument (how many bald eagles need to be chopped up by bird-slicing, bat-chomping eco-crucifixes–aka wind turbines–to prove the greenies’ point about the importance of renewable energy?), a social argument (what–so we’re supposed to cut down on hot showers, air con, and ice in our drinks to preserve scarce resources for “future generations” who are going to be dramatically richer than us?) and, of course, above all an economic argument.
That means that all of us–not just “the scientists”–have a perfect right to have a say in this matter and to demand that before we accede to the “experts” demands that we bomb our economy back to the Dark Ages in order to stop the planet warming by fractions of a degree, we first subject their crazed schemes to a cost benefit analysis.