“Hoist by his own petard.”
This is the phrase Shakespeare invented for “being blown up by your own bomb.” It’s also the perfect description for what has happened to one of the RICO 20 – the climate alarmist tenured professors who wrote to President Obama last year demanding that he use racketeering laws to prosecute climate “deniers.”
The RICO plan of attack was devised by the green activist Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. It has since been controversially endorsed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch who admitted earlier this week that the matter had been “discussed” by the Department of Justice and “referred to the FBI.”
But if the courtroom exchange below is anything to go by, using lawfare to harass skeptics is going to backfire horribly – and for a very simple reason. All the fraudulent and dishonest behaviour to do with “global warming” has been committed not by the skeptics but by climate alarmists.
What’s quite astonishing – not to mention squirm-inducingly embarrassing but also deliciously enjoyable in a Schadenfreude-on-steroids kind of way – is just how completely unaware of their own weakness these climate alarmists are.
Consider Specimen A. His name is Professor Edward Maibach, he runs the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University (GMU), and is the guy who actually drafted the RICO 20 letter calling for the legal pursuit of climate skeptics.
Unfortunately one of the big mistakes they made was writing the letter on GMU headed note paper rather than in a private capacity. This gave the Competitive Enterprise Institute the perfect excuse to bring a FOIA case in order to “obtain documents shedding light on how taxpayer-funded professors used their public positions and resources in this campaign.”
The result was the extremely sticky exchange below as Maibach was cross-examined by petitioners Chris Horner and Matthew Hardin, as relayed by Watts Up With That?
(If wading through the transcripts is too much just skip past and I’ll explain what’s so utterly hopeless about the Warmist position)
Q. So what you’re telling me is, while you’re not aware of the specifics of RICO and how the law works, you think that what ExxonMobil specifically was doing was troubling and you wanted that stopped?
Q. So what is climate denial? I’ll ask that.
A. What’s climate denial? Good question.
Activities that are intentionally misrepresenting what is known to be true about climate change so as to convince people that climate change is not, in fact, a reality.
Q. So climate denial broadly bothers you then?
A. Mischaracterization of the truth specifically intended to undermine the public’s well-being, yes, typically does bother me.
Q. Can you give me an example of these misrepresentations by ExxonMobil or others?
A. No, not off the top of my head.
Q. So you believe that someone knowingly misrepresenting a risk posed by climate change merits investigation?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Okay. So if someone, for example, were to knowingly hide data indicating an increase in temperatures over the years, that would merit investigation?
A. Say it again, please.
Q. If someone were to hide or misrepresent or deceive the public relating to data which showed an increase in global temperatures over time, that would merit investigation?
A. It would be — I suppose it depends on who it is. But, yes, it would certainly be a deception. And as such, it would be an act that, in my view, ought to be exposed.
Q. So you said hiding an increase in temperatures would be a knowing deception, depending on who it is. I believe that’s what you said a minute ago; is that correct?
Q. What if you knowingly hid a decrease in 20 global temperatures? Would that be a knowing deception?
Q. I have one question — I’m sorry, Thomas, and Professor Maibach — I forgot.
I want to follow up on one thing. Mr. Hardin had asked you about individuals, if they knowingly deceived the American — is – knowingly deceived the American people about the risk of climate change is the offense or what warrants investigation, right?
A. In my view.
Q. Okay. So if Christy and Spenser[sic] — they keep the satellite temperature record. If they were found to have increased — I’m sorry, not increased — hidden an increase in the temperature in the satellite record, would that warrant investigation as knowingly deceiving the American people?
A. They — they as individual climate scientists, if they are fudging their data, then I would say, yes, that would be investigation worthy.
But I wouldn’t think that that would be investigation worthy by the Federal Government. I would think it would be investigation worthy by their funders or by the journals that had published their work.
MR. MONCURE: You’ve already made it clear that you’re not an expert on RICO. A. Correct.
MR. HORNER: But he is an expert on what he wrote. He’s the world’s leading expert on what he wrote. And he wrote that, “knowingly deceiving the American people about the risk of climate change warrants investigation.”
BY MR. HORNER:
Q. And I’m saying, it’s not just — I mean, of all the people who know, it would seem to be climate scientists as opposed to CEOs is my premise. So as opposed to going after CEOs, how about a scientist?
If they knowingly deceived the public by hiding an increase in temperatures, does that also warrant investigation? That’s my question.
A. It does.
Q. Okay. What if they hide a decline in 6 temperatures? Does that warrant an investigation?
A. Any knowing deception warrants – in science warrants an investigation.
Here’s the key: this GMU climate communication Professor Maibaich has been coaxed into admitting, under oath, that his own side should be investigated for climate fraud. (It is, after all, climate alarmist scientists from NOAA who have been caught fudging data to hide the “Pause”, not climate skeptics)
He has also admitted that he drafted that RICO letter without knowing how RICO laws operate and without knowing precisely what kind of offense the “deniers” he wanted punished were actually guilty of. It appears, reading elsewhere through the court transcript, that he isn’t even aware that the “97 per cent” consensus figure is a much-debunked fabrication.
Like the Dimock water trial – this case is a spectacular own goal for the alarmists.
It reminds us of something I’ve often remarked on before: the cabal of activists, scientists, academics, shyster politicians and hacks promoting the global warming agenda are quite astonishingly low grade. They’re low grade morally – which you’d expect – but they’re also so low-grade in terms of competence, credibility and intellect that it’s quite amazing how they manage to hold down their jobs. (Probably because they mostly work in the public sector, would be my guess).
What’s really going to do for the Climate Alarmists in the end, I think, though, is not so much their stupidity or their venality but their arrogance and their complacency. They’re so spoilt by being part of a protected, padded, taxpayer-funded Establishment, so used to dismissing their opponents with appeals to authority, ad hominems and bully boy tactics that they’ve completely lost sight of how weak their position is.
I noticed this in a recent debate with Buzzfeed science editor Tom Chivers. It became apparent that, in common with so many of the journalists who have been toeing the Warmist party line, he still thinks that we so-called “deniers” are just a bunch of science-denying kooks touting a bunch of wacko conspiracy theories. He clearly hadn’t grasped, for example, the significance of the NOAA scandal. (And similar ones at NASA). When your guys have been caught out cheating and making stuff up and getting their predictions wrong, it’s not enough to go “well the expert consensus is…”. Sooner or later you’re going to have to address the charges being made against you – or surrender the field.
As for the case the alarmists are trying to bring against Exxon – my view is that this too will backfire, given that the evidence just doesn’t stack up.
That said, knowing the way big corporations tend to cave to all manner of greenmail, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if Exxon were to try to settle such a piece of vexatious litigation out of court rather than force the alarmists actually to prove their nonsense case.
But it’s never going to work with skeptical scientists. Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, Willie Soon, John Christy, Roy Spencer, Pat Michaels and the rest – these guys are never going to cave, first because they’ve been toughened by years of harassment and vilification, and secondly because they’ve got the science on their side.
The fundamental problem faced by the “prosecute the deniers” camp is very simple: the real denialism of science and hard evidence is all on the Alarmist side – and demonstrably so in a court of law.