Here is this week’s latest in Climate Stupid:
- Let’s “solve” climate change by halting economic growth, argues a paper from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, published in Nature Climate Change.
- Texas Tech professor Katharine Hayhoe tells a summit in Edmonton, Canada that climate change is “the greatest humanitarian crisis of our times”; confides how shocked she was on discovering, six months into her marriage, that her husband did not believe in global warming. “You have somebody you respect and you also love and you also want to stay married. I said well, ‘Let’s talk about it.’” Apparently it took two years to convince him.
- Activists at Cambridge University warn of “large scale disruption” if the university’s £6.3 billion endowment fund ignores their demands that it should divest itself of its fossil fuel investment holdings.
- An ex-White-House staffer from the Obama era tells Washingtonian about the time her date with a man came to a sudden end when he said he didn’t believe in global warming: “I started laughing, because I’m from Colorado and didn’t realize people actually didn’t believe in global warming. But he was serious.”
- Climate industrial complex in UK has wasted £100 billion and shut down debate to no useful purpose, warns Peter Lilley – one of Margaret Thatcher’s former ministers.
- ‘Stop blaming both sides for America’s climate failures’, argues Guardian columnist. ‘The fault lies entirely with the GOP.’
- ‘Blame consumers not China for climate change‘, warns Clinton-Climate-Initiative-backed pressure group.
I could go on but I wouldn’t want to bore you. Or myself. When you’ve been covering the climate/environment/energy beat for as long as I have, every day is Groundhog Day. Every day it’s the same bunch of troughers, spivs, second-raters, crooks, liars, half-wits, chancers, bottom-feeders and eco-fascists churning out the same old propaganda…
But these scare stories and demands for action are so relentless and ubiquitous that they do invite an obvious question: how can all these different people – from politics, from academe, from the media, from business – possibly be all wrong?
Isn’t it maybe time we listened more carefully to what they have to say?
Short answer: No.
Longer answer: No, no, no, no, no, no, NO!
Last week, I introduced you to the paper by Christopher Booker that explains why so many people – some of them highly ‘educated’ – can all be simultaneously wrong about so big an issue. They are all, Booker shows, the victims – or, if you prefer, the useful idiots – of a phenomenon known as ‘Groupthink.’
Groupthink was a phenomenon anatomized in the early Seventies by a U.S. sociologist called Irving Janis. As I explained in my piece, it has three rules:
Rule One. A group of people come to share a common view or belief that in some way is not properly based on reality.
Rule Two. Because their common view/belief cannot be subjected to external proof they have to reinforce its authority by claiming ‘consensus.’ The idea is to emphasize that all right-thinking people hold this view and that it is no longer open to challenge.
Rule Three: Anyone who disputes this ‘consensus’ must be excluded from the discussion: at best marginalized; at worst openly attacked or discredited.
I titled my piece The Shocking True Story of How Global Warming Became the Biggest #FakeNews Scare of All Time (Pt 1) a) because I wanted to grab your attention and b) because it’s true.
Even now, I find the chutzpah, the arrogance, the brazen dishonesty of those pushing this #FakeNews non crisis so utterly breathtaking I want to pinch myself in disbelief.
How do they get away with it?
Because they can. Because they always have got away with it.
In this second part of my coverage of Booker’s illuminating paper, I want to give you some examples that show you how and why every day in the world of climate change scaremongering is Groundhog Day. Essentially, what you’ll come to realize is that the people who’ve been pushing this scam have been operating from the same playbook for well over three decades.
Inventing the ‘Consensus’
1992 was a long time ago. To give you an idea how long, the movies you may have watched in that year including Reservoir Dogs; The Crying Game; and The Bodyguard; the albums you bought – well I did – were the Orb’s UFOrb; Dr Dre’s The Chronic; Sugar’s Copper Blue. George HW Bush was U.S. president. We’re talking ancient history here. But one thing that remains fresh as a daisy is the paper written in that year by Dr. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was titled “Global warming: the origin and nature of the alleged scientific consensus.”
No wonder Lindzen sounds so weary when he talks about this subject. He’s probably the world’s greatest professor of atmospheric physics. He’s been saying for over a quarter of a century that the whole global warming thing is a scam, but hardly anyone has been listening for reasons we’ll come to in a moment.
The flaws in the alarmist position Lindzen exposed in 1992 remain the same today: the global warming scare story depends on hopelessly inadequate computer models which place too much emphasis on man-made CO2 and which therefore produce a “disturbingly arbitrary” picture of the state of climate.
What Lindzen also noted in this paper was another thing that remains true today: the remarkable proclivity of all manner of diverse groups to leap on the climate bandwagon.
These include activist NGOs, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF and the Union of Concerned Scientists; media organizations, such as the BBC, the New York Times and, as they then were, NBC, CBS and ABC; and Hollywood stars such as Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep, and Robert Redford who called for people to stop “researching” the warming threat and to “begin acting.”
This was the Groupthink pressure that prompted that previously skeptical George HW Bush White House to cave and, in 1989, authorize a staggering increase in the federal budget for climate change research. Over the next four years, this increased from just $134 million to a total of $2.8 billion.
Burning the Heretics
A key element in the survival of any Groupthink “consensus”, Janis noted, is that any disagreement must be ruthlessly suppressed.
Anyone who has dares to take on climate change Groupthink has to pay a terrible price. I don’t know a single scientist, journalist, or politician who has criticized the “consensus” and not been made to suffer personally.
The ruthlessness and zeal with which the alarmists pursue heretics borders on the psychotic. There is perhaps no more poignant, shocking, and dismal an example of this than the way Al Gore sought to destroy the reputation of the very man he had once claimed as his inspiration: Roger Revelle, the distinguished oceanographer at the University of California in San Diego. Revelle’s research into increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, Gore claimed in his movie An Inconvenient Truth, was what first alerted him to the “worst threat we have ever faced.”
What Gore hadn’t quite appreciated when he made his powerpoint propaganda movie was that, in the interim, his old teacher’s views on climate had changed.
In 1988, Revelle had written to (notoriously alarmist) Senator Tim Wirth: “We should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer.”
Revelle went still further in a 1991 article he wrote with fellow distinguished skeptic Dr. Fred Singer, then professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia.
Their article concluded: “the scientific base for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time.”
Gore’s response to the inconvenient truth of his supposed mentor’s change of heart?
He pressured one of his associates to put out the story that Revelle was a sick old man with failing mental capacities who had been pressured by Singer into signing the article. This was later the basis of a libel suit, which Singer won.
Gore – by then Vice President of the USA – also rang ABC News’ Ted Koppel urging him to expose Singer as being in the pay of sinister fossil-fuel interests which were funding an “anti-environment” movement. To his credit, Koppel called Gore’s bluff by reporting the Vice President’s attempted dirty tricks on air.
If you’ve read books like my own Watermelons, much of this will be familiar territory.
But in some ways that’s the most amazing thing of all about this extraordinary affair, which must surely represent the biggest peacetime waste of taxpayers money in history, the biggest scientific scandal in history, and the most extravagant and widely promulgated lie in history: the sheer brazenness of these tricksters’ enterprise.
Time and again, their junk science has been shredded, their lies exposed, their dirty tricks revealed.
Yet still they continue to get away with murder thanks to the power of Groupthink.
Too many people are still inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Too many people are distracted by the fallacious Appeal to Authority: “Who do you trust? 97 percent of the world’s scientists or Breitbart‘s James Delingpole?”
Well I know the answer to that last one. But then, like you, I’m not stupid.