STATEMENT TO THE SUB-COMMITTEE ON SPACE, SCIENCE AND COMPETITIVENESS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE
Data or Dogma?
Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Climate Change
December 8th 2015
My name is Mark Steyn. I am not a scientist. I am an author. My main interest in climate science is that Michael E Mann, the inventor of one of its most notorious artifacts, is suing me for “defamation of a Nobel Prize winner” – a crime that I was not aware existed, especially in his case, as according to the Nobel Institute he is not a Nobel Prize winner. So I recently edited a book about it called “A Disgrace to the Profession”: The World’s Scientists – in Their Own Words – On Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick, and Their Damage to Science, Volume One – which I’m proud to say was Number One on the Climatology Hit Parade. I have been Number Four on the Amazon books chart, and Number Seven on the Amazon easy-listening chart, and earlier this very month the Number One Amazon jazz vocalist, but I had no idea there was also a climatological bestseller list. Still, I’m happy my book was credible enough to get to the top of it.
That said, at a hearing on “Data or Dogma?”, given the distinguished scientists here to address the data, I thought I should confine myself mostly to the dogma.
THE CLIMATE OF FEAR
In the three years that I have been ensnared in the dysfunctional court system of the District of Columbia, I have come to know well what I call the “climate of fear” within climate science. Professors Christy, Curry and Happer are sufficiently eminent that they can, just about, bear the assault the Big Climate enforcers mount on those who dissent from the dogma – although that assault is fierce and unrelenting. If you’re a professor emeritus, you’re told you’re senile. If you’re one of the few women in this very male field, you’re told you’re whoring for Big Oil: The aforementioned Michael Mann of Penn State, who is too cowardly to be here today and has instead sent his proxy, approvingly linked to an Internet post accusing Dr Curry of sleeping with me. This is how a supposedly distinguished climate scientist treats those who disagree with him.
On May 13th last year I wrote:
It’s always fun in a legal battle to have something bigger at stake than a mere victory. In Canada, we put the
‘human rights’ system itself on trial, to the point where the disgusting and indefensible ‘hate speech’ law Section 13 was eventually repealed by Parliament. It seems to me that in this particular case the bigger issue is the climate
of fear that Mann and his fellow ayatollahs of alarmism have succeeded in imposing on an important scientific field.
The very next day the distinguished 79-year-old Swedish climatologist Lennart Bengtsson was forced to resign from a dissident climate group after the Big Climate enforcers took the hockey stick to him in the back alley. He had agreed to participate in a group headed by Nigel Lawson. Some of you may know Lord Lawson personally. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer in Mrs Thatcher’s ministry in the United Kingdom. He’s nobody’s idea of a fringe madman: He’s a member of the House of Lords, a Privy Counselor; his daughter is a popular celebrity chef on America’s Food Network; his fellow trustees include a bishop of the Church of England, a former private secretary to the Queen, and an advisor to two Prime Ministers from the Labour Party. But they disagree with the tight little coterie of climate alarmists, and so Lennart Bengtsson could not be permitted to meet with them. As Professor Bengtsson wrote:
I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.
Because it’s no longer about “meteorology”, it’s about saving the planet. Bengtsson was a former director of the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, winner of the Descartes Prize and a WMO prize for groundbreaking research, and even a friend and collaborator of Mann’s at scientific conferences. But he made the mistake of, ah, seeking to expand his circle of climate acquaintances, and so Michael Mann now sneeringly dismisses him as “junk science”3. Nate Silver is the hipster statistician who correctly predicted the 2012 election and then set up his own “538” website dedicated to “data journalism” – just the data, the facts, the numbers, the analysis… But, when Mr Silver made the mistake of hiring Professor Roger Pielke Jr, then Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth were obliged to explain to him that these considerations do not apply to climate science4. So Nate Silver fired Professor Pielke – who has now withdrawn from all climate research. When Professor Willie Soon co-authored a paper earlier this year on why the turn-of-the-century climate models all turned out wrong, the Big Climate heavies did not attempt to refute the paper, but instead embarked on a campaign to get him fired from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
For every Judith Curry or Willie Soon or Lennart Bengtsson, there are a thousand lesser names who see what happens to even the most distinguished people in their field and decide to keep their heads down. Professor Ivar Gievar recently spoke out against, among other things, the recent adjustment of figures by NASA – an agency overseen by this sub-committee – at the annual meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau. Professor Gievar is a Nobel Laureate. A real Nobel Laureate, I mean, not a fake one like Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth and many other climate scientists who falsely claim to be Nobel Prize winners on the grounds that the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and they once contributed to an IPCC report. Mann falsely claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner on his book jacket, on his website, in his court complaint about me – even though the Nobel Institute told him he wasn’t a Nobel Prize winner and he should cut it out. But this serial misrepresentation of credentials by Mann, Trenberth and others is also part of their intimidation technique. If you’re a real Nobel Laureate like Ivar Giaever, who won the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physics, or if you’re older, tenured and sufficiently eminent, you can just about withstand the Big Climate enforcers jumping you in the parking lot and taking the hockey stick to you.
But, if you’re a younger scientist, you know that, if you cross Mann and the other climate mullahs, there goes tenure, there goes funding, there goes your career. I’ve been stunned to learn of the very real fear of retribution that pervades the climate world.
When I look at what has happened to those who speak out, I recall the wise words of Stephen McIntyre:
As a general point, it seems to me that, if climate change is as serious a problem as the climate ‘community’ believes, then it will require large measures that need broadly based commitment from all walks of our society.
Mr McIntyre is exactly right: If we take Big Climate at their word that the entire global economy needs massive re-orientation on a scale never before contemplated, it will require the largest societal consensus – left and right and center, in America, in Canada, in Britain, in Europe… Yet all Big Climate does is retreat ever deeper into its shrinking echo chamber and compile ever longer lists of people who are beyond the pale – Professor Curry, Professor Christy, Professor Bengtsson, Professor Pielke, Professor Soon, Lord Lawson, the Bishop of Chester, the winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physics, the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics… It might be quicker for Mann, Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt and the other climate enforcers to make a short list of those to whom they are prepared to grant a say in the future of the planet.
In shoring up this cartoon climatology, the alarmism industry is now calling on courts and legislatures to torment their opponents. I shall outline my own particular experience, and then the general climate.
MANN vs STEYN et al
On July 12th 2012 former FBI Director and special investigative counsel Louis Freeh issued a devastating report regarding the behavior of Pennsylvania State University and its most senior figures, as they ignored, abetted and covered up the systemic and brutal child sexual abuse conducted by Gerald A Sandusky, longtime football coach at the university.
The following day Rand Simberg posted an article on the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s website entitled “The Other Scandal in Happy Valley”, which suggested that, in light of the revelations regarding the “rotten and corrupt culture” at Penn State under the presidency of Graham Spanier, it might be worth revisiting the other sham “investigation” on Spanier’s watch
– of Dr Michael E Mann, creator of the famous global-warming “hockey stick”.
The very same day The Chronicle of Higher Education also tied together the sham Sandusky and Mann investigations in a piece titled “Culture of Evasion”6. As you know, after the Freeh Report was published, criminal charges were filed against Penn State President Graham Spanier and other senior administrators. Spanier is currently under indictment for grand- jury perjury, obstruction of justice, child endangerment, conspiracy and failure to report child abuse.
Two days later, I wrote a 270-word blog post for the opinion page of National Review Online7 referencing the Freeh Report and Mr Simberg’s piece. That post appears below in its entirety:
In the wake of Louis Freeh’s report on Penn State’s complicity in serial rape, Rand Simberg writes of Unhappy Valley’s other scandal:
‘I’m referring to another cover up and whitewash that occurred there two years ago, before we learned how rotten and corrupt the culture at the university was. But now that we know how bad it was, perhaps it’s time that we revisit the Michael Mann affair, particularly given how much we’ve also learned about his and others’ hockey- stick deceptions since. Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.’
Not sure I’d have extended that metaphor all the way into the locker-room showers with quite the zeal Mr Simberg does, but he has a point. Michael Mann was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change ‘hockey-stick’ graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus. And, when the East Anglia emails came out, Penn State felt obliged to “investigate” Professor Mann. Graham Spanier, the Penn State president forced to resign over Sandusky, was the same cove who investigated Mann. And, as with Sandusky and Paterno, the college declined to find one of its star names guilty of any wrongdoing. If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won’t it cover up? Whether or not he’s ‘the Jerry Sandusky of climate change’, he remains the Michael Mann of climate change, in part because his ‘investigation’ by a deeply corrupt administration was a joke.
I asked what I thought was quite an obvous question: If an institution is prepared to cover up the systemic ongoing rape of minors, what won’t it cover up?
It’s a legitimate question for an institution that receives taxpayer funding, a certain portion of which falls under the oversight of this committee. Penn State has a representative here today, and perhaps he will address some of these questions about his institution and its integrity.
Graham Spanier, the now disgraced president of Penn State who presided over the joke investigations of both Sandusky and Mann, remains the President Emeritus of Penn State, and a professor of family studies. His absolution of Michael Mann was widely regarded at the time as a total joke even by many who are by no means “climate deniers” – for example, the venerable American institution The Atlantic Monthly:
The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann — the paleoclimatologist who came up with ’the hockey stick’ — would be difficult to parody.8
Professor Harold Lewis, one of the most distinguished members of the American Physical Society, resigned from the organization over the whitewashing of Mann, writing:
When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware
of the financial penalty for doing otherwise.
In other words, Spanier’s depraved regime at Penn State turned a blind eye to Mann for the same reason it turned a blind eye to the Sandusky rape epidemic: they couldn’t afford to take the financial hit.
In this case, unlike football revenue, the money comes in large part from taxpayers, via you and the agencies you preside over – suchas the National Science Foundation. Given Penn State’s refusal to disclose materials relating to the Mann investigation under the corrupt Spanier regime, it would be appropriate for you to put a hold on all NSF funding of Penn State, including Mann’s two current grants totaling half a million dollars. And I hope this sub-committee will ask the witness here today representing this deeply corrupt institution whether he will join in a call for Spanier’s successor to let the sunlight in on all the dank, fetid corners of Spanier’s legacy.
Dr Mann did not want the world to be reminded that the same man who turned a blind eye to Sandusky also turned a blind eye to him. He filed suit against me and three other parties in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, where neither Mann nor I work or reside. Indeed, I never set foot in this benighted jurisdiction except to come here for matters arising from the court case, such as this hearing. The case was assigned to Natalia Combs Greene, a since reprimanded landlord-and-tenant judge appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by this honorable Senate. After a botched ruling in which she confused the parties, she said the case was “complicated” and shuffled it off on a colleague, but not before procedurally mangling it so that, for a while, two different trial judges were ruling on the case simultaneously – something that’s a big no-no in functioning jurisdictions, but which was partly caused here by Michael Mann falsely claiming in his complaint to be a Nobel Laureate and then, after the Nobel Institute told him he wasn’t, having to file an amended complaint.
At this point, my fellow defendants chose to test the DC Anti-SLAPP statute, which was assented to by this US Senate in 2010, but was so poorly written as to leave unanswered such basic questions as the standard for dismissal and whether or not that decision is immediately appealable to the DC Court of Appeals. The ACLU, The Washington Post, NBC News, The Los Angeles Times, and various other media bigfeet all filed amici briefs opposed to Mann – not because they disagree with him on global warming (most of them are as hot for climate change as he is) but because they understand that putting climate science beyond criticism and into the courtroom would inflict the greatest damage on the First Amendment in over 50 years. Not a single amicus brief was filed on Dr Mann’s behalf.
Oral arguments were heard over one year ago, yet judges Vanessa Ruiz, Corinne Beckwith and Catharine Easterly, all confirmed to the DC court by this Senate, have failed to rule. I note that, in writing to President Obama recommending a second 15-year term for Judge Ruiz, the Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure nevertheless observed:
The Commission would be remiss if it did not address the serious issue of Judge Ruiz’s backlog of opinions… Of crucial importance to the proper functioning of the Court of Appeals is the timely resolution of disputes. The public’s confidence in the Court is eroded when litigants must wait multiple years for decisions to be rendered. The Commission believes that this problem is not only about the pace of opinion production, but also about a less than fully adequate appreciation on the part of Judge Ruiz as to how her backlog adversely affects the litigants, the Court, and her colleagues.10
As a result, an interlocutory appeal has dragged on for almost two years. Judge Ruiz is an activist judge who is, inter alia, a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which aspires to be the first global think-tank and is very active on the transnational climate scene. All very fascinating. But she’s supposed to be a DC judge first and a condition of the Commission in exchange for recommending her for a second term was that her obligation to clear her appalling backlog of cases took precedence over her “outside activities, no matter how worthy they may be”. A dissenting member of the Commission, Noel J Francisco, was shrewder about Judge Ruiz’s failings:
It should go without saying that an appellate judge’s primary duty – if not her sole duty
– is to decide cases. On this score, as my colleagues have described, Judge Ruiz’s backlog is ‘the highest by far of any of the appellate judges on the DC Court of Appeals” and, as a result, litigants often ‘must wait multiple years for decisions to be rendered’ by her… As the old adage goes, ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.
The purpose of anti-SLAPP laws is to prevent the use of litigation to chill free speech – on climate change and many other issues. When it takes up to three years to get a ruling (as it apparently does with Judge Ruiz), there is no point to anti-SLAPP legislation. Indeed, when it takes three years to get a ruling, the case is not the issue, the judge is. When it takes three years from oral arguments to ruling, it may be that the judge is just an incompetent sloth who’s spending far too much time on extra-curricular activities working on world peace. Or it may be that a sclerotic and incompetent DC court system has three-year backlogs because it accepts cases from venue tourists like Michael Mann who have no connection whatsoever with this jurisdiction – and, as a result, the court system is incapable of serving the people it’s meant to serve.
Nevertheless, this Senate confirmed Judge Ruiz. Under the Home Rule Act, the District of Columbia operates in a constitutional no-man’s-land whereby it enacts legislation for which this honorable body is ultimately responsible. In practice, that means they pass slapdash, poorly drafted laws, and you guys rubber-stamp them. The constitutional limbo allows serial plaintiffs like Michael Mann to use the DC courts to torture non-DC residents: this is a disgrace, and ultimately it is the responsibility of you and your colleagues.
I responded to Mann’s discovery requests almost two years ago. He has yet to respond to mine. No court around the world within the Common Law tradition to which this country is heir has ever presumed to adjudicate science. Judge Natalia Combs Greene is not competent to rule on landlord-and-tenant cases, never mind the extent of the Medieval Warm Period. Judge Vanessa Ruiz is so lethargic that, by the time she does rule on the science, global warming will have kicked in and the rising sea levels will have washed away the Maldives, Tuvalu and, with luck, the District of Columbia. My three years in the stagnant swamp of DC “justice” demonstrate why science in particular and public policy disputes in general are beyond the competence of the judges you confirm and the courts you fund. They belong properly in what the eminent jurist Lord Moulton called “the domain of manners”.
BIG CLIMATE vs EVERYONE
Why is this relevant beyond the travails of one obscure immigrant? Because too many people within the climate cartel are demanding that dissent from the alleged “consensus” should be not merely a civil offense but a criminal one – and far too many legislators and bureaucrats are willing to entertain it. Your colleague, Senator Whitehouse, is among those who favor criminal penalties for those who disagree with him on climate policy. Earlier this year, you, Senator Markey, were rebuked by the President of the Cato Institute for “an obvious attempt to chill research into and funding of public policy projects you don’t like… You abuse your authority when you attempt to intimidate people who don’t share your political beliefs”
Likewise, Raúl Grijalva, the Congressman from Arizona and Ranking Member of the House UnEnvironmental Activities Committee, earlier this year sent a letter to seven scientists, including professors Curry and Christy – a quite disgraceful letter that no citizen-legislator in a representative parliament has any business sending to anybody, demanding among other things details of speaking fees, travel expenses, and email communications stretching back a decade12. Commissar Grijalva presumed to be able to do this because these scientists had voluntarily testified before his committee, and thus, as he saw it, had submitted to his jurisdiction over every aspect of their lives. I hope this Senate sub-committee will distance itself from Commissar Grijalva’s deformed understanding of his role. But, in the event that, following my voluntary appearance here today, any Senator demands in five years’ time to see my emails and know what hotel I stayed in in Cleveland or Copenhagen, I might as well give you my answer now: You ain’t getting’ nuthin’.
It takes quite a lot to stand up to powerful congressmen and senators threatening to plunge you into half-a-decade of investigative torture for exercising your free-speech and public- advocacy rights. The ultimate verdict of such inquiry is largely irrelevant: The process is the punishment.
The Attorney General of New York, Eric Schneiderman, is presently using securities law to do an end run around the First Amendment and sue Exxon for not holding the same views on climate change as the more pliable oil companies have been forced to adopt in public.
Recently, a group of scientists mainly from George Mason University wrote to the President to demand that climate dissenters be prosecuted under the RICO laws. RICO, as you know, is supposed to be used against racketeers and mobsters and, granted the unfortunate tendency of sloppily drawn federal laws to metastasize under opportunist US Attorneys, one marvels nevertheless that such an absurd and ideological expansion of this legislation could ever be seriously entertained.
Needless to say, as with the Spanier regime at Penn State, it is in fact George Mason’s climate community that most closely approximates a mob racket. The first signatory on that letter demanding RICO be applied to his enemies is Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason, who additionally controls a “non-profit” the Institute for Global Environment and Security, Inc. which is part of George Mason’s College of Science. In 2014 alone, this “institute” received over half a million dollars in federal climate grants, including from bodies you oversee. As you know, the NSF and other federal agencies have supposedly strict rules about enriching oneself from grant monies. As a general principle, during college vacation you’re allowed to earn no more than your monthly salary in research grants. So if you’re paid, say, $100,000 per year, you’re allowed to top that up to 20 grand of grant money during the summer. Instead, Professor Shukla essentially tripled his income, and since 2001 has taken some 63 million dollars in federal science grants for a “non-profit” that employed him as president, his wife as business manager and his daughter as assistant business manager. There’s a little bit of congressional oversight just waiting to be done, don’t you think? Sixty-three million bucks! But instead Commissar Grijalva wants to know whether Judith Curry got upgraded to a junior suite at the airport Hilton in 2007.
This climate of intimidation, led by influential legislators of the most lavishly funded government in the world, sends a powerful signal to others. Professor Curry has noted the latest stage in the grim descent of the journal Science, whose editor Marcia McNutt recently published a statement confirming her journal’s wholesale embrace of advocacy over science: “The time for debate has ended. Action is urgently needed.” The other most prominent science journal on the planet, Nature, appears to be going even further, publishing a statement by three climate scientists arguing that “climate justice” is “more vital than democracy”:
Democracy emphasizes the mutual roles of actors: all preferences are treated as equal. In many regions of the world, however, the results of democratic choices can be strongly influenced by power relations and inequitable social arrangements, owing to differences in economic development, access to technology and knowledge.
Elites may use democratic processes to entrench their status or encroach on other social goals. This can lead to incremental or undesirable results, which might explain why large democratic nations such as the United States continue to oppose progressive climate legislation.
In our view, sound climate and energy planning should not treat all stakeholders in the same way. Instead, preferences and roles should be weighted to consider criteria related to equity, due process, ethics and other justice principles.13
So the fake 97 per cent consensus is no longer enough. These scientists are saying that, because there’s a supposed 97 per cent consensus among climate scientists, they don’t need a 51 per cent consensus from the electorate.
The relationship between government and science today would be unrecognizable to real scientists – to Sir Isaac Newton, to Charles Babbage, to the Curies. The creation of the IPCC in particular has led to the establishment of a closed, largely Anglo-American climate jet set that, as demonstrated in the Climategate emails, has had a wholly corrupting effect on peer review among other things. In this culture, what is the proper role of the political class? Is it to do as Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Grijalva and Attorney General Schneiderman are doing, and make climate alarmism a state ideology from which it is forbidden to dissent? Or is it time for legislators to exercise their responsibility to ensure that the people’s money is used in the service of science and not propaganda?
In that respect, let me close by turning to my area of expertise. I am not a climate scientist, but I am an acknowledged expert in the field of musical theatre14. Last year, a show called The Great Immensity opened off-Broadway. It ran a week and then closed after largely stinking reviews from The New York Times et al. It had received a direct grant of $700,000 from the agency for which you are responsible, the National Science Foundation. There is no science in putting on a musical: If there were, the Broadway adaptation of the Tom Hanks film Big would not have lost its entire investment, nor the Stephen King musical Carrie, nor the supposed blockbuster of America’s bicentennial year 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, by Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner, which closed after five days and led Bernstein to conclude that he never wanted to get mixed up with Broadway again. If only the National Science Foundation was that savvy. The difference between those shows and The Great Immensity is that, with your blessing, only the last had American taxpayers’ money in it.
The Government of the United States is the brokest entity in the history of brokeness. It has to pay back $20 trillion just to get back to having nothing at all. Which nobody in human history has ever done. Yet it apparently is not so broke that it can’t throw down the toilet 700 grand of funds marked for science on a lousy musical.
I have been around the theatre my entire adult life, and once in a while one runs into an example of an official government musical. There was the celebrated socialist operetta, The State Department Store, which was produced in Hungary and other Warsaw Pact countries after the Communist regimes banned all the old-school operettas for having too many singing princes and countesses as the principal characters. There was also Zabibah and the King, a musical version of Saddam Hussein’s allegorical novel in which the nubile virginal heroine represents Iraq and her manly yet tender expert lover the King represents Saddam. Unlike the NSF-funded Great Immensity, it got rave reviews from the Baghdad critics – because, if you gave it two thumbs down, you got one head off. The National Science Foundation does not yet enjoy that power, although clearly Dr Mann, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Grijalva, Attorney General Schneiderman, and those scientists demanding that climate justice trump democracy are moving in that direction.
And in fairness neither the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe nor the Baathist tyranny of Saddam Hussein had their scientific bodies invest in musicals. That grotesque innovation came from an agency for which you are responsible. If you click on the YouTube link below15, which I hope we might listen to during the hearing, you will see just how little American taxpayers got for their $700,000. Even if the show were not total garbage, it would be tainted and disfigured by the $700,000 in direct funding from a government agency. That moves it into the same realm of state propaganda as Saddam Hussein’s musical and The State Department Store. Propaganda can only disfigure art and science, and it has no place in either. The National Science Foundation has no more business sinking three-quarters of a million bucks into The Great Immensity than it would have into my cat album, released this month – although, in the latter case, the American people would at least have got a return on their involuntary investment.
In the world of arts funding, bureaucrats and administrators often talk of the “arm’s length” principle. There is no “arm’s length” between government bureaucracies and contemporary climate science: They are entwined like Saddam Hussein and his lush, curvaceous lover in that boffo Baghdad smash, and it has done untold damage throughout most of the western world. As a final thought – and here I stray from dogma to my colleagues’ field of data – it seems to me that there are more similarities between musical theatre and IPCC climate science than there ought to be. As Irving Caesar, the celebrated lyricist of No, No, Nanette, characterized Broadway to me many years ago: “Remember, kid. No one knows nothing.” You hire the greatest composer, the hottest choreographer, the biggest star, the best orchestrator, and, when you put ‘em all together, it just lies there and it dies there. Likewise, as I have come to learn, with climate science: when someone’s up in northern Finland collecting lake sediment, that’s science; when someone’s taking tree rings from the Gaspé peninsula in Québec, that’s science; when someone’s up to his neck in ice cores in Antarctica, that’s science. But, when Michael Mann feeds them all into his magic processor and tells you here’s the planet’s temperature for the last two millennia, that’s not science. When the IPCC distills it further into “This is the hottest year of the hottest decade of the hottest century in, like, forever”, that is way beyond the realm of science. And, when politicians distill that further still into “Give us all your money or the planet gets it”, we have flown the coop of science and are free-floating through clouds of totalitarian fantasy.
Climate alarmism is going nowhere. The two-decade global-warming pause, which no late 1990s climate model foresaw, led the public to doubt Big Climate’s confident predictions for the future. In response, federal bodies such as NOAA and NASA have adjusted the past to make the present appear hotter, and thus supposedly demonstrated that in fact there is no such “pause”. As a result, public opinion, which no longer trusts the Big Climate enforcers to tell them what the climate will be like in 2050, now no longer trusts them to tell them what it was like in 1950. A recent poll found that, notwithstanding the urgings of the President and the Secretary of State and others, only three per cent of Americans regard climate change as their major concern. Three per cent. There is your 97 per cent consensus, gentlemen.
At exactly the time when climate science needs to acknowledge its own failings, and the uncertainties of which Dr Curry speaks, and the inability of cartoon climatology and fraudulent gimmicks like the hockey stick to capture the complexities of the planet’s climate system, a narrow unrepresentative group of activists is demanding ever more brutal penalties against those who refuse to toe the line.
There is certainly a role for the state to play in this – not in prosecuting climate dissenters under RICO laws or in dumping taxpayer money into unwatchable propaganda musicals, or in having feckless lethargic judges in the District of Columbia reward serial plaintiffs for nuisance suits, but rather in standing firm for the most expansive definition of free speech, which is vital to scientific inquiry and sorely overdue in this particular field, and against the abuse of government funds, which has been disastrous for it.