Political science: Heat’s on for climate-change nonconformists

I only took this much in donations. Trust me.He’s only taken this much in campaign donations. Really.“I am under ‘investigation,’” Professor Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado at Boulder posted on his blog Wednesday.

The top Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, sent a letter to university President Bruce Benson that asked the school to provide its financial disclosure policies and information on how they apply to Pielke, as well as any drafts and communications involving Pielke’s testimony before Congress between Jan. 1, 2007, and Jan. 31, 2015.

In 2013, Grijalva explained, Pielke told the Senate that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” Grijalva is a fervent believer in climate change. Pielke is a believer as well. He has defended the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and supports a carbon tax. But Pielke doesn’t buy all the hype — hence his testimony that challenged the catastrophic-weather argument. For that, Grijalva wants to give Pielke the full treatment — a full financial and documentary probe.

Without the agreement of Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah, the ranking Democrat asked for documents from six other academics, including my old pal Steve Hayward at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, who have challenged global-warming orthodoxy. Grijalva is fishing on one side of the pond only.

Climate change true believers always say they want to keep politics out of science, but they cannot help themselves.

Pielke calls it a “politically motivated ‘witch hunt’” designed to intimidate a point of view. What prompted the probe? On Feb. 21, the New York Times reported that Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics scientist Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a global-warming skeptic, had received more than $1.2 million from the fossil-fuel industry, but failed to disclose his funding in journals that published his work. So Grijalva apparently decide to interrogate others presumed guilty by association of belief.

When partisans want to silence those with whom they disagree, they often concoct a host of phony reasons to convince themselves and others that they really aren’t trying to bully anyone into submission. In that spirit, Grijalva cited the Soon story as he claimed, “I have a constitutional duty to protect public lands.” And: “My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships.”

It’s almost funny when you consider that congressmen usually claim that campaign contributions have no influence whatsoever on their voting record. If the Arizona representative thinks money buys allegiance in academia, imagine what it could buy on Capitol Hill.

Boulder Provost Russell Moore backs Pielke up when he says he never has received a dime of fossil-fuel money — just government grants.

I object to the Democrat’s apparent presumption that any global-warming skeptic is likely to be driven by oil money, while climate-change enthusiasts have nothing to gain financially. To the contrary, David Legates of the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, & Environment, who is skeptical of climate-change predictions of catastrophe, told me that he realized years ago that his independent position meant that he should not accept corporate money for research or speaking fees.

“There’s a lot more money to be made by saying the world is coming to an end than to say that this is a bunch of hooey,” Legates, another scientist on Grijalva’s little list, once told me. Scientists who reinforce catastrophic predictions continue to get fat government grants. As for Legates, his apostasy forced him out of his post as Delaware state climatologist.

There has been some blowback — read: tweets and lukewarm quotes — from the “consensus” climate-change community at Grijalva’s heavy-handed ways. Those mild objections are tame compared with the message that has been sent to academia: Anyone who disagrees with climate-change absolutists should be prepared to hear, “Your papers, please.”

Pielke already has backed down. He wrote on his blog, “The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me — I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: ‘when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.’”

Me, I am no scientist. I’m just an observer who expects academic disagreements to be settled after passionate debate and civil discourse. What I see instead is an inquisition from the side that considers its biggest selling point to be the fact that it represents the scientific “consensus.” Once again, this is how they build their “consensus” — by the heavy-handed use of political muscle and brute intimidation.

Debra J. Saunders is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist.

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  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Debra Saunders summarized the situation
    exactly . As the exaggerated scary claims
    of catastrophic global warming unravel the bullying and attempts to intimidate will increase .
    This is the end game to one of the largest scams in recent history. It is unrealistic to expect the charlatans pushing this $$Billion industry to do anything else as they stand to see their cash cow gone .

    The first big lie was the farcical assertion that the “science is settled “.

    In other words.. shut up anyone with common sense and those willing to do a bit of research. You are standing in our way from making $billions and it will no longer be tolerated.

    Congratulations Debra Saunders for having the backbone to calling it as it is .

    Questions ,discussion and scientific

    Reply

  • Avatar

    sonnyhill

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    The Left would have us believe that the list of skeptics is short. Over at Wikipedia, I counted 57 scientists world-wide listed as skeptical, separated into four lists. Maybe it’s time to [i]out[/i] some more. Don’t let the goon squad pick out a select few. The amount of money spent on one side of the argument is the scandal.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Gator

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      Wikipedia is apparently not aware of the “Oregon Petition”, listing over 31,000 skeptical scientists.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Isn’t that bizarre .OVER 31,000 scientists ,9000 with PHD’s, calling BS on the overblown global warming scam (rebranded climate change ) and we have a politician with a degree in sociology on a witch hunt because the charlatans promoting the fraud can no longer hide from the truth .

    Their guns are empty and they were firing blanks the whole time We are now witnessing them throwing their gun and as we learned as kids when you throw your gun you are done .

    When over 30,000 scientists go to the extent of signing a petition it should be fairly obvious there is something seriously flawed about the scary global warming hypothesis . Yet we have newspapers like the LA TIMES that screen out scientific based information that runs contrary to the scam they facilitate .
    What happened to these people that they are so scared ?

    When even a few qualified scientists dispute the exaggerated claims of catastrophic global warming (climate change ) that demonstrates their is no
    conscientious but when over 30,000 scientists say it that is a pretty clear message that they are not drinking the cool -aid to say the least .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    sonnyhill

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    What they are afraid of is that [i]they[/i] have bet everything they have on Climate Change (aka global warming). North eastern liberals state that warming increases humidity ergo record snowfall. The west coast liberals blame warming for their drought. In between, as of March 1st, 62% of the lower 48 is under snow cover. Yup, the science is settled.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    So Grijalva believes the climate changes ..pure genius . Did he need a degree in sociology to arrive at that astounding conclusion ?

    The rap sheet, personal
    transgressions and hypocrisy of senior global warming promoters does offer some insight into the credibility of the scary global warming campaign . Maybe start there instead of attacking the people who can contribute qualified scientific work .

    Reply

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