During the past several weeks, except for a sidetrack to rush an Iranian nuclear deal, Obama administration officials have continued to attack the thousands of honest, experienced scientists and engineers who remain unconvinced that human activities are responsible for catastrophic global climate change. There is no conclusive proof that people are causing such serious atmospheric arrhythmia.
Assaults on knowledgeable, but incredulous, professionals have come through recent sanctimonious statements from the Secretary of State John Kerry along with juvenile name-calling by other officials in authority–such as, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the President himself–who should act with a bit more dignity, let alone intelligent circumspection.
Regardless, there are at least three big reasons why the Obama administration is almost certainly wrong about human culpability for catastrophic climate change.
1. The “hypotheses” that humans are largely responsible for long-term, dire, global climate change, has so far been shown to be remarkably false. Actual climate data suggest that the larger responsibility lies with nature itself. Unfortunately, the hypothesis was declared a proven “theory” much too prematurely by some so-called self-identified “consensus.” Apparently, the consensus was based on mere opinion, founded on faith among like-believers. After all, anthropogenic climate change has, to date, become an unsubstantiated prophesy. Actual climate data for nearly two decades belie confident predictions of global warming from human “carbon pollution.”
2. Money can’t ultimately buy the truth; but money can certainly distort the truth. The U.S. Treasury has lots of cash to support research and programs that promote the man-is-the-enemy-of-climate hypothesis. The saying, “You get what you pay for,” applies here. Unfortunately, it’s the taxpayer who is footing the bill for political science masquerading as climate science. The discovery of truth suffers from an influx of government cash essentially earmarked for finding a big human footprint stomped in the global atmosphere–in a sense providing kickbacks to supporters of “correct” climate programs.
3. Perhaps the best reason to be skeptical of political grandstanding of certainty in science is that the objectivity of science is destroyed by the subjectivity of arrogance. Much worse than the obvious ruse, “Trust us, we’re politicians,” is the more subtle ploy, “Trust us, we’re scientists.” President Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation over 50 years ago contained a warning that bears repeating “[P]ublic policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
No one group of people, no matter how prescient they think they are, can trump the combined intelligence of the community at large. In this case that community includes the multitude of reasonable skeptics in the atmospheric science and environmental engineering fields who question the “settled” dogma of human culpability to a troubled global atmosphere.
For example, a counter to the oft cited, but quite distorted claim that 97% of climate scientists are true believers in manmade global warming, a 2012 poll of the members of the American Meteorological Society revealed a great deal of skepticism among its membership. Only about 53% of the respondents agreed with the assertion that people are primarily responsible for the recent global warming. And, even for respondents assuming the existence of increasing average planetary temperature, less than 40% of such respondents claimed that the global warming will be “very harmful.”
But, regardless of the furor and fury from those in the bully pulpit who use unsettled science to advance political causes, humble open-mindedness and inclusivity may yet help solve some of today’s truly desperate environmental and societal challenges.
Anthony J. Sadar, a Certified Consulting Meteorologist, is author of In Global Warming We Trust: A Heretic’s Guide to Climate Science (Telescope Books, 2014). JoAnn Truchan, a Professional Engineer, specializes in chemical engineering and air-pollution control.