Climate change is a hot topic in today’s society. Public debate about this issue is unusually active, with different opinions from the media, among the general public, and in politics. The most frequently heard argument is that the emission of greenhouse gases by humans has caused global warming that will lead to dangerous climate disasters. Advocates claim that this conclusion is reached through scientific consensus or is already settled science. To some environmentalists, people who reject this conclusion are not only only considered anti-science, but also anti-humanity.
The aforementioned Greenpeace members who damaged the power plant were acquitted of their crime because a famous expert who was a proponent of this “consensus” testified for them, claiming that the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the power plant each day would lead to the extinction of up to four hundred species, and so on.
Has the scientific community really reached a consensus? Retired Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorology professor Richard Lindzen wrote an article expressing his view that climate science isn’t, in fact, settled.
Steven Koonin, former U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science and current New York University professor, wrote in his article “Climate Science Is Not Settled”: “We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy.” In another essay, Koonin reminded readers: “The public is largely unaware of the intense debates within climate science. At a recent national laboratory meeting, I observed more than 100 active government and university researchers challenge one another as they strove to separate human impacts from the climate’s natural variability. At issue were not nuances but fundamental aspects of our understanding of climate, such as the apparent—and unexpected—slowing of global sea-level rise over the past two decades.”
In general, the surface temperature of the earth has risen on the whole since 1880, and carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by humans have a warming effect on the world. Regarding these basic questions, scientists do not differ in their opinions. However, the more important questions, which are questions that are hotly debated by scientists, are these: Is warming primarily caused by human activity or due to natural factors? How warm will the world be by the end of the twenty-first century? Does humanity have the ability to predict how climate will change in the future? Will warming cause a disaster?
From another perspective, however, the scientific community does appear to have achieved some sort of consensus or to have settled the science of climate change to a certain extent, for the voices of those who oppose the so-called consensus seldom appear in the media or academic journals.
Physicist Michael Griffin, a former NASA administrator, said in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) in 2007:
I have no doubt that global — that a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change.
First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.
Although Griffin was trying to express the humility that people should have regarding science, he immediately encountered severe criticism by the media and some climate scientists, who even called his remarks ignorant. The next day, under immense pressure, he was forced to apologize.
A few months later, in another interview, Griffin commented: “I personally think people have gone overboard in the discussion of climate change, to the point where it has become almost not legitimate to view it as a technical subject. It has almost acquired religious status, which I find deplorable.” From Griffin’s view regarding “scientific consensus,” we see that the so-called consensus regarding climate change wasn’t in fact part of the scientific process. He felt scientific progress is the result of debate: “You develop your theories, publish your data, advance your concept, and others shoot it down, or try to. Scientific consensus evolves in that way.” The use of all manner and means to stifle scientific debate itself violates the spirit of science.
Due to his stellar reputation and standing in his field, professor Lennart Bengtsson, a Fellow of the British Royal Meteorological Society and former director of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), joined the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF, a think-tank that challenges global warming theories). As a result, he faced intense scrutiny and pressure from his peers around the world. Two weeks later, he was forced to resign.
In his letter of resignation, 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. … Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship, etc. … I would never have expected anything similar to the time of Sen. McCarthy in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.”
Bengtsson’s observation was correct: This “transformation in recent years” was the result of communist ideology and struggle tactics hijacking the field of meteorology.
In reality, the alleged scientific consensus regarding climate change has transformed climate-change theory into dogma. Climate change is also a crucial tenet of today’s environmentalism — sacrosanct and inviolable. The scientists, media, and environmental activists who accept this tenet work together in spreading fear of imminent disaster. This doctrine is an important tool used by the environmentalist movement to frighten the public into obeying a political agenda. Through the process of establishing and solidifying this dogma, the techniques of communist-style political struggle, including deception, mobbing, public shaming, call-outs, and open conflict are all apparent.
From Chapter 16: The Communism Behind Environmentalism