In a time of unprecedented social, economic and political change we urgently need proactive tools for successfully communicating environmental issues. Communicate goes straight to the interface and asks some difficult questions about current approaches as we explore a shifting landscape of echo-chambers, divisive opinions and fake news.
These events are always mildly amusing – for example they had a session this morning where they all sat around tables together and discussed echo chambers and how to get out of them. This afternoon they are discussing how to change peoples’ minds, while tomorrow among other things there’s a session on fake news and alternative facts, including a talk by a local expert well known for his alternative facts.
But one interesting thing I noticed was this:
— Greenhouse (@Greenhouse_PR) November 1, 2017
Ipsos MORI say that they’ve found a steady decline on concern about climate change since 2005, from 82% to 60%, something they describe as a “worrying trend”. I’ve found their report from 2005 giving the 82% concerned figure (44% very concerned, 38% fairly concerned), and the 2010 one with 71% concerned (28% very, 43% fairly). That drop might perhaps be attributed to climategate (2009), but the consistent downward trend might be difficult to find excuses for.
Climategate in Review
The bottom line is simple:
There is no significant scientifically established correlation between human activity and the warming of the earth’s climate.
The Climategate scandal caused independent scientists and laymen around the globe to take a much closer look at the information that was being presented in support of Anthropogenic (i.e., man-made) Global Warming (AGW), and the overwhelming conclusion was that the there was no credible and conclusive evidence to support the hypothesis. And it was further shown that the scenarios predicting that the planet was nearing the tipping point for a series of catastrophic climate disasters, was totally invalidated by an examination of the facts, as well as a review of the earth’s climate history. What came to light during this investigation was the following:
- Climate science research is almost exclusively funded by governments around the world. Between 1989-2009, the U.S. government alone spent $79 billion. To keep the money flowing, it was necessary to have a compelling “story” of a pending apocalypse to justify that sort of investment. The narrative of global Armageddon became the researchers’ only fixed “fact”, with all scientific data being freely manipulated as necessary in order to fit that predetermined scenario.
- Politicians with a totalitarian bent saw the regulation of carbon as a potent tool for generating massive new tax revenues and for redistributing the world’s wealth, while at the same time, justifying the expansion of regulatory control over businesses and the personal activities of all citizens. Consequently, a symbiotic relationship was established between the politicians who handsomely funded the research, and the climate scientists, who fabricated a useful justification for government intervention.
- People well connected to the government, such as Al Gore, saw an opportunity to make a financial killing by manipulating the environmental legislation in a favorable way. Gore and others invested heavily in carbon trading schemes which would generate millions in profits once the pending cap-and-trade laws were passed. These people then engaged in their own propaganda campaigns in order to influence a favorable outcome. Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth was one notable example.
The information presented below chronicles the facts that have been uncovered as a consequence of the many investigations being conducted subsequent to the original leaked East Anglia Climate Research Unit documents which triggered the Climategate scandal. A number of people have done an excellent job of summarizing the skeptics viewpoint. After reviewing the material below, I would recommend further investigation at the sources listed in the Skepticism section.
However, before plunging in to the details, let me make one general observation. On his website, Dr. Roy Spencer states:
“Believe it or not, very little research has ever been funded to search for natural mechanisms of warming …
it has simply been assumed that global warming is manmade.”
This is an extremely important point. If all research is directed towards a single predetermined hypothesis then only evidence for that hypotheses will be found. There is nothing new in this as those of us around during the 1970s have seen exactly the same story, by the same participants, played out in the field of cancer research. Just as “climate change” is currently presented to the general public by the radical environmentalists and a compliant media as a man-made global catastrophe, so too was cancer presented by them as an earlier man-made cataclysm. And just as with the climate, in the 70s politicians rushed in to fund research to determine which man-made materials and chemicals were the source of the epidemic so that industry and business could be further regulated. For the better part of a decade studies—many of questionable scientific validity—were conducted, focusing on man-made products. It was not until many years later that naturally occurring compounds were investigated and it was discovered that nature was as hell-bent upon killing us as that industrialist down the street. But, of course, that new information had no impact on repealing the controls that had been put into place. All of this was documented by Edith Efron in her 1984 book The Apocalyptics.
Whenever government becomes involved in funding scientific research, the politicization of the results is inevitable. In an article by British author Matt Ridley, titled What The Climate Wars Did To Science, he offers the following observation:
“It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas.
“This should have been obvious to me. Lysenkoism, a pseudo-biological theory that plants (and people) could be trained to change their heritable natures, helped starve millions and yet persisted for decades in the Soviet Union, reaching its zenith under Nikita Khrushchev. The theory that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, based on a couple of terrible studies in the 1950s, became unchallenged orthodoxy and is only now fading slowly.
“What these two ideas have in common is that they had political support, which enabled them to monopolise debate. Scientists are just as prone as anybody else to “confirmation bias”, the tendency we all have to seek evidence that supports our favoured hypothesis and dismiss evidence that contradicts it—as if we were counsel for the defence. It’s tosh that scientists always try to disprove their own theories, as they sometimes claim, and nor should they. But they do try to disprove each other’s. Science has always been decentralised, so Professor Smith challenges Professor Jones’s claims, and that’s what keeps science honest.
“What went wrong with Lysenko and dietary fat was that in each case a monopoly was established. Lysenko’s opponents were imprisoned or killed. Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise shows in devastating detail how opponents of Ancel Keys’s dietary fat hypothesis were starved of grants and frozen out of the debate by an intolerant consensus backed by vested interests, echoed and amplified by a docile press.”
It is important to remain aware of this history when examining the information presented here.
And finally, let us not forget what the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) itself said in the Executive Summary to its 2007 Working Group 1 (WG1) Forth Assessment Report (AR4):
“The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”