A recent His View column by a climate change denier intrigued me, partly because it claimed the author isn’t a denier.
Two letters responded to the column correcting “facts” underlying the author’s faulty “science” claims. One provided links to a website repudiating most of the false statements. The other cited peer-reviewed research refuting other of the column’s assertions.
Reading those letters, I recalled the observation, “Comment is free, facts are sacred,” by Guardian editor C.P. Scott in 1921.
A good start when writing anything for publication is to document sources for information. Where did the information come from, and is that source reliable? Include a website so readers can google and decide for themselves.
Conflating science and politics – facts and opinions – weakens any argument by pretending to be objective while attributing political motives to views the author disagrees with.
Examining that column illustrates how a writer destroys his credibility.
By labeling tens of thousands of bona fide scientists “climate alarmists,” thus questioning their peer-reviewed credentials, the writer undermines them personally as well as their science. Ad hominem attacks and attribution of motives weaken any “scientific” argument.
He attributes to them a litany of claims, which he says are, “ just a few of the blatantly false and contradictory climate predictions.” Facts debunking this list are found at http://skepticalscience.com/.
The author then departs from any pretense of science and launches another ad hominem screed against the “AGW crowd,” as if anthropogenic global warming were a vast international conspiracy. He says they “purposely” choose “to equate us” (climate deniers), “with Holocaust deniers.”
Ironically, he accuses them of shifting “their claims … from scientific to political,” then provides an excellent example as he himself segues into an attack on the Democratic Party platform. (For the record, I’ve never been a member of any political party, so I’m not defending Democrats.)
Accusations like “political ploys,” “blatantly stifling the scientific method,” and sending “trillions of U.S. dollars to the United Nations” are further examples of redirecting the discourse from scientific to political. The following paragraph underscores his departure into a politico-economic rant, abandoning any pretext of science:
“Yet scratch any AGW proponent and you will find a redistributionist and a globalist lying beneath. This is why you find so much support for their position among Democrats. What would Governor Inslee’s proposed spending of $9 trillion or the Green New Deal’s proposed spending of $100 trillion mean for our prosperity? What would it mean for our nation’s sovereignty and our personal liberties to transfer authority and control of one third of our economy to the United Nations? They do not care. The AGW hypothesis is a means to their desired end.”
The writer closes by stating he does not deny climate change, only the “AGW hypothesis and their solution of throwing trillions of dollars at the problem,” which “would actually harm the environment and damage the health and welfare of mankind.”
There is little indication the writer understands the nature of science. Science changes constantly, building on previous information, often discarding information demonstrated to be flawed. Details about the effects of global warming change constantly, but they trend in a single direction whose ramifications bode ill for the planet.
To the writer I would suggest he check the history of climate science at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_climate_change_science.
I also encourage him, if he is serious about dealing with the complex ramifications of our ever-changing climate, to check out the website of Citizens’ Climate Lobby:
Or consider working locally with the Palouse Region Chapter of CCL: http://cclpalouse.org. It meets monthly to deal constructively with climate change.
Pete Haug's eclectic interests and several careers drew him across the U.S. and into China with his wife before retiring south of Colfax.