In which the Meandering Matriarch once again climbs onto her soapbox to have a stab at understanding the Climate-Change Hoax theory.
I’m not a climatologist. I’m not a scientist at all, so I do not have the credentials to assess the scientific evidence for or against the so-called Climate Change Hoax. I do, however, have the nouse to analyze the underlying (political)issues which form the crux of the arguments put forward by the Climate Deniers, or Skeptics–as some prefer to call themselves as it sounds more thoughtful.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reading articles, blogs, and comments by the leaders of the conspiracy theorists. A few of them actually have scientific credentials of one cloth or another. (Presumably they aren’t getting government grants, however.) Most of the spokespersons are experts in other fields. Writers, conservative politicians, industrialists (particularly in the fossil fuel energy industry). But I wish to say up front that some of the scientific articles I reviewed were very persuasive. Up to a point. I had no way of judging whether the scientific claims being quoted were reasonable, so I could be sucked in for a while. But invariably, the presentation of the contradictory “facts” deteriorated into a rant about the conspiracy, or collusion between governments and scientists to hoodwink the public into believing the threat is real, that the globe really is warming, that the scientists are all motivated by money in the form of government grants, and that politicians are manipulating the scientists to produce findings–even to falsify findings–to suit their political agenda. Once that became the point of the article, I knew there was a credibility problem. What legitimate scientist would want, or need, to resort to that sort of ranting? Every article that descended to that level of discourse lost credibility. I subsequently found that the so-called facts being trotted out were either out of context, or just plain wrong. Virtually all of the arguments have been discredited.
Here are the basic arguments as I found them:
Argument 1: It’s all about scientists getting grant money. The scientists’ll say anything to get government grant money, and global warming is the issue du jour, according to Gary DeMar in Godfather Politics - ‘Global Warming’ Fear is About Money Not Science‘ posted online on August 26, 2012. It’s a common theme–indeed, perhaps the dominant theme in the Case for the Climate Change Hoax.
Argument 2: The Scientists are being manipulated by politicians to spin their research findings to Suit a Political Agenda. Another common theme. Virtually every writer on the topic cited this as a reason for the Hoax. Arguments 1 and 2 combined paint a sinister picture of collusion between the government politicians and scientists around the world to create this enormous (false) threat. To scare the bejeezus out of everyone, in other words.
Argument 3: The planet isn’t warming; Himalayan peaks are not melting The researchers that are cited re the lack of melting of the higher peaks also claim that the new findings do not negate existing theories on global warming. But, as my (denial) source went on to explain, “This declaration…appears to be more of a politically-charged opinion rather than a hypothesis based on the facts, as there simply is no concrete evidence that ice caps as a whole are melting any faster than usual, or that man is responsible for causing this if they are.” So we can believe the research when it says that the Himalayan ice caps aren’t melting, but we should ignore the rest of it because it is politically motivated. That makes sense. Doesn’t it?
How do I ‘know’–or at least feel so confident about which side of the argument can be discredited? Well, I simply looked at the arguments being proffered and asked a couple of basic questions of the information.
My simple approach was to first ask WHY? Why in heaven’s name would governments around the world want there to be a genuine environmental threat to the planet that would embroil them in fearsome and politically risky policy debates and negotiations. What government politician anywhere in the world wouldn’t rejoice at the news that there is no threat? So we are left wondering why they would favor scientists who report Doomsday findings. Yet, it is critical to the Hoax Theory that scientists are in it for the money–specifically government grant money–and the politicians are thus manipulating scientists by awarding that grant money to those who will report that there is a threat. It just doesn’t add up.
The next question, of course, is What interests are at stake in the debate? It isn’t rocket science–or even climate science–to know that most of the major players in the Hoax Theory camp are tied in some way to oil, gas, and coal interests. By my reckoning, government leaders and politicians of all sorts would love to see the issue go away, so they, too, have a vested interest in believing there is no threat. So why do we have a fight on our hands? Simply because the scientific data is so compelling. So compelling, in fact, that responsible officials cannot ignore it.
I’m not even going to try to address the question of whether there is such a thing as global warming happening. The answer to that is within the data generated by each side of the debate. Either you believe that being presented by the majority of climate scientists–the leading climate scientists– or you believe the data presented by the Hoax Theorists. MM
I refer you to an excellent analysis of Energy Journalism by David Roberts. He considers how the energy issues are typically addressed, and how they need to addressed in the context of todays changing climate and environment. Essential reading. Especially when you also read this article.
I recently started writing an article in which I played Devil’s Advocate and tried to make the case for the Climate Change Hoax. In it I referenced many of the people and articles I turned to to make the case. I will link it hear if you wish to have a look at my sources as I tried to uphold the Climate Change Deniers case.