The Bankruptcy of Climate Science

Global warming is now a $1.5 trillion a year industry according to the Climate Change Business Journal (see report). $1.5 trillion a year will buy a whole lot of scientists and politicians, not just in the United States but around the world. With that kind of money at stake, it is little wonder that global warming hysterics would rather “adjust” past temperature data than admit that their models are wrong, and have no skill at predicting future climate.

Now, promoters of the carbon-dioxide-caused global warming myth want to protect their cash cow by prosecuting any who dare question the orthodoxy.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has proposed using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) laws against climate change skeptics and fossil fuel companies. Twenty scientists wrote a letter to President Obama proposing that any companies or individuals skeptical of the government’s global warming policy be criminally prosecuted under RICO. And remember back in February, Rep. Raul Grijalva, (D-AZ) attempted a McCarthyite witch hunt against climate scientists he found disagreeable.

This shows that promoters of carbon-dioxide-caused global warming cannot come up with any physical evidence to support their position so instead they devolve to a Spanish Inquisition-type tactic.

Dr. Tim Ball writes of this:

Promoters of ‘official’ climate, which is defined as the works of the UN IPCC, are desperate. Twenty of them, including Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) members like Kevin Trenberth, asked the Obama administration to file Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges against climate deniers. All but two of the twenty are at Universities, and the other two are career bureaucrats associated with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). They all live off the public purse, but somehow in the weird world of climate science that is untainted money.

The RICO charge is a particularly nasty form of ad hominem attack. By applying it in the global warming case, it tries to make criminals out of people doing their job properly. The real criminal part of their enterprise is that skeptics are doing what scientists are supposed to do, that is disproving the AGW hypothesis.

The attack is not surprising because the IPCC created a monster and were driven to keep it alive. Once you create the monster it becomes uncontrollable and even if it becomes a threat to society, the creator will resist its destruction; worse, you have to keep feeding the monster and will take extreme measures if necessary. This inevitability is the moral message of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

The natural tendency of any bureaucracy is to perpetuate its existence. This includes expanding the scope and scale of the work, promoting speculative dangers and threats to society, emphasizing the urgency to resolve the problem, and involving as many other public and private agencies as possible.

If an honest man is wrong, after demonstrating that he is wrong, he either stops being wrong or he stops being honest. Read full post

Dr. Judith Curry has a post about this situation in which she has a copy of the letter and a list of the RICO 20. Curry chastises these scientists:

I will try to clarify here what you have done, and why it is wrong.

First, you have been duped by the Merchants of Doubt book/movie. See my previous blog post Bankruptcy of the ‘merchants of doubt’ meme, which includes reviews by other social scientists.

Second, the consensus on human caused climate change is not as overwhelming as you seem to think. See my recent blog post The conceits of consensus, which includes a detailed analysis of an extensive survey of climate scientists (not to mention extensive critiques of the Cook et al. analysis).

Third, the source of funding is not the only bias in research, and the greatest bias does not necessarily come from industry funding.

Fourth, scientists disagree about the causes of climate change for the following reasons:

Insufficient observational evidence

Disagreement about the value of different classes of evidence (e.g. models)

Disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence

Assessments of areas of ambiguity and ignorance

Belief polarization as a result of politicization of the science

The biggest disagreement however is about whether warming is ‘dangerous’ (values) and whether we can/should do something about it (politics). Why do you think your opinion, as scientists, matters on values and politics?

Fifth, what you have done with this letter is advocacy. This is a very dicey role for a scientist to play, fraught with reputational and ethical land mines.

What you have done with your letter is the worst kind of irresponsible advocacy, which is to attempt to silence scientists that disagree with you by invoking RICO. It is bad enough that politicians such as Whitehouse and Grijalva are playing this sort of political game with science and scientists, but I regard it as highly unethical for scientists to support defeating scientists with whom you disagree by such methods. Since I was one of the scientists called out in Grijalva’s witch hunts, I can only infer that I am one of the scientists you are seeking to silence.

It seems also, that at least one of the “RICO 20” is not so pristine himself:

Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University, leader of the “RICO 20” and author of the letter to Obama reportedly made lavish profits off the global warming industry while accusing climate skeptics of deceiving the public. Shukla is listed as the “President” of “Institute of Global Environment & Society, Inc.” which receives government grants. The group pays Shukla, his wife and other relatives $500,000 per year for part-time work, ” Source

The “RICO 20” named:

Jagadish Shukla, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Edward Maibach, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Paul Dirmeyer, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Barry Klinger, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Paul Schopf, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

David Straus, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Edward Sarachik, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Michael Wallace, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

William Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

T.N. Krishnamurti, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Vasu Misra, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Ben Kirtman, University of Miami, Miami, FL

Robert Dickinson, University of Texas, Austin, TX

Michela Biasutti, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY

Mark Cane, Columbia University, New York, NY

Lisa Goddard, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY

Alan Betts, Atmospheric Research, Pittsford, VT

Besides the corruption noted above, a really weird, scary story from 2012 is back in the news.

Professors S. Matthew Liao (New York University), Anders Sandberg (Oxford), and Rebecca Roache (Oxford) proposed genetic engineering of humans to fight global warming. Specifically they proposed breeding people to be shorter, something they say will reduce our carbon footprint (no pun intended). They propose to induce an allergy to meat in humans to help people reduce their consumption of animals; and they want to force feed people hormones to make them calmer and “have more empathy”. You can read the paper about their brave new world here.

Physicist Luboš Motl, formerly of Harvard, wrote a scathing review back in 2012. He said among other things, “I am totally disgusted by this stuff and by the fact that NYU and Oxford harbor scumbags who are capable of writing this junk. It only differs from the most perverse medical plans during the Nazi era by one detail: the Nazis at least wanted to create a race that had some qualities according to some rather sane criteria (well, in some cases, at least). Instead, Mr Liao and his thugs want to exterminate the mankind as we know it and create a sea of short stinky junk losers similar to themselves. And that idea really sucks.” Source

Such is the sad state of climate “science” today.