Scott Pruitt and Steven Koonin have climate scientist-activists and their media promoters ranting and sputtering in an epic meltdown. Pruitt is, of course, President Trump’s outspoken administrator in charge of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Koonin, a physicist and professor at New York University, was undersecretary of the Energy Department in the Obama administration. Pruitt and Koonin, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and an impressive lineup of distinguished scientists have stirred the proverbial hornets’ nest by proposing (of all things!) — a scientific debate. Climate alarmists say this is “dangerous,” even “un-American.” And why does the thought of debate stir such ire, angst, and venom in supposedly dispassionate, objective, “scientific” circles? After all, isn’t that what science is all about: testing, challenging, reviewing? Apparently not — at least not when “climate science” is involved. No less a science authority than Al Gore has assured us that when it comes to anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, AGW, “the science is settled.”
However, the science is far from settled, as the alarmist choir well knows, though is loath to admit. Despite thousands of stories in the print and broadcast media declaring that “97 percent of climate scientists” endorse the idea that global warming is a dire threat and man is causing it, that fraudulent claim has been crumbling rapidly. And the alarmists fear if they lose their most cherished “consensus” weapon in an open debate, their already far-advanced radical agenda will be dealt a possibly fatal set-back. President Trump has already canceled President Obama’s unconstitutional “ratification” of the UN’s Paris agreement. Now Pruitt, Koonin, and others are calling for an adversarial Red Team-Blue Team audit of climate science.
Although he is not the first to come up with the idea, Dr. Koonin got the concept rolling this past April with a column for the Wall Street Journal entitled “A ‘Red Team’ Exercise Would Strengthen Climate Science.” “Put the ‘consensus’ to a test,” he argued, “and improve public understanding, through an open, adversarial process.”
What could be wrong with that? If the evidence for manmade global warming is as “overwhelming” as the alarmists claim, and if the “scientific consensus” is so near unanimous as asserted, then they should have no trouble making their case. It should be a slam dunk for them. But it won’t be — and they know it. That’s what has the militant climateers terrified. The key word they fear in the Koonin proposal is an “open” adversarial process.
Some of the biggest guns in the climateer arsenal are shooting themselves in the collective foot, as they compete to denounce the Red Team-Blue Team plan in the harshest terms. Michael Mann, the Penn State activist-scientist notorious for the Hockey Stick fraud used in Al Gore’s flim-flam film An Inconvenient Truth, as well as in UN IPCC and U.S. government agency reports, has declared the Koonin proposal to be “un-American.” AGW militants Benjamin Santer, Naomi Oreskes, and Kerry Emanuel co-authored a Washington Post rant calling the idea “dangerous.” Others are insisting it would be redundant, wasteful, and a sellout to the fossil-fuel industry.
“They’re looking to use taxpayer funds to run a pro-fossil fuel industry disinformation campaign aimed at confusing the public and policymakers over what is potentially the greatest threat we face as a civilization,” Mann told the left-wing group ThinkProgress, a “project” of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress led by John Podesta. “It is frankly un-American,” Mann declared.
Un-American? Well, considering that the cost of the UN-brokered, Obama-approved, media-acclaimed Paris climate deal would come in at around $100 trillion over the course of this century, all for the astoundingly minuscule “accomplishment” of reducing global temperatures by 0.057 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s five-hundredths of a degree!), and considering that much of this will come from American taxpayer funds, perhaps it should be considered un-American not to challenge such outrageously profligate schemes. Especially since the alarmists, such as former UN climate chief Christina Figueres, a globalist-socialist, have boasted that their goal is nothing less than “a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.” And not only an economic transformation. There is an additional, more onerous price tag: subjection of all human activity to a global, all-wise bureaucracy that will direct all aspects of our lives in a “sustainable” manner, and protect us from our own carbon footprints.
But Santer, Oreskes, Mann, and company would prefer to direct our attention away from all that. According to Michael Mann, the back-and-forth process Dr. Koonin and others are calling for is already taken care of: It’s called “peer-review.” “The system they describe is precisely what scientific peer-review is,” Mann told ThinkProgress. “The reality is that the only thing these folks don’t like is the conclusion that the scientific community (that is, the world’s scientists, literally) has arrived at — that climate change is real, human-caused, and a threat.”
Santer, Oreskes, and Emanuel sounded a similar refrain in their Post op-ed writing that “calls for special teams of investigators are not about honest scientific debate. They are dangerous attempts to elevate the status of minority opinions, and to undercut the legitimacy, objectivity and transparency of existing climate science.”
Peer Review or Pal Review?
The Santer-Oreskes-Emanuel trio claim that the Koonin proposal would inject ugly “tribalism” into pure and pristine process of climate science. They argue:
The basic premise of these “Red Team/Blue Team” requests is that climate science is broken and needs to be fixed. The implicit message in the requests is that scientists belong to tribes, and key findings of climate science — such as the existence of a large human-caused warming signal — have not undergone adequate review by all tribes. This tribalism could be addressed, Koonin believes, by emulating Red Team/Blue Team assessment strategies in “intelligence assessments, spacecraft design, and major industrial operations.”
In Koonin’s view, “traditional” peer-review processes are flawed and lack transparency, and international scientific assessments do not accurately represent “the vibrant and developing science.” He implicitly accuses the climate science community of “advisory malpractice” by ignoring major sources of uncertainty. To use present-day vernacular, both Koonin and Pruitt are essentially claiming that peer-review systems are rigged, and that climate scientists are not providing sound scientific information to policymakers.
“Heresy” Causes “High priestess” to Be “Tossed Out of the Tribe”
But, Dr. Koonin is far from the only scientist “essentially claiming that peer-review systems are rigged,” that they’ve already gone “tribal.” Ask other scientists, such as Dr. Patrick Michaels, Dr. John Bates, Dr. Chris Landsea, Dr. Benny Peiser, Professor Dennis Bray, Dr. Roy Spencer, or any of hundreds of other scientists who have seen and experienced the rigging and the tribalism up close and personal.
Ask (by all means) Dr. Judith Curry. Once considered the “high priestess of global warming,” she says she was “tossed out of the tribe” for questioning AGW dogma, as enforced by the likes of Santer, Oreskes, and Emanuel. The former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Professor Curry has a record of publication in peer-reviewed climate science journals that is second to none. For years she was a darling of the climate-industrial-academic complex. However, the “Climategate” e-mail scandal at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Center (UEA-CRU) caused her to look more deeply into what had obviously become a blatantly corrupt, politically driven “scientific” system.
The British paper, The Spectator, wrote of her, in a 2015 article:
Curry’s independence has cost her dear. She began to be reviled after the 2009 ‘Climategate’ scandal, when leaked emails revealed that some scientists were fighting to suppress sceptical views. ‘I started saying that scientists should be more accountable, and I began to engage with sceptic bloggers. I thought that would calm the waters. Instead I was tossed out of the tribe. There’s no way I would have done this if I hadn’t been a tenured professor, fairly near the end of my career. If I were seeking a new job in the US academy, I’d be pretty much unemployable. I can still publish in the peer-reviewed journals. But there’s no way I could get a government research grant to do the research I want to do. Since then, I’ve stopped judging my career by these metrics. I’m doing what I do to stand up for science and to do the right thing.’
Michael Mann called Judith Curry “anti-science,” but, considering the source, she is undaunted by insult. “It’s unfortunate, but he calls anyone who doesn’t agree with him a denier,” she told the Spectator.
The UEA-CRU e-mails include infamous exchanges involving Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and other leading lights of the AGW establishment conspiring on how to keep skeptical scientists from getting published in scientific journals, as well as scheming on how to get editors fired who refused to censor dissident scientists. UEA-CRU chief Phil Jones, for instance, discussed suppressing scientific articles he did not like: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
The “Kevin” whom Jones refers to is Dr. Kevin Trenberth, one of the vicious pseudo-scientists who signed a letter to President Obama, calling on him to prosecute and imprison climate skeptics whom they label as “deniers.” Trenberth is one of the “consensus enforcers” Dr. Curry calls out in a recent entry on her blog, “Climate Etc.”
Curry remarks that, in a recent congressional hearing, climate zealot Senator Al Franken repeatedly asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke if he could “tell me how much warming government scientists predict for the end of this century under a business-as-usual scenario?” Zinke stated: “I don’t think government scientists can predict with certainty.” “There isn’t a model that exists today that can predict today’s weather given all the data,” Zinke said.
Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, jumped into the fray, calling Zinke’s explanation “a stupid and ignorant answer.” Trenberth’s insulting comment was given widespread favorable media coverage, naturally, as a supposed smack-down of dim-witted “deniers” by a reputed authoritative voice of science.
But Curry smacks down the smug would-be smacker, observing: “Zinke’s statement is true. Trenberth is a scientific bully/thug for calling Zinke’s answer stupid and ignorant, especially when both Trenberth and [NASA’s Gavin] Schmidt basically admit that the models can’t predict the future.”
Trenberth has plenty of company in the lavishly funded billion-dollar-a-day bully/thug climate-industrial complex. Perpetual activist Ben “the Ranter” Santer returned to the pages of the Washington Post on July 5 for an orgy of self-indulgent virtue signaling about his decades of sacrificial slaving in the service of science and humanity. “I’m a climate scientist. And I’m not letting trickle-down ignorance win,” Santer declared in the title of his WaPo diatribe, which also served as his pledge to “fight the Trump administration’s darkness.”
But what about his own darkness? Recently, as we have reported, Santer and some of his fellow climate cabal members have been forced by reality to admit that the vaunted computer climate models they have been relying on for decades (and that they have demanded all humanity bow before) have consistently overestimated climate sensitivity and global temperatures. But as we noted, Santer et al. couldn’t quite come clean; they couched their admission in a tortured concatenation of excuses and rationalizations designed to hide the fact that their “science” was based (at best) on mere conjecture from garbage in-garbage out computer folderol, and/or (at worst) outright criminal fraud.
When it comes to brazen fraud, Santer’s co-author Professor Naomi Oreskes is a tough one to beat. Together with Australian alarmist John Cook, Oreskes, the Harvard “historian of science,” is responsible for perpetrating the “97 percent” lie, the biggest scam backing up the most colossal hoax in history. Replicating Oreskes’ original 2004 study, Dr. Benny Peiser found only 1 percent of published scientific papers explicitly endorse the “consensus view” that anthropogenic sources are responsible for global warming. And that was after Oreskes had used a deceptive selection process to winnow out thousands of studies. So, the false consensus was/is not 97 percent, but less than 1 percent! Likewise, John Cook’s study has been thoroughly eviscerated, revealing an AGW consensus of around 0.5 percent — one-half of a percent, not 97 percent. Obviously, Dr. Koonin’s proposal for a Red Team-Blue Team exercise, with an honest, open debate would threaten to expose this carefully constructed “overwhelming scientific consensus” lie that remains the biggest linchpin of the catastrophic AGW theory. That is why we are seeing such desperate efforts to derail it.