For most conservatives, some points about the idea of humans causing global warming are no-brainers: plausible doubt arises in quick glances through web sites like Marc Morano’s ClimateDepot, the SPPI blog, WUWT, and ClimateAudit. We don’t have to get down into the minutiae of science reports seen at those sites, it’s just obvious they contradict the supposedly ‘settled science’. For seemingly comic effect, Al Gore and other limousine liberals dictate that we should limit our carbon footprint, but their mansions and jet-setting is not up for debate.
You’d have to have a fairly low IQ not to see the irony of greenies’ mansions & jets, and you’d have a lower one if you’re easily led to believe skeptic web site operators just ‘make stuff up’. The far-left loves saying Rush Limbaugh or Marc Morano fabricate doubt about global warming, as though each creates it out of thin air. These smears evaporate when anybody reads the content at Limbaugh’s, Morano’s, and other skeptics’ sites.
Our far-left friends fervently hope you follow the implied “nothing to see here, move along” instruction. My worry is we are letting another major fault in the so-called global warming crisis slip by, because some conservatives might think there is a little something to see.
That would be the near universal accusation of big industry corrupting skeptic scientists. Supposedly, they accept money from coal and oil companies in exchange for assessments intended to confuse the public about the science being settled. A bribe to make stuff up despite knowing better, in other words. When articles, books and op-eds describe various guilt-by-association situations of skeptic scientists and big coal & oil ….. gosh, it does sound a bit plausible, so maybe the topic should be avoided. Take the example where environmental writer Bill McKibben said this,
Six of the ten largest companies on earth are in the fossil-fuel business. Those companies have spent some small part of their wealth in recent years to underwrite climate change denialism: Jane Mayer’s excellent New Yorker piece on the Koch brothers is just the latest and best of a string of such exposés dating back to Ross Gelbspan’s 1997 book The Heat Is On.
Uh, oh, conservatives better not draw attention to that. Let’s re-frame the discussion by saying cap & trade is too expensive to contemplate during recessions.
I categorically disagree on two counts: we cede the moral high ground to the far-left who’d say conservatives are too cheap to save the planet, but more important, this completely fails to question McKibben’s fundamental assertion about a ‘string of such exposés’. Al Gore himself provides a tidbit that begins to undermine that assertion, in his New York Times review of Gelbspan’s 2004 Boiling Point book:
Gelbspan’s first book, ”The Heat Is On” (1997), remains the best, and virtually only, study of how the coal and oil industry has provided financing to a small group of contrarian scientists who began to make themselves available for mass media interviews as so-called skeptics on the subject of global warming….documenting the largely successful efforts of companies like ExxonMobil to paralyze the policy process, confuse the American people and cynically ‘reposition global warming as theory rather than fact,’ as one strategy paper put it…
Wait, that was 2004. When Phil Radford talked about his 2009 promotion to head Greenpeace USA and who inspired him, he described Gelbspan in an April 2009 magazine interview:
Ross has been the lone voice, the moral compass, the beacon that has inspired countless people, me included, to demand our country and our future back from the coal and oil interests behind global warming.
So was there a string of exposés between then and Jane Mayer’s August 2010 New Yorker article? Hardly. As I detailed in my September 15, 2010 American Thinker article “Warmist Slander of Scientific Skeptics“, Mayer’s assertions about questionable funding of skeptic scientists relied on information from Greenpeace, Naomi Oreskes, Joe Romm, and the Center for Public Integrity. Each in turn cite Ross Gelbspan as the source for their information. That would then be the same old “exposé”, replete with all the inherent problems I describe there and below.
So have others independently corroborated Gelbspan’s accusation? Sorry, no. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why I started in my research, because I was told by a Society of Environmental Journalists board member (deep within the comments section in this page) that:
Gelbspan was only the first of many to document payments by industry to a small group of scientists who consistently defend the interests of industry reliant on not controlling greenhouse gas emissions.
Document? Or just repeat? Books such as James Hoggan’s & Richard Littlemore’s Climate Cover-Up, Mark Bowen’s Censoring science and Thin ice, Jeff Goodell’s Big Coal, Donald Brown’s American Heat, and others, along with magazine articles and TV programs, all directly cite Gelbspan’s “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” accusation or cite other references that themselves cite Gelbspan. However, as I noted in my July 2010 American Thinker article, “Smearing Global Warming Skeptics“, there are fundamental problems with him simply being the center of attention. He did not actually discover the memo he derives his accusation from, the memo is never seen in its full context (until I showed it), the memo seems to be nothing more than an interoffice set of PR instructions, and he is not the Pulitzer winner he is portrayed to be.
Think about the larger picture. This may not be simply a small matter of libel/slander of skeptic scientists – if an ordinary citizen like me was able to find all these problems, why didn’t the mainstream media find these? Why have they instead surged ahead with the idea the science is settled, in the face of such easily found giant red flags?
The new US House GOP committee chairmen aren’t just presented with a ‘witch hunt’ opportunity to score a few points on the ClimateGate scandal, conservatives everywhere now have an unprecedented opportunity to expose the far-left agenda once and for all. Yes, doctoring temperature data is bad, but when people pushing an ideology resort to portraying critics as villains using an unsupportable accusation, solely to distract us from seeing the IPCC’s highly questionable claims about humans causing global warming, we have a huge problem. When an entity as globally influential as the mainstream media fails to seriously question any part of it, and actually joins in on the push, then we have a monumental problem.
Russell Cook’s collection of writings on this issue can be seen at “The ’96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists.” You may also follow him at Twitter via @questionAGW