"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

The Archie Bunkers of Settled Science

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 18
Publish Date: 
Thu, 10/09/2014


As if on cue, settled-science believer Auden Schendler delivered a punishing retort in the Aspen Times to my recent column, “Inconvenient Truths Denied By Climate Faithful.”


Archie Bunker-like in frustration, Schendler wants me to stifle myself. If I don’t “dummy up” like Archie’s wife Edith, he suggests Aspen Times editors Think Again before publishing my commentary without peer-reviews -- or risk “being complicit in promoting falsehoods.”


Schendler calls this “ground-truthing of scientific claims,” noting the Los Angeles Times doesn’t publish pieces that “deny established climate science.” Like Robert Kennedy Jr. who recently called for jailing treasonous nonconformists who break with “settled-science” orthodoxy, Schendler insists it’s not censorship when there’s no argument.


My crime – tantamount to “yelling ‘fire’ in a movie theater” – is considering climate change “a naturally reoccurring phenomenon to which mankind has always adapted, and still can.” Apparently, I can’t acknowledge earth’s warming and ice-age cycles without embracing political agendas that require living standard cuts -- lifestyle sacrifices activists won’t acknowledge and elites like Kennedy, Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio won’t obey.


Resisting cataclysmic theorizers and their “starve the peasants to save the pheasants” thinking, I criticized alarmists who “invoke the moral equivalent of Holocaust denial to reject those deeming climate change less dangerous than other threats.” I did so believing an economically robust and energy-secure America is the ultimate threat-deterrent.


Today I’d add to my threat list the failure of public institutions to protect and serve Americans, considering recent incompetence, corruption and unaccountability in government agencies – those Schendler wants to grant unprecedented powers to centrally plan and control economic life.


Though denounced by climate “groupthinkers,” dissidents like me are troubled by “the stunning failure of…doomsday-predicting models to forecast warming’s nearly 18-year pause (confirmed by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) or Al Gore’s 2007 prediction that polar bears’ Arctic habitat would be ice-free by 2013.”


These irrefutable observations riled Schendler. Accusing me of “cherry-picking data,” he contends I’m “willfully blind or statistically illiterate to claim warming has stopped.” Citing a Politifact article to support his contention, he apparently overlooked the fact-checker’s concession that “over roughly the past 15 years, global surface temperatures have plateaued.” 


So who’s the “meathead,” considering widespread acceptance of unexpected global temperature stability, and the existence of more Arctic ice than in 2007 – never mind record Antarctic ice levels?


As if answering this question, President Obama’s former Undersecretary of Energy Steve Koonin wrote a consensus-disrupting op-ed -- “Climate science is not settled.”  Lamenting how the settled-science claim “demeans and chills the scientific enterprise” and distorts “policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment,” Koonin argues “we are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy.”


Noting warming’s pause amid rising CO2 emissions, Koonin posits, “natural influences and variability are powerful enough to counteract the present warming influence exerted by human activity.” Despite “different explanations for this [prediction] failure … the whole episode,” he concludes, “continues to highlight the limits of our modeling.”


IPCC lead author Kevin Trenberth admitted this in one of the embarrassing emails leaked in the “Climategate” scandal of 2009. “The fact is,” he wrote, “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty.” 


Probing the disconnect between observed temperatures and predictions, the Economist asked, “Who pressed the pause button?” in a March 2014 global warming article. Because “the models embody the state of climate knowledge,” they concluded, “if they are wrong, the knowledge is probably faulty, too.”


Even the LA Times broke with the climate consensus, reporting last month “naturally occurring changes in winds, not human-caused climate change, are responsible for most of the warming on land and in the sea along the West Coast of North America over the last century.”


Meanwhile, amid calls to stifle climate debates, technological breakthroughs have made America the world’s most energy-endowed nation, possessing more oil than Saudi Arabia and more natural gas than Russia. 


In substituting lower-carbon resources for coal, we’ve hit the energy jackpot: cheaper energy (a rebate for the poor and an offset of foreign manufacturers’ cheap labor advantages); cleaner air; new jobs; increased governmental revenues; greater energy independence; and CO2 emissions at a 20-year low, outpacing Europe whose expensive renewable-energy strategies have failed.


Despite these advantages, activists refusing to moderate their climate conclusions – no matter the evidence -- rally to curb the development of our cheapest energy resources, denying citizens who can’t afford Whole Foods environmentalism the benefits of our energy bounty.


Unfortunately, except for the rich, Americans are suffering crisis levels of income stagnation, underemployment, economic immobility and poverty. These truths -- not doomsday predictions -- preoccupy Americans.


Think Again – Climate-mongers intent on squashing free inquiry and expression insist dissenters are “dead from the neck up,” Archie Bunker-style.  But being “meatheads” is not our destiny, if we refuse to stifle ourselves.


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"Settled science" seems to

"Settled science" seems to ignore when a baby's heart starts beating as well....

Amen, Melanie! It's not just

Amen, Melanie! It's not just on climate change that all dissent is being stifled, but that is definitely one of the big 2! The other being the redefinition of marriage. The suppression of differing viewpoints on both make me stabby! Pleasantly surprised that the Aspen Times doesn't suppress opposing views, and so impressed by your column!

A large measure of the

A large measure of the current skepticism arises from Al Gore’s doomsday scenarios, which even he has (grudgingly) admitted contained massive hyperbole. He hoped to use such scare tactics (NY swamped by 100 feet seas, etc.) to scare people into paying attention. Since many people regarded Gore as a twit and a lightweight, they weren’t persuaded to buy into his scenarios. Also, it was unfortunate that the topic tended to be entitled “global warming.”

In fact, the correct term of art is “climate change”. Climate is not weather and warming, or cooling, is but a small part of it. Certainly no one who has lived through the last decade can doubt that there have been significant changes in climate. More droughts, fires, hotter (or colder) winters, dryer (or wetter) weather, etc. When 97% of the world’s climate scientists concur that the climate is changing, it very likely is. So, in my view, there’s very little to be gained by arguing that climate change doesn’t exist.

The real issues, when one accepts the almost irrefutable fact that the climate is changing, are (1) to what extent have humans caused or exacerbated the change, and (2) what, if anything, humans should do about it. It’s when the discussion turns to (2) that tempers start to flare. Do we make enormous industrial changes to reduce carbon dioxide without even knowing for certain that carbon dioxide is the cause of the climate change? Is the “we” who are supposed to make changes all of mankind or only America? Why should America undertake any expensive and productivity-crushing steps when China and India, among others, won’t follow suit?

So my view is to accept that we are experiencing climate change but to keep an open mind about what to do next, if anything.

Excellent piece, Melanie.

Excellent piece, Melanie. Your words are supported by mounds of powerful research. I appreciate the work you have done on this front, which supports all of us who question the media bias and need the ammunition to refute it. Thank you!

Well done. What I

Well done. What I particularly liked was the dose of economic reality (and common sense) that you applied
to the subject. Schendler will rush to his shrink.

Warmth, with prosperity!

I was put off many years ago

I was put off many years ago by the warmists when they insisted that any rise in climate temps would result in a total disaster for the world. And they were firmly convinced that there would be major temperature increases. How did they know? Well, they didn't know. They were guessing.

Have we had higher average world temps in the past? Yes we have. Then how can we all still be here if higher temps meant complete catastrophe?

Ms. Sturm, Thank you for

Ms. Sturm,

Thank you for defending the scientific process. The climate models were a form of experiment as they rested on the assumptions about CO2 and temperature gain. The models failed. A good scientist asks why.

A person defending their income, grant flow or status cries out that an anti-science skeptic is on the loose. I guess they have forgotten the truth in the phrase “a healthy dose of skepticism.”

If we think for a moment, it isn’t at all frightening to assume climate systems are more complex than we know and that a trace element in the atmosphere cannot be the single thing we attempt to blame for changes in this complex system.

We have free speech now but

We have free speech now but there is a bill in the Senate, sponsored by Ried and other dems, to take that right away. So writers such as Melanie Sturm will toe the government line or face prison.

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