When it comes to the debate, such as it is, over climate change, a generalized hysteria is making it impossible to evaluate the facts.
It is not very surprising. Over the past few years American intellectual life has frankly collapsed. For now it is on life support.
More and more the night riders of the thought police define issues, tell us the right and wrong way to think about them and vilify anyone who disagrees.
Rational debate and discussion have nearly become impossible. At a time when fewer and fewer people believe in religion, where more and more people proclaim themselves to be rational atheists, the nation has succumbed to a wave of irrational fear- and hate-mongering.
And not just the American nation.
When the leader of the Roman Catholic Church can use an encyclical to articulate the views of a crackpot German atheist who worships Mother Earth, something is seriously wrong. When Pope Francis can hop on the movement that wants to repeal the Industrial Revolution, without really considering the good that it has brought to human beings, it appears that ideology has captured the Argentinian mind of the head of the Catholic Church.
Naturally, those who inveigh against capitalism and industry in the name of the pristine purity of Nature insist that they are presenting settled science. They are convinced that the science proves beyond any doubt that the climate is changing—for the worst—and that greenhouse gasses are the root cause. They float images of apocalyptic doom and insist that we shut down the power grid, turn off air conditioners, cease to produce weapons… the better to enter a golden age where we are at one with Nature.
Some of them, like the proponents of liberation theology are outright Marxists. While previous popes had shut them down, Pope Francis now seeks out the opinions of Gustavo Gutierez and Leonardo Boff. Why he believes that we need to return to Marx is beyond me.
As I have often had occasion to mention, much of the so-called settled climate science is based on a computer model that predicts the future. In point of fact, as Wittgenstein famously said, there is no such thing as a scientific fact about the future. In truth, the computer models are issuing prophecies. Perhaps they are the word of God; perhaps they are the word of the goddess. They are not scientific fact.
The din has suppressed the fact that what is supposed to be scientific consensus is not really a scientific consensus. In fact, serious research organizations have done a survey of climate scientists to find out what they really think about climate change.
Forbes has the story. It will certainly not bring any joy to a Vatican that seems to have been duped by the radical European and South American intelligentsia.
In general, scientists believe that the climate is changing, but that human beings are NOT responsible. Only 36% of scientists believe that climate change is both caused by human industry and is a threat to human life.
The majority of scientists believe that economic stagnation, the kind that is promoted by the environmentalist phalange is a far greater threat to human existence than is greenhouse gas.
To quote the Forbes article:
Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.
The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.
The survey finds that 24 percent of the scientist respondents fit the “Nature Is Overwhelming” model. “In their diagnostic framing, they believe that changes to the climate are natural, normal cycles of the Earth.” Moreover, “they strongly disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal lives.”
Another group of scientists fit the “Fatalists” model. These scientists, comprising 17 percent of the respondents, “diagnose climate change as both human- and naturally caused. ‘Fatalists’ consider climate change to be a smaller public risk with little impact on their personal life. They are skeptical that the scientific debate is settled regarding the IPCC modeling.” These scientists are likely to ask, “How can anyone take action if research is biased?”
The next largest group of scientists, comprising 10 percent of respondents, fit the “Economic Responsibility” model. These scientists “diagnose climate change as being natural or human caused. More than any other group, they underscore that the ‘real’ cause of climate change is unknown as nature is forever changing and uncontrollable. Similar to the ‘nature is overwhelming’ adherents, they disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal life. They are also less likely to believe that the scientific debate is settled and that the IPCC modeling is accurate. In their prognostic framing, they point to the harm the Kyoto Protocol and all regulation will do to the economy.”
The final group of scientists, comprising 5 percent of the respondents, fit the “Regulation Activists” model. These scientists “diagnose climate change as being both human- and naturally caused, posing a moderate public risk, with only slight impact on their personal life.” Moreover, “They are also skeptical with regard to the scientific debate being settled and are the most indecisive whether IPCC modeling is accurate.”
Taken together, these four skeptical groups numerically blow away the 36 percent of scientists who believe global warming is human caused and a serious concern.
That should just about settle it.
We now have meteorologists, geoscientists and engineers all reporting that they are skeptics of an asserted global warming crisis, yet the bureaucrats of these organizations frequently suck up to the media and suck up to government grant providers by trying to tell us the opposite of what their scientist members actually believe.