Bullying, fear tactics don’t belong in scientific debate

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I find the haranguing, bullying and name calling by Bill Baum, Eric Grimsrud and Jerry Elwood offensive. Sadly this behavior along with irrational alarmism is on the rise — led by Obama, the media, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other activist groups.

These activists understand that fear is a primary tool used to coerce people into agreements for policies that would otherwise be unthinkable. Why the urgency? They fear the growing body of scientific evidence which questions the current global warming or climate change theory. If CO2 fails to be the demon it is portrayed to be, they could lose the reason for this current political power grab for greater governmental control of natural resources, our economy, and the international redistribution of wealth.

Everyone agrees that climate changes and understands the earth has experienced dramatic changes in climate and CO2 levels since its formation, mostly without man’s help. Important study is ongoing of solar activity, clouds, volcanoes, and ocean oscillation cycles and their powerful effect on our climate. Climate science is a relatively young science. These scientists known as “deniers” or “skeptics” simply see lack of conclusive evidence that CO2 is the driving cause of the warming trend we saw through 1998 and feel that science should not be used for political agendas.   

The number of brave scientists who will not compromise their professional integrity, even under intimidation for consensus from governmental groups, academia, and environmental activists is growing. Prominent among the notable skeptics is Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize winner in physics. He resigned from the American Physical Society in protest of the society’s policy statement: “The evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring.”

“Nothing in science is incontrovertible” says Dr. Giaever who had endorsed Obama in 2008. He has since joined 100 scientists who wrote an open letter to President Obama, declaring “We maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated.”

Other skeptics include Dr. John Everett, who was a lead researcher at the IPCC and senior manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . He stated, “It is time for a reality check. No one knows if the Earth is going to keep warming, or since reaching a peak in 1998, we are at the start of a cooling cycle that could last several decades or more.”

In Sept. 2013, Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences and meteorology at MIT, stated he was not impressed with the new IPCC report. “I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence. They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.”  

NASA received a letter from 49 former scientists, seven astronauts and two former directors of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The scientists stated: “The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements. We believe the claims by NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change, is not substantiated.” Most scientists do not speak out until retirement because they find their funding sources cut, their jobs terminated, and their reports blocked from important journals, and they are victimized by personal attacks to discredit them. The lack of open debate on this most important issue is very frustrating for these scientists while Obama and the IPCC call for an end to the debate!

The stakes are high and most Americans don’t even know what they are. Estimates are that global-warming regulations imposed by the Obama EPA under the Clean Air Act will cost American consumers $300 billion to $400 billion per year. All energy prices will rise significantly. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be destroyed along with the resurgence in manufacturing. The EPA is asking taxpayers to fund up to 230,000 new government workers by 2016 to process all the extra paperwork, at an estimated cost of $21 billion.

That cost does not include the economic impact of the regulations themselves. The states would face a total of $1 trillion in annual compliance costs and massive job loss. Dr. Lindzen states, “controlling carbon is a bureaucrat’s dream. If you control carbon, you control life.”

There are a lot of greedy, power hungry entities that are already heavily invested in this agenda. Special-interest groups will flourish with subsidies. What is the benefit for those who are worried about warming? The Science and Public Policy Institute reports we would decrease global temperature by 0.17 degrees by the year 2100. Are we willing to be rushed, yet again, into something this critical to our future with such a cost and so poor a return?

If you are old enough, you might remember some of our past national panic attacks perpetuated by irrational alarmists.

In 1970, the chief organizer for the first Earth Day, Denis Hayes claimed, “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.” Sierra Club director Martin Litton said, “We are prospecting for the last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones.” Dr. Ripley with the Smithsonian Institute claimed in 1970 that within 25 years, 75 to 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct. A 1970 issue of Life magazine claimed that there was scientific evidence that by 1985 urban dwellers would have to wear gas masks and the amount of sunlight reaching the earth would be reduced by one half due to pollution. There were also repeated warnings of another ice age throughout the 1970s.

How about the chlorofluorocarbons? There was an international agreement to cease using CFCs by 1996. But the predicted recovery of the ozone layer never happened: The hole stopped growing before the ban took effect, and failed to shrink afterward. No one is sure why.

What about acid rain? Remember when Germany cried the forests are dying and the United States and Canada joined in the panic.

The most egregious was the panic promulgated by Rachel Carson though her book “Silent Spring.” Even though science of her claim proved wrong, the EPA and environmental groups forced the removal of DDT. The loss of life and suffering as a result was horrific. Untold millions of deaths from malaria were reported; up to nine-tenths were innocent children!

Bullying, fear tactics and irrational alarmism have no place in this discussion or in academia. We must insist on honest, accurate, intelligent debate or the consequences could be dire.

McCormick is a resident of Kalispell.

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