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Friday, November 29, 2013

Global warming deniers guilty of attack on science

by Jeffrey L. Bada, U-T San DiegoNov. 28, 2013

Following my North County Times and U-T San Diego letters to the editor on the relationship between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global warming, some subsequent letter writers praised me while others questioned my credibility. 
This took a different twist after a letter from me that was published back in February 2013, when some individuals started to directly email me (I have now received more than 170 of these). 
One challenged me to a debate about whether global warming and rising carbon dioxide was real science, or a hoax, and stated that I was “woefully ignorant of climate science and even the basics of how science works.” In response, I suggested we arrange a debate through an organization such as the National Academy of Sciences. The response: the academy could not “be relied upon to provide a neutral setting or neutral format,” and I was asked, “Has science now evolved into the telling of ‘tall tales,’ where logic and evidence are no longer required?” A follow-up email stated, “The climate cult does not want to get it right. Climate science is solo corrupt.” 
I decided to provide direct links to recent publications and other events dealing with man-made climate change to the group emailing me, who call themselves “global-warming realists” (it should really be “global-warming deniers”). I forwarded an announcement of a free video seminar, “Understanding and communicating the science of climate change: A chemist’s responsibility,” sponsored by the American Chemical Society. An email that followed asked whether the presenters (one the president of the society) were “too distinguished to understand the most elementary of logic?” 
I then recommended the group read the article “Global carbon dioxide levels near worrisome milestone” published in the May 2, 2013, issue of Nature. Return emails stated, “He (the author) just repeats the same old stuff that you gobble up as fact” and ”as to Nature, does Distinguished Jeffery (sic) know that Nature will not publish any disagreements with the prevailing dogma?” 
I next sent the announcement of the XIV Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture at Scripps, “Melting Ice: What ss happening to Arctic sea ice and what does it mean to us,” presented on May 8 by John Walsh from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. A response: “How can this be considered ‘science’ if (as I assume) no questioning of the paradigm is allowed and patented Democratic Party political language (e.g., “unprecedented”) is used to promote the lecture?” 
I next suggested they look at the Aug. 2 issue of Science, which contained a special issue, “Natural systems in changing climates,” and a statement about the special issue from the editor. The responses: “An obligatory statement from the new editor of Science that she is fully on board with all the climate dogma and unable to think for herself is the central problem with science today,” and “How much better it would have been for the new editor to affirm her dedication to the scientific method rather than to faith-based science and the federal gravy train.” A footnote at the end of an email noted the new editor was “a blond who originally hails from Scripps.” By the way, the “blond” is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. 
I next suggested the group look at a free online course, “Climate change in four dimensions: Scientific, policy, international, and social,” sponsored by Scripps and UC San Diego. The emails this time were even more vituperative: “Since we would not agree with those who put this course on, we all would get an ‘F’ unless you would allow your university to teach kids the entire story”; “That reminds me of a religion, not science”; “If you consider any of the above to be evidence supporting your case for CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) then you have my sympathies, and I suggest you start with a freshman course in logic, particularly cause and effect, coincidence”; “Scripps’ total or near total support of climate hysteria is clearly self-serving and amply rewarded”; and “conflicts of interest abound among alarmists, with many tied to a gravy train far more lucrative than the oil companies: the feds.” One email called me a “scientific pretender.” 
In “The Inquisition of Climate Change” (2011), James Powell wrote, “I have come to believe that in the denial of global warming, we are witnessing the most vicious, and so far most successful, attack on science in history.” 
I now have a firsthand appreciation of this entrenched hostility to science, especially that related to global climate change and future warming. What I do not understand is the reason for this hostility. 
Bada is Distinguished Research Professor of Marine Chemistry at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

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