As surely as stink follows a garbage truck, the deadly national heat wave brought forth predictable and terrifying scenarios from global warming alarmists.
Triumphantly, the alarmists proclaimed that global warming (or climate change, or extreme weather, or whatever is their latest rendition of Earth's frightful fate) was back high on the list of everyone's worst fears.
Told-ya-sos flowed. Denunciations of global warming "skeptics" and "deniers" were renewed. The threadbare mantra — "the science is in, the debate is over" — was re-energized.
Reliably, a Washington Post story about Colorado's destructive wildfires waved away fact with speculation: "Lightning and suspected arson ignited them four weeks ago, but scientists and federal officials say the table was set by a culprit that will probably contribute to bigger and more frequent wildfires for years to come: climate change."
And thus the unconscionable corruption of real science by global warming propagandists continues unabated. It's unconscionable because they are using the loss of life and destruction of property as a prop to get you to believe that the worst is yet to come. It's unconscionable because making such predictions is not what real science does. For all the condemnation about "anti-science deniers" on the right, the truth is that actual anti-science folks are the ones on the left using bad science to try to scare the bejabbers out of us.
Science is about verifiable and transparent experimental replication, so much of which is ignored by the Catechism of Global Warming — otherwise known as "assessment reports" — foisted upon the public by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Enough holes have been poked in these reports to make any assertion of scientific consensus a joke.
Well-documented is the IPCC's conduct unbecoming scientists: secrecy, questionable data, reliance on nonscientific "studies" (including news releases), massaging research to produce a desired result, lack of objectivity and independence, heavy involvement of activist (i.e. nonscientific) groups or of people whose interests are pecuniary, and wild conclusions (e.g. the supposed disappearance of Himalayan glaciers by 2035). Their catastrophic climate predictions are based on an arrogant presumption that the multiple causations of something as complex and poorly understood as climate change can be plugged into a computer, and out pops unchallengeable results. Like the assertion — now widely discredited — that climate change was spawning a flood of killer hurricanes.
Garbage in, garbage out.
In response to many well-founded criticisms, including from scientists expert in the field of study being "assessed," the IPCC convened a supposedly independent panel that included insiders and mostly absolved itself of error. Errors that panel members could not ignore were brushed aside on the specious grounds that they didn't affect the core conclusion that man-made carbon dioxide emissions will inevitably doom us.
Is destructive man-made global warming possible? Yes. Is it likely? I don't know. Is it certain? No.
Any "science" that concludes that a future event or condition is inevitable is as suspect as a fortuneteller's prediction. Especially suspicious are predictions, like those advanced by alarmists, that are based on data that are incomplete and a theoretical construct that is difficult, if not impossible with today's technology, to verify.
The deconstruction of science by alarmists has been so thorough that now people ask each other if they "believe in global warming." As if it were a matter of faith, rather than science. More pointedly, it has become a political question, rather than a scientific one. Those "assessment reports" are political and polemical documents, far from the objective, balanced and careful discussion demanded in authentic scientific papers.
The alarmists have become more aware of the PR dangers of issuing unqualified doomsday predictions with every heat wave, hurricane or wildfire that happens along. To sound more reasonable, they now pepper their propaganda with cautions about how individual events, unusual precipitation or record temperatures do not necessarily prove the hypotheses of climate alarmists.
That's because the public is catching on. Public opinion polls might not show it — yet — but my guess is that alarmists have played the catastrophe card several times too often. Americans will increasingly disregard the alarmists' hyperventilating. Because they are bored by it. Or disgusted by the shameful use of human tragedy to make a political point.
This column also appeared in the Chicago Tribune.Check there for comments.