Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

A left-leaning colleague of mine recently sent me a link to an article that he found “encouraging.”

Evidently, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, President Trump’s Secretary of Defense, believes that “climate change” is both “real” and, according to the article, “a threat to American interests abroad and the Pentagon’s assets everywhere [.]”  In unpublished written testimony that he gave during his confirmation hearing, Mattis remarked: “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.”

“Climate change,” then, is an issue of national security.

Contrary to what those like my colleague think, that the President has within his administration people who pay lip service to “climate change” is wholly unsurprising to many of us on this side of the political divide.  This, however, makes it no less discouraging.

And when it comes from a distinguished General and the Secretary of Defense, it is not only discouraging, but concerning.

Some thoughts:

(1)It wasn’t too long ago when it was “global warming,” not “climate change,” that was all of the rage. There was no talk of “climate change.” But then, practically overnight, “global warming” gave way to the latter.  Why?

The catalyst for this change of labels was the leaking of over 1,000 emails, computer code sets, and other documents from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) back in November of 2009.  The leaks revealed a network of corruption and fraud on the part of climate scientists.  Such was the depths of the scandal that the event came to be known as “Climategate.”

Much (but still not enough) has been written in detail about Climategate.  The gist of it, however, is that climate scientists had been cooking their data in order support their preconceived conclusions. They had been guilty of practicing fake science in order to show both that global warming was a crisis and that anthropogenic (“man-made”) global warming was occurring.

“Global warming” was now tainted because of its association with Climategate.

This was one reason that a name-change became imperative.  There is, though, another.

As I wrote back in June of 2013, the “experts” be damned, “the average person is much more disposed to trust his own senses than testimony that militates against it.  And the average person can see that for all the hype over so-called global warming, in many parts of the country—and the planet—it still gets very, very cold.”  In other words, all too often, the actual weather that people experience seems to conflict with the notion that the planet is warming to a dangerous degree (or warming at all).

So, because of its bad press and its clash with our everyday intuitions, its salespersons realized that they needed a new label, a brand name that, fake science scandals aside, no one could possibly deny.  And how could anyone deny “climate change?”  Isn’t everything in this world forever in flux?  Is not the weather constantly changing?

Moreover, “climate change” is sufficiently malleable to immunize its merchants’ claims against refutation.  Yet if a claim is not falsifiable, it is not scientific.  At any rate, real science doesn’t and shouldn’t need to resort to such rhetorical tricks as this.

Rhetorical trickery is the stuff of, not science, but politics.

(2) That global warming or climate change has become such a hotly contested issue should alone suffice to put the lie to the notion that it is an issue of science. So too should the fact that rational dialogue with true believers is impossible. Skeptics invariably encounter alarmism and are summarily dismissed as “deniers.”

To repeat, this is not science. It is politics.

Note, it is not that dialogue over the possibility of global warming per se is impossible. But those who scream from the rooftops about “global warming” are never talking just about this. Their issue is anthropogenic—“man-made”—global warming.

In short, the claim is that, though the Earth has existed for 4.5 billion years, human beings, who, geologically-speaking, constitute a species in its infancy, now threaten to burn it into oblivion—unless the governments of the world unite to assume that much more control and power over the resources and lives of its citizens in order to avert Armageddon.

The problem, here, is that there is no evidence to substantiate the assertion that humans are frying the planet.  In fact, even more modest claims about the causes, scope, and very reality of global warming haven’t the evidence behind them that the claimants make.

Take, for example, the notion that there is catastrophic global warming.  It is simply false. The Earth has been undergoing warming and cooling cycles for thousands of years.  The warming that occurred over the span of the 20th century is “well within the natural variations recorded in the last millennium.”

Since 2001, cooling has been transpiring.

As for CO2 emissions, for which humans are blamed and which are supposedly responsible for ravaging the planet, FriendsofScience.org, an organization of active and retired climate scientists dedicated to disentangling myth from fact, asserts bluntly that “there is no proof that CO2  is the main driver of global warming.”

The scientists at Friends of Science back up their statement. “As measured in ice cores dated over many thousands of years, CO2 levels move up and down AFTER the temperature has done so, and thus are the RESULT OF, NOT THE CAUSE of warming.” They note that the work of geologists in sediments establishes the direction of causality from the Earth’s rising temperature to the increase in CO2 levels—and not vice versa.

“There is solid evidence that, as temperatures move up and down naturally and cyclically through solar radiation, orbital and galactic influences, the warming surface layers of the earth’s oceans expel more CO2 as a result.”

“Global warming” or “climate change,” whatever we decide to call it, is a political issue saturated in fake science.

 

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