Joe Bastardi / July 1, 2013

Seizing the High Ground

The president’s recent climate speech has rekindled the fire of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) debate. I believe skeptics have the high ground scientifically, ethically and economically – yet they fail to seize it. So how would I respond if I were in charge? Let’s analyze each area.

The president’s recent climate speech has rekindled the fire of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) debate.

I believe skeptics have the high ground scientifically, ethically and economically – yet they fail to seize it.

So how would I respond if I were in charge? Let’s analyze each area.

Science.

First, two quotes from Albert Einstein:

“Anyone who thinks science is trying to make human life easier or more pleasant is utterly mistaken.”

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

With this in mind, we must remember that the more one searches for truth, the more the truth can reveal harsh realities. The harsh reality of the AGW fight is that this pursuit for the right answer can make things more unpleasant. Indeed, it already has since the other side is using less than flattering terms to intimidate and bully skeptics. But the second part is a real problem for proponents: It only takes one example to disapprove their idea. So when this chart comes up, CO2 vs. temps through the ages:

or this chart demonstrating the disconnect with Co2 as air temperatures move in tandem with ocean temps:

which is then easily explained by this paper by Dr. William Gray on the Meridional overturning circulation of the oceans, it satisfies right off the bat the idea this carbon theory is wrong. If saying it’s wrong is too harsh, at the very least it calls into question its relevance, enough so that it’s open for debate. But it should also lead us to ask: Why would one be trying to force this idea on people when there’s at least obvious doubt, if not outward refutation? A simple test of the next 20 years will suffice as the oceans cool again and the sun weakens. If looking at the sun, then this study also adds to the issues facing the AGW side: “Bicentennial Decrease of the Total Solar Irradiance Leads to Unbalanced Thermal Budget of the Earth and the Little Ice Age.”

Which brings us to the next aspect.

Ethics.

What is ethical about suppressing other ideas in a debate about the future, when there is obvious doubt? Doubts raised by skeptics are dismissed out of hand, with the hope that the public doesn’t know about such examples as listed above. The mere fact that the other side always claims there’s no doubt, when obviously there is given recent temperature trends that they struggle to explain – and when they do (the so-called missing heat in the ocean) we can find Dr. Bill Gray explaining it with the paper above – calls into question not only their ideas, but motives (I will leave dealing with motives out in this missive).

But here’s the other angle. By advocating draconian solutions that cut down the lifeline of the economy with no clear cheaper alternative, they suppress the chance for society as a whole to thrive. It threatens the ideas that are the basic foundation of this nation to even survive. Does anyone remember “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”? A life without liberty has no pursuit of happiness, and without a vision, the people perish. It’s not a hard equation. So I don’t think it’s ethical to destroy the chance for people to make a better life for themselves. And handcuffing the economy certainly does that – and in reality, it’s unethical.

Economic:

Let me play devils advocate here, as distasteful as that may be to some of you, and yes, me. I am not so arrogant to believe there is a 0% chance I’m wrong. My years studying the weather have taught there’s nothing that’s a given regarding future events. So let’s assume there’s a chance the other side is right. Just how do they think they’re going to fund these investments if there’s no way to pay for it? Here’s what’s baffling to me about the president and his allies: They are suppressing their chance to arrive at the right answer by handcuffing the economy now. But by allowing the economy to thrive, the funds would be available to research the track that they so truly wish (assuming noble motives) this nation would be on – the so-called alternative energy option. But this is a long way off. I think it’s a shorter way off via the building of solar and wind devices on housing and businesses where it’s applicable to reduce costs, but the replacement of the main source of energy from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources is not around the corner. And by weakening our nation, just how do they think they’re going to be able to lead on this matter? By handcuffing the economy – only 66% percent of the eligible work population is working today, a figure that continues to drop – how do they intend to fund all this? And a question to all you professors and researchers in our nation: With close to 70% of the public not happy with their jobs, and with so many college grads not working in fields they went to school for – and spending a fortune to do so – how long do you think it will be until the source for your livelihood dries up? It’s as if common sense and foundational knowledge have been completely suspended here. Can it be that they don’t understand that by simply having an open mind on this issue, it would pave the path for so many other things vital to a vibrant, free and prosperous America? All it takes is an open mind and a kind heart.

While many that supported Obama did so because they trusted in his transformational powers, we are left to accept a new normal that is going the opposite direction. In this field of discussion, the words of Saul Alinsky ring loud and clear:

1.)“Isolate.” Example: The president quoted a debunked study that 97% of scientists believe in man-made global warming which, even if accurate, doesn’t make it right. Let’s remember that close to 100% of scientists once believed the sun rotated around the earth, and that the earth was flat. It was obviously meant to make us feel like outcasts.

2.) “Demonize.” Example: Obama said he has no time for flat earthers (interesting since the current president of the Flat Earth Society believes in AGW.)

3.) “Destroy.” Example: Howard Dean, referring to skeptics, recently said, “We’re just going to run ‘em over,” and the group Forecast the Facts is targeting meteorologists that will not accept AGW – truly despotic and freedom threatening!

It’s a closed minded position that uses science as a tool for an agenda, ignores the ethical responsibility to people that are less fortunate by suppressing the hope for a better tomorrow, and handcuffs the economy to a new normal far short of what this country is capable of. It’s time for people fighting this to seize the high ground on these matters – not simply settle for the status quo. This nation has always been about reaching beyond our grasp, and turning adversity into advantage. But that takes vision, will, and freedom – not policies that promote suppression of the foundational truths that made our country the beacon of freedom we all hold so dear.

Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm.

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