We are in the midst of the most active hurricane season in years. Inevitably, this brought out the climate propagandists. In White House says now isn't the time to talk climate change. Except, it is—a New Jersey Star-Ledger guest column—Stuart Shapiro, “a professor at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University,” writes, in part:
Scientists and advocates of climate change policy need to learn from advocates of restricted immigration and anti-terror policies. The scientists have a much stronger case to make.
Unfortunately, scientists have generally done the exact opposite. They have made it all too easy for climate deniers like [EPA Administrator Scott] Pruitt and [Senator James] Inhofe. Whenever there is a big storm like Harvey, Irma, Jose or Maria, scientists correctly point out that individual weather events cannot be attributed to a global phenomenon like climate change.
While this is true in an absolute sense, these comments have the effect of giving climate deniers ammunition in their anti-science crusade.
Shapiro goes on to repeat the mantra, “scientists say”—that storms like Harvey, Irma, and Jose “made storms of this magnitude more likely and more deadly” because of climate change (although there is no evidence that the worsening is happening yet), and sneaks in the premise that since climate is changing, it automatically follows that governments must impose policies to “combat climate change.”
“Climate denier” is the leitmotif of the propagandist. Whenever I see that slogan, I know I’m dealing with an unserious opinion article. Besides being a strawman, the slogan brushes aside opposing viewpoints by smearing opponents so their views are not even considered. Why? To avoid the compelling case they represent. Some of the questions that must be asked, but that climate propagandists like shapiro evade, are:
- To the extent climate change is human caused, does it follow that “policy measures to combat climate change” should be pursued? What would be the financial and human costs of such draconian steps as forcibly restricting and ultimately outlawing fossil fuels, as opposed to a policy of “benign neglect”; pursuing pro-freedom, pro-growth energy policies that enable people to flourish while adapting to climate change?
- Is climate change truly global, or is it regional?
- Is climate change really catastrophic, or is it mild and manageable?
- How much of climate change is natural, and how much is human caused?
- Is climate change uniformly bad? What are the positive effects of global warming?
- Are fossil fuels uniformly bad? What are the positives of fossil fuels?
- Shouldn’t we consider the catastrophic human effects of these “policy measures to combat climate change”, as opposed to the risks of speculated marginal increases in severity of storms?
- Why is “scientists say” an argument for combating climate change, while “scientists say” is not an argument for prioritizing human flourishing and progress?
- How does the intensity of current climate change stack up against the historical march of climate change?
- How much of the destruction wrought by hurricanes is a result of government policies like federal flood “insurance,” as opposed to climate change?
These and other questions are rarely addressed by the propagandists of the climate change movement. That’s because their motivations are either political (they want more power), or philosophically anti-humanist (they oppose human influence or alterations on the pre-human environment on principle, including climate, regardless of human needs). Either way, they can’t handle opposing viewpoints, and so refuse to acknowledge they even exist.
The very fact that Shapiro wants to steer the reader away from Pruitt and Inhofe, and thus their expert scientific, economic, moral, and energy sources, should be a wakeup call that these men have something uncomfortably (or is it inconveniently?) important to say that the climate catastrophists don’t want to address. But there is another view, and there is a mountain of serious well-documented work from individuals and think tanks and scientists to back it up. A good place to start is with two books, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein and The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the 21st Century by Ronald Bailey.
Yes, it’s “time to talk climate change.” It’s time to move beyond the “climate denier” propagandists, so we have have a full and balanced talk. The Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy states on its mission page, “The Bloustein ethic engages those who do their jobs not just honorably, but with a passion for their work that alters their surroundings. The Bloustein School seeks to foster new research and thinking that achieve both scholarly recognition and public acceptance.” Maybe Shapiro should start to honor that mission.
A Carbon Tax Won't Stop Hurricanes: Some say man-made global warming is increasing the strength and frequency of hurricanes, but it isn't.—James Agresti
The Truth About Climate Change—Andrew Bernstein
The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels—Alex Epstein
The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the 21st Century—Ronald Bailey