If there were a climate change conspiracy…

2010-01-15

in Economics, Politics, Science, The environment

A flawed but interesting blog post about climate change and conspiracy theories does a good job of summing up what climate change deniers are actually alleging:

They argue that the governments of Europe, of the US, of Canada, of China and India, and indeed of much of the rest of the world–governments that rarely agree on anything, I might point out–are acting in concert to promote a bogus claim that the earth is heating up because of man-made release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They claim that this conspiracy is being supported by the almost universal connivance of the world’s scientists, who are collectively falsifying data and hiding countervailing data. And all this is happening, they assert, despite the almost universal opposition of the world’s corporations, most of which, we know, are resisting having governments take any serious action to combat climate change, and in many cases (look at the US Chamber of Commerce), are actively challenging the whole notion of climate change.

When put that way, it really doesn’t sound terribly plausible. Of course, there will be new developments in science as we refine our models and collect more data about what is actually happening in the world. That is simply a consequence of the nature of the climate system and of scientific inquiry. To argue, however, that the world’s scientific and political community are cooperating to actively mislead people into thinking there is a problem where none actually exists is quite preposterous.

Note that I called the post ‘flawed but interesting’ because it contains a number of dubious claims not related to climate change – for instance, that only a fire hot enough to melt steel could explain the catastrophic failure of the World Trade Center towers on September 11th. As the BBC explains, the 800°C fires were hot enough to weaken the steel to the point where the weight of the towers could not be borne. While I wouldn’t endorse the entirety of the post, I do think the point about the alleged climate change conspiracy is well made.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

mek January 16, 2010 at 12:37 am
. February 26, 2010 at 2:10 pm

James Inhofe, Senate’s top skeptic, explains his climate-hoax theory

Q. You reasserted in today’s hearing your belief that global warming is a hoax. Can you clarify specifically who is perpetrating the hoax? Who are the dupers and who are the victims of the climate hoax?

A. Who are the victims? It would be the United States. It would be the economy, what would happen to this country according to MIT* and others who have made analyses as to the economic destruction that would come with something like cap-and-trade or [regulating greenhouse-gas emissions] through the Clean Air Act.

Q. Who are the perpetrators of the hoax?

A. That’s the United Nations and the IPCC, clearly.

Q. What do you believe is the motive of the U.N.? What is the motive of the scientists who are perpetrating the hoax? How do you think they stand to benefit?

A. They stand to benefit [from] government grants and private sector grants [from places] like the Heinz Foundation.

We have scientists who are really sincere, and they’ve watched what’s going on and they have a hard time believing it. Those are the ones who started going to me probably seven or eight years ago, saying they’re cooking the science on this, someone’s got to say it, and I said it. And then more of them came. I listed them on my website. I’ve been very clear all along who the perpetrators were, what the motives were.

Q. So you believe that the U.N. and the scientists on the IPCC are perpetrating the hoax in order to get grant money?

A. No, no, no. We’ve already covered this, Amanda. You guys always ask the same question over and over again looking for a different answer. What is it you want that I didn’t already tell you?

Q. I’m trying to clarify the motivation behind the hoax. Why would these scientists want to deceive the global public?

A. It’s very clear that when you have the U.N. behind it, and you have all the Hollywood people moving in, you have the Heinz Foundation, that’s John Kerry’s wife—a lot of very wealthy people.

Many of [the scientists] know that if they were recipients of grants in the past, that could well be cut off. Or if they haven’t had them, they would want them. The complaints I had brought to me were from scientists who said that many scientists had been intimidated into saying things that weren’t true because of that leverage that has been used.

Q. So you believe the scientists and the U.N. are in it for the money?

A. Well, that enters into it, yes.

. July 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm

“The last word goes to the contrarian hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham, who in his July letter to investors, noted: “Conspiracy theorists claim to believe that global warming is a carefully constructed hoax driven by scientists desperate for … what? Being needled by nonscientific newspaper reports, by blogs and by right-wing politicians and think tanks? I have a much simpler but plausible ‘conspiracy theory’: the fossil energy companies, driven by the need to protect hundreds of billions of dollars of profits, encourage obfuscation of the inconvenient scientific results. I, for one, admire them for their P.R. skills, while wondering, as always: “Have they no grandchildren?” “

Milan March 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm

This graphic makes the point well:

. March 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

The climate change hoax

We are scientists who agree with critics such as Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., that there is a climate change “hoax” being perpetrated on the American people.

We just don’t agree on what the hoax is and who is being fooled.

Sen. Inhofe and his associates want us to believe that the science of climate change is the contrived “hoax.” Their claims cannot withstand even the most cursory scrutiny. Does this “hoax” date back to 1896, when Nobel Laureate Svante Arrhenius presented his findings that human activities releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere could change Earth’s climate? Did it start when scientists Charles Keeling and Roger Revelle demonstrated in the 1950s that a large part of the carbon dioxide released from the burning of coal, oil and gas was remaining in the atmosphere because the oceans couldn’t absorb it fast enough? Did an evil cabal of “warmists” trick a science advisory panel into warning President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 of the dangers of adding greenhouses gases to the atmosphere?

In 2009, the National Academies of Science of the world’s major industrialized nations (including China, India and Brazil) issued an unprecedented joint statement on the reality of climate change and the need for immediate action. Do those who claim climate change is a hoax expect us to believe this was a put on by an international bunch of con men with doctoral degrees? The U.S. Evangelical Environmental Network tells us that global warming is one of the major challenges of our time, and Pope Benedict XVI has called for coordinated global action to address dangers of climate change – have they too joined the conspiracy?

Of course not.

The real hoax is the claim that a scientific debate exists about the reality of climate change. It is promoted by organizations that benefit from our current energy choices and groups that are opposed to any regulation whatsoever, even the most sensible safeguards that help protect our children’s health.

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