USA Today and “Climate Deniers”

USA Today has published a remarkably dishonest editorial on their opinion page today, titled “America, Pick Your Climate Choices” I say that it is dishonest because on the fourth paragraph, it refers to those who have not drunk the climate change, global warming, climate catastrophe, or whatever they are calling it this week, Kool-Aid, as “deniers”. This, of course is meant to evoke Holocaust deniers, thus placing those of us who believe in actual science in the same league as fringe groups who deny well-established historical facts. To make sure we get the implication, USA Today compares the “deniers” to birthers in the very next paragraph, calling them;

a vocal minority that refuses to accept overwhelming evidence.

And what is this “overwhelming evidence”. Well;

Late last week, the nation’s pre-eminent scientific advisory group, the National Research Council arm of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a report called “America’s Climate Choices.” As scientific reports go, its key findings were straightforward and unequivocal: “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by human activities, and poses significant risks to humans and the environment.” Among those risks in the USA: more intense and frequent heat waves, threats to coastal communities from rising sea levels, and greater drying of the arid Southwest

There is no mention of any actual empirical evidence that climate change is occurring. This is simply an argument from authority. Given the fraud and self-deception that many climate scientists have been engaging in (climategate?) I am not inclined to accept such authority at face value.

The editorial continues;

The Climate Choices report didn’t generate big headlines because its conclusions aren’t new; they are consistent with the scientific consensus about global warming. That consensus acknowledges some uncertainty in the extent to which climate change is the result of human activity, and how bad global warming will be if nothing is done.

Scientific hypotheses are not accepted based on consensus but on the quality of the evidence. If the evidence favors a hypothesis than it is accepted, until the next observation or experiment. Note that the consensus is in fact no consensus at all since even the report confesses that there is uncertainty about the extent that climate change is the result of human activity.

To continue with the editorial;

If the deniers want a more legitimate basis for resistance, it is this: Even bold and costly national U.S. actions to limit greenhouse gases will be ineffective unless developing nations also curb their emissions. It’s hard to imagine China and India acting, however, if the U.S. doesn’t lead.

Yes, it’s hard to imagine the governments of China and India being so foolish as to wreck their economies to fight a chimera. Unfortunately, our political class is not so pragmatic.

And finally, USA Today makes some recommendations;

The Climate Choices report, requested by Congress, suggests investing in clean-energy technology, looking for ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and — most important — putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions. “Cap-and-trade,” a complex but proven way to use market forces to reduce pollution, passed the House in 2009. Like health care reform, though, it has become so unpopular in GOP circles that at the first Republican presidential debate this month, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty abjectly apologized for once supporting the idea. “I’ve said I was wrong,” Pawlenty groveled. “It was a mistake, and I’m sorry.”

In other words, wasting the taxpayer’s money, in a time of record deficits, on unproven technologies and getting the EPA involved in every single economic transaction. I am sure the Chinese would be delighted to see us destroy our economy in such a fashion.

I also note the snide way in which they criticize the actions of Republican politicians. God forbid public officials actually listen to the opinions of the public.

Finally, the National Academy of Sciences is not an unbiased institution. They have been on the global warming bandwagon at least since 2005. Among their members is Michael Mann, known for his climate change fraud, the hockey stick graph. 255 members of the Academy signed a letter published in Science magazine decrying “political assaults” against climate change scientists, by which they apparently mean holding them to at least minimal standards of honesty.

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