The movement to convince the public of catastrophic global warming is fundamentally unscientific. Its leaders do not, as true scientists would, objectively study and relay the full evidence about what drives the climate, they fixate obsessively on CO2. They do not share how poorly understood climate drivers are; they act as if they can predict the climate with certainty. Through manipulation of government agencies, a credulous media, and many of their cloistered colleagues in academia, they have managed to take over much of the field of climatology and the vast majority of its public relations. Climatology used to be a legitimate subfield of earth science, itself a sound, if sleepy and usually overlooked, sub-field of physics. But when the entire field has been oriented to answering the loaded question, “How damaging are the CO2 emissions generated by industrial capitalism?” it is no longer a scientific field.
Fortunately, the ideological monopoly of the global warming campaign in climatology is inherently unstable. Many of the still large number of real scientists in cognate fields can’t help but notice what has become of “climatology” research. It is thus inevitable that this campaign will suffer periodic break-downs in its attempt to foist claims of scientific “consensus” on the public, as a recent letter from 16 sceintists to the Wall Street Journal attests.
The letter is persuasive in its characterization of the academic fallout from global warming catastrophism. In a recent Power Surge, we have already discussed one instance sited in the letter, involving the resignation of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever from the American Physical Society. The letter, while generally on point, nevertheless falls short of identifying a deeper problem that makes the global warming campaign possible: the system of science-by-taxation where bureaucrats funnel expropriated wealth into scientific pursuits they have no genuine interest or expertise in, under the flag of a nebulous “public interest.” The predictable result is that what’s served is not science, but any research project that plausibly claims to unearth a potential calamity justifying more funding and an expansion of the bureaucrats’ powers. My recent piece at MasterResource looks more closely at a social mechanism behind the widespread acceptance of bad science.