Climate Change is Obama's Iraq

Marita Noon
Issue CCXIV - October 24, 2009
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This year, amidst reports of cooling temperature, the climate change debate had apparently cooled as well. Then the Waxman/Markey Bill, pushing cap and trade as the solution for global warming, was introduced. Now, with President Obama addressing the UN and calling for extreme measures to prevent catastrophic consequences, suddenly it’s front page news again.
On the same day that Obama was presenting his dramatic message to the UN, the New York Times published an article acknowledging “global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may drop in the next few years.” Clearly the debate is not as one-sided as our leadership wants us to believe.
While Obama and his “alarmist” science czar, John Holdren, are moving forward, the polls repeatedly show lack of public and scientific support. Aggressive climate change measures rank last on almost any list of current crises; people do not think the issue is one on which our government should be focused.
I predict climate change will be Obama’s Iraq.
Bush went into Iraq based on his advisors’ belief that weapons of mass destruction awaited them. There seemed to be consensus. Even the Democrats voted in favor of war. Once US troops were there, no WMDs were found. But Bush did not pull out. Instead we spent billions of dollars and cost thousands of lives with minimal results—all based on bad advice. The public did not like the war. They did not want it. The failure in Iraq defined the Bush presidency, turning even his own party against him.
Obama’s advisors are telling him that climate change legislation is imperative. They believe there is consensus. But the temperatures have stabilized and dropped—despite increased CO2 emissions. Even the NYT admits that the declining temperatures will make legislation a hard sell to the public. But Obama is not backing down. He is willing to kill off the American economy based on bad advice. The people do not want it now and they will hate it later. We’ll spend billions of borrowed dollars for minimal results. The folly of climate change legislation will define his presidency and turn citizens against him.
Both Presidents succumbed to a type of herd mentality. When people pursue the same avenue all together, they tend to shut out all other ideas, and those avenues are not always the right ones. The “facts” become propaganda—forced into a pattern that is preordained, making them look firmly established.
You can see this in the Iraq war decision. But how does it apply to climate change?
Twenty years ago, in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Dr. Thomas Gold of Cornell University presented the hypothesis that science was reaching the place where new ideas were not being accepted. He stated, “A critical attitude is clearly required of every scientist. Whenever the established ideas are accepted uncritically, but conflicting new evidence is brushed aside and not reported because it does not fit, then that particular science is in deep trouble.” He postulates that, “there are long periods when uncritical acceptance of established ideas was a real hindrance to the pursuit of the new.”
Appling his ideas to today’s situation, I suggest that we are there now.
From a scientific viewpoint, when other motivations come into the act, judgment becomes cloudy, and decisions are not based on the ideal of evidence-based reasoning. This is where the problem lies. If support from peers and moral and financial consequences are at stake, then staying with the herd is the successful policy for the individual who is depending on them, but not the successful policy for the pursuit of pure science. If a large portion of the scientific community in one field is guided by the herd instinct, they cannot adopt another viewpoint. The justification becomes, “I believe that because everyone else does.” About the herd, Gold commented, “The sheep in the interior of the herd are well-protected from the bite in the ankle by the sheep dog.”
This has happened with climate change. The man-caused warming model has become the established fact—new evidence is “brushed aside.” Those scientists and others questioning the validity of the models are vilified as skeptics and deniers.

Hence bad science is “established.” Public policy is based on it.

Just like the herd agreed that there were WMDs—when there were not—the herd has decided that climate change is caused by man’s use of CO2 when, in fact, it is likely just the normal cycle of nature. We are attempting to battle climate change based on bad advice.

Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit, membership-based organization advocating for citizens rights to energy freedom. She can be reached at or Note: Several concepts featured here are culled from the Australian Institute of Geoscientists Spring Newsletter.

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