The Hoax of Climate Denial

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The Hoax of Climate Denial  Empty The Hoax of Climate Denial

Post by Guest on Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:28 pm

Naomi Oreskes is professor of the history of science and affiliated professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University and co-author, with Erik Conway, of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Her latest book with Erik Conway is The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. This article was first published by TomDispatch.

Recently, the Washington Post reported new data showing something most of us already sense: that increased polarization on Capitol Hill is due to the way the Republican Party has lurched to the right. The authors of the study use Senator John McCain to illustrate the point. McCain's political odyssey is, in some dismaying sense, close to my own heart, since it highlights the Republican turn against science.

As unlikely as it might seem today, in the first half of the twentieth century the Republicans were the party that most strongly supported scientific work, as they recognized the diverse ways in which it could undergird economic activity and national security. The Democrats were more dubious, tending to see science as elitist and worrying that new federal agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health would concentrate resources in elite East Coast universities.

In recent decades, of course, the Republicans have lurched rightward on many topics and now regularly attack scientific findings that threaten their political platforms. In the 1980s, they generally questioned evidence of acid rain; in the 1990s, they went after ozone science; and in this century, they have launched fierce attacks not just on climate science, but in the most personal fashion imaginable on climate scientists.

While Senator McCain didn’t go directly down the path of attacking science, he, too, shifted in disturbing ways. After all, with Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, he had been a co-sponsor of the Climate Stewardship Acts of 2003, 2005, and 2007, which called for a mandatory cap-and-trade system to control greenhouse gas emissions. These were at the time endorsed by many Democrats and most environmental groups. By 2010, however, he was retreating fast from support for his own bill and insisting that he had never backed capping carbon emissions “at a certain level.” He now calls for increased offshore oil and gas drilling, claims that important aspects of energy policy should be left to state and local governments, and has criticized both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for framing climate change as a national security issue -- a position that the Pentagon itself endorses.

Still, compared to many of his colleagues, McCain looks like a moderate. They have dismissed climate change as a fraud and a hoax, while conducting McCarthy-esque inquiries into the research of leading climate scientists. Many of them attack climate science because they fear it will be used as an excuse to expand the reach of government.

In a hearing at which I testified last month, Republican members of the Committee on Natural Resources denounced a wide range of scientific investigations related to the enforcement of existing environmental laws as “government science.” And this, they alleged, meant it was, by definition, corrupt, politically driven, and lacking in accountability. The particular science under attack involved work done by, or on behalf of, federal agencies like the National Parks Service, but climate science came in for its share of insults as well.

On the face of it, the charges were absurd: most agency science is subject to far more scrutiny, accountability, and oversight, including multiple levels of peer review, than research done in academic settings. In contrast, research done under the aegis of industry is often subject to no public accountability at all.

In preparing my testimony, however, I realized that something far larger was at stake: the issue of politically driven science itself. It’s often claimed that environmental science done in federal agencies is “politically driven” and therefore suspect. It was, I realized, time to challenge the presumption that such science is bad science. While widely held, the idea is demonstrably false. Moreover, the suggestion that “government science” is intrinsically problematic for Republicans who eschew big government ignores the simple fact that most of the major contributions of the twentieth century, at least in the physical sciences, came from just such government science.

History shows that much -- maybe most -- science is driven by political, economic, or social goals. Some of the best science in the history of our country was focused on goals that were explicitly political. Consider the Manhattan Project. During World War II, scientists mobilized to determine the details of fission reactions, isotope separation, high-temperature and high-pressure metallurgy, and many more matters for the purpose of building an atomic bomb. The political goal of stopping Adolf Hitler and the sense that the future of the world might depend on their success provided a powerful motivation to get the science right.

Or take the space program. The United States first developed advanced rocketry to threaten the Soviet Union with nuclear destruction. The political goal of “containing” Communism was a powerful motivation for scientists. In later years, the goal of maintaining peace through the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction similarly motivated scientists to ensure that the weapons they developed would go where sent, and work as advertised when they got there.

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Loads more to read on the link

Catch you all later


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The Hoax of Climate Denial  Empty Re: The Hoax of Climate Denial

Post by Guest on Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:22 pm

Unfortunately didge you have to offset that nonsense against the hoax of climate change, which is NOT that climate change isnt happening (it is) NOR that man is to whatever extent at least partially reponsible (he is)

No the first HOAX of climate change is that we all need to pay crippling taxes to "cure it" (we dont)

the second is that the taxes we are paying are actually going towards dealing with climate change...(they are not)


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The Hoax of Climate Denial  Empty Re: The Hoax of Climate Denial

Post by Guest on Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:29 pm

I take your points Victor and completely agree.


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