One obvious parallel between climate change and conspiracies is that proponents of climate change have made numerous predictions about the effects of climate change. Like predictions about martial law and FEMA camps, very few of these predictions have come true.
The numerous doomsday predictions of climate scientists are well-documented, although few media sources compare the actual climate events to the sensational headlines from between 10 and 30 years ago. Partial lists can be found in sources as varied as the Washington Times, Townhall.com, and Daily Tech. A more complete list can be found on WattsUpWithThat.com. These failed predictions include:
· In 1989, a senior UN climate scientist said that nations could be destroyed by climate change by the year 2000.
· In the late 1980s, Dr. James Hansen of NASA predicted that New York’s West Side Highway would be underwater in 20-30 years and that severe droughts would lead restaurants to serve water by request only.
· In 2000, Dr. David Viner said that snow would soon be “a very rare and exciting event” and that “children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” Recent winters in both the UK and the US have set records for snowfall and low temperatures.
· In 2005, the UN warned that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010.
· In 2006, Al Gore predicted in “An Inconvenient Truth” that sea levels would rise enough to threaten Pacific island nations. This was merely one of many fallacies in Gore’s movie.
· In 2006, Al Gore said that we had “10 years” to act on global warming.
Like proponents of other conspiracy theories, global warming alarmists are undaunted when their predictions fail. Like believers in martial law and FEMA concentration camps, global warming proponents simply revise their theory to explain the delay and change the dates on their predictions.
Perhaps because of the inaccuracy of these predictions, the term “global warming” has largely been replaced by the more ambiguous term “climate change.” Climate change can be blamed for a number of weather phenomena that global warming cannot. While denying that cold weather is proof against global warming, proponents simultaneously blame both hot and cold weather on climate change. The Daily Caller and the Daily Signal have both compiled lists of things that alarmists attribute to climate change. As other conspiracy theorists twist news stories to fit their theory, climate change proponents also frequently find a climatological angle to events of the day. Some of the things attributed to global warming include droughts, Ebola, rape, and the Syrian civil war.
The term “climate change” probably also entered the vernacular because global warming apparently stopped about 20 years ago in the late 1990s. Climate scientists who disagreed with the “consensus” wrote as early as 2006 that warming had plateaued. No computer models predicted this pause in warming and climate change theorists initially did not even admit that it was occurring. Today the response ranges from denial that there is a global warming hiatus to adjusting theories to fit the new facts. Revising theories is true to the scientific method, but climatic computer models should be taken with a grain of salt until they can accurately predict future climate changes, rather than simply explaining what has already happened.
Recent revelations that 2014 was the “hottest year in recorded history” often fail to note that recorded climate observations only go back to 1880, notes Robert Tracinski in The Federalist. Also missing from the stories is that the increase in 2014 was 0.02 degrees Celsius, which is far less than the margin of error of 0.10 degrees Celsius. Rising sea levels can be explained by the fact that sea levels have been rising since before the 20th century. In fact, a NASA graph shows that sea levels have been rising since the last glacial maximum 25,000 years ago. Rising temperatures and rising seas are both far less than predicted by global warming alarmists.
Although warming proponents widely believe that humans are contributing to climate change, they do not claim that this is being done purposefully to destroy the world. Where is the conspiracy that turns the theory of climate change into a conspiracy theory?
Alarmists might argue that the conspiracy comes from a conspiracy of oil companies to undercut climate change activists, presumably selling out the world’s future for short-term oil profits. To the alarmists, this excuses ad hominem attacks against skeptics, commonly derided as “deniers.”
The reality is that there is a proven conspiracy to silence climate change skeptics. In 2009, a hacker stole 1,000 emails and 3,000 documents from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and posted them online. Another 5,000 emails were hacked and released in 2011. As James Taylor wrote in Forbes, the emails show that many scientists who contribute to IPCC reports engaged in deception and tried to conceal how weak the data supporting manmade climate change really was. Additionally, the emails showed that researchers were at a loss to explain both the recent global warming hiatus and the Medieval Warm Period, a 400 year period from the 9th to the 13th centuries when the Earth was warmer than it is today.
Alarmists use several methods to stifle dissent. A popular claim is that there is a strong scientific consensus on global warming and that 97 percent of scientists are in agreement. Joseph Bast and Dr. Roy Spencer found the 97 percent claim baseless when they examined it in a 2014 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. In 2013, Forbes reported that a peer-reviewed study of earth scientists, engineers, and meteorologists found that only 36 percent considered global warming a crisis. The majority believed that global warming was a natural phenomenon and/or not a serious problem.
Many scientists may not want to publicly identify as skeptics. There are numerous reports of harassment of scientists and public figures who are skeptical of climate change alarmism. As far back as 2005, there were indications that skeptical papers were not being published in the prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals. The bias against skeptical papers may well explain the small number of papers published by skeptical scientists. Earlier this year, NPR reported on harassment of skeptics by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.). Some, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., have called skepticism “treason” and called for skeptics to be jailed. In another recent case, Western Washington University students tried to have the college degree of self-proclaimed “climate agnostic” Doug Erickson, a state senator from Washington, revoked by the university.
The bottom line of the debate may be whether climate alarmists put their money where their mouths are. There seems to have been no exodus of wealthy, liberal, climate refugees from low-lying coastal cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco to higher ground in “flyover country.” In fact, in 2010 Al Gore purchased an ocean-view mansion in California. In Florida, people will learn about climate change – and irony - at the new Frost Museum of Science, a $300 million facility located in Miami at about eight feet above sea level.
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