A “just askin’” post today for investigators with more reach / resources than I have, concerning the epic-level, decades-long defamation of skeptic climate scientists who stand accused of colluding with fossil fuel industry executives in disinformation to undercut the ‘settled science’ of catastrophic man-caused global warming. The fundamental question is, when exactly was that accusation formulated? What was the accusation meant to protect?
My long term educated guess was that it was meant to protect the line about ‘man-caused global warming’ which arose after the infamous summer of 1988, when NASA scientist James Hansen made his big “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate” splash at a congressional hearing on the topic. During my formative grade school / high school / college years, the prospect of imminent global cooling was all I ever heard about. But I missed a particularly creepy broadcast video about the dim prospects of a warming world from 1983.
Yeah, 1983. I found out about this video arising out of an alert of the latest “New Initiative on Climate Change” direction of the PBS “Nova” program, within which was a boast by Nova that their first program on the climate issue was their 1983 “The Climate Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect” program. Huh. News to me. So, I found it and watched it. Almost right off the bat at the 2:09 point, the program runs into a brick wall with Dr Walter Orr Roberts predicting
… by the year 2000, we expect we would be in a unprecedented new climatic regime, different from anything in the recorded history of mankind.
Probably not a single one of us could say the climate was one bit different in 2000 than what we experienced in 1983. But that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg concerning this video. I didn’t learn anything new from the video, it increasingly unfolded as a truly creepy thing to watch. It has every appearance of being a template to all that we see today in the climate issue – burning fossil fuels will only cause more warming / a conveyor belt of glaciers sliding off Antarctica to exponentially raise sea levels / a greenhouse effect comparable to what’s on Venus / a consensus of science opinion / zero opposing viewpoints from scientists disputing the idea of man-caused warming / and “if we don’t act now, it will be too late.” That last bit was at the 33:40 point. It got even more creepy from there, ultimately featuring then-Senator Al Gore and an ex-Jimmy Carter administrator advisor named Gus Speth. It was fairly obvious that this program was largely driven by the work of the late Dr Stephen Schneider, and the end credits proved that. No need to trust me on this, watch the video for yourselves:
An arrow the size of Texas pointing to a massive problem with this video – and the larger problem with the overall International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – is the bit at the 46:55 point where the narrator voiced a quote out of an EPA report as it also appeared on the screen, emphasizing the point that the EPA report itself …
No, no, no! That’s entirely backwards. You explore what the uncertainties are, find out if they have merit, and if you cannot prove that what little warming we’ve seen over the last 100 years is primarily driven by human activity, you do not then attempt to “reduce” the uncertainties at gunpoint. Proceeding with action based on a preconceived conclusion is the antithesis of critical thinking. It’s emotion-based rationale personified.
Who was it later in the IPCC pushing the idea that global warming mitigation could only proceed if uncertainties about the necessity of it were knocked down? Dr Stephen Schneider.
Meanwhile, the one single element widely seen today on a regular basis in the climate issue that’s not seen in this 1983 video is the accusation about ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists.’ The opposing viewpoints topic never comes up at all. Perhaps, just like me, the skeptic climate scientists were not aware of this 1983 video, or its 1986 rebroadcast, thus Dr Schneider & crew hadn’t yet seen opposition that needed to be dealt with.
When those skeptics did finally come out in force in 1990 questioning this overall catastrophic warming prediction, who was among the first in 1992 to equate skeptic climate scientists and the fossil fuel industry to the tobacco industry? Dr Stephen Schneider.
Who in 1992 were among the first imply the science was settled and that there was no need to to give “fair media balance” to the skeptic side of the issue – reduce the uncertainties about the science, in other words? As reported by Ross Gelbspan, it was Dr Stephen Schneider and Al Gore.
Then there is the aforementioned appearance of Gus Speth in the 1983 video. That’s James Gustav Speth. Later seen just one and two commas away from Ozone Action staffers John Passacantando and Phil Radford – that Ozone Action, don’t forget. And seen as a radio show guest booked right alongside Kert Davies. That Davies, of Ozone Action and in anti-Exxon efforts, don’t forget. Convenient, isn’t it, that Gus Speth wrote a 2008 book citing Ross Gelbspan’s suggestion that skeptic scientists don’t deserve fair media balance – an effort reduce the uncertainties about the science, in other words? And Gelbspan then turns right around to write a glowing Washington Post review of Speth’s book? Interesting, isn’t it, that Speth is currently still Facebook Friends with Ross Gelbspan?
But back to the 1983 Nova video. For me, it didn’t answer a solitary question on whether the notion of catastrophic man-caused global warming was ever a solid, settled science discussion, it only prompts further questions on whether everything within the video was a template for everyone to follow afterward – minus the bit about ‘crooked skeptics.’ The highly suspect assembly of it in light of how its talking points are pretty much identical to what we see today should prompt the same questions from my assorted climate issue friends. The creepiest line in the whole program came at the 52:02 point, where the narrator says,
To apply the brakes now, to introduce policies to avert the possibility of crisis ahead demands a long range vision, and politicians rarely hold office for more than a few years …”
Look again at the screencapture of Speth’s 2021radio interview, he said “we’ve run a forty-year experiment on whether we can rely on the federal government to rise to the occasion on this climate issue, and we know the results to that experiment are that they can’t and they won’t.”
Who’s we?? And doesn’t that imply that the who climate issue promulgation has been a plan this whole time to ram one side down the public’s throat while actively suppressing dissent about it? And wouldn’t plan also have to include a contingency effort to employ character assassination – to the point of crossing over into defamation territory – in order to protect the plan from total collapse?
Just askin.’ And maybe major investigators may need to ask the same thing, to figure out exactly when that character assassination effort first arose and exactly whose idea it was.