Stepping outside of my usual blog posts to offer a bit of history which some of my readers may not know much about. It was ten years ago today that my first-ever online article appeared, and it had nothing to do with the false accusation about ‘Big Coal & Oil’ paying skeptic climate scientists to spread lies undercutting Al Gore’s ‘settled global warming science.’
The piece appeared November 8th, 2008 at AmericanThinker.com, “Global Warming and Local Politics.” Not especially long after I wrote it, I see in hindsight – as many others likely also see – a significant amount of naiveté where I predicted how a particular set of politicians would become more enlightened about the existence of skeptic climate scientists and thus persuaded to prompt a very prominent and long overdue science debate for the public’s benefit. I genuinely believed policymakers who were endorsing various cap-and-trade initiatives at the time were simply ignorant about the skeptic side of the issue. If one state could set the example of breaking through the barrier preventing impartial science debate, others would follow.
The reason for my belief was twofold: First, I had never seen Al Gore’s 2006 movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” with its pivotal moment being the comparison of a supposedly leaked fossil fuel industry memo to a leaked tobacco industry memo. Second, although I had vaguely heard something about the accusation that skeptic climate scientists were no different than shill ‘experts’ who worked directly for tobacco companies, I dismissed the accusation as being utterly illogical. From all the science material I had read during 2008 — I had quit my job in January and thus had lots of free time to do so — I could not fathom how such detailed and wide-ranging climate science assessments could be pure concocted fabrications created in the conference rooms of oil or coal companies, unlike the basic plausibility concerning lines about ‘cigarettes aren’t addictive’ / ‘the science of what causes lung cancer is unsettled’ being outright lies created by tobacco industry executives.
So, over the next year up until late 2009, I operated on that basis, continuing to ask politicians and policymakers why they were ignoring skeptic climate scientists. It was only through reading a growing amount of climate issue discussion that a clear picture began to form: more and more people were ignoring skeptic climate scientists’ viewpoints because of the sheer effectiveness of the smear campaign against those scientists. I finally fully understood the effectiveness of the smear later in the year when I coincidentally re-read a 2008 hobbyist forum blog post within a week of getting a particular answer from a reporter during our online conversation on my questions of why a major news outlet was ignoring those skeptics.
The connecting link there was how each mentioned Ross Gelbspan. Within just the first day of simply trying to figure out who he was, it was unavoidable to see how widespread his accusation was. However, I also ran into the first indicator of a potentially fatal problem with the accusation: a pair of irreconcilable differences on whether he was the first person to ‘expose’ what I later discovered were worthless memos which supposedly were ‘smoking gun’ corruption evidence against skeptic climate scientists.
Ask why skeptic climate scientists are excluded from having a say in the global warming issue; find out they are accused of engaging in corporate-paid corruption; see if there is any validity at all to the accusation; discover the accusation is totally without merit and is surrounded by inexplicably inconsistent narratives about it and the core people who push it.
That’s ultimately how I got here, to this blog post today.
Why I am here is best illustrated by what happened only days ago, after I read a November 4, 2018 article in the Arizona Republic newspaper about an environmentalist group’s efforts, subtitled “Looking for an antidote to today’s toxic politics? The Citizens’ Climate Lobby has a refreshing approach.” When I emailed the author to politely ask why she excluded mentioning the other ‘non-toxic antidote’ alternative action of citizens and sound science advocacy groups trying to convince members of Congress that the idea of catastrophic man-caused global warming is not based on sound science, her response arguably edged rather far into toxic territory:
The climate-deniers position is not backed up by science and I have no obligation to further nonsense.
That, coming from one of the main opinion editors of a newspaper having a circulation of around 400,000 on the day of her article’s publication. Much like the PBS NewsHour (which also uses similar language in connection with its declarations about the certainty of the ‘settled science’), searchers will have a very hard time finding any fair treatment of skeptic climate scientists at that newspaper. But how many millions of viewers does the NewsHour have?
These two examples point to a situation far larger than just science discussions. It’s a massively serious problem when the mainstream media doesn’t tell the public the complete story of a critically important issue.
That is why I’m here. As the late Andrew Breitbart said in 2011, “All we did was ask of the mainstream media was to correct their bias problem … but as a result of that, when they wouldn’t correct themselves, citizens … said, ‘if you are not going to correct yourself, we’re going to create a media in the wake of your incompetency.’”
And I’m here because the people at AmericanThinker saw fit to ask me to turn my email tip to them about an obscure Arizona election result into a full piece they could put online. I’m indebted to them for the opportunity. Below is the full text of my original article, but the broken web links are fixed, and color highlighting has been added along with helpful screencapture image links.
“Global Warming and Local Politics”
November 8, 2008
A fairly obscure local race in Arizona may have national implications. One of our Arizona Corporation Commission Republican candidates has apparently won his tight race against a hugely funded Democrat candidate. Of the more than 1.6+ million votes cast for the two, the margin of victory was 462. A conservative majority in the ACC, which regulates our electric utility companies, may single-handedly initiate the debate that never happened on AGW. Only one candidate was needed to accomplish that majority. This 9/21/08 Arizona Republic article about the Western Climate Initiative plan summed it up:
Indeed, much of the plan’s fate appears hinged to the Nov. 4 general election, when voters will determine the new makeup of the Legislature and Corporation Commission.
Both entities, now dominated by Republicans, will play a key role in whether the climate initiative is implemented or largely mothballed.
That was stunning news at the time, so to find out more, I dived right into the WCI’s web site and the one for my own Governor Napolitano’s Arizona Climate Action Initiative. Well, predictably the WCI seems to base its existence on wholesale acceptance of IPCC reports. As for the ACAI, it appears their entire reason for being is based on Napolitano’s assumption that the science of AGW has been settled. Period. Sure enough, the study group the Governor established, the “Climate Change Action Group”, confirms this outright in its 2006 report:
While some CCAG members may hold differing opinions about the science of climate change, the CCAG agreed at the outset of its deliberations not to debate climate change science in order to achieve the directive of Executive Order 2005-02 and move the CCAG process forward.
Not surprisingly, the ACAI’s “Climate change — Science” web page is word-for-word the same as the WCI’s “Climate Change – Science” page, with the exception of two missing paragraphs. Start checking into the other partners and observers of the WCI and you see the same thing. They are all operating on the idea that the IPCC is infallible and that a “growing scientific consensus” or similar words to that effect validate AGW conclusions. The currently operating Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative only mentions the consensus, with no reference to the IPCC to be seen anywhere on its web site that I could find.
So I asked Governor Napolitano a month ago, via her web page contact, about the wisdom of endorsing the WCI plan when there is a plausible shadow of a doubt about AGW — as a former Attorney General, she is familiar with that concept and the problems of not explaining away doubt about such subjects. No response yet. No responses directly to the shadow of a doubt problem from any of the other Governors and Canadian Premiers who are partners or observers with the WCI. I did receive a few responses of general appreciation for my concern, deflective statements about the benefits of less pollution and the need to search for for new sources of energy, or notes that my inquiry would be forwarded to their resident climate change experts. Only one of those experts responded, with general appreciation for my concern and deflective statements about the benefits of less pollution and the need to search for for new sources of energy.
My unanswered questions are simple: how do the Governors/Premiers and WCI justify a plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions when there are expert climatologists who say global warming may very well be caused by natural events beyond our control? Why do they say a “consensus” is enough to support their assumptions, while failing to explain away the presence of numerous AGW skeptic scientists? How do they explain the fundamental faults found in the IPCC reports and the appearance of agenda-driven IPCC motives? Why do these people offer no reaction to this? How can they have credibility in offering plans to solve AGW when there are such crippling problems with the idea of AGW itself?
There are myriad problems with the IPCC’s conclusions. Just one example of a serious “shadow of a doubt” is detailed in this Jan 2005 Washington Post article about the major dispute an NOAA hurricane researcher had with his then-current colleagues at the IPCC. For an example of agenda-driven politics, look no further than this American Thinker story about one of the most prominent scientists criticizing the science and motives of the IPCC, Dr. S Fred Singer.
And finally, everyone loves a good conspiracy angle, especially one aimed at the pro-AGW side. Quoting one of the losing Arizona Corporation Commission candidates prior to the election, Republican Marian McClure said about Democrat Sam George’s enormous campaign budget: “How much money does one person have to have to put a half-million into getting a job? It boggles the mind.” Perhaps his motivations go beyond his public ‘solar advocation’ platform…… if only it were that simple. Sam George is the former Sam Vagenas.
Sam Vagenas is one of the most interesting characters in recent Arizona political history. As a consultant, Vagenas made an absurd amount of money pushing the pot passions of lefty billionaires John Sperling, George Soros, and Peter B. Lewis in states around the country.
With their financial backing, Vagenas helped pass two pro-marijuana ballot initiatives here, only to see his efforts gutted by the Legislature. (He had to give up his third attempt because its clumsy phrasing would have freed medical marijuana users to deal drugs to kids – and actually required the Department of Public Safety to give out pot, for free. No joke.)