How the Left’s Global Warming Ideology Wrecked Science—And How to Stop It (Pt. 1)

by | Jan 22, 2024 | Environmentalism

We don’t have a “climate crisis,” we have a crisis of lying about climate. It’s time for a sensible energy policy that rejects junk science and promotes prosperity.

A culture of lying has metastasized around the theory of man-made global warming since its emergence as a prominent political movement in the 1990s. That it has become more politics than science is quite telling.

The lies are everywhere: Unreliable computer modeling has replaced empirical observation; observed temperature values are manipulated when they don’t conform to the narrative; the baseless assumptions and false premises at the root of the theory; the fake consensus of “experts” and scientists; the fundamental problems with “green energy”; false claims that storms and wildfires have gotten more common and severe; and the ever more inaccurate predictions of climate doom.

The pronouncements by adherents of net-zero and decarbonization policies have grown progressively more hysterical, in direct proportion to the lack of available evidence of the efficacy of those policies. All the while, if the media reports on the scientific debate at all it does so using straw man arguments and ad hominem attacks to minimize those who question the science behind the theory. More often, the corporate media simply goes more radical in the language used to assume the crisis and inject it into every story, regardless of subject.

The lies create a storm of misinformation founded on junk science, which hides a plain truth: No scientific analysis of the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) can prove a causal effect on global temperatures, at least to the extent claimed by the alarmists. This is because the central assumption fundamental to the entire theory—the correlation of increased atmospheric CO2 since the Industrial Revolution began in the late 19th century—has never been proven as the cause of temperature fluctuations.

That’s right. The entire movement mixes up the fundamental rule every freshman college math student learns in statistics: Correlation is NOT causation.

This report will show that the Left’s Cult of Scientism has never proven its claims about CO2­ causing global warming. Moreover, we offer a powerful alternative to the Left’s grim future of poverty, authoritarianism, and depopulation. Our goal is to equip Americans with a keen understanding of the true goals of the radicals using the environment to deny human advancement. This will play a vital role in 2024 and beyond, as they have told us they will never stop.

The Greatest Lie Ever Told

The theory of anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming (AGW) has led to a massive accrual of political power among globalists, radical “progressives,” leftist nonprofits, and authoritarians over the past 30-plus years. Exposing that is critical to understanding the ulterior motives of those pushing junk climate science. If the theory held water, wouldn’t every human jump on board to save the planet? Why do the solutions have to be mandatory?

Across that period, proponents’ “solutions” have failed to affect the Earth’s climate. Yet what has been affected is the size and scope of the governments which have adopted these radical goals.

Whether it’s the United Nations, the European Union and its member states, the World Economic Forum, the United States of America, nations across the rest of the free world, or billionaire jet-setters who feel guilty about their massive wealth, societies and thought leaders that once based their economic activity on some level of free-market capitalism have allowed themselves to be subsumed by an endless desire for top-down regulations and non sequitur wealth redistribution in the name of “saving” the environment—eroding liberty and installing a command economy in its place.

The longer the Earth goes without proving the theory, the more wild-eyed the predictions of doom get, and the more its adherents resemble members of a cult—call it the Cult of Scientism—instead of actual scientists. Indeed, the more the facts get in the way, the bigger the lies get.

As American voters have shown in poll after poll, global warming—or climate change, or global boiling, or whichever new phrase is trotted out—continues to dwell at the bottom of the list of problems they want government to fix. That becomes especially apparent when voters consider the proposed solutions: Massive redistribution of wealth, equity schemes, big government intrusion into our private lives, unreliable and expensive “green” energy, and all of the unreasonable demands to curtail human progress.

In fact, the “solutions” go beyond mere inconveniences that require every human to do with a little less, as the cult members often claim. We are to be shamed or worse for our “overconsumption” of nutritious food, desire to travel freely and explore the world and its many cultures, innate right to own and work our own land, and wish to pay less for the convenient energy that powers human progress. Any challenge to the solutions will often meet with responses ranging from ad hominem attacks, to accusations of greed, to public protests that interrupt daily life, to destruction of property (not to mention priceless works of art), to personal threats.

Challenges to the AGW theory have led its proponents to go on the offensive. Instead of engaging in debate and winning on scientific arguments, zealots have waged war in a near-complete takeover of the corporate media by activist organizations, collaborations with Big Tech to censor opposing viewpoints, and “flooding the zone” with false assumptions and junk science.

US POLITICS ENERGY
Democrats Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (L) and Sen. Ed Markey (R)

The Green New Deal is Here

In the chaos of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, the fractures between The Squad / Bernie Bros and establishment Democrats felt insurmountable, severely threatening their challenge to the reelection of Donald Trump. The candidates who filed to run for the Democratic nomination were a rogues’ gallery of unelectable radical leftists, and the Democrat establishment knew it. Party elites also knew they couldn’t win without bringing the Bernie Sanders supporters and the radical “progressives” back into the fold. So they marketed Joe Biden as the “moderate” alternative to voters, while promising the Left that Biden would implement the Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal, first introduced at a press conference in 2019 by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D–MA), originally took the form of a congressional resolution. It harkened back to the 1930s New Deal, a series of laws and executive orders signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt designed to create federal government intervention into the free market with the (unsuccessful) goal of ending the Great Depression.

The Green New Deal proposed a set of similarly massive federal programs to artificially create jobs in the prophesized “green economy,” set the United States on a path to “net-zero” CO2 emissions, and subsidize alternative forms of energy to end our use of “fossil fuels.”

As a result of this compromise, when Joe Biden was declared president in 2021 he set about undoing every policy enacted by the Trump administration, no matter how successful or well-received by the American public. That included stealth-implementing the Green New Deal via executive order, beginning with his first day in the Oval Office. This action put the U.S. back into the Obama-era Paris Accords on climate change, revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline expansion, and stopped new oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Despite its claims to the contrary, the Biden administration has placed expensive and onerous restrictions on the domestic extraction of “fossil fuels,” while simultaneously begging global adversaries like Venezuela to sell us more oil to bring prices down.

Biden then doubled down in 2022 with the passage of his signature legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, a name he later said he regretted. The IRA really amounts to a giveaway of trillions in federal funding to every green boondoggle imaginable, adding to our runaway national debt while subsidizing green energy that could not otherwise compete in a truly free market. The effects of this sweeping legislation are still being discovered.

The U.S. government, the UN, the WEF, the EU, Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates—none of them could have made so many moves to undermine human progress without a quasi-religious reliance on junk science, bad public policy, and a refusal to properly observe the world around them. A sensible national energy policy would reject the extremist rhetoric of pseudoscience and refuse to line the pockets of the political elite, instead building upon proven strategies that would enhance human progress, allow for more personal liberty, and create conditions where the environment would thrive alongside the inevitable growth in personal wealth and prosperity for all.

Understanding the Greatest Hoax of All Time

The theory of anthropogenic global warming rests on some basic principles that people intuitively understand. Almost everyone has seen a greenhouse, and even with the sorry state of modern science education most folks can understand how they work when explained in layman’s terms.

The greenhouse concept scales up to atmospheric conditions, in which heat from the sun only partially dissipates into space after reflecting off Earth’s surface. We know the atmosphere forms a protective layer against asteroids, cosmic rays, and excess sunlight. Just compare Earth to our moon or other planets in the solar system, and it’s obvious how fortunate we are to live on a planet uniquely suited to human life.

Every human has conscience and self-awareness, which makes us question our effects on the world around us—other humans, animals, plants, the entire universe of actions we take can have consequences we often ponder. Throughout history, humans have often created environmental messes requiring significant clean-up and we’ve vowed never to make those same mistakes again. So it seems natural to wonder if we’re creating pollution every time people extract the raw materials necessary for modern life and human achievement and consume, burn, or otherwise dispose of them.

Climate Change is an Obvious Myth

When we’re told by some scientists that the Earth is catastrophically warming, and human activity might have had irreversible effects on the entire global climate, most people sit up and take notice. Very few are sadistic enough to want to destroy our home; most honestly want to help if there is a problem. We ask questions like, “What is the proof that carbon dioxide is the cause of global warming?” and “How do we know the Earth has warmed catastrophically?” We want to understand the problem, so we can fix it. “Will the solutions you propose solve the problem?” We want to be able to trust the folks who tell us we’ve doomed our planet to destruction. We want to know whether the proposed solutions, like so-called green energy, reducing carbon emissions to pre-industrial levels, and halting human progress are even possible, and will have the reparatory effects claimed.

When so many lies are offered in response to the basic questions, public trust naturally erodes. When that becomes the knee-jerk reaction to any question on the topic, this is where cult-like behavior reveals itself.

Taking a Baseball Bat to the Hockey Stick

Professor Michael E. Mann, now at the University of Pennsylvania, has gained international prominence writing about and speaking about the average global temperature graphs he published in peer-reviewed literature in 1998 and 1999. Those graphs resemble a hockey stick laying on its side, for the sudden sharp upward turn they take in modern times. The famous Hockey Stick graph claims to show unequivocal proof that the earth has experienced a spike in warming since the Industrial Revolution and humanity’s growing reliance on “fossil fuels.”

Mann is one of the godfathers of the climate catastrophist movement. He was one of eight lead authors on a chapter in the 2001 Third Climate Assessment Report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), convened by the UN. That chapter, “Observed Climate Variability and Change,” featured Mann’s Hockey Stick graphs in several sections.

This point is vital, and bears repeating. The groundbreaking research claims to show a spike in average global temperature unprecedented in the last two thousand years. This sits at the foundation of all global warming science.

michael mann
Michael Mann

Mann and his co-authors mathematically reconstructed historic temperature records for two thousand years, based on “climate proxy records,” and created a new statistical analysis method to interpret these data. Those proxy records included tree ring data from higher latitudes in Russia and North America, based on the familiar notion that narrow tree rings indicate slow growth due to a cold year, and wider tree rings indicate faster growth during warm years.

These papers and the underlying data have faced withering criticism over the years, especially after they gained prominence in the 2001 IPCC report, and Al Gore’s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Mann et. al. chose to interpret tree ring growth as solely dependent on average air temperature, discounting other variables like availability of moisture, sunshine, or nutrients on tree rings.

Many climatologists, physicists, economists, mathematicians, and other academics and pundits have since picked apart every aspect of Mann’s reconstruction, from the sample of trees used in the reconstruction, to his refusal to release his “proprietary” statistical methods so others could repeat his analysis, to his aggressive pursuit of critics via lawsuit. Mann even created an ad hoc group colloquially called “The Hockey Team” to refute his growing number of critics. Generally, their counterattacks often fail to address the scientific criticisms head-on, boiling down to accusing Mann’s critics of shilling for Big Oil.

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Mann’s (in)famous hockey stick graph

Mann has also been dogged by allegations that his data is manipulated at best and manufactured at worst. Mann took center stage in the 2009 “Climategate” email scandal, which centered on emails between climate scientists in 2003. A whistleblower leaked private emails between Mann and his collaborators at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

A group of researchers met in Tanzania in 1999 to work on the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Third Assessment Report that would have reported the science behind the latest understanding of anthropogenic global warming and what governments around the globe should do about it.

One big problem: the director of CRU at East Anglia, Dr. Keith Briffa, had run his own temperature reconstruction, and it showed a decline in average temperatures in the late 20th century. It clearly and inconveniently did not match the other models.

The Briffa reconstruction (or “Briffa decline”) took on new urgency for the Third Assessment authors. According to the leaked emails, “everyone in the room at IPCC” thought it was a problem. Pressure mounted on Briffa to show “unprecedented warming.” The pressure was so great, Briffa emailed his graph to Mann.

In the leaked emails, Mann consciously reveals his awareness that the temperature discrepancies cause the message to become “water[ed] down” and says, “the skeptics [would] have a field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates.” So he came up with a trick which became known to the IPCC lead authors as “Mike’s Nature Trick.” Put simply, Mann deleted the problematic tree ring reconstruction data after 1960 that failed to conform to the temperature spike theory and replaced it with data from temperature stations. Thus the decline became a spike, when combined with the models produced by other authors. Since then, critics have pointed out that those two types of data are completely incompatible.

Briffa later went on to serve as lead author of a chapter in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment report in 2007.

When Dr. Tim Ball, a retired geography and climatology professor in British Columbia, said Mann deserved to spend time in the “state pen” instead of Penn. State (his employer at the time) for his “trick,” Mann sued him. The expensive and time-consuming lawsuit stretched on for 9 years before the Canadian Supreme Court dismissed it, awarding court costs and legal fees to Dr. Ball. Ball died before he could collect—meanwhile, Mann continues to publicly claim the court didn’t dismiss the suit based on its merits and called the 83-year-old Dr. Ball’s honesty into question until Ball’s death in 2022.

Mann also sued conservative commentor and radio host Mark Steyn after he said Penn. State handled the controversy over the hockey stick graph similarly to how they handled former football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of multiple counts of child rape. Steyn’s case is still pending, 11 years later.

In both suits, the defendants rebutted libel allegations by arguing that they had the truth on their side. In both trials’ discovery phase, Mann steadfastly refused to reveal the r2 regression analysis he used to reconstruct the historical temperature data, a standard statistics tool used to validate the mathematical analysis. Mann claimed the data were “proprietary” and lost several motions (and the entire Ball case) due to his refusal to submit them for discovery.

During his trial, Ball submitted his own historical temperature reconstruction graph in his defense. Relying on his decades of experience and scientific study, along with his academic training, Ball concluded that not only could nobody prove significant warming in the late 20th century, but that Mann had minimized the “Little Ice Age” of the 17th and 18th centuries and several very warm centuries before that. The significance goes to demonstrate Mann minimized much wider historical variations in average temperature than what he claims for the 20th century.

According to Ball’s chart, not only does the 20th century spike not exist to the extent claimed by Mann, but much wider swings occurred within the past millennium, debunking the myth that any temperature anomalies today are out of the historic norm. Despite propaganda to the contrary, many climatologists today agree with Ball’s reconstruction over that done by Mann.

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Dr. Tim Ball

The High Priests of Scientism

One would think this would spell the end of the hockey stick’s prominence. But between Mann’s public and aggressive attacks on his critics and the centrality of it to the argument that humans and governments need to do something, it miraculously lives on.

So does the criticism. In fact, just in November 2023 Dr. Judith Curry, the former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech and author of several books on climate, tweeted this:

New article by @ClimateAudit is astonishing: Michael Mann’s Other Nature Trick. Hockey stick wars could have been prevented decades ago by simple honesty. Now the hockey war lives on with Mann’s lawsuit against @MarkSteynOnline & the forthcoming trial.

After the Climategate scandal broke in 2009, Curry began criticizing the IPCC and many of the scientists involved for not sufficiently addressing concerns about the science. At one point, Scientific American called her a “heretic” for taking her criticisms public instead of “trying to work differences out at conferences.” They lament the respected climatologist “taking the side of skeptics,” in an attempt to “figure[e] out how to shape the public debate.” But she really began reconsidering her position after she published a peer-reviewed paper in 2005 linking more powerful hurricanes to climate change. When she received criticism that she took as constructive, she realized she’d failed to take natural variability seriously enough in her analysis.

For her open-mindedness, Dr. Curry was pilloried by the protectors of the climate narrative for “doing damage to the consensus,” according to Scientific American, which has only driven her further away.

Curry has long embraced scientific debate, unlike those who push the “climate consensus.” The article she highlighted points out another statistical trick pulled by Mann in his 1998 and 1999 papers that has long eluded critics, precisely because he refused to reveal his statistical methods. In that article, Steve McIntyre, a Canadian statistician who has criticized Mann almost as long as the hockey stick has existed, wrote:

Mann et al (1998) reported that the reconstruction consisted of 11 steps and, in the original SI (current link), reported the number of proxies (some of which were principal component series) for each step – 112 in the AD1820 network and 22 in the AD1400 network.  As we later observed, the table of verification statistics did not include Mann’s verification r2 results. Verification r2 is one of the most commonly used statistics and is particularly valuable as a check against overfitting in the calibration period.

Recall that Mann has never released his verification r2, even when required under the rules of discovery when he sued Ball and Steyn in separate lawsuits. McIntyre continues:

Although Mann claimed statistical “skill” for each of the eleven steps, he did not archive results of the 11 individual step reconstructions. In 2003, we sought these results, ultimately filing a formal complaint with [peer-reviewed journal] Nature. But, to its continuing discredit, Nature supported Mann’s withholding of these results.  Despite multiple investigations and litigations, Mann has managed to withhold these results for over 25 years.

It gets long and complicated, but boils down to this point: Many who have attempted to recreate Mann’s reconstructions in the 25 years since the publication of his papers have failed to do so, because the list of proxies he used to recreate temperatures in the time period 1400–1500 AD (as well as 1650 AD) included data from sources other than those he reported in his published articles.

It took this long for internet and statistical sleuths to suss out how he did this because of his decades-long refusal to release the real data sets. In other words, the principle components Mann claimed to use in his historical temperature recreations were not the ones he actually used. This could very well explain the discrepancy between his hockey stick graph and the graph created by Dr. Tim Ball in his own defense.

MikeNatureTrick

Falsifiability and repeatability are hallmarks of the scientific method. If others cannot verify your experimental results using the same methods you used, your theory cannot be considered scientifically rigorous. As of December 2023, Mann had yet to address the latest criticism on social media, preferring to post links to various interviews he’s done about his new book, or glowing reviews of the work he’s done and rewards he’s had conferred throughout his career.

Despite his silence, this new development, on top of decades of other important work attempting—and failing—to recreate Mann’s analysis goes to show the entire façade of the hockey stick has crumbled. This point cannot be overstated, as the hockey stick has served to underpin the worst of the climate alarmism, cultism, and junk science used to push governments to “Do Something NOW!” for decades.

In Part 2: Climate data is manipulated to exaggerate warming, green energy fails, consensus-driven science isn’t science, and a roadmap for a prosperous American energy future. Read it here

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