Why is true debate about the science behind “global warming” and the extent (if any) of the manmade threat to the planet so very rare? Late in 2006, the Institute for Public Policy Research, a Socialist think-tank in the UK, proposed that the Left should in future merely assert that there was no scientific dissent, the debate was over, and the Earth doomed - unless, of course, the economies of the free West were shut down as completely and as rapidly as possible.
Of all the elaborate lies that feed the climate scare, this was the most successful. Ever since it was first circulated, Leftist academics, scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, and journalists worldwide were relieved that they no longer had to argue against the mounting body of scientific evidence and data pointing to the fact that the influence of greenhouse gases on temperature is far smaller than the UN’s climate panel admits. They simply refused to debate the issue.
However, on rare occasions one of the true-believers in the New Religion is so appalled when the scientific truth is unexpectedly published that he becomes drawn into - horror of horrors - a real debate about the credibility of the science behind the scare.
In the April/May 2009 Journal of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London, Paul Maynard and I published an article entitled Let Cool Heads Prevail, expressing grave scientific doubt about the supposed magnitude of the anthropogenic effect on global temperature, and providing substantial evidence from the published data and from the peer-reviewed literature. Our article caught the insurance industry by surprise. Lloyds of London had publicly issued blood-curdling warnings of the climatic terrors allegedly to come. The Prince of Wales had established Climate Wise, a group of leading figures in the insurance market committed, in effect, to peddling and promulgating the scare, and to silencing all dissent. The market was sewn up. How, then, could no less an organ of academic opinion than the Journal have allowed two heretics - one of them a very senior and widely-respected figure in the insurance world - to publish a substantial and well-referenced paper demonstrating that the scare was scientifically baseless?
The first instinct of the true-believers was to try to prevent our paper from being published. However, the last vestiges of belief in free speech prevented an outright ban. Instead, a clumsy attempt was made to censor the paper, reducing its length substantially and cutting out its central scientific argument to the effect that the UN’s climate panel had prodigiously exaggerated the actually-minuscule effect of changes in atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations on global mean surface temperature.
My co-author, Paul Maynard, and I decided not to accept censorship. We made it clear that if our paper were not published in full, at the agreed length, we should arrange for publication elsewhere, with an additional paragraph pointing out that certain parties had wanted to censor the paper when it had been due to appear in the Journal.
Free speech prevailed. Our paper was published in full. This is what happened next:
- The leading firm of insurance brokers where Paul Maynard works was contacted and was pointedly asked whether it still adhered to the Climate Wise principles. The firm replied, splendidly, that it was also committed to free speech and to serious academic debate about the extent of the imagined threat to the climate.
- The Journal received, and printed in its next edition, a letter from the Chairman of Climate Wise comparing my co-author and me to flat-earthers who believed that the Earth was a disk carried on the back of a giant tortoise. The letter did not make any attempt to rebut even one of the scientific data or arguments we had presented.
- The Journal received, but did not print in its next edition, a very large number of letters supporting our paper’s conclusions.
- When we protested that the overwhelming majority of the letters in response to our paper had been supportive, but that all of these letters had been suppressed, the Journal printed a single letter congratulating the Journal for publishing our paper and condemning the chairman of Climate Wise for insulting the readers’ intelligence by treating us as flat-earth freaks: “Instead of rebutting the claims made by the authors, Maynard and Monckton, he makes childish references to flat plates and a giant tortoise. If this is the level of response to a very detailed and expertly-argued counter to the widely-held view that the release of carbon by human activity is causing global warming, what value should we place on Climate Wise?”
- The Journal also received a long letter from Dr. Andrew Dlugolecki, a contributor to the UN’s climate reports, strongly criticizing the science in our paper and attaching a 10-page commentary which - mirabile dictu - actually debated what we had written.
- We produced a 40-page response to Dr. Dlugolecki’s letter and commentary, answering each of his points in turn and in detail. We suggested that the Journal should print his letter and a letter of reply from us, with a weblink to his commentary and to our detailed response.
- The Journal at first told us it would print Dr. Dlugolecki’s letter, with a weblink to his commentary, but would not print any letter from us, and would not provide a weblink to our response to his commentary.
- I pointed out that Dr. Dlugolecki’s letter and commentary were libelous if unanswered by us, in that he had falsely accused us of having deliberately misrepresented the science.
- The Journal told us it would print neither Dr. Dlugolecki’s material nor ours.
In the interest of fairness and open debate, therefore, the Science and Public Policy Institute has agreed to publish our original Journal article, Dr. Dlugolecki’s letter, our draft letter of reply, his commentary on our article, and our detailed response to that commentary.
I hope that readers will find this document fascinating. Precisely because supporters of the climate scare nearly always refuse to debate the issue, this is one of the very rare instances where the arguments for and against the apocalyptic view of "global warming" appear side by side. Readers may like to ask themselves the following questions as they read it -
1. Which side of the debate has best argued ad rem rather than ad hominem ad rem - discussing the subject at hand rather than merely inveighing against the opponent?
2. Which side has best avoided the temptation to set up straw men, stating and then attacking a point of view that the opponent has not in fact expressed?
3. Which side has been best able to produce reasoned, detailed, quantitative arguments in support of its position?
Get a comfortable seat and your favorite beverage and read this long but fascinating journey through the classic battle between data based reason and dogma.
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