The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is as lefty as our own dear CBC. Recently it sent reporter Margot O’Neill away to Oxford University for a year to study the state of environmental reporting. She returned recently to bemoan the fact
that in the year since the Climategate emails and the UN climate summit debacle in Copenhagen there have been far fewer prominent climate change stories in Western press.
Her theory (and the theory of every source she seems to have talked to — all anonymous) is that scientists and reporters are simply doing a lousy job of explaining why climate change is still an impending disaster. But here’s another theory: In the past year, more of the public has seen through the shaky science of climate change and the questionable conclusions of the UN and some of the world’s most well-known climate scientists.
The house of cards has collapsed because its underlying assumptions were wrong to start with, not because the public cannot be made to care or because there exists some vast conspiracy to suppress the truth. The Emperor has been seen to be the naked fool he is.
“Where did all the climate change stories go?” O’Neill wonders. She quotes an unnamed BBC reporter saying “The [programmers] are against it because it loses ratings. The wave [of public interest] has gone. There is climate change fatigue. That is why I am not [reporting] it now.”
She adds that “even reporters at The Guardian, which especially targets environmental reporting, complain that it’s difficult to get a run. Another UK broadcast journalist said he was warned that putting climate change on prime time would risk losing a million viewers.”
Why this recent dearth? O’Neill offers several plausible explanations, but dismisses the most important one. She faults “a cold winter in Europe, the distant impacts, the failure of the December 2009 UN climate change Copenhagen summit to produce a binding international agreement, public confusion about whether there is a reliable scientific consensus, and alarmist media coverage with Hollywood-horror headlines like “Be Scared; Be Very Scared!”” that have turned the public off. All of which are likely contributing factors.
But as to the most important reason – the exposure of the tricks many prominent climate scientists and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were playing with the scientific figures – O’Neill skates over that. She insists that “the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries.”
Climate alarmists like to tell themselves that – that the science of man-made climate change remains sound and that the vaunted consensus among scientists has not diminished – but the fact is the three Climategate investigations were whitewashes and the vaunted consensus was never absolute. There have always been scientists who were not in the paid employ of oil and coal companies who were unwilling to buy the theory that man-made carbon dioxide had so filled the atmosphere that it was trapping in extra heat from the sun and causing a dangerous warming of the atmosphere.
As Ross McKitrick, an environmental economist at the University of Guelph, pointed out about just one of these apparently “independent” investigations into Climategate
, “The Oxburgh Inquiry was supposed to review the scientific work of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. It examined a short list of papers chosen by the university itself, it held no hearings, only interviewed CRU scientists, took no evidence from critics, kept no notes of interviews, released a five-page report after only three weeks of work, then destroyed all its records. When it later emerged that CRU scientists admitted that their work was far more uncertain than was previously acknowledged, Ronald Oxburgh was asked why he did not report this. He replied that ‘the science was not the subject of our study.’”
The other two inquiries
were equally dubious
Whereas reporters like Margot O’Neill are placated by such obvious attempts to paper over the flaws in climate science – so they can keep alive the alarmist storyline about how we are in danger of destroying our planet if we don’t increase the size and power of governments to regulate every aspect of our daily lives – members of the public are not. Nor are scientists who have not built their reputations on their ability to paint horrifying pictures of the coming climate Armageddon.
The public is ahead of the politicians and environmental activists on this one. They are not clamouring to be lead to safety because they have seen through the thin veneer of the alarmists’ logic.