EPA/Wally Skalij

Barbara Kay: AP offers a victory to us ‘doubters’ of climate change

President Barack Obama curiously blamed global warming for California's drought.

The AP Stylebook editors are updating their nomenclature on climate change. Henceforth, people who have been described as climate change “skeptics” and “deniers” will now be referred to as “doubters” or “those who reject mainstream climate science.”

This is welcome news, for it releases people like me from implicit mental alignment with conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites. It may even reflect a glimmer of hope that the honchos at AP are beginning to realize that the “doubters” might actually be on to something, and that it won’t look good for AP 10 years from now when the doubters turn out to be right after all.

Or maybe they’ve been struck by the fact that in the defamation suit by Michael “hockey stick” Mann against journalist Mark Steyn, who publicly called Mann out as a “fraud,” Steyn is backed in print by a hundred credible scientists, and can boast a host of freedom-of-speech organizations queuing up to witness on his behalf, while not a single scientist has offered to appear in an amicus capacity for Mann. (Even the most passionate defender of the mainstream view that climate change is a serious threat to the planet has to find that pretty odd, and an obvious sign that the now thoroughly debunked hockey stick myth is a huge embarrassment to the climate-change-as-apocalypse cause.)

To be clear about my self-description as a “doubter,” that is really just a shortcut for saying I am a supporter of the real doubters – and by those I mean not doubters of climate change (the climate is always changing and always has), but doubters that changes caused by man are significant – that is, the scientists and those who have actually done deep research on the science around climate change.

Most of us lay people who argue about this subject amongst ourselves – I’m guessing 99% – are not competent to debate the actual subject. All we’re competent to do is read the statements of the scientists who are debating amongst themselves and ask ourselves who is making the better case in terms lay people can understand. For me it’s the doubters hands down. Mainly because they speak as secularists devoted to evidence and not as devotees of a religion that calls for blind faith in mystics and gurus like Michael Mann and David Suzuki (and although I rarely agree with much that Justin Trudeau has to say, if in fact Trudeau did tell Suzuki he was full of “sanctimonious crap” during a phone call regarding western oil fields, I am in full-throated agreement there).

The true believers scoff at folks like me. Usually they adduce the fact that every “reputable” scientist in the world is onside with manmade climate change being an earth-shattering problem, the most serious problem we have, far more serious than triumphalist Islam. But numbers of scientists aren’t important, evidence is. As Albert Einstein reportedly said regarding the book written by dissidents to his Theory of Relativity, One Hundred Authors Against Einstein, “Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough.”

Give me a good reason to believe in the believers, and I will consider it. So far I have read a 1000 good reasons to believe the doubters.

There is certainly more than one scientist and more than one investigative journalist pushing back against climate-change mantras. And they simply can’t be waved away as outliers or weirdos. Although God knows, a biased media trys to. 

Take, for example, Robert M. Carter, Emeritus Fellow and Science Policy Advisor at the Institute of Public Affairs; chief science advisor for the International Climate Science Coalition; and former Professor and Head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University. In September, 2013, after the release of the latest IPCC Assessment Report by Working Group 1, Carter was interviewed by the BBC, and said: “Climate has always changed and it always will – there is nothing unusual about the modern magnitudes or rates of change of temperature, of ice volume, of sea level or of extreme weather events.”

The Adherents could not have that! A former climate-change official at the Foreign Office was given space in The Guardian to argue that the decision to give Carter air time was a “betrayal of the editorial professionalism on which the BBC’s reputation has been built over generations.” Geneticist Steve Jones said inviting Carter to speak was to give “false balance,” like inviting “a homeopath to speak alongside a brain surgeon.” Greg Barker, a highly placed politician, said, “I am not trying to ban all dissenting voices, but we are doing the public a disservice by treating them as equal, which is not the case.”

Do you see the similarity in all these denunciations? Nobody is actually addressing what Carter said. Is what he said true or is it not? If it is true, then this is a problem for the alarmists, a very serious problem. If it is false, why did none of these accusers say so? This scenario is repeated weekly, daily, hourly with many other scientists whose credentials to speak on the issue are impeccable.

And yet the warming trend stopped 16 years ago with no explanation from the believers (which is why “global warming,” once a dogma carved in stone, morphed into “climate change”). The polar ice caps are not melting on the whole (though some parts soften while other parts thicken), extreme weather is no novelty, sea levels have been rising steadily for 700 years, and the rate has not increased in recent years. We have not run out of fresh water, as was predicted, nor has the Great Barrier Reef died, nor have we seen increasing drought, nor have hurricanes increased. 

Give me a good reason to believe in the believers, and I will consider it. So far I have read a 1000 good reasons to believe the doubters. Let us hope that the AP stylebook editors are the harbingers in a true shift from blind faith to unblinkered open-mindedness. By the way, in case you reflexively assume otherwise, as many people do, all doubters want a clean planet. Skepticism on climate-change mania does not mean indifference to the health of the environment.

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