Sometimes, climate change deniers get close to the target (and then totally fail)
Climate denial is never scientifically accurate, but sometimes it’s close. While we enjoy the relative ease of dunking on the obviously wrong, today we’re going to be a little nicer, and look at a couple of examples of climate deniers who got oh so very close to being right. Both, oddly enough, are by folks associated with local chapters of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), which has received funding from Heartland.
First up: a piece by Viv Forbes, a career coal guy affiliated with the Australian version of ICSC, published this week in the American Thinker. Forbes argues that the “climate alarm media” misses long-term trends of climate by focusing on short-term weather events. This is, of course, exactly the opposite of reality, but in making this counterfactual point, Forbes lays out a fairly factual description of the natural cycles of the climate system.
Unfortunately for Forbes, he manages to totally gloss over the fact that these natural cycles take hundreds and thousands and hundreds of thousands of years, while the warming humans are causing can be felt in just decades. Forbes’s insistence that human carbon pollution can’t offset the next looming ice age is cold comfort for anyone but readers in the year 3100.
The second is an essay by Steve Goreham, a public speaker, Heartland Institute policy advisor and leader of the Climate Science Coalition of America (CSCA), which is the US arm of the aforementioned ICSC. The piece first appeared in the far right fake news and hate factory WND, then made its way to the Daily Caller, then finally to Heartland’s website.
Like Forbes, Goreham flirts with the truth but ends up missing the mark by encouraging his audience to stop saying humans “contribute to climate change.” Goreham complains that from keeping housecats to exhaling, “every human activity contributes to climate change.”
Goreham’s description of the climate system is surprisingly scientifically accurate, touching on the influence of the oceans and aerosols and the like. Even his main point isn’t technically wrong: he argues that water vapor is the “dominant” greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and that there’s more natural CO2 in the atmosphere than there is from human activity. Goreham therefore concludes that since everything contributes to climate change, not just humans, the term is meaningless and people should stop using it.
We don’t tend to agree with folks we feature here, but Goreham’s not wrong. It’s much more accurate and simple to say that human activity, specifically burning fossil fuels, is not contributing to, but causing climate change. We’re responsible for it. We are to blame for it. It’s our fault.
Thanks, Steve! You’re right, just… not in the way you meant to be.
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