Why We Need Debate, Not Consensus, on Climate Change

NOTE: This op-ed was rejected by the New York Times. It was submitted as a response by The president of The Heartland Institute in reply to Fred Krupp’s Wall Street Journal essay. I reproduce it here in hopes of it reaching a wide audience. Feel free to reproduce it elsewhere.

Why We Need Debate, Not Consensus, on Climate Change

Dear Fred,

I read your August 7 opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, “A New Climate-Change Consensus,” with great interest. As you know, The Heartland Institute is a leading voice in the international debate over climate change. The Economist recently called us “the world’s most prominent think-tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.”

First, I welcome you to the effort to bring skeptics and alarmists together. We need your help. We have been trying to do this for many years.

For example, we ran more than $1 million in ads calling on Al Gore to debate his critics. He repeatedly refused. We hosted seven international conferences on climate change and invited alarmists to speak at every one, the most recent one held in Chicago on May 23-24. Only one ever showed up, and he was treated respectfully.

Regrettably, your colleagues in the liberal environmental movement responded at first by pretending we don’t exist, and when opinion polls and political decisions revealed that strategy wasn’t working, by denouncing us as “deniers” and “shills for the fossil fuel industry.”

Most recently, your colleagues on the left went so far as to break the law in an attempt to silence us. Prominent global warming alarmist Peter Gleick stole corporate documents from us and circulated them with a fake and highly defamatory memo purporting to describe our “climate change strategy.” Gleick confessed to stealing the documents on February 20.

Greenpeace is using the stolen and fake documents to attack climate scientists who affiliate with The Heartland Institute, while the Center for American Progress and 350.org are using them to demonize corporations that fund us. No group on the left, including yours, has condemned these activities.

In your opinion piece, you say “if both sides can now begin to agree on some basic propositions, maybe we can restart the discussion,” and you end by saying “it is time for conservatives to compete with liberals to devise the best, most cost effective climate solutions.”

Reconciliation will be difficult so long as you and others on the left fail to express doubt or remorse over the errors, exaggerations, and unethical tactics that continue to be used against skeptics.

For example, it is impossible for skeptics and alarmists to come together so long as alarmists pretend – as you do, Fred, in this very essay – that recent weather trends in one part of the world lend proof to their theories and predictions. Anyone familiar with the science knows this claim belongs in the kindergarten of the climate science debate.

Another basic error you repeat is that surface-based temperature data validate or prove that human greenhouse gas emissions affect the climate. They cannot, first because they measure temperatures on only a small part of the Earth’s surface, second because they are notoriously unreliable, and third because they tell us nothing about what is causing warming or cooling.

You are asking, in effect, that skeptics simply “shut up and sit down,” that they concede as being true the most flawed and unlikely assumptions of the alarmist movement, and that they endorse policies that are wholly unnecessary and extremely costly.

While I cannot presume to speak for all global warming skeptics, I think I can channel the opinion of most when I say, “hell no!”

Your overture comes at a time when the science backing global warming alarmism is crumbling, as amply demonstrated by the reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate change (NIPCC). International negotiations for a new treaty are going nowhere. Public opinion in the U.S. and other countries decisively rejects alarmism. Politicians here and abroad who vote for cap and trade or a carbon tax rightly fear being tossed out of office by voters who know more about the issue than they do.

Your appeal to “restart the discussion” would have skeptics snatch failure from the jaws of victory. I’m sure you understand why we won’t go there.

I have a counter proposal. Let’s restart the discussion by agreeing on these basic propositions:

First, people and organizations that break the law or use hate language such as “denier” should be barred from the global warming debate.

Second, recent weather and temperature anomalies have not been unusual and are not evidence of a human effect on climate.

Third, given the rapid and unstoppable increase in greenhouse gas emissions by Third World countries, it is pointless for the U.S. and other developed countries to invest very much in reducing their own emissions.

Fourth, tax breaks and direct subsidies to solar and wind power and impossible-to-meet renewable power mandates and regulatory burdens on coal-powered electricity generation plants have been disastrous for taxpayers, businesses, and consumers of electricity, and ought to be repealed.

Fifth, the world is entering an era of fossil fuel abundance that could lift billions of people out of poverty and help restart the U.S. economy. We have the technology to use that energy safely and with minimal impact on the environment and human health. Basic human compassion and common sense dictate that fear of global warming ought not be used to block access to this new energy.

Agree to these five simple propositions, Fred, and we can begin to work together to address some of the real environmental problems facing the U.S. and the world.


Thanks to Ragan Shearing for this link

19 thoughts on “Why We Need Debate, Not Consensus, on Climate Change”

  1. Hi.

    I am confused as I always thought that “anomalies” were unusual by definition. I had never considered the idea of “normal anomalies”.

    It is too bad that surface air temperature observations are “notoriously unreliable” as that makes it difficult to demonstrate what the actual climate is let alone which way, if any, it is changing thermally.

    In lieu of using air temperature observations (observations from upper air stations must be out too as there are even fewer of them than there are surface stations) to quantify the thermal characteristics of the earth’s climate what are some of the options we have for pining down a few numbers so that we can objectively indulge in addressing some of the real environmental problems facing the U.S. and the world.

    • To the Liberals all that matters is we take action now to save the planet.

      They can’t be viewed as *doing nothing* even though they aren’t *doing nothing* by looking at all this.

  2. If you have been telling untruths for years it takes a man to admit that you have not been truthfull. truth is not in alarmists vocabulary

  3. More proof that alarmists don’t want honest debate, they just want to impose their will at our expense and for their benefit. Sorry, that type of arrogance in a democratic society is not working and will not work in the future.

    • If you know firearms I suggest you step up your training as this fall the world wide food crisis is going to hit home.

      The media is downsizing how bad things truly are.

  4. Of course he would not agree to that. Whether this debate or the presidential race, the left knows how to do one thing only, attack. They are vicious, unrelenting, and thoroughly devoid of anything substantive. How any human being with good conscience could associate with the left is beyond my comprehension. As I have said before, I firmly believe a large portion of them call themselves liberals out of ignorance. If they would just calmly sit down and have a good conversation with a conservative, they would realize they are not liberal at all.

  5. “What is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most sceptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas.”
    – Carl Sagan

  6. Excellent article. However, I’m afraid you put too many conditions on the warmists. For them to agree to points 2 through 5 would be for them to admit they’re wrong, something they will never do. The conditions for a real debate should be:

    1. Treat each other with respect. No ad hominem attacks.
    2. The purpose of the discussion is to arrive at the truth, not win the argument.
    3. Avoid use of fallacies as debate tactics.

    These three conditions would be very hard for anyone to reject and still be taken seriously.

  7. And the trouble with our side is there is very little cooperation between those of us who see the AGW theory as a hoax.

    I have to do almost everything (which I am doing )on my own, to make my way in this field.

    I find very little teaming, and many big egos.

    But in the end it does not matter, what will matter is, who is the most correct. I am counting on it being me.

  8. If it weren’t for the economics involved, it wouldn’t matter which side is right.
    After all, the weather will do what it will do. How we react, how we plan, what we expect, all depends on what the long term weather is, not what we want.

  9. The World needs another World War to bring it out of depression! only thing is World Wars aren’t seen as a good thing anymore, so they invented Global warming to have a war with the climate to stimulate the economies.

  10. Activities of many who support the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) hypothesis are all very disturbing to those of us who reject it. however, are we squeaky clean ourselves?

    In my opinion there are not-so-well-hidden agenda on both sides of the debate which have nothing to do with controlling the different global climates.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  11. Of course the New York Times rejected it. You’re lucky they didn’t report you to the Spanish Inquisition. Only a trouble maker or a fool would cling to copernicanism when the government has proven that there’s no such thing.

  12. I call that newspaper the New York Slimes.

    Have you ever heard about the Illuminati?

    The reason why this crap is going on is I believe they are controlling the flow of knowledge and KNOW we are overdue for an ice age but are working overtime to keep the knowledge hidden per se.

    I believe both the Republicans and Liberals are one in the same pretending to be different teams opposing each other in order to divide and conquer and they are being used by the Illuminati as *useless idiots* to achieve their goal for world power.

    Old military strategy and so far it’s working sadly.
    I hope it doesn’t come to a blood war to bring back Freedom Of Press but it’s looking more and more likely when people have had it with being pushed around.

    The fat and greedy Americans will realize it when they can no longer run their appliances due to not enough energy.

    It’s going to take a hard kick in the pants to get them to wake up.

    I hope the energy crisis is enough in order to prevent another bloodshed war.

  13. Believe it or not the quotes that say Rush the talk host is a racists is totally and I mean TOTALLY made up from some website with a Liberal agenda.

    I know because I looked it up to see if it was true and those quotes have no source to back them up either and those who hate Rush actually have never really listened to him.

    About twice a week I hear Rush from Mom’s radio and he has NEVER said anything racist.

  14. He has once in 5 years cussed over the air in one of his rants and apologized right away for swearing.

    Dad once tried listening to a Liberal talk show and they were swearing away every other sentence which he could no longer stand after 5 minutes.

    Too bad radios don’t have censor beeps.

    The closest thing to Nazi’s Rush as ever talked about is the government acting like them with their views.

    The only thing me and Dad don’t like about Rush is he loves to bash ALL politicians and sometimes makes a fool of himself but he is NEVER racists.

    He simply is blunt when it comes to why he doesn’t like somebody running for office or Congress.

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