The Grand Inquisitor of Climate Change Heresy

At a recent hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Chris Coons of President-Suspect Biden’s home state of Delaware, asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey ,”You don’t have a stand-alone climate change misinformation policy. Why not?” He urged Dorsey, “to reconsider that because helping to disseminate climate denialism in my view further facilitates and accelerates one of the greatest existential threats to our world.” Coons is one of those sanctimonious hypocrites, “a saint abroad and a devil at home”, who no doubt lectures the benighted of countries not blessed with a constitutional guarantee of free speech on human rights, while calling for the censoring of free speech in this country. (Perhaps Coons, who attends his wife’s Catholic church, would like to see Mr. Dorsey enlist the aid of the Church in determining truth vs. heresy, as the Catholic Church has some experience in that regard.)

I wonder if Coons is even aware of the beliefs of so-called Global Warming deniers; for instance, those of one of the most prominent heretics, Roy Spencer, a former climate scientist at NASA who, along with his colleague, John Christie, received an award for being the first to figure out how to derive a mean global temperature from weather satellite data. So, let me clarify for Sen. Coons and any of the rest of you who might not be aware of it: virtually all “deniers” believe that the earth is getting warmer! The issues that separate the faithful from the heretical are what the causes of the warming are, how fast the earth is warming, how much the earth will warm, what the consequences of the warming are, and how devastating the consequences will be. So, as with medieval heretics and their inquisitorial prosecutors, who all agreed on the divinity of Christ, climate change believers and heretics both agree on the most fundamental article of their faith.

Here’s what Dr. Spencer’s calculation of the earth’s temperature for the years since weather satellites were first launched in 1979 looks like graphically:

The trend line over the last 42 years has the earth warming at a rate of 1.4 degrees centigrade per century. Interestingly, the current Tribunal of the Climate Change Inquisition, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has lately taken to postulating a rise in global temperatures of an almost-exactly-the-same 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. This is down from their hallowed, apocalyptic prophecy of 2 degrees centigrade. Perhaps they have been influenced (or intimidated) by Spencer’s widely respected work, just as the Church came to accept the heliocentric nature of the solar system as that theory gained acceptance amongst the faithful.

Coons, like so many, probably falls for the non sequitur that the financial loss from extreme weather equates to the strength of the phenomenon in meteorological terms, a logical fallacy even a precocious kindergartener would see through. Clearly, a hurricane, tornado, or forest fire causes greater financial loss today, when houses line beaches just above the high-water mark, suburbs have replaced cornfields, and towns have been implanted in the middle of the forest, than in years past when hurricanes swept away deserted beaches, tornadoes ripped through corn fields, and the only things set alight by forest fires were trees. Yet, even meteorologists talk about some occasion of extreme weather as the “most destructive ever” in financial terms. They can only get away with because, apparently, there are so many who didn’t pass kindergarten.

Another case of alarmists creating distorted impressions arises from their failing to tell the whole story. For example, you’ve probably seen photos of flooding in Annapolis or elsewhere on Chesapeake Bay, flooding which the purveyors of the photos imply, if not state, results from a warming-induced rising sea. What they fail to mention is that the flooding is caused in equal measure by land subsidence in the bay area (When’s the last time you heard an alarmist excitedly demand that we do something about land subsidence?). I’d like to believe such distortions are just shoddy reporting, but I suspect it is more often willful. Again, they couldn’t get away with it if the rest of us weren’t so trusting , or receptive to reports which confirm our own beliefs.

Speaking of willfulness, perhaps the Inquisitors who push climate change orthodoxy and call for the punishment of heretics have the same noble motive as did the Inquisitors of yore; namely, the fear that the Truth might cause believers to question their faith, with a devastating effect on the cohesion and morality of society (not just that the Truth would put their own privileged position in jeopardy). Just as medieval Christian dogmatists quashed anyone who, for instance, asked what happens to those who have never heard of Jesus in the afterlife if entrance into Heaven is only for those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, do latter-day guardians of Climate Change orthodoxy fear the Truth is too faith-shattering to be revealed.

If so, what is “the Truth which dare not be spoken”? I believe it is the fact that we have passed the peak of global fossil fuel production, at least of the liquid and gaseous variety (For an exposition on my claim global oil production has peaked, see my blog posting “Peaked Oil”). If this be true, its implications are too frightening to contemplate. In a world founded on a belief that economic growth is not only good but essential for continued prosperity, the idea that the resource that literally greased the wheels of our modern, industrialized society is in increasingly short supply is devilish heresy. It means we will, of necessity, be forced to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels in the future, with all the deleterious impact on our wellbeing that implies.**

One way to reduce our use of fossil fuels without shaking consumers’ confidence in Earth’s bounty, the High Priests of Endless Growth might conclude, is to posit to their materialistic adherents that our dependence on fossil fuels is causing the earth to heat up, to the point it represents an existential threat. Thus, changes in our lifestyle we must necessarily make in the face of a declining fossil fuel supply, namely, switching to alternative source of energy (wind, solar, geothermal etc.), becomes a virtue: saving the planet for our grandchildren.

Frankly, I ‘m not sure this misdirection is going to work. The fly in the ointment is the fact alternative energy sources are not yet as cheap as once abundant fossil fuels. They may be someday; but, whether or not — and regardless of their role in mitigating climate change — in the face of a declining supply of oil and natural gas we will, of necessity, have to rely on alternatives, even if it means a decline in our living standards.

Future generations may look back on those who censor climate change heresy today with the same bemusement we find in the purblind arrogance of the Defenders of Geocentricism and the same contempt we feel for them for inflicting brutal punishment on those with keener vision. That’s not much solace for today’s climate change “deniers” who suffer professionally and personally from those who would silence them, but at least they don’t have to worry about suffering the ultimate Inquisitorial punishment — being burnt at the stake — as Defenders of Climate Change Alarmism would condemn the resulting emission of carbon dioxide as contributing to the greenhouse effect.

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* The next time you hear of the most destructive hurricane ever, a record-breaking temperature, or the most acres-burned forest fire, I encourage you to consult Tony Heller’s website, Real Science. Heller makes a living (of sorts) debunking such claims.

** I suspect the plans announced by automakers to phase out production of gas-powered cars within the next 5 to 10 years is not motivated by environmental concerns so much as by visions of their guzzlers up on blocks, littering the front yards of America, because there is nothing to fill their tanks with. If the manufacturers fulfill their promises, consider what fuel will power the hundreds of new power plants required to charge all those batteries. Most likely it will be the most environmentally destructive fossil fuel: coal (of which there is an abundant supply). Even if we here in the USA attain the Energy Information Administration’s rosy prediction of all new plants in this country being powered by something less polluting than coal (natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear, etc.), China has more than the entire coal power capacity of the United States under development, and India, which gets 2/3 of its electricity from coal, is not far behind, having slashed plans to replace coal-fired plants with nuclear reactors. So, all those electric vehicles of the future had better come with enhanced windshield wipers capable of removing soot as well as rain drops.

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Ken Meyercord

Ken produces the TV show "Civil Discord" in Virginia and published a memoir of the Vietnam era, "Draft-Dodging Odyssey”. He blogs at kiaskblog.wordpress.com.