Media Attacks Should Be a Signal to Trump: Focus on Flawed Climate Science

President Donald Trump is clearly on the right track on climate change. One of the strongest indicators of this is the mainstream media’s intense attacks on the president over the past month. After all, they would not be concerned if Trump were not attacking their most cherished, and vulnerable, asset—the supposedly "settled science" propping up the climate scare.

This is analogous to the experience of Air Force bomber pilots. An enemy won’t waste ammunition defending something unless they consider it both valuable and vulnerable.

In 2013, World War II Lancaster bomber pilot “Sandy” Mutch explained, “On bombing raids over Europe, we could tell we were closing in on the target when we started to get the most flak.” That was because important German assets were often surrounded by anti-aircraft guns that filled the sky with AAA fire. And, rather than being deterred by the resistance, it told Bomber Command exactly where the next wave of aircraft should concentrate their attack.

That is why we need to carefully examine media attacks on Trump’s climate policy, to help climate realists focus their efforts to win the war for the hearts and minds of Americans. So, let’s see what a couple of the more prominent recent media criticisms of the president’s climate stance can teach us.

While the June 11 CNN video, “Donald Trump vs. climate change,” was largely nonsensical, it was instructive nonetheless. Therein, Chris Cillizza labeled the president “one of the most prominent climate change deniers in the world.” Climate activists recognize that any point of view can be effectively discredited by making an analogy, even indirectly, with Holocaust denial. We can take advantage of this by pointing out that it is both irrational and offensive to Holocaust survivors and their families to equate the possibility of future climate problems with one of the most horrific events in history. Then we should point out that the president is the opposite of a climate change denier—he says that climate changes all the time, although he sensibly questions the degree to which it is caused by human activity.

The CNN video ridicules Trump for saying that global warming is “an expensive hoax.” We should respond by outlining the costs involved. Over one billion dollars a day worldwide is now spent on "climate finance," according to the San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative, yet we see no impact on climate. In 2017, Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, explained that if the UN Paris Agreement targets for 2030 were met and sustained through the rest of the century, there would be 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit less warming in 2100, if the models relied upon by the UN were correct. He explains that the cost of the Paris pact would be $1 – 2 trillion every year. So clearly, CNN’s criticism tells Trump that he should continue calling it “an expensive hoax,” and cite the cost estimates and forecast results to illustrate his point.

Arguably the most significant of the recent attacks on Trump’s climate position appeared on May 27 in the New York Times in “Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science.” Therein, authors Coral Davenport and Mark Landler lamented the proposed creation of “a new climate review panel” to be led by Dr. William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Princeton University, now senior director of the National Security Council office for emerging technologies.

Davenport and Landler, and indeed, many in the press, are clearly appalled that the panel would question the supposed "scientific consensus on climate change." They write that the Trump “administration will seek to undermine the very science on which climate change policy rests.” Were the science as settled as activists claim, then they should welcome a thorough review so as to put to rest questions about the science. But, given the vast uncertainty in the science demonstrated by reports such as those of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an independent review obviously frightens supporters of the status quo. The last thing they want is for the lid to be lifted off the Pandora’s box that contains the highly controversial and seriously flawed science of climate change.

Davenport and Landler cite Larry Kudlow, the president’s chief economic adviser, and Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House strategist, as being against the proposed panel, fearing the controversy that would inevitably result. Marc Morano, publisher of the influential Washington D.C.-based Climatedepot.com, agrees that the results of such a panel would be tumultuous. But that, says Morano, is exactly why the panel should go ahead.

“Activists want to silence any skepticism that would encourage the public to think about the huge problems in the science,” said Morano. “And some frightened Republicans want to avoid a conflict on this issue. But a conflict is inevitable if we are to have any chance of getting the best science used to inform policy makers.”

Morano continued, “We need an official report with the seal of the U.S. government that would lay out the arguments against the groundless climate change fears being promoted by Al Gore and the UN. Then, federal judges would have a solid foundation on which to base their deliberations in climate-related cases.”

Mutch would certainly have agreed. He said, “Anyone who wants to kill the dangerous and unfounded climate scare…should focus on exposing the shaky science behind climate alarm. That is the Achilles heel of the whole movement. Shoot it down and you win the war!”

No one is asking politicians to risk their lives as many in Mutch’s generation did. “But they must be strong enough to take the flak that always comes when you are directly attacking your enemy’s most important asset,” concluded Mutch. “In this case, it is also their most vulnerable asset.”

Media coverage like that of CNN and the New York Times informs White House strategists that the president must intensify his attacks against the flawed science underling the climate alarm.

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Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute which is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  Dr. Jay Lehr is Senior Policy Analyst with ICSC and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute.