The Climate Mobilization, a group pushing for a World War II-scale national mobilization to fight global warming, condemned the media for pursuing “objectivity” by giving air time to “climate deniers.” Aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the organization wants the media to silence all voices opposing their climate alarmism.
“Some media outlets are sacrificing the future of our planet for the sake of appearing objective,” Margaret Klein Salamon, founder and executive director of The Climate Mobilization, said in a news release Saturday.
“This idea of equating climate deniers with scientific experts is a dangerous practice which frames the threat to our planet, our existence as an ongoing debate,” Klein Salamon added. “I don’t think sacrificing the future of our planet in exchange for a look of ‘objectivity’ is an even exchange. It’s one the coming generation will judge us on, if we don’t move with the urgency necessary to fight back against global warming and win.”
In other words, climate alarmists aren’t just calling for radical changes to America to stave off some hypothetical climate disaster — they’re also calling for opposing voices to be silenced. “Science” can only have one voice, and that voice must be Chicken Little.
The Climate Mobilization seized on a Newsweek article about a study from Nature Communications. The study’s authors claimed that the U.S. news media gives “climate change deniers too much prominence by placing people with little understanding of the complexities involved in the same league as top scientists.”
“It’s time to stop giving these people visibility, which can be easily spun into false authority,” University of California Merced Professor Alex Petersen said in a statement. Petersen and his team traced the digital footprints of voices for and against climate alarmism across 100,000 media articles. They found that about half of mainstream outlets seek out “climate denying” experts.
Many outlets will present both sides of the issue, including one scientist echoing the climate alarmist mantra and another expert who disagrees — and who therefore must not be a real scientist, the article suggested.
“It’s not just false balance; the numbers show that the media are ‘balancing’ experts—who represent the overwhelming majority of reputable scientists—with the views of a relative handful of non-experts,” Professor LeRoy Westerling, the study’s author, said in a statement. “Most of the contrarians are not scientists, and the ones who are have very thin credentials. They are not in the same league with top scientists. They aren’t even in the league of the average career climate scientist.”
Yet the Nature Communications study notes that 224 of the 386 “climate change contrarians” quoted by the media have at least one publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The study did not mention how many of the “climate change scientists” quoted by the media had published articles, but the authors selected 224 of their papers and showed how their papers were more heavily cited.
If the professional world of climate science is dominated by the ideology of climate alarmism, it would make sense that climate alarmists are more heavily cited than climate skeptics. In January 2017, Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, resigned, calling out the alarmist ideology that increasingly dominates her field.
“I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science,” Curry wrote. “Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.”
“How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide (I have worked through these issues with a number of skeptical young scientists),” Curry wondered.
In other words, climate science is becoming an ideological echo chamber that rewards alarmism and silences dissenting voices, even when the dissenters are good scientists like Curry.
The fact that the 224 “climate deniers” — whom the Nature Communications paper and the Newsweek article suggest are not scientists — still have papers published in peer-reviewed journals should awaken readers to the bias in the study and the article reporting it.
The study also parroted the blatantly false claim that there is a scientific consensus on the issue — citing the Cook study from 2013. The Cook study notoriously misrepresented the scientific literature to claim a 97 percent consensus, and activists continue to cite it as if it were gospel truth.
The study analyzed all published peer-reviewed academic research papers from 1991 to 2011 that use the terms “global warming” or “global climate change.” Of the nearly 12,000 papers analyzed, the study discounted 7,930 — 66.4 percent — because they allegedly did not state a position. Then the study added up the papers it claimed endorsed man-made climate change and the papers it claimed opposed man-made climate change, and found that 97 percent of the papers that stated a position favored global warming.
But here’s the kicker: many scientists whose papers were included in the study complained that the papers were misinterpreted as supporting man-made global warming when they did not.
Of the papers examined in the study, only 32.6 percent were interpreted as endorsing man-made global warming — and the authors of many of these papers objected to that characterization.
So, in Nature Communications there is a study claiming that “climate deniers” get too much media attention. But that study found that 78 percent of the “climate deniers” whom the study paints as unscientific actually have articles published in peer-reviewed journals. That study also based its assumptions off of the Cook study, which blatantly misrepresented data.
Now, The Climate Mobilization is calling for the media to stop quoting “climate deniers” — most of whom have peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals — because they are somehow unscientific. The Climate Mobilization’s petition calling on Congress to declare a climate emergency was introduced in the Senate by Bernie Sanders and in the House of Representatives by AOC.
Yes, the same AOC whose chief of staff admitted that the climate alarmist Green New Deal “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” He added, “We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
Yes, the same AOC who spouted unscientific anti-colonialist nonsense about growing yucca in New York City.
As for a climate emergency, if global warming is about to destroy the planet, why have the alarmist’s predictions failed so spectacularly? Last year, the Maldives islands were supposed to sink beneath the waves. Instead, they resolutely remain above the surface. How inconvenient of them!
Perhaps the media should wait until a climate alarmist prediction actually comes true before silencing debate on this important issue. After all, the Green New Deal would cost between $49 trillion and $93 trillion in the first ten years — even taxing high earners at 100 percent for 10 years and confiscating all corporate profits wouldn’t come close to footing that bill.
If there is serious debate and scientific disagreement on climate alarmism — and the study showed that published scientists disagree — the media should cover both sides of the story. That’s just good journalism.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.