If you believe that the earth has just twelve years, or maybe eleven by now, or if you believe that human activity is propelling climate change in dangerous ways, I beg of you to read this new book. It’s called Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.
The author is Stephen E. Koonin, a scientist who was President Obama’s Undersecretary for Science and the Obama Administration’s point person for climate issues.
His message: not so fast.
Don’t believe everything you see in the news.
The media, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), various politicians, activists and scientists themselves are complicit in an effort to mislead the public as to the role of humans in the changing climate.
It’s hard to go online and look at news without finding a news story, and often from a fairly reputable news outlet, claiming evidence that human activity is destroying the planet.
Koonin suggests otherwise.
He says that scientists are not fulfilling their responsibility to inform, but instead are trying to persuade.
As a result, they are fudging data and often deliberately misleading their readers — government officials, the media, the public — for various reasons that have little to do with the truth.
They’re trying to keep their jobs, get tenure, curry favor, or simply advocate for something they want to believe is true.
Few journalists today, Koonin argues, have the knowledge base, time, interest, or patience to read through underlying scientific studies and determine whether they are actually grounded in honest science or simply cheerleading for radical climate change.
Scientists, leaders of NGOs, politicians and reporters all fear that if they don’t stay on the climate change bandwagon, they will lose their positions.
The result: a misinformed public that is scared to death by headlines that have little to do with actual science.
The more you’re convinced that the human effect on climate change is enormous, the more important it is for you to read this book.
Koonin dismantles the false logic driving the public debate today, showing that natural phenomena like hurricanes, sea level change, temperature, wildfires and other measures do not in fact reflect measurable human influence.
Koonin advocates humility on the part of scientists in the media, suggesting that the climate is so complex that we just don’t have the data to drive the sweeping conclusions that today’s Chicken Littles are claiming.
The consequences of not listening to a voice of reason like this are severe.
We are essentially contemplating a trillion-dollar wealth transfer from taxpayers to the government and from rich countries into poor countries, which is to say into the hands of the kleptocrats who run poor countries for their own benefits.
I’ve seen news reports of young people who don’t want to have children because they don’t want to bring kids into a world that is going to overheat and cease to exist before they get out of middle school.
It is tragic that young people would make such an important decision in their lives based on such spurious evidence.
The sky is not falling, Koonin writes.
The world is still turning.
The Poles are not melting.
Let’s all take a breath.
Let’s see how the science has been perverted, and then let’s decide if the world really is going to end in less than twelve years.
Koonin says it won’t, and I, for one, agree with him.