NYT columnist besieged for challenging 'climate change'

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

global warmingPulitzer Prize-winning author Bret Stephens received an ice-cold welcome following his first column for the New York Times, where he questioned the “science” behind policies proposed by global warming activists and suggested that they adopt a more humble approach in the “climate change” debate.

Even though Stephens eloquently used former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as a segue to prove his case and point about climate change proponents using flawed information to base their claims or “facts,” he received a huge backlash from progressives, who typically attack anyone disputing their global warming propaganda.

“Using the Clinton campaign's reliance on data versus traditional campaigning as an example of certainty leading to a disastrous loss, he turned to topic of global warming,” Townhall reported.

Being sensitive to climate change believers, Stephens was noted by the conservative media as walking on eggshells so as not to offend environmentalists while warning them about a number of holes in global warming advocates’ arguments.

“Nowhere did he dismiss global warming concerns or say he personally didn't believe in it,” Townhall’s Jennifer Van Laar pointed out. “He simply offered a strategy that might help others win people to their point of view.”

Laying out his case …

Stephens cautiously entered the contentious topic by contending that even though many climate scientists heralded by the media claim that the “science is settled,” and that the “threat is clear,” the claim that “100 percent of the truth resides on one side of the argument” is not entirely true.

He went on to quote a Times environmental reporter who informed readers that statistics peddled by global warming fanatics did not stack up.

“I saw a widening gap between what scientists had been learning about global warming and what advocates were claiming as they pushed ever harder to pass climate legislation,” the Times’ Andrew Revkin explained last year.

Stephens then tiptoed around addressing the false claims by environmental activists – who demand that expensive measures be passed to fight so-called cataclysmic climate change caused by polluters heating up the planet.

“The science was generally scrupulous,” the new columnist assured. “The boosters who claimed its authority weren’t.”

He then laid out his argument using numbers published by the state-run IPCC.

“Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the earth since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities,” Stephens asserted in his NYT column. “That’s especially true of the sophisticated but fallible models and simulations by which scientists attempt to peer into the climate future. To say this isn’t to deny science. It’s to acknowledge it honestly.”

The award-winning author anticipated the backlash that was sure to come, but he first attempted to disarm impending attacks with reasoning and some rationale left by his colleague at the Times.

“By now, I can almost hear the heads exploding,” Stephens continued. “They shouldn’t, because there’s another lesson here – this one for anyone who wants to advance the cause of good climate policy. As Revkin wisely noted, hyperbole about climate ‘not only didn’t fit the science at the time, but could even be counterproductive if the hope was to engage a distracted public.’”

The now-beleaguered columnist followed up his advice by warning climate change advocates that their “factual” assertions about rising temperatures, rising seas and impending catastrophic weather hurt their cause more than it forwarded it.

“Let me put it another way – claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong,” Stephens contended. “Demanding abrupt and expensive changes in public policy raises fair questions about ideological intentions. Censoriously asserting one’s moral superiority and treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts.”

He then carefully assured that he was not shooting down the theory of global warming – just warning proponents to be a bit more humble in their approach.

“None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences, but ordinary citizens also have a right to be skeptical of an overweening scientism,” Stephens added. “They know – as all environmentalists should – that history is littered with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.”

The columnist parted by pointing to a quote with which he opened up his piece:

“When someone is honestly 55 percent right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60 percent right, it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God. But what’s to be said about 75 percent right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100 percent right? Whoever says he’s 100 percent right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.” —An old Jew of Galicia

I’ve taken the epigraph for this column from the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who knew something about the evils of certitude,” Stephens concluded. “Perhaps if there had been less certitude and more second-guessing in Clinton’s campaign, she’d be president. Perhaps if there were less certitude about our climate future, more Americans would be interested in having a reasoned conversation about it.”

Enraged reaction

The news media did not take kindly to Stephens’ column, implying that the New York Times should be reserved solely for writers who propagate climate change and encourage its supporters.

“The New York Times' decision to publish a debut op-ed column by the newly hired Bret Stephens – a notable denier of anthropogenic climate change – has sparked an uproar from the paper's subscribers, who are furious that the Times decided to publish a column that is contrary to much of the modern-day scientific consensus on the dangers of global warming,” the Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth announced. “In his column, Stephens compared the ‘certitude’ with which Hillary Clinton's advisers believed she would win the 2016 election to climate scientists' repeated warnings about climate change risks. As evidence, Stephens said that inaccurate polling data during the 2016 campaign proves that science can miss the mark in other fields, as well.”

Sheth went on to note how Stephens not only offended the New York daily’s subscribers, but climate change “experts,” as well.

“Stephens' column evoked a swift and angry response from many of the paper's subscribers, who promptly canceled their subscriptions and bashed the Times' decision to hire Stephens as a writer,” the Leftist reporter informed. “Stephens' column also prompted backlash from those within the scientific community, like Stefan Rahmstorf, the head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Rahmstorf sharply criticized the Times' decision to hire Stephens, as well as Stephens' column, in a letter to the executive editor.” 

Rahmstorf attempted to portray himself as an advocate of a fair debate while ridiculing those who disagree with his “factual” theory.

"I enjoy reading different opinions from my own, but this is not a matter of different opinions," Rahmstorf impressed. "The Times argued that 'millions agree with Stephens.' It made me wonder what's next – when are you hiring a columnist claiming that the sun and stars revolve around the Earth, because millions agree with that?"

Another Leftist publication slammed New York’s biggest paper for allowing a conservative view on climate change.

“[I]n reality, the goal of this column is not to help readers learn how to reason with people who are skeptical about climate change,” the Slate’s Susan Matthews insisted. “Instead, the column reinforces the idea that those people might have a point.”

She argued that anyone who questions the science behind climate change is in denial.

“The New York Times push notification that went out Friday afternoon about the column said as much – ‘reasonable people can be skeptical about the dangers of climate change,’ it read,” Matthews continued. “That is not actually true, and nothing that Stephens writes makes a case for why it might be true. This column is not a lesson for people who want to advance good climate policy. Instead, it is a dog whistle to people who feel confused about climate change. It’s nothing more than textbook denialism.”

Looking at real data …

More problems for climate change proponents continues to mount as the Pacific Northwest continues to get pelted with storm after storm – raising snowpack levels far above what global warming advocates anticipated.

“After a decade or more of warnings from climate change alarmists about reductions in snowfall in California, Oregon and Washington state, data show those regions are experiencing significant or average levels of snowpack,” TheBlaze reported.

With global warming alarmists warning the masses to sell their beachfront property and say goodbye to skiing in the near future because of rising ocean levels and escalating temperatures worldwide, the cooling trend is putting a monkey wrench in many of their catastrophic predictions.

“During the past decade, a common theme in the research findings of climate alarmists studying California, Oregon, and Washington state has been reduced snowfall,” TheBlaze’s Justin Haskins noted. “Some alarmists even lamented it could be ‘the end of snow,’ as Porter Fox did for the New York Times in 2014. Yet, despite these extreme predictions, which also blamed humans for burning the fossil fuels that caused the warmer temperatures, the 2017 winter has provided the region with greater snowfall, leaving climate change advocates looking more than just a little foolish.”

He then referred to data provided to another Leftist daily out West, which announced that the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California just received a snowpack that was recorded as its seventh deepest since 1950 – and the largest since 2011.

“As of Thursday, the snowpack across the entire Sierra was at 164 percent of average for this time of year,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “The northern region was at 147 percent, the central was at 175 percent and the southern was 164 percent of average, respectively, state data showed.”


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