You've heard the saying that, "it's all in good fun until someone puts an eye out." Well, a variation I just experienced would read, "it's all in good fun until you're smeared in the London tabloids." Then it becomes really good fun.
Last Friday, a reporter for the Guardian newspaper in the UK decided to attack AEI (and me specifically) for allegedly trying to "bribe" scientists to undermine the recently released Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The story has been carried uncritically in a bunch of other papers - my hate-mail now comes in multiple languages!
Naturally, the story is complete garbage, and is nothing more than another ham-handed attempt to stifle all criticism of the energy-rationing, wealth-redistribution agenda of the UN and left-leaning environmental groups.
Rather than being an attack on climate science, the focus in our current project (as it has been in all of my previous efforts) is to critically examine the dominant climate policy proposals, with science entering into the picture only where it is claimed to "dictate" a particular policy response, such as rapidly forcing down greenhouse gas emissions. Any rational person will understand that while science can tell us "what is," it does not tell us "what action is best."
But the global-warming zealots of late have decided that one is not allowed to question anything at all: not the science, not the politicized process, not the UN's favored policy proposals, nothing. People who do dare to question are slandered as industry shills, and are threatened with "Nuremberg-like hearings" for trying to "deny" the climate holocaust that alarmists so fervently believe is right around the corner.
AEI's President, Chris DeMuth sent an in-house open letter rebutting the Guardian letter. I've attached Chris's letter to this note, and attached the original invitation letter and Guardian editorial so you can see for yourself. But Chris's last paragraph tells the real tale:
"We should all be aware that political attacks such as the Guardian‘s are more than sloppy or sensation-seeking journalism: they are efforts to throttle debate, and therefore aim at the heart of AEI’s purposes and methods. The successive IPCC climate change reports contain a wealth of valuable information, but there has been a longstanding effort to characterize them as representing more of a “scientific consensus” than they probably are, and to gloss over uncertainties and disagreements within the IPCC documents themselves. Consensus plays an important role in science and scientific progress, but so does disputation—reasoned argument is essential to good science, and competition of ideas is essential to scientific progress. AEI is strongly opposed to the politicization of science, just as it is to the politicization of economics and other disciplines. On climate change as on other issues, we try to sort out the areas of genuine consensus from the areas of reasonable debate and uncertainty.
Needless to say, this bogus attack will not prevail - In fact, it only reinforces my determination to inject some rationality into the climate policy discussion, and gives me a bit more name recognition with which to do it.
Please share this with those who would use the Guardian's yellow journalism in order to stifle debate over climate policy.
American Enterprise Institute