U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry believes people who are hesitant to proclaim that man-made global warming is a problem shouldn’t be in office. He opined the notion to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell at his Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum after she asked him why the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates weren’t really talking climate change. He’s pretty confident it will come up during the General Election debates and thinks anyone who says it’s not that big a deal, is just ignorant (emphasis mine).
But when I hear a United States senator say, “I’m not a scientist so I can’t make a judgment,” or a candidate for president for that matter, I’m absolutely astounded. I mean, it’s incomprehensible that a grownup who has been to high school and college in the United States of America disqualifies themselves because they’re not a scientist when they’ve learned that the Earth rotates on its axis but they’re not a scientist; where they’ve learned that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and it does so 24 hours a day; and you can run the list of things that we know science tells us happens, and we accept it every single day. And to suggest that when more than 6,000-plus peer-reviewed studies of the world’s best scientists all lay out that this is happening and mankind is contributing to it, it seems to me that they disqualify themselves fundamentally from high public office with those kinds of statements. And I think the American people will decide that this year, because the American people are overwhelmingly in favor of doing something about climate change.
First thing’s first: Kerry isn’t saying those who are “climate change deniers” should be barred from public office. He just doesn’t think they should be elected because they’re “anti-science.” It’s similar to President Barack Obama’s “The debate is settled” comment from 2014, and just as wrong. Former Obama Administration officials Dr. Steven Koonin wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2014 how scientists don’t agree on what’s going on with the Earth because computer models tend to vary.
The models differ in their descriptions of the past century’s global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere’s energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate’s inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right.
Does this mean Kerry would disqualify any scientist who pointed this out? It sure seems like he would, based on his comments about politicians who don’t believe in climate change. But that’s being horribly short-sighted and not taking into account how data changes. The Earth isn’t some stagnant rock which doesn’t do anything, and the weather changes on a regular basis. Here in Texas it’s a not uncommon to have it be warm, then cool, sunny, then rainy all within a two hour period. That’s not because of global warming, it’s because of just how things are.
The biggest problem with Kerry’s comments is how purist and anti-thought he is. Kerry doesn’t want scientists, he wants an echo chamber to confirm his own bias when it comes to what’s happening with the weather. He doesn’t want politicians to have a debate, he wants them to just rubber stamp any proposal he thinks will reduce carbon emissions and “save the planet.” It’s “manbearpig!” without South Park and Al Gore. The fact is, having a bunch of “yes men” political leaders won’t solve anything. The Democratic-Republicans ran into this problem during the presidency of James Monroe when Congress was pretty much 100% Democratic-Republican. They ran into situations where political backstabbing and petty bickering caused their own downfall. If the U.S. elected a bunch of politicians who were of the same mind they would still fight over things because they’re human. How often does the conservative echo chamber on Twitter fight over stupid “high school stuff” which has nothing to do with actual thought or debate? A climate change echo chamber would do the same thing. Factions would erupt because people aren’t “pure enough” or “want to go far enough,” and when one faction finally dominated it would purge the unbelievers. Which is kinda already happening right now, as Charles Krauthammer wrote in The Washington Post.
It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.
Maybe 150 years from now the world turns into how it was in Robocop with Sunblock 5000 being sold because there’s no ozone layer. Maybe 150 years from now we’re all living in Winterworld. The fact is we don’t know and there’s no way to accurately predict everything. Just don’t tell Kerry that. He might “disqualify” you for not being on board with his dire warnings.