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Why Are Climate Extremists Unwilling to Engage in Open Debate?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Climate change activists, especially the radical "stop oil" types, are reluctant to actually engage in open debate. Fox News' Douglas MacKinnon has some questions for them. And, unsurprisingly, I have some thoughts.

No matter their refusal to debate, I still have a few questions for the Great Oz of Climate Change and his disciples: 

  • Is the mad rush to "save the planet" more about panicking the public and politicians into ceding more and more control to the high priests of climate change — again, much like the induced panic surrounding COVID-19 — than it is about actual science?
  • Are the Biden administration and the United Nations flat-out lying to us regarding how much of the land in the U.S. must be sacrificed to build "sustainable" solar and wind farms which often dramatically underperform?
  • Are we talking about a few hundred thousand acres of land or are we really talking about tens of millions of acres to get to the fictional "net-zero" goal of halving U.S. carbon emissions by 2035 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050?
  • What happens to the tens of millions of wildlife species which live and depend upon those millions of acres for survival? What happens to the farmland and our food supply? What happens to the massive batteries and the toxic waste they produce?
  • What happens if — and when — nations such as China, Russia, India and others simply ignore the net-zero mandate? Wouldn’t that make the U.S. and every other nation who followed the policy "net-zero" chumps?

Here are my replies (mind you, I'm on the same side of this issue as Douglas MacKinnon)"

  • Of course, the entire climate "crisis" is not about the climate or about the planet but rather about control. As evidence, look at the lifestyles of so many of the higher-level climate whiners and how many of them have beachfront mansions only feet above the high tide line of the oceans whose rising they daily proclaim. As I've always said, I'll start believing there's a climate crisis when the people who keep telling me there's a climate crisis start acting like there's a climate crisis.
  • They may be lying, or they may be simply incompetent - or both. But there's a considerable amount of dissembling going on here by climate extremists.
  • Tens of millions of acres and trillions of dollars! Estimates to meet the Biden Administration's climate goals run from $4.5 to almost $6 trillion dollars, not to mention massive amounts of land. Wind and solar generation, meanwhile, can use up to ten times the amount of land required for similar fossil-fuel generation. And, of course, the climate change shouters never will consider the electricity source that has the smallest footprint (along with essentially zero carbon output): Nuclear power.
  • The wildlife, we are already seeing what happens - they are displaced or killed. As for the batteries, not to mention the non-recyclable windmill blades and the toxic waste from worn-out solar panels, the reply on those issues from the climate crisis crowd is typically, "Shut up!"
  • China, Russia, and India (especially China) are already ignoring net-zero mandates. And yes, we are net-zero chumps. That much is certain.

But here's a possible caution; Mr. MacKinnon cites a recent World Climate Declaration which has been signed by 1,600 scientists - but I have a question here, too: What kind of scientists? The non-scientific public, when the word "scientist" is tossed into a discussion, all too often comes up with a vague notion of someone like the Professor on Gilligan's Island, a kind of polymath who can cobble together a fusion reactor from two paperclips and an aspirin. In fact, the world of science today is a world of highly specialized people, and some of those people have the unfortunate tendency to think that because they are knowledgeable in one area, they are knowledgeable in others; for example, Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is well-versed in astrophysics but if you listen to him discussing, say, economics, it swiftly becomes clear that on that topic he is uncertain on the distinction between his own posterior and a hole in the ground.

Don't get me wrong; the reading I have done, combined with my own background in science (albeit in biology, not climatology), has led me to the considered opinion that anthropogenic climate change is a political, not a scientific, issue, and not something to degrade or destroy our economy over. Therefore, my reading, my thought, and my rationality have me agreeing with the World Climate Declaration. But when we cite "scientists," it's good to be just a little more specific, and I'd sure like to know how many of the 1,600 are working in climate research or an associated field like oceanography or geology. The two Nobel laureates who have signed the World Climate Declarations, while no doubt brilliant men, are a physicist (Dr. John F. Clauser) and an engineer and physicist (Dr. Ivar Giaever). Dr. Clauser's Nobel was the result of work with tangled photons, while Dr. Giaever's award resulted from his work in tunneling phenomena in solids. Neither's Nobel prizes were in climate-related disciplines.

I'm not saying they are incorrect or that this invalidates in any way the World Climate Declaration - they aren't, and it doesn't. But it's a possible angle for those on the opposite side of the issue, and were there to be a debate, the pro-freedom side should be aware of this and have a counter prepared.

Back to Mr. MacKinnon's original question, though: Why are climate extremists unwilling to debate? I'm speaking here, of course, not of cynical politicians looking to grab and wield power or the casual complaining of the passive Left; I'm talking about the real nuts, those who throw tomato sauce on famous paintings, glue themselves to floors, and block commuter roadways. About them, I can confidently say that, while I'm no mind-reader, I think it's this simple: They won't enter debate because they see themselves as the leading proselytizers of a new religion, the Cult of Climate Change, and that gives them a moral high ground.

This frees them of the moral requirement to prove their assertions; their claims on catastrophic climate change are a species of divine revelation and cannot be questioned. Their opponents, after all, are mostly grubby capitalists, wreckers, kulaks, and probably racists and transphobes as well.

I may be wrong. As I said, I can't read minds. But I can observe behavior and draw conclusions from it. On this, I don't think I am wrong. The operative term here is "think."

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