The Climate Establishment’s Attack On Free Speech
By Paul Homewood
Most people will have been unaware of the letter to the Times last week, which attempted to pressurise the editor into stopping publishing articles in the least bit sceptical of establishment climate science.
Fortunately, Booker has widened the debate:
There recently arrived on the desk of the editor of The Times an extraordinary three-page letter, signed by 13 members of the House of Lords. They informed him in no uncertain terms that, if he wished to save his paper’s reputation, he must stop printing articles which don’t accord with the official orthodoxy on climate change. Headed by Lord Krebs, its signatories read like a check-list of our “climate establishment”.
“The letter was a perfect case-study in "groupthink”
Four are members of the supposedly “independent” Committee on Climate Change, including its chairman Lord Deben (aka John Gummer). Others included Lord (Nicholas) Stein and Lord Oxburgh, chair of the inquiry set up by East Anglia University which cleared its Climatic Research Unit of any impression of scientific wrongdoing given by the Climategate emails. Although these signatories are all fully committed “climate alarmists”, none is in any way a climate scientist, and several have declared financial interests in “renewables” and “low-carbon” energy.
The gist of their letter, written in consultation with Richard Black, the former BBC environmental reporter who now runs an ultra-green propaganda unit, was to express outrage that The Times had published two articles which appeared to question the official orthodoxy on global warming. One was of such “low quality” that “on the social media it has been a laughing stock”. If the editor continued to publish such stuff, his paper would no longer be trusted it on anything, “even your sports reports”.
“Because their groupthink is based on such shaky ground, they intolerantly lash out at anyone who dares question it”
What made this even more bizarre was that the offending article had merely reported on a very measured, technical paper written for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by an eminent professor of statistics, an expert on computer models, questioning the reliability of the models officially used to predict future global temperatures, which have so consistently been proved wrong.
The response from the signatories of the letter was a perfect case-study in what Irving Janis, the former Yale professor of psychology, analysed as “groupthink”. Those, caught up in a bubble, he showed, first succumb to a collective mindset which is in some way at odds with reality. They then elevate this into an illusory orthodoxy which cannot be challenged. Finally, because their groupthink is based on such shaky ground, they intolerantly lash out at anyone who dares question it.
Nothing was more revealing in this letter than its signatories’ claim that in no way did they wish to interfere with the freedom of speech – when everything else in the letter showed that this was precisely their intention.
Coincidentally, the Wall Street Journal offers this update of the even more sinister situation in the US, as GWPF report:
Sometimes we wonder if we’re still living in the land of the free. Witness the subpoena from Claude Walker, attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, demanding that the Competitive Enterprise Institute cough up a decade of emails and policy work, as well as a list of private donors.
Mr. Walker is frustrated that the free-market think tank won’t join the modern church of climatology, so he has joined the rapidly expanding club of Democratic politicians and prosecutors harassing dissenters.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman started the assault last autumn with a subpoena barrage on Exxon Mobil. His demand for documents followed reports by Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times that claimed Exxon scientists had known for years that greenhouse gases cause global warming but hid the truth from the public and shareholders.
Those reports selectively quoted from Exxon documents, which in any case were publicly available and often peer-reviewed in academic journals. Some Exxon scientists changed their views over the years, and several years ago the company even endorsed a carbon tax.
Mr. Schneiderman nonetheless says he is investigating Exxon for “defrauding the public, defrauding consumers, defrauding shareholders.” He also tipped a broader assault by claiming that the oil and gas company was funneling climate misinformation through “organizations they fund, like the American Enterprise Institute,” the “American Legislative Exchange Council” and the “American Petroleum Institute.” He wants to use the Exxon case to shut down all “climate change deniers.” […]
Mr. Walker is also over the line in demanding the names of nonprofit CEI’s donors, who can remain secret under federal law. Anyone on the list will become a new target for the Schneiderman climate posse.
CEI has filed to quash the subpoena, and the nonprofit has hired attorneys Andrew Grossman and David Rivkin, who recently founded the Free Speech in Science Project to defend First Amendment rights against government abuses. The project is much needed.
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has asked the Justice Department to use the RICO statutes to bring civil cases against climate dissenters. Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently referred to the FBI a request from two Democrat Congressmen seeking a criminal probe of Exxon. Democrats on Capitol Hill have sent letters pressuring companies to disavow the Chamber of Commerce for its climate heresy.
This is a dangerous turn for free speech, and progressives ought to be the first to say so lest they become targets for their own political heresies. Rather than play defense, the targets of the climate police need to fight back with lawsuits of their own.
The warmist establishment know that the public are becoming increasingly cynical about their alarmist claims, and are now becoming desperate.
All of this is yet more evidence that the debate has nothing to with climate, if it ever did. If it was, the facts would be speaking for themselves, and there would be no need to suppress debate.