Energy & Environment

The quiet failure of climate denial in 2013

Dan Farber

The latest IPCC report proves that scientists are unwavering in their view that human carbon emissions are causing dangerous climate change.  In the scientific world, climate denial has no traction.  It isn’t gaining traction in the judicial or congressional worlds either.

First, the judiciary.  A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit, headed by a conservative judge, brushed aside objections to EPA’s finding that carbon emissions endanger human health and welfare.  On the full court, several judges objected to other parts of EPA’s climate policy, but not a single one thought it was worth discussing the objections of climate deniers.  The Supreme Court agreed to hear other aspects of the case, but not this one.  There just wasn’t enough substance to views of climate deniers to justify taking up the Court’s time.

NASA photo of Earth

Source: NASA

Second, Congress.  You might recall that there was a government shutdown awhile ago.  It was sparked when Senator Cruz decided that Republicans should refuse to fund the government unless implementation of Obamacare was put on hold.  That strategy failed.

But the interesting thing is that Cruz’s target was health insurance, not carbon regulation.  The House GOP is opposed to most regulatory initiatives, and there’s no doubt that if they got the chance they’d block EPA climate regulations.  But when it comes down to it, it’s not their core issue.  Somewhere along the way, Obamacare became the defining issue for House Republicans, not climate change or financial regulation.  Climate deniers failed to get to the top of the priority list, and became just one of several dozen second- and third-level priorities for Republicans.

This doesn’t mean that House Republicans have now decided to embrace modern science.  That may be too much to expect given that many of them haven’t yet caught up with 19th-century advances in biology.  But the crusade against climate science seems to have taken the back seat for right now  in their priorities.

In both cases, there was no resounding victory against climate science.  But climate denial quietly failed to get any traction in the courts, and has been seemingly been eclipsed by other conservative causes.

And in the meantime, EPA continues to move forward in addressing climate change. Overall, you’d have to say it was a bad year for the deniers.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.

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Comments to "The quiet failure of climate denial in 2013":
    • Jeffery Kahn

      Sad to say, the changing climate itself is responsible for the gradual melting away of those in denial. Year after year, decade after decade, Mother Nature is speaking to us loud and clear. Drought-ruined Midwest corn farmers and Texas cattlemen, New Englanders fearful of the next hurricane, Alaskans who have watched the glaciers shrink — they are not persuaded by pseudoscience.

      There will always be denialists. But Dan Farber is right. They are a disappearing kind.

      [Report abuse]

    • Michael Haluska, PE

      The meter has run out on Al Gore’s “climate forecasting” credibility. Jim Hoft notes it was on yesterday’s date in 2008 that “Al Gore predicted the North Polar Ice Cap would be completely ice free in five years. Gore made the prediction to a German audience in 2008. He told them that “the entire North ‘polarized’ cap will disappear in 5 years.”

      Recently we learned of a vessel trapped in the Antarctic Ice Pack – what none of the mainstream media reported was that the ship was chartered by AGW activists hoping to photograph the “shrinking polar ice”.

      Time magazine published an article recently about the record cold weather in North America and stated it was probably due to effects of “Global Warming”. That’s interesting because when this phenomena occurred in 1974, Time magazine stated it was due to “Global Cooling” and leading AGC (predecessors of AGW) advocates predicted we would all be freezing to death by now.

      In between we had British academics fudging data that contradicted AGW, average Earth temperatures decreasing for the past 15 years, etc. But only in the magical world of “Climate Change” (covers all the bases) does being flat-out WRONG count as “proof” that they’re right!

      This is the most bogus example of science (AGW) I have ever seen. Did Einstein get called a “Denier” when he was debating Bohr? The root of this hysteria is billions of dollars of government research grant funds disappearing, not climate change.

      [Report abuse]

    • Mike McCurley

      40 years ago it was the coming ice age- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqsRD4HPtH0. Then it was the terror of global warming. Now it’s climate change. Now that really is a convenient catch all term.

      Are all these highly educated folks claiming that there is some mythical “normal” never changing climate that the planet wants to be at, if we humans would just go back to living in caves?

      Consider this- back during the Jurassic period the CO2 level was considerably higher than it is now, and the planet was crawling with life. The truth is that there have been wild climate swings, like the various ice ages, throughout the history of this little blue ball, and most of them happened before we even got here.

      But this current predicted apocalypse is all our fault right? Just maybe, we need to forget about controlling the planet, and learn to deal with changes beyond our control, that will always continue to happen.

      [Report abuse]

    • Rob

      I’d be really interested to know where in the latest IPCC report it specifically states that anthropogenic CO2 is responsible for climate change or global warming. Considering that according to the IPCC data itself the climate temperature has not risen in 17 years despite all the climate models predicting a drastic increase.

      All this while the CO2 concentration has increased significantly. Neither a three judge panel nor groups of IPCC scientists saying the opposite can change the factual data that the global climate has not varied outside of historical climate norms, nor that the calculated global temperature is increasing.

      The just released satellite data also proves that the satellite derived global temperature has remained relatively stable (within plus or minus 0.4 degrees Celsius) since 1979.

      Again I would be interested in the data that is the basis for your opinion. In my opinion it is reckless for you to not only make this statement under the banner of UC Berkeley, but also stating that somehow law and judges opinion supersedes scientific data.

      On the other hand I could also agree with the the title of the article as true climate deniers are those that deny that the global climate changes and that the current variability of the global climate is well within the historical high low temperature envelope. And yes for these deniers the falling public support for the statements made by the IPCC has NOT been good.

      [Report abuse]

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