Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Pledge Allegiance to Global Warming

British scientists sign a government loyalty oath.

James Taranto
Wall Street Journal -

The Met Office, Britain's national weather service, "has embarked on an urgent exercise to bolster the reputation of climate-change science" in the wake of a whistle-blower's revelation of widespread misconduct by climate scientists, London's Times reports:

More than 1,700 scientists have agreed to sign a statement defending the "professional integrity" of global warming research. They were responding to a round-robin request from the Met Office, which has spent four days collecting signatures. . . .
One scientist told The Times he felt under pressure to sign. "The Met Office is a major employer of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming," he said.

The concept of scientists--or journalists, or artists--signing a petition is ludicrous. The idea is that they are lending their authority to whatever cause the petition represents--but in fact they are undermining that authority, which is based on the presumption that they think for themselves.

The problem with the petition as a form is also a problem with the Met Office petition's substance. The purpose of the petition is to shore up scientists' authority by vouching for their integrity. But signing a loyalty oath under pressure from the government is itself a corrupt act. Anyone who signs this petition thereby raises doubts about his own integrity. And once again, the question arises: Why should any layman regard global warmism as credible when the "consensus" rests on political machinations, statistical tricks and efforts to suppress alternative hypotheses?

To be sure, Joseph McCarthy was right about communism even though the ways he combated it were wrong and counterproductive. But that's all the more reason that honest scientists who view global warmism as credible--if such creatures exist--should rise up against these McCarthyite tactics.

White House Suicide Threat
"The Obama administration is warning Congress that if it doesn't move to regulate greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency will take a 'command-and-control' role over the process in a way that could hurt business," Fox News reports:

While administration officials have long said they prefer Congress take action on climate change, the economic official who spoke with reporters Tuesday night made clear that the EPA will not wait and is prepared to act on its own.
And it won't be pretty.
"If you don't pass this legislation, then . . . the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area," the official said. "And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it's going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty."
The anonymous official's formulation elides a crucial point: The EPA is part of the administration. So really, the threat to Congress should be in the first person: If you don't pass Cap'n trade, we are going to adopt economy-destroying command-and-control regs. Think about what effect that would have on President Obama's prospects of re-election, and you realize that this is actually a political suicide threat.