Explaining The Witch Hunt–It Has To Be Now

Dissent is terrorism

In April of 2007, The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Massachussetts in the state’s suit against the EPA, finding that greenhouse gases were a danger to Massachussetts, largely because of sea level rise. The EPA was compelled to regulate greenhouse gases. They lost the suit.

The EPA somewhat reluctantly took on its new responsibilities and has begun to enforce a number of regulations to limit or reduce CO2 emissions from power plants and vehicles, and to require states to develop action plans to fight emissions. A lot of legal to-ing and fro-ing has occurred in the country’s courtrooms since then and we should expect even more in the future.

However, some of what the EPA would like to do in President Obama’s remaining two years in office requires that certain benchmarks be met. That means the foundation has to be laid now so they can cite certain things as justification for regulations.

Levels of scientific agreement must be clear–dissent from respected scientists makes some regulatory actions challenge-able in court.

Some threat from global warming must constitute a clear and present danger to the health and safety of the country’s citizens. Extreme weather could constitute such a danger and actually it is the only postulated effect that could conceivably be related to the present day. Again, scientific challenges to the immediacy of the impacts of Xtreme Weather make the EPA’s task more daunting.

So when John Holdren attacks Roger Pielke Jr. regarding Pielke’s straightforward assessment that extreme weather events are not in fact detectable at present, it isn’t because of petulance or even malice. Pielke’s statements represent a potential obstacle to what the EPA has already decided to do.  At a minimum, Holdren needs to get his challenge in the media so the EPA can refer to it. At a maximum, Holdren would like Pielke to either recant or retire. And given Pielke’s recent statement that he may withdraw from research on climate issues, Holdren may be able to claim at least a partial victory.

Representative Grijalva’s witch hunt against 7 scientists who have published non-consensus findings on climate science is not just because of his beliefs or political stance. Again, the work done by folk  like Judith Curry on uncertainty threatens the legal standing for EPA findings and future regulations.

Finally, the EPA’s need for legal ‘facts on the ground’ to support further actions is apparent in the recent revival of questions about Willie Soon’s funding. These questions are not new–the were revealed in 2011 and discussed for years before that. Showing political funding for Soon’s science will allow them to ask a court to disregard it without examination. (For the record, I don’t believe Soon’s work would survive scientific examination–but that’s hardly the point.)

The EPA has been in a number of legal battles regarding the regulation of greenhouse gases. Their lawyers understand the value of having their arguments validated by people like John Holdren and having reputable opponents dissed in the media by those who support further EPA regulation.

One of those supporters of EPA regulation is myself. I believe strong regulation of coal power plants is in our best interest. I believe that good emission regulations for vehicles, especially commercial trucks, is also good for our health now and in the future.

However, the demonization of dissent is unconscionable. Holding a modern day witch hunt to further a bureaucracy’s attempts to advance an agenda (an agenda I broadly support) is not just Kafka-esque. It is an affront to the principles of democratic organization of the country’s affairs.

President Obama (who I strongly support–much more than I do EPA regulations) is constrained in his course of actions by the loss of both houses of Congress. Executive actions are the main instrument he can wield to advance his policy agenda. To a limited agree they can be a force for good. This is obviously not one of those cases.

To tear down the reputations of respectable scientists just to have a footnote in the records of the inevitable court actions regarding future regulations is unconscionable. The fact that these seven dissenters have a body of evidence to support their resistance to a rush to climate judgment isn’t a political inconvenience. It is something that the EPA, the administration and John Holdren should carefully consider.

27 responses to “Explaining The Witch Hunt–It Has To Be Now

  1. You are far, far to kind. Holdren is an acolyte of Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich has gotten away with telling more whoppers about population and environmental problems than Lysenko did about biology. Except Ehrlich and gang are still famous.Holdren has to destroy Pielke and the rest if he possibly can.
    And do not forget that this President has people on the payroll who are working to wreck anyone standing in the way of their message of climate apocalypse. You have been supporting people who make Nixon look like a boyscout,.
    It is slime all the way down.

  2. Tom,
    You keep doing like Pielke, buying into the stories of proven liars.
    They are not after regulating coal. They are not after making coal burn better.
    They want to destroy the coal industry and replace it with idiocoratic things like wind and solar. Wind, that destroys whole countrysides for tens of miles in every direction. Solar that can only work when the sun is out. neither of which are dependable or cheap or clean.
    Coal’s risks are vastly over stated.
    They are lying about coal. Just as they have lied about the weather, the sea levels, the temp records, the storms, the “extreme” weather events, etc.
    Liars lie. About everything. And we know that this Administration blatantly deliberately and cynically lies.

  3. “I believe that good emission regulations for vehicles, especially commercial trucks, is also good for our health now and in the future.”

    I think the argument is around the regulation of CO2 so it seems like you are saying you believe the regulation of CO2 from vehicles is good for our health now. Can you please explain how CO2 is negatively affecting health?

    • Precisely.The hallmark of the bureaucratic state is to impose policies that do not work for problems that do not exist at a tremendous cost to the taxpayer and the enrichment of political insiders.

    • It always struck me as specious to lump CO2 in with other emissions as regulatable under the Clean Air Act, as the Supreme Court ruled. As well as the term “carbon pollution”. Other pollutants have (or are least believed to have) direct harmful effects upon those who inhale them.
      If, as you say, the rationale for defining CO2 as “harmful” was sea-level rise, this is entirely unlike the other emissions regulated under the Act. Such a connection, while causal, is materially less immediate (decades in the making) and more indirect (there is no effect on the quality of the air), and the risks are difficult to distinguish from natural changes (such as subsidence), or coastal engineering.

  4. It should be noted that the Supreme Court did not want to make a ruling on CO2 and the Clean Air and Water Act. It very much wanted Congress to make this determination. The only reason it got to the SCOTUS was because Congress was incapable of making a legal clarification on this issue. The judges might as well have flipped a coin to divine what the right answer should have been, it simply was not in the law.

    Which brings us to the nuclear scenario which many on the left will not even mention out loud: A Republican victory in 2016 and with control of all 3 sectors of government they issue a simple clarification to the EPA on CO2, do not regulate it, period. The EPA is not a law making body and must follow Congress’s wishes, end of story.

    Which is why I find that the animosity and demonization of the right by the greens to be playing with dynamite given the current legislative makeup of Congress. A Republican is likely to lose exactly zero votes for taking this action. Counter-productive.

    • Tom,
      If the USSC wanted to leave it to Congress they should have tried doing just that.
      There was NO pressing reason to rewrite science and pretend CO2 is a pollutant than there was to decide that Americans who happened to be black were property and could be pursued and captured back in to slavery across state lines.
      If you think simply telling the EPA to stop regulating CO2 will work you are smoking crack. A compliant judge will have a prearranged lawsuit and ratify a ruling that Congress cannot interfere with settled science. We are not in the America of 8 years ago., We are now a post Constitutional Republic rapidly moving towards rule by decree.
      That the EPA’s stand on climate was largely written by an admitted convicted con-artist is not even important.
      That the regulations will have no impact on climate (however the hell that is defined these days) much less weather is not important. These people want power and they now have it.
      God help us.

      • I am only quoting from faulty memory here, but the SCOTUS actually delayed the hearings on CO2 by a year or so to allow Congress to clarify the issue. once it was established this wasn’t in the cards they ruled on the issue.

        There is no doubt that there will be lawsuits on any CO2 ruling. However I think it is quite clear that the EPA unambiguously follows rules set by Congress. Congress can disavow gravity and the EPA must follow.

        Now I pretty much disagree that the SCOTUS should have upheld a ruling on CO2 that was not ever mentioned in the previous law, but it did. The SCOTUS is the end of line in interpretation. Congress gets to write the rules. A Republican president can force the EPA to not enforce a CO2 ruling, now there is a lot of gray area there. Executive orders are a two way street.

      • Tom, I deeply and sincerely hope you are correct on all points.

  5. I can’t believe you and Peilke both support Obama. You two otherwise seem to be incredibly intelligent.

    • Canman, it is hard to believe until you understand that Tom Fuller is a full member of the Alinsky brigade. The only problem is that he is too naive to realize it.

  6. Dr. John Holdren famously lost a wager (together with Prof. Paul Ehrlich) against Julian Simon on economics of raw materials – that prices would inevitably go up. From Simon’s website:

    Famous science writer Isaac Asimov expressed the bewilderment of a person who at least faced up to this intellectual predicament, as Ehrlich et. al. do not. Asimov read about the resources bet and then wrote:

    Naturally, I was all on the side of the pessimist and judge my surprise when it turned out he had lost the bet; that the prices of the metals had indeed fallen; that grain was cheaper; that oil…was cheaper; and so on.
    I was thunderstruck. Was it possible, I thought, that something that seemed so obvious to me – that a steadily rising population is deadly – can be wrong?

    Yes, it could be. I am frequently wrong.

    Asimov permitted himself to be bewildered. “I don’t understand this,” he wrote. And he says about economics in general: “I cannot understand it, and I cannot believe that anyone else understands it, either. People may say they understand it…but I think it is all a fake.”

    Unlike Asimov, the doomsayers refuse to allow themselves to be bewildered by the facts. Instead, they simply reject the facts and deride anyone who presents the facts.

  7. Tom, Would you please explain how CO2 is negatively affecting health now causing you to believe it should be regulated by the EPA.

    “I believe that good emission regulations for vehicles, especially commercial trucks, is also good for our health now and in the future.”

    Perhaps your concern is not about CO2 emissions, but about other gasses and particulates? If so, are there other gases and particulates that are harmful and are NOT currently regulated?

  8. Mr. Fuller,

    While I respect your stance on this, I can’t help but feel that the writing has been on the wall for years and that this is merely the end result of a path chosen long ago.

    You have (unwittingly) supported the individuals responsible and are now in shock as their real motives emerge. These events may surprise you but they are par for the course for skeptics who have been labeled denier’s (in the most pejorative sense of the word) for years.

    I cannot believe how someone so intimately involved with the issues surrounding the Crutape letters, would be surprised by the “noble cause corruption” we are now witnessing. Did you not see this coming?

    I find that I am most frustrated with people like you who say “the demonization of dissent is unconscionable”, while simultaneously having supported the demonizers.

    I am encouraged that you are going on record against this kind of abuse of power and I sincerely hope you will continue to denounce individuals who attempt to marginalize their opponents through intimidation and insinuation.

    • Tom, has a rather nuanced view of CAGW. He shouldn’t be referred to as “people like you.”
      Maybe you should tell us who the responsible individuals are. Then I will know what stereotype you can be lumped in.

      • thomaswfuller2 | February 25, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Reply

        I am a progressive liberal Democrat. I am deeply ashamed of my party affiliation right now.

        thomaswfuller2 | February 25, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Reply

        Joseph, you should think about this a little more. I am a liberal Democrat who has been an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama for more than 8 years. And Joseph McCarthy was the first person I thought of when I read about this.

      • Marty,

        When I referred to Tom as “people like you” it was not in relation to pro/anti CAGW, it was in relation to having supported those who use intimidation and insinuation to marginalize their opponents. My comment was very clear in that regard.

        If the posts I quoted above from thomasfuller2 are not attributable to Tom Fuller then I apologize for my error. However, he has made similar remarks in this blog so I can assume they are one in the same.

        What is going on right now in Washington is nothing new to the skeptic community and for Tom to come forward now is commendable. It’s unfortunate that he and others were not more vocal long before now, we might have avoided this mess.

        Attempting to shut down debate is wrong and “those people”, pro CAGW and skeptic alike, should be denounced at every opportunity.

      • Hiya Marty and Michael.

        Marty, I have the impression (correct or otherwise) that Michael isn’t overly familiar with this blog (or 3000 Quads).

        Michael, do you think those two statements are diametrically opposed? I do not…

      • Tom –

        I am reasonably familiar with this blog and your positions on both politics and AGW, and I agree with MichaelS. This kind of witch hunt is entirely normal for statist/collectivist movements, and that includes the progressive liberal democrats you identify with. Dissent is rarely acceptable to those who wish to control your life.

        That you consider it a travesty is definitely in your favour (and one of the reasons I continue to read this blog), but it does rather put you into the category of “useful idiot” in your collectivist cause.

        Your shocked outrage on this is actually kind of amusing, in a sad fashion. Have you paid no attention over the years to the doings of your fellow progressives?

      • Tom,

        As a progressive liberal Democrat who has been an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama for 8 years, have you ever formally protested your party’s attempts to demonize dissenters of CAGW.

        I don’t mean writing a blog about it.

        I’m not trying to hold you to a higher standard than everyone else but you have repeated your disillusionment with your party several times over the past few days so I’m simply asking what you have done to hold them accountable for comments like this:

        “UCI commencement speech 6-14-2014 by President Obama – The climate change deniers suggest there’s still a debate over the science. There is not.”


        “Denying climate change is like saying the moon is made of cheese”


        Obama’s October 14, 2014 tweet, “stick it to climate change deniers by adding your name”


        John Kerry, “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists … and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact,” he said. “The science is unequivocal and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand.”

        I can go and on but I think I’ve made my point. Like I stated below, it’s easy to stand up when everyone’s looking, the real test of character is to stand up when no one is looking.

  9. Mr. Fuller,

    Several pro AGW spokespersons have used the term “denier” to link their opponents with Holocaust denial. I know that you do not agree with this characterization, but would you please go on record as rejecting this term in relation to holocaust deniers.

    Thank you.

    • I grew up in a household where we had many friends and relatives who lived and died in eastern Europe before, during and after WWII. There were constant arguments about who killed who, where, when and why. I saw many friendships destroyed over these arguments. I’m sick of them. There were millions murdered for no good reason. Someone who denies that deserves to be called a denier. Someone who wants to argue about the %age ethnicity of the victims or killers or their motivation shouldn’t be called one. I knew many survivors who were furios everytime a holocaust movie came out.

      • Marty,

        My Dutch grandparents hid Jewish families in their attic while German soldiers occupied the house. My grandfather spent the better part of the war in and out of detainee camps as a collaborator against the German army.

        The term denier in relation to climate skeptics is repulsive and should be rejected at every opportunity.

      • I’m not sure why I capitalized dutch, jewish and german but it’s 4am so..

    • Hi Michael

      Umm, I have written probably thousands of words protesting this. I think some of them are on this website… you might start here… https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/the-semiotics-of-denier/

      Oh–and here… https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/let-it-go/

      • Tom,

        I guess the reason I ask is because you had the perfect opportunity to protest this in a real situation instead of just blogging about it.

        Steven Mosher | February 10, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Reply

        “But you realize that the brandons of the world would remain skeptical. You know there is uncertainty over exactly how many died in the holocaust”

        You are a close associate of Steven Mosher, I believe, and were participating in the very thread where this was posted yet you were completely silent. Several others, including Brandon Shollenberger, protested and some had their comments removed but you said nothing. It would have been so simple to say, “Hey Mosh, let’s not go down that road please” but you didn’t.

        The point I am trying to make here and in my other post further up the page, is that it’s all fine and good to stand up and be counted when everyone’s looking but the real test of character is how you behave when no one is looking.

        In my opinion you failed the second part.

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