‘The New York Times’ (NYT) heeft de deur op een kier gezet voor enige klimaatscepsis door het aantrekken van een nieuwe columnist, Bret Stephens. Diens politiek correctheid is boven elke twijfel verheven. In het verleden, toen hij voor ‘Wall Street Journal’ werkte, heeft hij stelselmatig kritische columns over presidentskandidaat Donald Trump geschreven. Daarbij heeft hij emmers kritiek over zich heen gekregen van de Trump-aanhangers. Maar nu heeft hij twijfel geuit aan de zekerheid waarmee klimaatalarmisten hun boodschap verkondigen. En – verrassing, verrassing – hierbij heeft hij zich de gram van de andere kant van het politieke spectrum op de hals gehaald.


After 20 months of being harangued by bullying Trump supporters, I’m reminded that the nasty left is no different. Perhaps worse.

Dat is wonderlijk, want zijn column was rustig, evenwichtig en mild. Maar de reacties waren kenmerkend voor de polarisatie die op klimaatgebied (vooral in de VS) bestaat. Dat zegt veel over de schade die de klimaathysterie heeft aangericht aan het kritisch beoordelingsvermogen van zelfs goedwillende, hoogopgeleide mensen, waaronder vele wetenschappers.

Onder de titel, ‘Climate of Complete Certainty’, schreef Bret Stephens zijn eerste column voor de New York Times. Ik pik er een aantal elementen uit.

Hij schenkt eerst aandacht aan de prognoses van de overgrote meerderheid van politieke analisten die hadden gerekend op een overwinning van Hillary Clinton in de presidentsverkiezingen. De goeroe’s bleken er echter naast te zitten. Dan trekt hij een parallel met de zekerheid waarmee de klimaatalarmistische boodschap wordt verkondigd.

There’s a lesson here. We live in a world in which data convey authority. But authority has a way of descending to certitude, and certitude begets hubris. …

We ought to know this by now, but we don’t. Instead, we respond to the inherent uncertainties of data by adding more data without revisiting our assumptions, creating an impression of certainty that can be lulling, misleading and often dangerous. Ask Clinton.

With me so far? Good. Let’s turn to climate change.

Last October, the Pew Research Center published a survey on the politics of climate change. Among its findings: Just 36 percent of Americans care “a great deal” about the subject. Despite 30 years of efforts by scientists, politicians and activists to raise the alarm, nearly two-thirds of Americans are either indifferent to or only somewhat bothered by the prospect of planetary calamity.

Why? The science is settled. The threat is clear. Isn’t this one instance, at least, where 100 percent of the truth resides on one side of the argument?

Well, not entirely. As Andrew Revkin wrote last year about his storied career as an environmental reporter at The Times, “I saw a widening gap between what scientists had been learning about global warming and what advocates were claiming as they pushed ever harder to pass climate legislation.” The science was generally scrupulous. The boosters who claimed its authority weren’t.

Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the Northern Hemisphere since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities. That’s especially true of the sophisticated but fallible models and simulations by which scientists attempt to peer into the climate future. To say this isn’t to deny science. It’s to acknowledge it honestly.

By now I can almost hear the heads exploding. They shouldn’t, because there’s another lesson here — this one for anyone who wants to advance the cause of good climate policy. As Revkin wisely noted, hyperbole about climate “not only didn’t fit the science at the time but could even be counterproductive if the hope was to engage a distracted public.”

Let me put it another way. Claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong. Demanding abrupt and expensive changes in public policy raises fair questions about ideological intentions. Censoriously asserting one’s moral superiority and treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts. …

Aldus Bret Stephens in de NYT.

Lees verder hier.

Maar volgens extreme klimaatalarmisten mag er niet aan hun inzichten, waarschuwingen en beleidsaanbevelingen worden getwijfeld. Evenals in de kerk dient men onvoorwaardelijk te geloven.

De arme Bret Stephens kreeg dan ook emmers kritiek over zich heen.

Op ‘WattsUpWithThat’ (WUWT) schreef Eric Worall:

To a normal person this article might seem harmless enough. But Stephens has trespassed on forbidden territory – he dares to question whether we should accept absolutely every pronouncement of imminent eco-doom at face value. The overreaction from greens verges on comical. Consider the following from deSmogBlog;

Climate Scientists Cancelling Their New York Times Subscription Over Hiring of Climate Denialist Bret Stephens

By Graham Readfearn • Thursday, April 27, 2017 – 16:59

A New York Times defence of its hiring of a climate science denialist as a leading columnist is pushing high-profile climate scientists to cancel their subscriptions.

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research in Germany, is the latest scientist to write publicly to the New York Times detailing his reasons for cancelling their subscriptions.

The NYT has hired former Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens as a writer and deputy editorial page editor.

Stephens wrote several columns while at the WSJ disparaging climate science and climate scientists, which he has collectively described as a “religion” while claiming rising temperatures may be natural.

The NYT has been defending its decision publicly, saying that “millions of people” agree with Stephens on climate science and just because their readers don’t like his opinions, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be heard.

But the NYT defence has angered scientists. …

Lees verder hier.

Wanneer komt er nu eens een eind aan die klimaathysterie? En wanneer gaan de Nederlandse kwaliteitsmedia het voorbeeld van de NYT volgen?

Als het einde van de wereld gekomen is, ga ik naar Nederland, want daar gebeurt alles 50 jaar later.

Toegeschreven aan Heinrich Heine.

Hopelijk hoeven we dit keer niet zo lang te wachten.

Voor mijn eerdere bijdragen over klimaat en aanverwante zaken zie hierhierhierhier en hier.