Dear Mr. President:
My apologies for missing your commencement address at the University of California at Irvine, honoring the 50th anniversary of one of our fine academic institutions. Meetings with my constituents just seemed more pressing, and, of course, we can meet back in Washington whenever it’s convenient for you.
In any case, between fundraisers and enjoying the “Zot! Zot! Zot!” chants of the graduating Anteaters, the questions I have raised about your “green” agenda clearly were on your mind. You evidently determined that ridiculing those, like me, who question your “settled” science would be the best way to make your case.
To the laughing grads, you said: “And today’s Congress is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence about climate change. They will tell you it is a hoax, or a fad. There was one member of Congress who mentioned a theory involving ‘dinosaur flatulence’ — which I won’t get into.”
Mr. President, we both know I have referred to the theory of man-made global warming as a “hoax,” and, yes, I once used to the phrase “dinosaur flatulence” as a soft jab at what I considered to be climate alarmism.
What I have learned is never to underestimate humorless zealots, especially those cloaked in the pretensions of “science.” My little attempt at lighthearted ridicule was reported and endlessly repeated as though it is something I seriously believe.
The continuing misrepresentation of my humor underscores my observation that global-warming alarmists misrepresent what they portray as facts. One of the traits of a fanatic is the willingness to conduct personal attacks, to limit debate, to use questionable facts and to seek government to impose policy on others.
Sir, my congressional colleagues and I cannot ignore costs when making decisions. Simply put, no matter how apocalyptic the theory behind it, we cannot make this crony-capitalist concoction of yours into a policy priority.
We’re also obliged to hold in check the coercive ambitions of a science-government complex, that with research grants, regulatory overreach and legislative conceit that corrals scientists into acquiescence and conformity.
That complex corrupts scientific method itself. When one of your top EPA administrators came before the Science, Space and Technology Committee, I asked her about the much-heralded claim that “97 percent” of scientists form a global-warming “consensus” — consensus being historically antithetical to scientific inquiry itself.
Her stammered answer would have made any U.C. Irvine student blush, as would any such feeble research. Did anyone ever ask 97 percent of the world’s scientists? Seriously?
It turns out, the sampling that led to this preposterous 97 percent claim was a questionnaire of scientists predisposed to agree. Tautologies are commonplace in politics, but this kind of methodology has no place in academia. And those charged with regulating us should be disqualified when they resort to them.
This dodge, Mr. President, was repeated when I asked the same question to the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as your own science adviser, John Holdren. None would defend the claim that 97 percent of all scientists support the theory of man-made global warming.
Moreover, reported land-based, near-surface temperatures have not increased in the past 17 years. Not one of the more than 70 different climate models predicted such a pause.
Meanwhile, analyses and studies that disagree with the predetermined intergovernmental outcome, such as the recent study showing that Antarctic glacier melt is a result of volcanoes, are ignored by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and by your administration.