(by Eric Pfeiffer, WashingtonTimes.com) – Scientists skeptical of climate-change theories say they are increasingly coming under attack — treatment that may make other analysts less likely to present contrarian views about global warming.
“In general, if you do not agree with the consensus that we are headed toward disaster, you are treated like a pariah,” said William O’Keefe, chief executive officer of the Marshall Institute, which assesses scientific issues that shape public policy.
“It’s ironic that a field based on challenging unproven theories attacks skeptics in a very unhealthy way.”
Two climatologists in Democrat-leaning states, David Legates in Delaware and George Taylor in Oregon, have come under fire for expressing skepticism about the origins of climate change. Oregon Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski is publicly seeking to strip Mr. Taylor, widely known as the state’s climatologist, of his position because of his stance.
“There has been a broad, concerted effort to intimidate and silence them,” said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global-warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “It’s the typical politics of the hard left at work. I think these are real threats.”
CEI, which previously listed Mr. Legates as an “adjunct scholar,” has published multiple reports questioning the science behind global-warming theories and has been criticized for accepting donations from companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp.
Mr. O’Keefe said his organization doesn’t deny the existence of global warming but questions the methods used by individuals and groups advocating for new government restrictions to combat the phenomenon.
“We have never said that global warming isn’t real,” Mr. O’Keefe said. “No self-respecting think tank would accept money to support preconceived notions. We make sure what we are saying is both scientifically and analytically defensible.”
In an interview with local NBC affiliate KGW-TV, Mr. Kulongoski, a Democrat, said he hopes to take away Mr. Taylor’s job title because his views do not mesh with the political opinions of most lawmakers in Oregon, including the governor.
“He is Oregon State University’s climatologist. He is not the state of Oregon’s climatologist,” Mr. Kulongoski said. “I just think there has to be somebody that says, ‘This is the state position on this.’ ”
Mr. Taylor was appointed to the position in 1991, when Oregon’s legislature created a state climate office at the college. Mr. Kulongoski wants to change the position to a governor-appointed one. State Sen. Brad Avakian, a Democrat, is sponsoring a bill supporting such a move.
Copyright 2007 News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of the Washington Times. This reprint does not constitute or imply any endorsement or sponsorship of any product, service, company or organization. Visit the website at www.washingtontimes.com
1. Define consensus, pariah, ironic, climatologist, skepticism.
2. a) Who is William O’Keefe?
b) What does Mr. O’Keefe say is ironic about the way climatologists skeptical of global warming are treated?
3. Why have climatologists David Legates and George Taylor come under fire?
4. What does Democratic Governor Kulongoski of Oregon intend to do about George Taylor? Be specific.
5. Think about the role of climatologist. Do you think each state needs to have a governor-appointed climatologist? Explain your answer.
The opposing viewspoints on global warming are:
- The earth’s climate is warming as a result of human actions; an extreme change in the earth’s climate is going to occur, caused by greenhouse gas emitted by the world’s use of fossile fuels (coal, oil, gas). This temperature change will result in catastrophic problems in the environment. Humans must drastically reduce the consumption of fossile fuels immediately. To prevent this man-made climate change, countries need to restrict energy use (reduce use of gas and oil).
Liberals generally hold this view. Check out two liberal organizations which defend this viewpoint:
Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace.
- Human activity does not affect the earth’s temperature. Burning fossile fuels (gas, coal and oil) does not cause climate change. The earth’s climate changes naturally, but not so much that it will cause a change of catastrophic proportions. An extreme change in the earth’s climate will not happen. There are natural warming and cooling trends over time. In the 1970’s a coming ice age was predicted, but now that scare has been replaced with the current global warming scare.
Conservatives generally hold this view. Two conservative organizations which support this view are:
FriendsOfScience.org and Junk Science.
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