Guest Opinion

Witness the collapse of the scientific governmental complex, aka promoters of the climate-change theory

President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech before he left office in which he warned of the possibility that private industrial firms, the military and Congress would form a mutually beneficial but self-serving relationship that would promote false threats to the detriment of our liberties. He called it the "military industrial complex."

Today, we are witnessing the collapse of the "scientific governmental complex," a group of scientists and governmental bodies, with assistance from news organizations, that promotes false threats to the detriment of our liberties.

"Climate change" is at the apex of this new "complex." The scientific community provides the crisis to which government responds with solutions that increase its power and control. In return, the scientific community gets increased government funding for research, and credit for saving the world. This process is enabled by newspapers, magazines and broadcast media, who act as cheerleaders.

Volumes could be written about the role of the news media in these sorts of things, but allow me one illustrative anecdote—the strange case of Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon. Paul Ehrlich became famous with the 1968 publication of his book The Population Bomb. In it, he predicted mass starvation in the '70s and '80s, along with shortages of every sort of raw material. Julian Simon was an economist who was more preoccupied with facts than abstract theories. Simon proved Ehrlich wrong at every turn, and was ignored. When Ehrlich stated that it was even money that England would not exist in the year 2000, Simon challenged Ehrlich with a bet of his own: Any raw material, at any point in the future (more than one year), will not increase in price. In 1980, Ehrlich picked five industrial metals and a period of 10 years. By 1990, the prices actually dropped for all five. Ehrlich sent a check to Simon.

The point of the Ehrlich/Simon story is that facts do not matter so much: Everything Ehrlich asserted was wrong, yet he is still held in high regard, still speaks, still publishes, and his name is well-known. How many people have even heard of Julian Simon?

Anyway, the knockout punch to climate change was the stolen e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in England, the most interesting of which revealed the use of a "trick" to "hide the decline (of temperature)." The CRU was Climate Change Central, and was the source used by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Many pundits were quick to assert that the use of the word "trick" was an unfortunate choice of words, and "hide the decline" is scientific jargon for, well, you know, scientific stuff.

This issue was made clear by Malcolm Hughes, regents' professor at the UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. He was one of the recipients of the "hide the decline" e-mail. When questioned about the "trick," he stated that it was not used by him; rather, it was used by some associates on different research. As Greg Patterson ( pointed out, "Does he try to pawn off the story that 'hide the decline' is somehow 'scientist' talk and it's OK? Nope. Does he claim that the 'trick' is an unfortunate choice of words, but actually represents an acceptable statistical adjustment? Nope. Does he defend the author in any way? Not at all. In fact, Hughes immediately distances himself from (his colleagues) and the rest of those who participated in the e-mail exchange." In other words, Hughes knows they are guilty of faking the data; the e-mails reveal it; and he's running the other way.

After stepping down as the head of CRU, Phil Jones recently conceded that the Medieval Warming Period (warmer than now) may have been a global phenomenon, and that there has been no statistically significant warming in the last 15 years. He also stated that he no longer has the original data used to generate the famous "hockey stick" graph. The IPCC has backed off its claim that ocean levels will rise 2 1/2 feet over the next 100 years, citing problems with their computer model, and is making no further claims in regard to changes in ocean levels.

I know people are still going to heroic lengths to defend the notion of impending doom, even in the pages of the Tucson Weekly. However, it is significant that Tucson's own climate scientist Malcolm Hughes is not.