While I was still in college, scientists were loath to put their name on any report or study that wasn’t based on the basic principles of sound science — namely, the development of a theory based upon observation that leads to a prediction that is then thoroughly tested and subject to peer review.
According to the National Academy of Science, “In science, then, facts are determined by observation or measurement of natural or experimental phenomena. A hypothesis is a proposed explanation of those facts. A theory is a hypothesis that has gained wide acceptance because it has survived rigorous investigation of its predictions. In accordance with established principles of science, scientists have the responsibility to replicate and reconfirm their results as a normal part of the research process.”
Recently, I interviewed Steve Milloy, who co-authored a report published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The report highlighted failed climate and environmental predictions going back to the 1960s. Some of these predictions were so bold that the “scientists” included a due date for doom. It is worth noting that none of these predictions came true.
Some examples from the report include the Boston Globe in 1970 publishing a scientific prediction of a coming ice age. The Washington Post in 1971 cited a different scientist making the same prediction. Time Magazine joined the chorus with a report that the mean temperature of the earth had cooled 2.7 degrees during the preceding three decades. Later, one publication in Britain warned of snow becoming a thing of the past, and a few years after that, a competing journal warned that Britain would suffer from a Siberian climate by 2020.
Another facet of the phenomenon of trying to predict weather and climate has to do with the fact that the media is no longer requiring scientific credentials of the prognosticators. Al Gore and Greta Thunberg come to mind. Why report on the bold predictions and dire warnings from the likes of these activists who have no scientific pedigree whatsoever? Do recall that Mr. Gore famously predicted that the North Polar ice cap would be gone by 2013.
Ronald Stein of CFACT notes that CO2 levels have been orders of magnitude above today’s levels, that is 20 times higher than they are today. With regard to sea level rise that is measured in inches today, well, the sea level rose more than 450 feet during the past 20,000 years. Mr. Stein puts things in their proper context of our planet’s 4.5 billion years of natural climate change when he writes, “A species that’s only been around, relatively speaking, a little less than two minutes, when we portray the world’s total existence into a 24-hour clock, may not be the cause of this week’s climate change.”
According to the numerous scientists and engineers I have interviewed, too many of today’s scientists are completely ignoring the historical record of climate change while declaring the science is supposedly “settled.” The abysmal failure of these “end is near” scientists is twofold. They continuously fail to predict the future and they can’t explain the past.