Brook: Climate science is changing: it can never be “settled”

by Jacqueline Brook

Science is not “real,” as the lawn sign declares.

Science is often merely theoretical, unproven. It is always evolving. It is often over-hyped (to attract more grant money), poorly carried out, and often can’t be replicated. Science can be utterly biased and downright fraudulent. Some ‘scientists’ write and publish papers, and when their work is questioned, they refuse to provide their data. Sometimes because the experiments were never even done. 

I just listened to a story on the NPR program “Reveal” that dove into how new theories on how we learn to read—that were enthusiastically embraced by schools and teachers around the world—led us to a place where two-thirds of fourth graders in this country can barely read. A spectacular failure! 

So, why are scientists and academics treated as infallible and unquestionable Gods when they can get it so wrong? When they have perhaps utterly handicapped two-thirds of the kids in this country?

I question the whole ‘climate change’ narrative. That makes me subject to name calling—in Trumpian fashion. I am a “skeptic,” a “denier.” Clearly no question I put forth is valid. Because the science is “settled.” 

Last year, a science-changing volcanic eruption happened. The Hunga Tonga volcano blasted an enormous amount of water up into the stratosphere. As far as I know, in this reality, whatever comes up must come down. Why are we not asking if this is the reason for our exceptionally rainy summer and the many flood events that have occurred around the world this year? Why is the conversation limited to “carbon emissions”?

On a Columbia University web page entitled “How Exactly Does Carbon Dioxide Cause Global Warming?”, climate scientist Jason Smerdon recommends an experiment for kids. “Smerdon recommends filling one soda bottle with CO2 (perhaps from a soda machine) and filling a second bottle with ambient air. ‘If you expose them both to a heat lamp, the CO2 bottle will warm up much more than the bottle with just ambient air,’ he says.”

I want to know how this experiment is valid. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) keeps pushing this premise that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere in pre-industrial times is the level we should be striving to get back to. Allegedly 280 parts per million (ppm). We’re allegedly up to about 420 ppm these days. That pre-industrial time period is also known as the Little Ice Age.

When I email scientists like Jason Smerdon and ask them things like how to do that experiment above in a valid way with 280 ppm of CO2 in one bottle and 420 ppm in the other, I never get an answer. In other words, how do you fill 2 bottles with fresh air and reduce the amount of CO2 in one bottle down to 280 ppm? But, Smerdon would have students do the experiment with a million parts per million of CO2 in one of those bottles. If that experiment is being done in our local schools, I think I should get a large portion of my property taxes back. It’s science teaching that’s like the teaching of new reading methods—that resulted in so many kids not being able to read.

I would also like to know how long a CO2 molecule “traps” heat for. The only person I’ve been able to find online who will go out on a limb is a guy named Gary Novak. He asserts that “What little radiation is absorbed [by CO2] is re-emitted in 83 femtoseconds.” That’s 83 quadrillionths of a second. A page uses the very scientific language “Some time later, the [CO2] molecule gives up this extra energy by emitting another infrared photon.” I wrote to them and asked how long “some time later” was. I never got a reply. 

Apparently, none of my questions on the subject are even worth responding to.

All I want to see/hear/have is a much broader conversation. For me, listening to journalists and politicians talk about ‘climate change’ is like watching someone walk into a dense forest, point at a single tree, and say “That is the forest.” After all, we reside on a gigantic orb, hurtling through space, with volcanoes, earthquakes, tectonic plates, a moon, tides, and a wobbly axis. It’s a pretty complex world. 

For further reading, see:

This commentary is by Jacqueline Brook, an occasional artist and designer who reads and does research incessantly. She lives in Putney.

Categories: Commentary, Environment

6 replies »

  1. Hah! How dare you question “The Science”. The mainstream narratives on Climate Change are Dogma, they are not science, which of course is your point. In a society where people seek truth questions are welcomed and encouraged. In a society where science acquires the moniker “The Science”, science no longer exists as a quest for understanding. It becomes a religion best labeled as scientism. It is unfortunate that our legacy and large social media platforms now bend to the keepers of the dogmas of scientism ( probably under threat ), rather than to act as the fourth check and balance on government. History demonstrates governments and their agencies etc. eventually fall prey to the capture of the large and varied interests and as this has the tendency to destroy the very systems that created them and support them, they become ever more desperate in their screams to hold to the dogma, to force it upon free thinking people ( free will is now currently being attacked by such as Yuval Harari), and try to impose ever more draconian “rules” upon us. All who refuse are of course labeled with any number of disparaging labels, such as “climate denier”, “anti-vax er”, “far right extremist”. As the left moves further to the left anyone in the sane center appears then to be further to the right, though they haven’t moved….

  2. “So, why are scientists and academics treated as infallible and unquestionable Gods when they can get it so wrong?”

    Oh my. This is the question… isn’t it.

    The false dichotomy here is that scientists and academics aren’t treated as infallible and unquestionable. At least not by everyone – as Ms. Brook so aptly exemplifies. Otherwise, I agree with her points.

    “All I want to see/hear/have is a much broader conversation.“

    Well, this is it… the ‘broader conversation’.

    Many of us get it. We’ve been ‘getting it’ for decades. The problem is, however, that the time to ask questions of those who drink the Kool-Aid appears to have long since passed. Not only are answers not forthcoming, the imbibers don’t understand the question in the first place.

    When my kids were in school, the boogeyman was ‘whole language’ and ‘new math’. But until we understand that the driving force behind these fictions, educational and environmental, rely on fearmongering and totalitarian threats to force our compliance, to seek the broader conversation is a moot point.

    Here’s the deal, as I see it. It’s all about money and the circumvention of the free enterprise system.

    Those who can’t, or have chosen not to, compete in the American free enterprise meritocracy, apparently fear failure so much that they are blinded to the success failure offers them. In his 1948 satire, The Cocktail Party, T. S. Eliot points out that:

    “Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

    Michael Crichton, in the 2004 techno-thriller, State of Fear, in which eco-terrorists plot mass murder to publicize the danger of global warming, describes the corrupting influence of government funding. The same can be said for the failed pedagogy of education funding and, more recently, the healthcare industry’s collaboration between ‘big pharma’ and the Centers for Disease Control/National Institutes for Health).

    “Nobody dares to solve the problems – because the solution might contradict your philosophy, and for the most part people clinging to beliefs is more important than succeeding in the world.” – Crichton

    Understand too, that the sole reliance on academic, scientific, and economic expertise, proficiencies defined by a ‘credential’ or ‘degree’ bestowed on someone by what has become no more than a mutual admiration society, belies the perpetuity of fraudulent behavior.

    “Extrapolating from the statistical growth of the legal profession, by the year 2035 every single person in the United States will be a lawyer, including newborn infants.” – Crichton

    To these folks, contrary to everything they say, the elimination of the peer-reviewed scientific method has become their existential purpose. Careful observation and the application of rigorous skepticism is no longer tolerated because government funding is inclined to perpetuate its own myths.

    And there you have it: The Problem. The over-reliance on an unaccountable evasion of the free enterprise system’s observation and skepticism that would have exposed this snake oil long ago.

    Caveat emptor.

  3. “I’d rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

    Richard Feynman