Roper: Climate change and gravity are kind of different

Scientifically speaking

by Rob Roper

In the wake of the recent floods in Vermont, it is no surprise that the climate change activists have gone into “See! See! See!” mode and are labeling anyone who disagrees with their conclusions as a “denier.” In two separate op-eds, two state senators, Dick McCormack (D-Windsor) and Tanya Vyhovsky (D/P-Chittenden Central) tried to equate the scientific absoluteness of their climate positions with the scientific certainties about gravity. (It’s probably been distributed as a talking point, so expect more echoes in that chamber.) But this is dangerously absurd.

The scientific method is a process which involves creating a hypothesis and then testing that hypothesis through repeated observation, measurement, and experiment to see if it’s accurate. If you can repeat the results of experiments, you’re onto something.

With gravity, there have been countless experiments testing the hypothesis “what goes up must come down” from Newton’s apple to every time I throw a stick for my dogs, to every time I slip on the ice. They all show the same result, some amusing and some painful (some might argue both), so it makes sense to base personal decisions as well as public policy on the hypothesis “what goes up must come down.” We can also test and verify aspects of gravity, such as the rate at which objects fall, etc.

Climate, however, is somewhat more complicated. There is so much we don’t know about how ecosystems work, how the atmosphere works, how the planet interacts with the solar system to affect climate, how the universe interacts with the solar system, and how we, as humans going about our business impact climate. There are no experiments to test all of these things to see what’s what, let alone multiple experiments showing the same results to verify any hypothesis.

The climate alarmists hypothesis is that for 150 years or so, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when humans started combusting fossil fuels to create energy we have been adding unnatural amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, and (A) this is causing changes in temperature and weather patterns, (B) those changes are imminently catastrophic, and (C) we can stop the coming planetary collapse by adopting wind and solar energy, installing things like heat pumps, getting rid of our gas stoves and electrifying our heating and transportation sectors. None of these things is anywhere close to being “settled” science in the true sense of either word.

First, A. We can measure the amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, and it is increasing. There is a correlation with this and generally rising temperatures, at least in recent decades, and in some cases changing weather patterns. However, as any good scientist worth his or her salt will tell you, correlation does not necessarily mean causation. Throughout our planetary history there have been many naturally occurring changes in climate that happened without the benefit of SUVs ruling the highways. 12,000 years ago, our state was covered in a 2.5-mile-thick blanket of ice. The earth warmed considerably, and it melted. Happily for us!

Some of these temperature increases were extremely rapid. As a 2017 study of Ice Age temperatures by Cardiff University scientists summarizes, “Scientists believe they have discovered the reason behind mysterious changes to the climate that saw temperatures fluctuate by up to 15°C [that’s 59 degrees Fahrenheit] within just a few decades during the ice age periods.” This, of course, happened naturally. The study doesn’t mention if mammoth farts had anything to do with it, but it does show that rapid, extreme temperature and climate changes are not unique to modern times and do happen without human influence.

To say that what we’re witnessing today is unprecedented is just not true. To say that what is happening today is not a natural phenomenon and caused entirely by human activity is hardly proven, and the evidence of this happening frequently without human influence suggests otherwise. That doesn’t mean change is not occurring or that we’re not playing some part. We just don’t really understand the intricacies of what’s behind it all.

B – These changes are imminently catastrophic. In his article, Senator McCormack claims about himself and his colleagues, “We legislate on all manner of issues in which we are not experts. But we are experts at listening to experts, at asking questions, and at making reasonable policy based on other people’s expertise.” As one who has witnessed hundreds of committee hearings in the Vermont State House, all I can say is BAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Don’t criticize! “Help us pass the bill!”

Our legislators rig the witness lists to confirm their own biases and support the policies they want to see passed. For example, the Speaker of the House has left the fuel dealers’ seat on the Climate Council unfilled for going on a year. She doesn’t want to hear it – or anyone else to hear it. If someone opposed to their predetermined outcome slips in for window dressing, watch the cell phones to come out, or worse, prepare for the attack. For another great example of how contrarian witnesses are treated, watch this video of Senator MacDonald (D-Orange) ripping into Steve Crowley of the Sierra Club for criticizing S.5. To summarize, we don’t want your constructive criticism, we want you to help us pass the bill!

McCormack and his colleagues have no interest in listening to highly respected scientists – experts — who disagree with catastrophic climate change theories. People like Steve Koonin, formerly the Under Secretary for Science in the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy, and author of “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.” Bjorn Lomborg, former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute, now president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, and author of False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. Or John Clauser, the 2022 Nobel Prize winner in Physics.

Clauser caused a stir when in a recent speech he said, “I don’t believe there’s a climate crisis…. Key processes are exaggerated and misunderstood by approximately 200 times,” and accused the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of spreading misinformation about a warming globe.

I know none of these guys has the scientific pedigree of Gretta Thunberg, but hey, maybe listen to what they have to say.

And (C): We have the solution! While I have been I think unjustly called a “climate denier” (I do believe the climate is, always has, and always will be in a constant state of change, and am not in a position to say if human activity does or doesn’t have ANY impact on this, so I don’t deny that), I do deny in the most strenuous terms that what the McCormacks, Vyhovskys, et al are pushing as “solutions” bear any resemblance to that term.

They love to say, “look at the science.” But what does the science say about the impact their policy proposals will have on future climate trends? Spoiler alert: None. At all. Even under their own calculations to have any impact on global temperatures their policies would have to be wholly adopted by every major nation on earth, especially China, India, and Russia, none of which have shown any indication they’re going to join in on this farce. So, maybe we need a different, more realistic plan for adapting to changing weather patterns that doesn’t require the participation of those more interested in annexing Ukraine and bombing into oblivion a big chunk of the world’s grain supply. Common sense, no?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the scientific method is one of coming up with a hypothesis, testing it multiple times through experimentation, and seeing if you get the same results. So, here’s an experiment: Let’s test how often these so-called experts have made predictions about catastrophic climate change and how often they have come true.

Ice age by 1990. Nope. Entire nations wiped off the earth by rising sea levels by 2000. Nope. New York’s West Side Highway under water by 2019. Nope. No more snow in Great Britain by 2006. Nope. Polar Ice Cap melted by 2013. Nope…. I could go on but this is already a long article.

So, my hypothesis that these people have no idea what their talking about has more objective scientific validity than anything they’re putting out. Yes, that was tongue-in-cheek, but at what point do people stop listening to “experts” who have never been right about anything, but are costing us trillions of dollars implementing policies based on their long history of incorrect conclusions? I wish I could make an accurate prediction.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

Categories: Commentary

11 replies »

  1. Another brilliant article Mr. Roper. Thank you for your many contributions to the discourse. Unfortunately, the climate alarmists are more interested in control of people and the results of their labors than they are the actual climate. The climate agenda serves their political ends as opposed to the other way around. (For anyone not familiar with Dr. Koonin or Dr Lomberg should take a few hours and listen to them for free on YouTube. You will wonder how any of these crazy climate policies could advance when ‘the science’ says nothing like what people claim it says. And how the media could be so disinterested in what actual experts like these have to say.)

  2. Excellent. What’s happening with the whole climate change issue is exactly what happened with Covid. Those who had views and evidence that weren’t what the government and big Pharma wanted to promote were silenced and branded as conspiracy theorists. Same thing with climate change. The majority of people aren’t educated enough to understand the science behind it. Those who try to point out evidence that while humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere, it may not actually be having all that much of an effect are marginalized. Just try obtaining research funding if you’re not a raving climate change proponent. Just try publishing your research if your findings don’t promote what the government says is happening. I used to teach this stuff and yes, I taught what we were told and taught was happening. I wouldn’t do that now and apologize to my students for teaching them this. I also would never get hired now as I’m unwilling to promote a bogus theory. And btw, I guess humans must have been doing a whole lotta driving over 400,000 years ago in order to melt the ice that covered Greenland !

    But no matter the evidence to the contrary, climate change proponents are compelled by cognitive dissonance to continue denying that much of what is happening is a natural process that has happened before. The earth warms and the earth cools. Has been happening for millions of years. My gas cookstove and car have nothing to do with it.

  3. Here’s a prediction:

    This will continue because the American people are too brainwashed, divided, and pacified to do anything about it.

  4. They don’t teach basic principles of science or critical thinking in schools or even colleges anymore. I have a bachelor’s in science but got my first real education in critical thinking was in a master’s level residency course in nursing. That was back in 1992. That is when I learned how to and then mastered the skill of evaluating scientific papers for flaws/errors/mistakes etc.. Then write a cogent evaluation. I then was able to apply that skill to every facet of life. It has served me greatly so far. It also makes me somewhat of an outlier. Since most people I meet do not understand how to use those principles much less do they understand the basic principles of science. Things like the First Law of Thermodynamics or Conservation of Energy. Which is pretty basic and anyone with an IQ above 80 should be able to grasp it. Let me paraphrase it here for those that might not be versed in the Law, “energy can neither be created nor destroyed”. Or say for instance the difference between dissolve and dissociate. Those are just simple tenets. Yet our society is filled with people who can list all the Kardashians are but not know the name of the Vice President, or any name a country that borders the US. So, when you have an illiterate population, you can do anything you want with them. You can brainwash them, mold them, force them to do anything. It’s a done deal. For those that are paying attention, this is the Fall of the American “Empire” Era. Our time is over. We must join the ranks of all other former world leader civilizations…the Greeks, the Romans, the Mongols, etc. ad nauseum. There is no “making us great again”. That ship sailed. There is only “what can we save and still maintain some semblance of dignity?”

  5. Oh…. so you want me to “look at the science”… You mean the same science I’ve been saying was BS since “fauxvid” in early 2020? THAT science? Or do you mean the state-approved science? No, wait… that would be the same thing!

    We all ought to see the formula by now. From drugs to guns to human trafficking to engineered scamdemics to climate change… IT’S ALL THE SAME! Wash, rinse, and repeat! Transfer the money from the average folks to the elites.

    One great thing about aging is it gives one perspective. Today’s generation is mostly oblivious to anything that happened before the greatest scam of all, 9-11. But having been around since the late 1950s, I experienced and clearly remember when the attempted scare was that the world was entering another ice age. And this was the narrative well into the later 1970s. Then they switched to “global warming”. And now it’s the even scarier “climate change”.

    So what’s it going to be next? Will it be, as our dear Becca Balint breathlessly exclaimed, floods like this year’s and 2011’s every five years? I’s caused by you, you know. You have the carbon footprint not of any man or woman, but of Bigfoot! If only you’d put yourself in permanent debt by buying an EV and throwing out your gas appliances, your generators, and your lawnmowers… All would be well and we could sleep soundly at night.

    Or will it be like just last year, when we had slightly less rain than normal in the summer? That too was “climate change”. Damn, if we had only listened and reduced our carbon footprint then, this year’s floods wouldn’t have happened.

    And lest I forget, we’ll be paying at least an extra $.70/gallon for heating oil this winter. Explain to me how that helps anything. You need to heat your house, you’re going to buy the oil. No matter what it costs. You’ll find a way. But we’re still using the same amount as before – it’s just more expensive. So explain how that reduces my “carbon footprint” again?

    Me? I’m kind of hoping the sea levels rise. I figure if I can hold out long enough, I’ll have me some oceanfront property!

  6. Back in the day when I was in grade school we were taught in science the moon controlled the waves of the ocean, and yet we sent many rockets there to test for water and God knows what. Now we are constantly going further and further into our solar system in the name of science without knowing the consequences. We put more and more satellites into space, to the point the average person cannot tell a star from a satellite in the name of progress, still not knowing the consequence. Nasa was stopped for a while, but now is going full scale with dreams of the very rich taking trips to the moon or living there one day in the name of progress. Our earth and solar system was created to exist in harmony, but for science and the space race, and greed, we have ignored this fact. How much space junk can we afford to put there without knowing the consequences or maybe their already showing up, in the name of science! People are no doubt the problem, the question is, is science the biggest?

  7. The General Assembly of the United Nations formed and funded the original Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change NOT to find out IF the climate was changing NOR to find out what was causing the change but ONLY to find out how humans were changing the climate. So the answer was provided before the investigation began. One other tidbit: Vermont’s landmass is five thousandths of one percent of the earth’s surface (0.005%) so what we do here matters zippo.

  8. Case in point: The hypothetico-deductive method of constructing a scientific theory is absent in the Vermont legislative process. The fact that McCormack and Vyhovsky don’t participate in the critique of their positions, as Rob Roper and several others have provided, demonstrates that McCormack and Vyhovsky are scientific hypocrites. I’ve researched much of what Rob Roper suggests in his article and find that his points are compelling. However, because McCormack and Vyhovsky don’t communicate with us here, we have no choice but to conclude that McCormack and Vyhovsky can’t refute Rob Roper’s suggestions.

    Of course, we all know that logic and reason have no place in the graft and corruption of the climate change industrial complex. There’s too much money at stake for McCormack and Vyhovsky to be honest with anyone.

  9. I recall a bumper sticker, from 1972, that read:


    How’s that working out?