Cancel Culture Dominates Climate Research, Canceling the Scientific Method

Cancel Culture Dominates Climate Research, Canceling the Scientific Method
Protesters raise awareness for climate change at Melbourne Central, in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept. 6, 2019. (Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
H. Sterling Burnett

Contrary to popular perception, “cancel culture,” in which people or their opinions are shamed and shut out of the discussion when they don’t conform to whatever those shouting the loudest or rioting in the streets believe, isn’t a new phenomenon.

For more than two decades, politically connected climate scientists have been leading the cancel culture movement.

These researchers abandoned the pursuit of knowledge and human progress for the pursuit of political power to impose their vision of how society should be shaped. Rather than seeking an understanding of the world through the use of the scientific method and its reliance upon data and empirical falsification, they’ve promoted the political notion of consensus as to how knowledge is obtained, and comity, rather than experimentation, as to how progress is made.

They “cancel” through making personal attacks, denial of funding, removing “opponents” from positions, and suppressing the research of any researcher or analyst who dares to disagree with the so-called consensus position that humans are causing catastrophic climate change.

Honest scientists who cling to the quaint notion that climate change theory should be tested against data are deemed retrograde or climate deniers, whose views aren’t worthy of being considered in these days of post-modern climate science. Indeed, many cancelers advocate for imprisoning climate skeptics.

Let’s look at just a couple of examples of in which academic conferences and media headlines have given consensus, cancel culture science pride of place over the facts when it comes to alarming climate claims.

Based solely on the unsupported assertions of consensus climate researchers, the media has been flooded with stories claiming human-caused climate change is causing famine and starvation.

In late June 2020, Cornell Alliance for Science claimed farmers in sub-Saharan Africa were desperate for new farm technologies and crops to fight a climate change-induced decline in crop production that the Alliance claimed was “driving millions [of Africans] into hunger.” Yet data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization shows cereal (staple) food crop production across southern Africa has grown substantially, and fairly steadily, since at least the 1960s. Moreover, the past 10 years have provided the 10 highest crop yields in sub-Saharan African history.
Dozens of similarly false claims linking supposed anthropogenic climate change to an agricultural apocalypse were covered by outlets such as Google News, GQ, the New Republic, and Roll Call over the past couple of months. Yet, had the journalists writing the stories showed a little bit of investigative initiative, they could have easily discovered hundreds of field experiments and studies collected on CO2 Science, much of which was distilled or summarized in the exhaustive report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, titled “Climate Change Reconsidered II.”

These reports show crop yields have been booming and hunger and malnutrition declining as, and in large part because, carbon dioxide concentrations have been rising.

Following the Democratic playbook, per Rahm Emanuel, of “never letting a crisis go to waste,” radical climate alarmists have also manipulated science to assert climate change is making pandemics more frequent and deadlier. Dozens of media outlets, including Jurist Legal, the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, and Time magazine published articles during the midst of the CCP virus pandemic claiming human-caused climate change, if not already making the incidences of pandemics more likely, would make them more frequent and more deadly in the future.
For instance, an article in Pro Publica blatantly lied when it stated, “Vector-borne diseases—those carried by insects like mosquitoes and ticks and transferred in the blood of infected people—are also on the rise as warming weather and erratic precipitation vastly expand the geographic regions vulnerable to contagion.”
The body of scientific literature, as detailed in Chapter Four of the second volume of “Climate Change Reconsidered II,” shows there is no factual basis for this claim.

Studies from Africa to England and Wales, to North and South America, to Thailand and beyond, find that any link between human climate change and the spread of malaria, Dengue fever, West Nile virus, and other vector-borne diseases is either grossly overstated or outright false.

Indeed, historically, colder periods are linked to famine, as crops fail, and to the rapid spread of pandemics, such as the bubonic plague, which ran rampant during the little ice age. By contrast, pandemics typically wane, though they don’t disappear, and hunger and malnutrition decline sharply during relatively warm periods.

In one study published in The Lancet in 2015, researchers examining health data from 384 locations in 13 countries, accounting for more than 74 million deaths—a huge sample size from which to draw sound conclusions—found that cold weather, directly or indirectly, killed 1,700 percent more people than hot weather.
Commenting on the study in a 2017 New York Times article, columnist Jane Brody wrote, “Over time, as global temperatures rise, milder winter temperatures are likely to result in fewer cold-related deaths, a benefit that could outweigh a smaller rise in heat-caused mortality.”

Albert Einstein once said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Sadly, climate researchers would cancel Einstein if he said that today.

There is an old adage in legal circles, “When the law is on your side, pound the law; when the facts are on your side, pound the facts; when neither are on your side, pound the table.” For three decades, climate alarmists have been pounding the table. They hold rallies carrying placards and wearing T-shirts that say “Believe Science,” even as their actions betray science.

Too many climate scientists have become sideshow hucksters hoping to sell the general public the dangerous notion that giving government experts greater control over our lives will allow us to control the weather, and make the world a utopia. Ask the people in Cuba, Hong Kong, North Korea, or Venezuela how that’s working out for them.

Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a senior fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. His email is [email protected]
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a senior fellow on environmental policy at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
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