Time to Cross Examine Climatists
Kurt Schlichter explains at Town Hall Cross-Examining the Climate Change Cultists. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.
Well, I’m a lawyer. I question scientists for a living.
Now, I have no scientific training to speak of. I majored in communications and political science, so the only science I studied at UC San Diego had to do with the physics of foaming when I poured Coors into a glass, as well as the mechanics of human reproduction. Don’t expect me to discourse deeply on the heat retention coefficient of CO2 – I don’t even know if that is a thing, but it sure sounds sciency.
Instead, I hire scientists in most every case I try. Sometimes I hire several in different disciplines. The other side does too, and here’s the weird thing – at trial, the other side’s scientists always, always, disagree with my scientists.
A smart attorney wants a scientist who tells you what he really thinks and who has a solid, rational basis for his conclusions. You need to know if your case is strong or weak – if it is weak, you want to resolve it before trial.
But the fact is that two scientists with good credentials can look at the same set of facts and come to different conclusions. This happens all the time. So, how do you know which one is right?
Well, that’s where the lawyer magic comes in. See, our job is to punch some holes in what the other side’s scientists say. That’s what a lawyer does, and it is critical to the pursuit of truth. You have to test the testimony, because otherwise it is just a one-sided monologue. You know, like the cross-examination-free January 6th Kongressional Kangaroo Kommittee. Those amphibians made sure there was no cross-examination because they did not want their phony case questioned.
You want a lawyer who, besides making his own case,
takes the evidence from the other side and slices and dices it.
Cross-examination, it has been said, is the greatest engine for the discovery of the truth man has yet created. And when someone wants to prevent vigorous, even brutal cross-examination of his case, that’s a giveaway that it is weak.
And I’m looking at the climate change hoax. The weather cultists even have a uniquely dumb and offensive slur for people who dare test their evidence, such as it is: “Denier.”
The art of cross-examination is designed to illuminate the reasons not to believe the other side.
Expose the Bias
The actual order you do a cross in varies, but let’s start with attacking bias. Bias is huge. Bias is any interest in the testimony outside of simply offering the truth for the truth’ sake. If a person has an interest in a particular answer, then his testimony in support of that answer is questionable. Is he getting paid by someone with an interest in his answer? That can show bias. In the climate arena, is he getting climate change grants? Remember, it’s not just getting hired but the potential for getting fired that can show bias. “Assistant Professor Warmingnut, in fact, if you were opposed to the idea of human-caused global warming being an existential threat, you would have zero chance of ever getting tenure as a full professor at the University of College, correct?”
An awful lot of these science folk have a huge personal interest in providing a pro-climate hysteria answer, whether from gaining cash to saving their careers. And that matters. But for some reason we are not supposed to point that out because scientists are these neutral monks without human drives like greed, fear, and pride. Hang around some scientists for a while and see if you buy that.
Bore into the Supporting Foundation
Then you would test the foundation that supports their conclusion. You might point out that we have only a human temperature record going back a few hundred years. You could also point out the “heat sink” issue – urban areas tend to retain more warmth than rural areas, and measurements are often closer to urban areas than out in the boonies. They would talk about tree rings and ice cores and such, but you would point out that these are not direct evidence of the temperature like directly measuring it is – we think we can extrapolate from them how hot it was in 2000 BC, but it is really only an educated guess. And then you might question the various adjustments to the raw data that they make before presenting it.
Challenge the Conclusions Directly
You would also want to cross-examine the conclusions themselves. It’s pretty popular to claim that the recent heatwave in Europe proves global warming. But then, why doesn’t a cold wave disprove it? In fact, what set of facts would disprove the climate change theory? Isn’t the scientific method about generating a theory for a phenomenon and then testing it by trying to find facts that disprove it? So, what would disprove global warming?
None, of course. Everything always proves it. How sciency!
And while we are at it, since “global warming” has been replaced by “climate change,” what, precisely, is the climate we need to maintain? What is the “correct” temperature? Is the goal to stop all climate change? Do we need to counteract natural climate change? You do agree that climate does change naturally, right? All those Americans with those SUVs and BBQs were thousands of years from coming into being when the ice age happened, so what caused that? And what caused the subsequent global warming after it? Are those same phenomena absent today? If not, how much are they causing now?
There are lots of nits to pick. How about the constantly retreating goalposts? What is the current climate apocalypse deadline? Didn’t Al Gore tell us in the 2000s that we would be suffering a climate catastrophe right now in 2022? Florida is still above water, right? So, the scientists Al listened to were wrong, weren’t they? So, Dr. Warmingnut, you concede that scientists have been wrong about climate? The ones in the seventies projecting another ice age in a decade were wrong, correct? So why are the scientists today right?
Object to Adverse Implications
And then cover the implications. So, you are recommending a pretty radical program of ending the use of fossil fuels and getting rid of cows because they tend to act like Eric Swalwell in order to treat global warming? So, what, exactly, will be the effect of America doing that on the global part of the warming issue? Will it matter what America and Europe do if India and China maintain their current carbon footprints? And how much, in dollars and disruption, will your remedies cost? How does that compare to the cost of ameliorating some climate change effects like higher ocean levels and hotter temperatures?
And then you need to point out some macro issues with questions on the real agenda. So, Dr Warmingnut, can you name a single major climate change remedial initiative, such as higher taxes and increased bureaucratic authority, that does not correspond to something the political left wants to do anyway? Can you name one climate remedial initiative that supports a conservative objective? Does it strike you as odd that the people supporting climate change wanted all the things they now demand because of climate change long before climate change became a thing?
And does it seem strange to you that climate advocates like John Kerry are zipping across the Atlantic to party in Davos and folks like Barack Obama are buying beachfront property if this is an existential crisis?
I know, I know, shut up, denier!
I’m not a scientist. But I am a lawyer. My job is to dig out the truth through cross-examination. And it seems very telling that the climate change hoaxers are desperate to avoid any examination of their ridiculous assertions at all.
Footnote: Jason Johnson wrote an extensive cross examination of global warming/climate change, pdf available here: Global Warming Advocacy Science: A Cross Examination
Scientists who have been leaders in the process of producing these Assessment Reports (“AR’s”) argue that they provide a “balanced perspective” on the “state of the art” in climate science, with the IPCC acting as a rigorous and “objective assessor” of what is known and unknown in climate science. Legal scholars have accepted this characterization, trusting that the IPCC AR’s are the product of an “exhaustive review process” – involving hundreds of outside reviewers and thousands of comments.
It is virtually impossible to find anywhere in the legal or the policy literature on global warming anything like a sustained discussion of the actual state of the scientific literature on ghg emissions and climate change. Instead, legal and policy scholars simply defer to a very general statement of the climate establishment’s opinion (except when it seems too conservative), generally failing even to mention work questioning the establishment climate story, unless to dismiss it with the ad hominem argument that such work is the product of untrustworthy, industry-funded “skeptics” and “deniers.”
This paper constitutes such a cross-examination. As anyone who has served as an expert witness in American litigation can attest, even though an opposing attorney may not have the expert’s scientific training, a well prepared and highly motivated trial attorney who has learned something about the technical literature can ask very tough questions, questions that force the expert to clarify the basis for his or her opinion, to explain her interpretation of the literature, and to account for any apparently conflicting literature that is not discussed in the expert report. My strategy in this paper is to adopt the approach that would be taken by a non-scientist attorney deposing global warming scientists serving as experts for the position that anthropogenic ghg emissions have caused recent global warming and must be halted if serious and seriously harmful future warming is to be prevented – what I have called above the established climate story.
See also Critical Climate Intelligence for Jurists (and others)