I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two days watching the live feeds from the Heartland Institute’s climate conference. I regard the climate war as a proxy for the tobacco war, because they’re structurally almost identical, right down to being about the supposed dangers posed by trace amounts of gases in the atmosphere.
The principal difference between the two wars is the tobacco war has been conducted for a lot longer than the climate war, and I believe that the tobacco warriors wrote the playbook for both.
Another key difference, in my opinion, is that the tobacco war directly and intimately and adversely affects hundreds of millions of smokers (e.g. being exiled to the outdoors) in ways that the climate war doesn’t.
Despite all the similarities between the two wars, the climate warriors don’t seem to notice them. Tobacco hardly ever gets mentioned, although one of the speakers at the conference, James Enstrom, has dogs in both races. When he spoke, I was hoping that he’d say that the climate war was just like the tobacco war. But he stuck to the climate science. Although I got the impression, from the few mentions that tobacco got, that the climate sceptics at the Heartland Institute weren’t rabid antismokers.
The main thing I noticed was that they were all very optimistic. They believe that they’ve won the argument against the climate alarmists. I couldn’t see why they were so sure of that, because President Obama is going to be heading to Paris this year to try to get a treaty signed at the IPCC conference to be held there. Lots of people are true believers in global warming, and both the mainstream media and governments remain on the side of the alarmists. So I don’t see what’s been won.
Another difference was that the climate sceptics at the Heartland Institute all seemed to believe that their real enemy was the climate science alarmist community, and not the world’s governments. One speaker said that if Barack Obama took a lie detector test, he’d be shown to not be lying about the supposed climate threat, because he simply believed what he was told by his alarmist advisors. But then why does Obama have alarmist advisors? In the tobacco war, in which the government is paying outfits like ASH to lobby them, it always looks to me like both lobbyists and lobbied are hand in glove with each other, and working together to dupe the voters.
Another similarity between the climate and tobacco wars is that in both cases there are bunch of professionals on one side, and a bunch of amateurs on the other. The professionals have got all the money, all the credentials, and all the peer-reviewed publications. And I think this is why most people still believe the alarmist professionals, whose job it is to do the climate science (and the tobacco science). And these days ‘amateurs’ in any field are regarded as people who don’t really know what they’re doing. In fact, it’s surprising that climate (and tobacco) scepticism is as widespread as it is.
And maybe one reason why the climate sceptics don’t want to expand to become tobacco sceptics as well is because that is the path that leads to becoming sceptical about all science. While it’s only the climate alarmist professionals who are regarded as producing junk science – or as one speaker described it, “pathological science” -, there isn’t a wider problem with science as a whole. But once the can has more than one worm in it, it becomes a whole new can of worms, and just fixing climate science isn’t going to be enough.
We will see. There were lots of good speeches, with perhaps the best made by Mark Steyn, who is currently engaged in litigation with Michael Mann, the creator of the Hockey Stick. There were also several good speeches by Christopher Monckton. They can all be found at the Heartland Institute.
As well as this cartoon: