Academics like to cultivate an image of themselves as cutting edge. Actually, while they may be more up-to-date than flat-earth theories, they are frequently not quite as far ahead of the curve as earth shoes. “The issue of climate change has entered its rock concert/college curriculum phase, which is a sure indicator that the issue has peaked and will begin a long, slow fade in the public mind,” author Steven F. Hayward writes in a column that appeared in the October Carolina Journal. “Simultaneous ‘Live Earth’ rock concerts were staged on several continents following the model of ‘Live Aid’ and ‘Farm Aid’ in the 1980s—‘consciousness-raising events after which public interest quickly waned.”
“Al Gore’s book An Inconvenient Truth, a lavishly illustrated companion to the movie, was the 2007 assigned reading at Elon University.” Hayward compiles the annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators for the Pacific Research Institute, a yearly publication he created in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, “The colleges in the Presidents Climate Commitment, signed by 414 presidents so far, pledge to reduce their carbon emissions and eventually become ‘climate neutral,’ which means eliminating their net emission of greenhouse gases,” Richard Byrne and Richard Monastersky report in the October 26 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. And woe betide the naysayers.
“Patrick J. Michaels, a research professor at the University of Virginia and the state climatologist, has had a name for himself as one of the most prominent academic naysayers regarding human-caused global warming, which he views as much less of a threat than most other scientists do,” Monastersky reported in the October 12th Chronicle. “That contrary position has caused political trouble between Mr. Michaels and the governor, Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat who has pressed for taking steps to combat greenhouse-gas emissions.”
“Mr. Michaels says that because the support for his position involved state money, the political pressure grew to the point where it was hampering his academic freedom.” Michaels resigned as state climatologist last summer.
The “most other scientists” whom Monastersky refers to is a club whose membership might not be as robust as we have been led to believe.
“Many of the so-called ‘hundreds’ of scientists who have been affiliated with the UN as ‘expert reviewers’ are in fact climate skeptics,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., notes. “Skeptics like Virginia State Climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels, Alabama State Climatologist Dr. John Christy, New Zealand climate researcher Dr. Vincent Gray, former head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo, Tom V. Segalstad, and MIT’s Dr. Richard Lindzen have served as IPCC ‘expert reviewers’ but were not involved in writing the alarmist Summary for Policymakers.”
The IPCC is the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sen. Inhofe serves on the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.