There are always some people who will take advantage of a crisis to advance self-serving financial or political agendas that have nothing to do with the crisis itself. We saw this in Nancy’s Pelosi’s shameless attempt to stuff wasteful, partisan, and controversial provisions into the coronavirus relief package, including pieces of the radical Green New Deal, all the while millions of Americans are desperately seeking financial relief and medical supplies.
In his recent book entitled The Breakdown of Higher Education (Encounter Books), Professor John Ellis documents that the indoctrination in our nation’s colleges and universities is widespread, and has grown more egregious with each passing year. Domination of academic departments by the left emboldens faculty to engage in the overt politicization of curricula they would never have attempted 50 years ago. Ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a parallel virus: online instruction in the pursuit of the radical climate agenda. It’s a national effort called Solve Climate 2030. Consider, for a moment, the hubris involved in an effort to change the climate in ten years.
According to a March 25th press release from UConn’s Communications office, faculty at the University of Connecticut are using the crisis and the need for on-line course delivery to inject a radical environmental agenda into their curriculum. Michael Willig, executive director of UConn’s Institute of the Environment, and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has announced that a national webinar, scheduled for April 7, ”will explicitly consider environmental justice challenges posed by the climate crisis.” The aim is to extend this radical agenda not only to students in environmental studies, but those in history, science, business, culture, economics, psychology, religion, government, media, journalism and the arts. Moreover, it seeks to “engage high school teachers in Connecticut, as well as other colleges and universities . . . to develop materials to assist the curriculum by focusing on climate-related information that may be used even in non-scientific disciplines.” This is mass indoctrination on steroids.
Willig exposes the ideology behind this agenda when he openly admits that “the impetus behind Solve Climate 2030 is not to just highlight the existential crisis that is associated with climate change and our continued dependence on fossil fuels . . . it will also address the anxiety surrounding the climate crisis and help viewers answer questions about what they can do now, and how their actions will help make a difference.” The only anxiety I can detect is that which is ginned up by irresponsible or poorly informed faculty with a political agenda that violate the basic tenets of their profession.
It was Rahm Emanuel who famously said: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” This online course, and the Solve Climate 2030 program generally, reflect that aphorism and the radical politicization of the modern college campus by political actors. It not only constitutes a blatant misuse of public funds toward overtly political ends, but is hostile to the very essence of the scientific enterprise, while corruptly clothing itself in its garb. What, for example, is likely to happen when young people in grades K-12 (including my grandchildren), and beyond, are largely convinced that “climate change” is a crisis that threatens their very existence, as Mr. Willig falsely contends. For whom are they likely to vote when they become of voting age if that is the issue that dominates their consciousness and political sensibility? It’s no wonder Democrats are all on the “climate change” bandwagon. Clearly, this is an issue that constitutes a deep and profound threat to our freedom.
I have a good friend who teaches physics at local university. He also teaches a course in climate science. Despite a strongly skeptical, or realist, bent, he scrupulously seeks to present both sides of the debate, such that his students, in subsequent course evaluations, are unable to detect his own position. His aim is to teach them how to think, not what to think. This is the way education should be conducted, and the way it was conducted in years past when faculty took their ethical responsibilities seriously.
There is not space here for a lengthy exposition of the fraud of catastrophic global warming—the greatest scientific fraud in history, and easily the most costly. Suffice it to say that the instrumental temperature record since 1850, and proxy data prior to that, offer no evidence of anything in recent years beyond normal climatic variation in keeping with the earth’s geologic experience. Temperatures warmed globally by only 0.74 degrees Celsius for all of the 20th century, according to the IPCC, most of which took place prior to 1978. And even that is subject to a profound urban heat island effect, among other uncertainties. It is utterly absurd to believe that that modest warming poses anything remotely like an “existential crisis;” and, in fact, is mostly natural in origin. Global warming or “climate change” has degenerated into a political religion, or cult, not an honest effort to ascertain the truth of what is arguably the most complex scientific phenomenon known to man.
Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made its anti-scientific posture clear from the outset by never attempting to establish a baseline of natural climate variability before setting out to prove man’s guilt. Of the several hundred factors that impact climate, they conveniently chose the only one (the beneficial trace gas carbon dioxide) that can be used to impose government control over the energy sector and humanity. This was a political, not a scientifically defensible, enterprise. They have also engaged in numerous, and documented, dishonest acts to advance this agenda, including the infamous “hockey stick” graph inserted in the IPCC’s 2001 Assessment, that wiped out the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that had been exhaustively documented by dozens of prior scientific studies and the historical record. There are thousands of honest scientists across the globe who reject such hyperbole, but I strongly suspect that Prof. Willig will not be exposing students to their views because Solve Climate 2030 is not science, but a one-sided exercise in political advocacy that bears a remarkable similarity to the idiotic Green New Deal.
If Americans think that the absence of a limited number of products from grocery store shelves during the COROD-19 pandemic is bad, they have no idea what the truly horrendous consequences of the Green New Deal will have on the American food supply chain. Tractors and harvesters without diesel fuel to produce our food, tractor trailers without fuel to deliver it to processing plants and grocery stores will result in food scarcity unlike any we have ever witnessed in American history. How long do you think residents in urban centers, and elsewhere, will last when supermarkets are stripped bare. It would also constitute the greatest case of economic masochism in American history. You can look at Venezuela to get a hint of what that would like.
There are dozens of books, thousands of scientific articles, and hundreds of YouTube lectures that expose this fraud for what it is. For a balanced exposition of both the science and politics of climate, I would highly recommend the late Professor Robert M. Carter’s Climate: The Counter Consensus (Stacey International), in which he argues persuasively that “there is no scientific study that invalidates the hypothesis of the overwhelmingly natural origin of the observed, modern climate,” this despite over $200 billion spent in its pursuit since 2000. And for the history and totalitarian roots of the movement, I recommend Rupert Darwall’s Green Tyranny (Encounter Books), which exhaustively documents the origins and political character of the movement.
Professor Richard Lindzen, MIT’s distinguished atmospheric physicist, now retired, said it best more than 20 years ago when he wrote:
“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”
Hysterical panic is what Professor Willig hopes to foist on young and impressionable minds. Solve Climate 2030 also violates a cardinal principle of university teaching, which is to teach students how to think, not what to think. This follows from a fundamental principle promulgated by the American Association of University Professors in 1915, that political advocacy has no place in the classroom, and that the role of professors is to teach students to think for themselves. We can certainly teach young people about the complexities of the climate system, but that curriculum should be rooted in the data, should acknowledge the enormous uncertainties that characterize that system, and examine the competing theories of what drives it.
Taught honestly, students should not even be able to detect the views or agenda or the presenters. But the Solve Climate 2030 project is anything but an objective pursuit of truth, but a blatant pursuit of a policy agenda. By framing the project as an effort to solve an “existential threat,” they can attempt to rationalize the bias inherent in it. However, they are advancing an unproven hypothesis that has profound policy implications of a potentially destructive kind and whose dimensions we cannot begin to fathom.
Sadly, this is how far we have fallen from the disinterested pursuit of truth in our current ideologically homogeneous academic culture.