Latest hearing shows GOP is the Ministry of Magic to climate disruption’s Death Eaters

Posted on April 5, 2011


In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Dumbledore, and the Order of the Phoenix have to work against Voldmort’s Death Eaters in secret while the Ministry of Magic blinds itself to the needs of the wizarding world. Worse than simply doing nothing, however, the Ministry spreads anti-Potter propaganda in the newspapers, manipulates the law to target Potter and Dumbledore (who know Voldmort has returned), and in their refusal to acknowledge the problem, makes it just that much easier for Voldmort to secretly gain strength.

On March 31, the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing on the topic of climate change. It’s clear from the hearing charter, the list of witnesses, and the large number of climate myths uttered that the GOP has become the Ministry of Magic to the Death Eaters of human-caused climate disruption.

No site has made this more clear than the climate science website Skeptical Science. The editor of the site, John Cook, analyzed the statements made by the various witnesses (which included a lawyer, an economist, and a marketing professor in addition to three actual climate scientists) and by the committee members themselves and has collected the myths they uttered into a list at his website.

There are a couple of things that are interesting to note about this list. The first is that the more than four dozen myths Cook identified have all been uttered before. All of them have been around for years, if not decades. And the scientific rebuttals to the unscientific myths have been around for just as long. This shows that climate disruption denial is not based on scientific principles, because if it were, then we’d see all kinds of new science in the literature, and lots of new “myths” for scientists to address. If the climate disruption denial movement isn’t based on science, then the GOP majority of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is either ignorant of the science or blinded by its ideology. Given how many decades the world has known about the human causes of climate disruption, ignorance long ago failed to be a viable explanation.

Second, the person who uttered the most myths was actually a climate scientist, John Christy of the University of Alabama – Huntsville. It’s interesting to note that Christy was a co-author of a paper (A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions, doi 10.1002/joc.1651) that was completely discredited by a later paper (Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere, doi 10.1002/joc.1756) that proved beyond any doubt that the methods of Christy’s paper were statistically meaningless. Christy and his co-authors have never admitted their error and retracted their paper, a sin that casts a pall over Christy’s reputation and calls into question his scientific objectivity.

Third, the illegally published CRU emails (“Climategate”) were raised repeatedly by committee members and by the witnesses, and the comments made appear to ignore the fact that at least five separate investigations have cleared the scientists mentioned in the emails of any scientific misconduct, identified a single scientific figure that was not sufficiently well explained, and found that some of the scientists involved didn’t properly handle information requests.

And fourth, the one witness invited by the Democratic minority, MIT climate scientist (and Republican) Kerry Emanuel, was the Albus Dumbledore of the hearing, telling all in attendance that Voldmort was real, the Death Eaters were responsible, and that the Ministry needed to accept reality before it was too late.

Of course, we all know how well that turned out for Potter and the Ministry alike.