Progressive ideology has solidly controlled environmental science at least since the publication of Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” in 1962. But, somehow, one of the environmental sciences — climatology — managed to escape ideological pollution for some years.
This brief liberty for climatology likely occurred because the profession was populated with field scientists, who brought a real-world perspective that at least balanced out more theoretical and ideological views.
Today, though, progressivism has the upper hand here too, and it is dictating what is and is not acceptable, especially in the academic arena of atmospheric science. A good example of this can be found in “the Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines” by Dr. Michael E. Mann, a Penn State University professor and director of the university’s Earth System Science Center.
The book chronicles the emergence and fame of the “hockey-stick graph” that was so prominently displayed in the U.N.’s 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report summary document for policymakers.
The hockey-stick graph usurped the traditional, apolitical climate graph of Earth’s recent temperature changes. The traditional graph showed dramatic warming during a “medieval warm period” (about 950 to 1250 A.D.) and distinct cooling during a “little ice age” (about 1400 to 1850 A.D.). However, the hockey-stick shaped graph displayed temperatures over the past several hundred years fluctuating only a little from year to year (the relatively flat handle of the hockey stick) until the 1900s when the temperatures began to rise dramatically (the blade of the stick). This graph helped to convince many in government that human carbon emissions were behind an unprecedented increase in global temperatures and that drastic, immediate action was necessary to once again save the planet. The graph’s construction was challenged by scientists and statisticians who had a very different and also valid view of climate data selection and analysis.
Mann uses the book’s peer-reviewed science references to defend his data selection and graphing techniques, as well as many reasoned, passionate arguments. It will be frequently quoted to support the current status quo in the academic world of climate science. But the book still presents a limited perspective based on progressive groupthink.