The German government recently attempted to permanently stomp out open debate on the issue of climate science by issuing a 120-page publication declaring the science settled and climate science skeptics as bums not worth listening to. This kind of ugly attitude has been seen before – and with tragic results:
May, 1970, Kent State University: Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd of unarmed protesters (100 meters away) in an attempt to squash open debate about the Vietnam War. These protesters too were marginalized as undesirable “bums” and “radicals” and as a “mob”. Pulitzer Prize-winning photo by John Filo. U.S. Fair Use law.
German government opens fire on climate skeptics
In the publication, Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) singled out, named and pilloried three skeptic journalists, along with American and German climate scientists. A one-sided, witch-hunting publication designed to destroy the reputation of prominent dissenters is not the same as the cold-blooded murder of college students of course, but serves as an illustration of a similar attitude of intolerance and frustration with respect to an unwanted debate. It should warn us of where this is headed.
One of the attacked German journalists, Günter Ederer, has responded at the Achse des Guten. What follows is his commentary in English, translated with permission from Ederer.
By Günter Ederer
Either I am stupid, or I am corrupt. In the least, however, I am naïve and unteachable and for that reason I am dangerous. No matter what, the German Environment Agency does not allow any room for doubt in its publication “Und sie erwärmt sich doch” (And indeed it continues to warm) when it comes to the unstoppable increase in global temperature. Here, along with my highly esteemed colleagues Dirk Maxeiner and Michael Miersch, we are the journalists who have been specifically named in the publication as those who deny climate change and spread nonsensical things. Since then, I’ve been torn between a sense of pride for having been taken so seriously, and complete amazement by how recklessly a state authority is prepared to go in defaming freedom of expression.
I have been pilloried because bureaucrats of the “Bundesklimakammer” have identified me as a “climate denier“, that is a partial nut job – a relative of the “Holocaust denier“, i.e. criminal and dangerous. That justifies the “official destruction of reputation by the state“, as written by the Weltwoche of Zurich to describe the behavior of the German Federal Environment Agency. Yet, there is only one thing: I do not deny climate change.
Icy periods and warm periods have been occurring for hundreds of thousands of years, dramatic climate changes that have shaped our Earth. For the last 30 years we have been told of “manmade climate change” and the ongoing dispute of whether and to what extent this is responsible for our current weather. Nigel Calder, former publisher of the New Scientist and science editor of the BBC, wrote in 1997 in the book The Manic Sun that scientists reached the conclusion that our climate was dominated by the sun. During my two-day visit he summarized his findings in one sentence: All parties in Europe, whether left or right, will go along the warming theory because the permission to tax the air we breath will be granted for the first time, and would even be praised because they it will be for rescuing the planet.
Since then I’ve been forced to acknowledge that Calder was right. The rise in CO2, and the danger of the global collapse associated with it, is the brilliant excuse for higher taxes and the expansion of state power. One product of this fear-mongering is the EEG energy feed-in act. Here the state guarantees that an unlimited amount of power is bought from producers at an exorbitant price. This is a pure centrally planned economy – one that would be unimaginable without the threat of a world collapse. How else can one explain the German SPD socialist party allowing its clientele, the “little folks”, to pay billions to the wealthy and owners of vast areas of roofs through their electric bills? How else do we explain that the other parties like the FDP liberal democrats and the conservative CDU, who even today continue to extol the virtues of Ludwig Erhard’s market economy, are calling on consumers to pay for an offshore liability fee – in addition to the feed-in act costs? This fee is nothing less than forcing consumers to pay for the investment risks of large corporations. Should a federal government agency be allowed to warn the public of a journalist because that journalist supports a market economy? Yes, I do become skeptical when I read the comments of Klimaretter claiming democracy must be “developed further” because it is not capable of protecting our planet. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber wants to scale back voting rights and award a greater say to scientists who know what is right for the people. Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the IPCC, argues in a similar manner. The suspicion that this is no longer about the climate, but more about the de-democratizing of states is surely justified. Most likely I find myself on the “bad-guys-list” because I have written about these tendencies – so far I have written nothing about the physics of our atmosphere.
In its publication the German Environment Agency insists that the science of global warming by CO2 is conclusively settled. Here the officials rely on the results of the IPCC. My Canadian colleague Donna Laframboise, together with 80 volunteers, made the effort to check all 18,531 scientific papers cited by the IPCC. That effort found that 5587 of these works originated from environmental activists who neither studied climate science nor were experts. She was able to show that the “leading” scientists were often not even students and that the results of studies had been falsified or rewritten. But the climate fear-mongers do not read any of this, neither in the government offices or in editorial rooms.
Even the Deutsche Journalisten Verband (German Association of Journalists) and the Wissenschafts Pressekonferenz e.V (Science Press Conference) and organized journalists requested Federal Minister of Environment Peter Altmaier to stop the UBA publication and to apologize to the pilloried journalists. However, Altmaier sees no reason to act. To me this is the most troubling aspect of the entire affair. Not because a Minister refuses to apologize to us, but because we have a Minister who is so thick-skinned that he believes that it is normal for a government agency to have sole claim to the representation of science and to strip the freedom of expression from journalists who in his eyes are inappropriate. For our country this is more dangerous than a global warming that is currently not even taking place.
Günter Ederer’s essay appeared in the FAZ on 1 July 2013
Kent State Documentary (note the parallels):
PS: The issue here is not whether the Vietnam War was right or wrong, rather it is whether it is justified to use the full might of the state to shoot down dissenting views and stomp out a public debate.