by Julie Kelly • National Review
Climate-change alarmists who have been largely unchallenged by the media over the past decade have finally met their match in Fox News host Tucker Carlson. And it ain’t pretty.
Since the premiere of his new nighttime show, Carlson has frequently confronted the dogma of man-made global warming, pushing “experts” to cite data and evidence to back up their claims rather than allowing them to repeat well-worn platitudes about a scientific consensus and the planet’s impending doom. In January, Tucker took on California State University professor Joseph Palermo, who wrote, “If President Trump and his cohort believe the science of global warming is bogus, then they shouldn’t be allowed to use the science of the Internet for their Twitter accounts” based on the commonly accepted factoid that “98 percent of all scientists” believe the climate is changing because of human activity. When Carlson repeatedly asked Palermo to give the source of that figure, which Carlson correctly said was unknowable, the professor couldn’t do it. Climate fail.
But it was Carlson’s takedown of Bill Nye the Science Guy, a television personality and celebrity climate promoter, that exposes the intellectual chicanery behind this crusade. During an interview on Carlson’s show on February 27, Nye goofily claimed that people who question claims about global warming suffer from cognitive dissonance: “We in the science community are looking for information why climate change deniers, or extreme skeptics, do not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.” Nye went on to say that denial is denial, the evidence is overwhelming, and the question of whether humans are causing climate change is “not an open question, it’s a settled question.”
Now usually when these charges are made by someone who purports to possess expertise in climate science (Nye has a degree in mechanical engineering), the interviewer acquiesces, immediately surrendering the debate to the climate activist. But Carlson wouldn’t back down: “To what degree is climate change caused by human activity? . . . Is it 100 percent, is it 74.3 percent? If it’s settled science, please tell us to what degree human activity is responsible.”
Nye started to get uncomfortable, well aware he had no certain answer to this so-called settled question, since climate scientists cannot agree how much human activity contributes to climate change. (Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is suitably vague on this issue; the IPCC’s 2013 report states that it is “extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.”)
This is when Nye went off the rails, refusing to specify the degree to which people cause climate change and instead blaming us for the speed that climate change is happening: “Instead of happening at time scales of millions of years or let’s say 15,000 years, it’s happening on a time scale of decades and now years.” Or, you know, whatever. He went on to tell Carlson humans are “100 percent” responsible for the rate of climate change and it’s happening catastrophically fast. This spun him into a really weird (and unscientific) spot where he started lamenting the fact that global warming has caused us to avoid another Ice Age — perhaps unaware that most people would consider freezing to death a horrible fate — and told Carlson another Ice Age “ain’t gonna happen because of you and me.” Yay CO2!
Sensing he was getting cornered by Carlson, Nye pivoted to the next tactic often used by uninformed and misleading climate activists: the personal attack. “Let me ask you this. Why aren’t you concerned about it? Don’t you have four children? Why aren’t you concerned about climate change?” Because if you don’t care about climate change, you don’t care about your children.
Then right before my eyes, Nye turned into my old college political-science professor, who — no matter what the subject was at the time — would end his lecture by ranting about the Vietnam War. Nye babbled about the weather back in 1750, grape growers in Europe, pesticides in the Midwest, and something about pine-bark beetles in Wyoming. (This is another common tactic of climate alarmists, they talk over you while throwing out unverifiable factoids that make them sound informed when they’re usually just making stuff up.)
While it’s easy to dismiss Nye’s interview as a kooky one-off appearance from an unprepared celebrity scientist, he sadly represents the lack of integrity by most climate-change pushers. They move goalposts, manufacture facts, resist honest debate, and resort to smear tactics when confronted with specific questions they cannot answer. As Carlson said to Nye, “You really don’t know, and you bully people who ask questions.” Good thing Carlson is there to bully back for once.