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Climate Change Weekly #450: Climate Censors and Their Phony Fact Checks, Paid Shills

October 14, 2022

Climate alarmists’ response when the facts don’t fit the narrative they’ve been pushing for two decades is to suppress the facts by killing the messengers.

Climate alarmists’ response when the facts don’t fit the narrative they’ve been pushing for two decades is to suppress the facts by killing the messengers. Today you kill bearers of inconvenient truths not with an ax to the back of the neck but by de-platforming them.

The climate censors start by throttling or labelling posts with which they disagree, limiting others’ ability to share unredacted posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. If that fails to dissuade the climate realists from posting evidence-based claims pointing to an unalarming climate future, the social media giants remove their ability to monetize their online activities. If these first two attempts at censorship fail to force the realists to toe the party line or at least self-edit their climate posts, Big Tech applies the death penalty. The corporate censors ban them: first temporarily, then, if they repeat the offense of telling the truth, for life from one or all the major online social media platforms.

The largest social media companies are owned by a very few companies or individuals. Facebook/Meta, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and TicTok are owned or controlled by less than half a dozen individuals—with the last-named suspected of being controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. These online platforms have become the de facto public square for discussion. They act as oligopolists or monopolists, and when competitors arise they quickly gobble them up.

In any other business endeavor, government regulators, primarily the Federal Trade Commission, would never have allowed many of the mergers that have taken place in the social media space. The companies would be broken up. After all, those few companies control a greater share of the social media market than Standard Oil controlled of the oil market before the government broke the company up.

It’s bad enough when big tech, with the help or encouragement of the federal government, censors political or social views its thought police consider offensive or socially unacceptable. It’s even worse for society when these multinational giants impose sanctions on people for speaking or pointing out truths, matters of fact, that undermine or inconveniently bring into question claims made by purported or self-appointed experts on matters that are far from “settled science.” Knowledge is advanced only when there is free debate over contested factual claims.

The suppression of facts the government and progressive activists didn’t want discussed or debated was all too evident during and after the Wuhan virus pandemic. Discussion of the virus’ origins was suppressed online as being offensive or racist, even though where or how a virus originates is a factual matter having nothing to do with race and the question was, and as far as I can ascertain still is, open to debate or discovery.

Worse still was the suppression and censorship of discussion of the efficacy of a variety of possible medical interventions to combat the virus, the effectiveness of the vaccines developed to prevent it, and the possible dangers of adverse reactions to the rapidly approved, little-studied vaccines. The judgements and decisions of thousands of medical professionals were censored or suppressed online even though many of the treatments they suggested seemed effective in ameliorating or at least suppressing the worst effects of the disease.

Time and experience have shown the concerns many doctors and researchers raised about whether the vaccines would prevent people from contracting the virus, as official government health authorities claimed they would, were accurate. Time and experience have also shown concerns about possible adverse reactions to the vaccines were also legitimate. The social media giants shamelessly suppressed these facts, with government encouragement, acting as arbiters of truth about the pandemic and responses to it.

During the pandemic, health professionals learned what scientists and analysts discussing climate change have long known: truth is no defense against censorship by Big Tech.

The case of Gregory Wrightstone, executive director of the CO2 Coalition, is instructive on this point. As detailed in posts on the CO2 Coalition blog and various news articles, Wrightstone and scientists associated with the coalition have been permanently banned from LinkedIn; had their posts throttled, censored, or banned by Facebook; and were prevented from even opening an account with Instagram. Wrightstone’s thoughtcrime was to point out that increasing carbon dioxide has the beneficial effect of boosting plant growth, including an increase in crop growth that has reduced hunger and malnutrition globally. Wrightstone and other scholars at the CO2 Coalition also had the temerity to point out many of the claims that climate change was making extreme weather events more intense or more common were refuted by official government data and the findings of the U.N’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These are indisputable facts. Yet because censors at social media giants “can’t handle the truth,” Wrightstone and the CO2 Coalition have been prevented from speaking in the modern public square about climate change.

There is evidence the corporate media are getting paid well  to suppress climate facts. Earlier this year the Associated Press, supposedly an independent news organization, proudly announced it was receiving millions of dollars in funding from a group of climate-woke foundations to cover climate change more regularly and extensively.

“This far-reaching initiative will transform how we cover the climate story,” admitted AP senior vice president and executive editor Julie Pace in the press release announcing the grant program. I’ll bet!

“The media’s coverage of climate change has sunk to a new journalistic low,” said Climate Depot’s Mark Morano in commenting on AP’s announcement. “The mainstream media, led by the Associated Press, is now publicly admitting they are just phoning in their coverage on ‘climate change.’”

Recently, the same talking points on hurricanes popped up in multiple stories in the space of a couple of days across numerous supposedly independent media outlets. These “news” stories directly or in a more veiled fashion critiqued the tweets of Steve Milloy, founder and editor of JunkScience.com. Milloy’s exposés of flawed, mistaken, and outright fraudulent scientific claims have plagued promoters of environmental apocalypse scare stories since 1996.

It seems the AP, Agence France-Press (AFP), and other mainstream media outlets have finally had enough and are targeting Milloy in a coordinated fashion. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian and the numerous stories wrongly linking it to climate change, Milloy tweeted on September 29, “No trend in landfalling Florida hurricanes since 1903,” “Not in frequency. Not in intensity. Not in anything. Climate is a hoax.”

Granted, “climate is a hoax” may have been over the top and the meaning unclear to some. Nonetheless, the AP, AFP, and others recognized Milloy’s tweet was a succinct and effective broadside against the claim Hurricane Ian was caused or made worse by climate change, and of the broader claim climate change is causing more frequent or severe hurricanes. The available data and peer-reviewed research cited in dozens of Climate Realism and Climate Change Weekly posts prove Milloy’s claims are accurate. The facts are on his side. Even as the planet has modestly warmed, hurricanes have neither increased in number nor become more powerful. Some data even suggests hurricane numbers may be trending downwards. These are easily confirmed facts.

Facts about hurricanes didn’t seem important to the AP and AFP when they carried out their so-called fact checks of Milloy’s tweets. Instead of providing the hurricane data or even what the most recent report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had to say about hurricanes, the dubious journalists quoted select experts, cited anecdotes, and rapidly ginned up “attribution” research to assert Milloy’s claims were false or misleading.

The evidence clearly shows those attacking Milloy’s tweets are the ones misleading the public. The data proves it. What reason, then, could corporate media outlets have for ignoring facts about hurricanes in order to smear the claims of a single analyst if not to signal Big Brother social media climate censors to ban him from their platforms?

The treatment of legitimate scientific debate and the suppression of facts about climate change by scientific journals, the big corporate media, and social media moguls represents a nadir of public discourse perhaps not seen since the days of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union and, before that, the Catholic Church’s prosecution of Galileo. All we can do is hope social media giants will not ban Milloy or others like him.

It would be better if those media giants were to reconsider their guidelines for moderating speech across their platforms and perhaps end their factchecking functions entirely. One has to opt in voluntarily to receive any individual’s or group’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or LinkedIn posts. They are not sent unbidden. If you link to, friend, or follow a person whose subsequent posts offend you, you can easily unfollow, unfriend, or drop them from your list of contacts. Alternatively or in addition, you can respond to the post across social media platforms with your own point of view or factual claims and explain why the initial statement is misleading, wrongheaded, or false—and perhaps receive merited criticism by interested parties.

In his justly praised book On Liberty, John Stuart Mill wrote,

"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

"Every man who says frankly and fully what he thinks is so far doing a public service. We should be grateful to him for attacking most unsparingly our most cherished opinions."

Social media moguls claim to want to make it easy for people to exchange thoughts and ideas. They publicize their platforms as a way to make that possible. They should take Mill’s words to heart when considering suppression of communications, especially when the posts are critical of assertions by persons claiming to have the exclusive authority to speak for “the science” or when the narrative critiqued is being pushed by government. Do the world a service: allow people to speak and exchange ideas freely and be refuted, not silenced, if they are wrong.

Wrightstone, Milloy, and other climate realists who have been de-platformed or threatened with expulsion are right, and the so-called consensus view is wrong. I’m not saying that: the data do.

SOURCES: JunkScience.com; Texas Tribune; Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton; AgencyFrancePress; Associated Press; CO2Coalition; Real Clear Energy; CO2Coalition; CO2Coalition; Climate Change Weekly;

 

HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT CAUSING THE LARSEN-C ICE SHELF COLLAPSE

A recent study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (JGRA) explodes the myth that climate change is driving the decline of Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf, the largest remaining ice shelf on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

A group of scientists, primarily but not solely associated with the British Antarctic Survey, examined 20 years of data covering a variety of climatological and weather patterns affecting the region. In a hindcasting exercise, they ran the data through a high-resolution climate model used by the U.K. Met office, to “evaluate the contribution of various atmospheric conditions in order to identify and rank, for the first time, the most significant causes of melting over the recent past.”

In order of importance, the four main drivers of Larsen C surface melting are:

1. Shortwave solar radiation.

2. Foehn wind variations.

3. Cloud cover changes.

4. Natural circulation ocean current variations (Southern Annular Mode, El Niño–Southern Oscillation).

The evidence indicates these four “melt drivers interact with one another and can compound or dampen the effects of other causes of melting,” the study states.

“Neither anthropogenic forcing nor CO2 emissions are listed as causal factors in Antarctic ice melt processes,” writes No Trick Zone, one of the few websites or media outlets to cover the study.

Further reinforcing the evidence human-caused climate change is not a significant contributing factor in the waxing and waning of Larsen C is research cited by No Tricks Zone indicating “until 1000 to 2000 years ago, Antarctica was up to 5°C warmer than it is presently [with] open-water conditions prevail[ing] throughout most of the Holocene (the last 11,700 years) in the same area where the massive Larsen Ice Shelf exists today.”

If the researchers involved in the JGRA study are correct, the four factors they’ve identified could “cause this ice shelf to collapse, and therefore indirectly contribute to sea level rise,” with no help from anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions.

SOURCES: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres; No Tricks Zone

 
Article Tags
Environment
Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org

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