If Skeptics can be Prosecuted for Fraud, So can Alarmists

June 17th, 2016 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I’m glad to see this news report today, and I’ve been saying the same thing ever since the whole Attorneys General flap started:

“If Democratic attorneys general can pursue climate change skeptics for fraud, then also at risk of prosecution are climate alarmists whose predictions of global doom have failed to materialize.

The cuts both ways argument was among those raised by 13 Republican attorneys general in a letter urging their Democratic counterparts to stop using their law enforcement power against fossil fuel companies and others that challenge the climate change catastrophe narrative.

Consider carefully the legal precedent and threat to free speech, said the state prosecutors in their letter this week, headed by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

If it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration, said the letter. If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud.

The popular comparison of legitimate skepticism and uncertainty over the causes of climate change with hiding the risks of tobacco use is just so silly. No one can be demonstrated to have been harmed by manmade climate change, partly because there is no way to establish causation, there has been no demonstrable increase in severe weather events, etc.

Besides, can any investor in Exxon Mobil really claim they never heard of the possible risks of anthropogenic climate change? That’s all we’ve been hearing in the news for the last 30 years.

But Dr. Spencer! It can be demonstrated that flash floods have killed more and more people in their cars over the last 150 years!” Sheesh. If you really think this is a valid argument, I can’t help you.

In fact, to the extent that recent climate change has been partly caused by humans (which I do believe…even though I cannot prove it), the positive externalities have likely outweighed the negative externalities (cold weather still kills more people than hot, crop productivity goes up with increasing CO2).

That is in addition to the fact that we have no large-scale replacements for fossil fuels yet, and to the extent we force expensive renewables on people, we make poverty worse. And poverty does kill.

Environmental groups that have pressured decision makers into bed with them on the issue should be held accountable for their deceit.

366 Responses to “If Skeptics can be Prosecuted for Fraud, So can Alarmists”

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