Global Science Report is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.”
Back in the Bush II Administration, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) nakedly tried to nudge the political process surrounding the passage of the environmentally-horrific ethanol fuel mandate. It hung a large banner from the side of its Washington headquarters, picturing a corn stalk morphing into a gas pump, all surrounded by a beautiful, pristine, blue ocean. They got their way, and we got the bill, along with a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
So it’s not surprising that AAAS is on the Washington Insider side of global warming, releasing a report today that is the perfect 1-2-3 step-by-step how-to guide to climate change alarm.
This is how it is laid out in the counterfactually-titled AAAS report “What We Know”:
Step 1: State that virtually all scientists agree that humans are changing the climate,
Step 2: Highlight that climate change has the potential to bring low risk but high impact outcomes, and
Step 3: Proclaim that by acting now, we can do something to avert potential catastrophe.
To make this most effective, appeal to authority, or in this case, make the case that you are the authority. From the AAAS:
We’re the largest general scientific society in the world, and therefore we believe we have an obligation to inform the public and policymakers about what science is showing about any issue in modern life, and climate is a particularly pressing one,” said Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of AAAS. “As the voice of the scientific community, we need to share what we know and bring policymakers to the table to discuss how to deal with the issue.
But despite promising to inform us as to “what the science is showing,” the AAAS report largely sidesteps the best and latest science that points to a much lowered risk of extreme climate change, choosing instead to inflate and then highlight what meager evidence exists for potential catastrophic outcomes—evidence that in many cases has been scientifically challenged (for example here and here).